Why?


The CNN Says 92% Afghans do not know why the Americans are in their country. My question is how many Americans know why the toops are there in Afghanistan? How many around the world know why the Americans and there in Afghanista?

Was there any good reason?

God made every thing good. We make it the worst place. Poor we!!!

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Question Again


Dear Thirumeni

On a general note, it has pondered in my mind, as to why the youngsters of today, especially back in India, have lost respect to elders. Youngsters seem to become so self oriented, especially after marriage. They seem to ignore their roots, or in harsh terms, abandoning age old parents, family turbulences, materialistic disputes, divorce, etc. The East has taken the worst of the West. On the contrary, the West is putting more emphasis on family values, to the extent that our Province has a Family day holiday, besides Labour Day, Civic Holiday, Thanksgiving Day, etc.

The good old days of nurturing children with faith seem to have evaporated with the mechanical life today. I guess the Church will have to emphasize the importance of imparting faith and active participation of the new generations to build a God loving community. The Church no doubt can play a very instrumental role in shaping the Christian community.

One other concern I have, is the new age music that the youth think they are utilizing to glorify God. A lot of rap, hip hop, jazzy Christian songs seem to divert the focus to glorify God. They may be trying to magnetise non-believers into praising God, but on the same token, in their deeds, they do not reflect godly attributes. They have total disregard to their own family, or to their parents, or to their elders.

Please remember us in your prayers.

Thanks and best regards, (?)

Dear ?
Yes you are right in both matters. The blame has to be on the elders itself. They thought giving school education is the most important wealth they can give to their children. They forgot every thing else in their urge to do that. They did not insist that children should pray in the evening and morning, should go to Church and Sunday School and participate in spiritual activities. Parents were busy making money and fighting in the Church with that money. They sent their children in to schools and thought they will be successful in their career and life. The children spent a major part of their time with friends who did not know any thing about life, but only had emotions and the feeling that some thing was missing in their lives. So they were attracted by the new generation, individual pastor run Christian communities. There they learned high voltage music and stuff like that. They saw the parents not so much models in their lives, rather ATM machines and who cares only for wealth and material prosperity. They Church was also busy in making use of the money the elders made in building tall towers in the Church and new buildings. I can go on like this. Yesterday I visited a former monastery in Indiana which is currently a Hotel with the same name Abbey. Our Churches in Kerala, I am afraid, will face the same fate. I share your concern in its fullness. We need to blame ourselves.

Love and prayers

Thirumeni

More Questions


Hi thirumeni,
I hope u r well. I had a question in regards to Deacons. I am trying to write an article in regards to Deacons and ,y question is: What are the liturgical roles of a deacon based on their rank?

Any help would be appreciated and i hope your ministry is well and strong. Hopefully i see u again something this year or next!
?

Dear ?

Technically you can call only a full deacon a deacon. The first one is called msamrono who is the singer. He will be part of the choir where other msamronos and msamronithos (women singers) sing hymns in the Church. The next is Khoruyo. He is responsible for the Bible readings in the Church. The next is Yapadyakno who is the door keeper. He makes sure that no catechist or non-Christian is inside the Church when the Eucharistic service begins. All the catechists have to leave the Church after the sermon which comes immediately after the reading of the Gospel. Then the deacon comes down with the censor and blesses the congregation and takes report from the yapadyakno that all catechists have left. Then the deacon comes back to the right hand side of the Alter. Then the priest after washing the hands turns to the west and asks for prayers of the congregation. The final order is the msemsono (deacon) usually called full deacon (the others are called sub-deacon as in Catholic Church) is responsible for assisting the priest in the Madbaha. Strictly speaking no one else is allowed in the madbaha other than the full deacon and the clergy. Hope I answered your question.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

Respected Thirumeni
I would like to know about 2 matters
1. Why do our church not responding to the recent trend of marrying non christians,orthodox parishes in south&midddle kerala used to make mudakku for girls married in marthomite &CSI-they were not allowed to take kurbana or attend their siblinngs marriage as thozhma,not allowed to thalathodiyil n babtism .but tese type of mudakku or banning is not given to girls /boys marrying non christians-

2 In one article written by one of our priest was said -in 2005 their was a Holy synod decision in which During Holy mass women r allowed to read old testment-but yet I havn’t seen this implemented in any orthodox parish but I hav seen this in Catholic &Marthoma churches

3 Can we take Eucharist from Jacobite church & Catholic church,Earlier in Parumala church it was told this is for both factions but now it is told only for or those in this Sabha

 

Dear ?

Thank you for your note on my space. Regarding your query, I would say:

1. Marriage is a sacrament for the members of the same community. It is not just an agreement between two families of individuals. It has theological and faith related issues involved. If you marry a member of another community, whether it is a Hindu community or another community among Christians, you by virtue of your act, is deserting your community and giving up all privileges and rights in that community. Holy Eucharist is the fellowship meal of the particular community members with Christ, its Lord at the head of the table. It is not a common meal. A person who has deserted the community does not share the family table.

With regard to becoming a god-father or god-mother (thalathodil), the person who is doing that is assuring the community and pledging before God that he/she will raise the child in the faith of the parents of the child. How can a member of another Christian community pledge before God and the community that she/he can raise the child in the faith of the parents? One who becomes a god-father or god-mother should share the same faith as that of the parents of the child to raise the child in that faith. Otherwise the god-father or god-mother will be raising the child in his/her faith which will be alien to the child. So we do not let anyone from another Christian community to become god-mother or god-father. If that person takes a pledge that he/she will raise the child in the faith of the parents of the child he/she will be making a lie before God and the community.

2. Yes there was a decision in the H. Synod allowing women to read Old Testament lesions in the Church during H. Qurbana, not in 2005 but in 1982, and there was a Kalpana regarding that. It is for you to ask the priest and the leaders in the particular congregation why it is not implemented. If the Martha Mariyam Samajam members make demand in this regard, the priest has to oblige. It is for the women to come forward and make use of the privilege.

Hope I have answered your question.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

 

Leavened or Unleavened Bread


Respected Thirumeni,

We are using leavened Bread for our Holy Qurbana. The reason behind this, as far as I understand is that Christ instituted the Mystery of Holy Qurbana during the supper at the Upper Room which, as per the narrations in the New Testament, happened well before the Jewish Passover and therefore, only leavened Bread would have been used. If this narration in the Bible is so transparent, then why do Western Churches are using unleavened Bread? Even our Armenian church is using unleavened Bread. The Marthomites too do likewise, though they are not that western. Could there be some theological reasons apart from our “before passover theory”?

Whether our using leavened Bread has any relevance to the following verses?

  1. Leviticus  7:13 ( 7:12 differs )
  2. Leviticus 23:16,17
  3. Amos       4:5
  4. 1 Cor. 5:8 ( Here, Western based versions say “unleavened” whereas Pashetha say “leavened” )

During my college days ( late ’60s and early “70s ) I was a regular in the madbaha ( UC College chapel ) and the vicar there used to insist for unleavened Bread for the Holy Qurbana on Maundy Thursday, which I carried out religiously for 6 years. Now I realise that it was wrong.

The new generation fellowships like Heavenly Feast and the like conduct a Lord’s Table reciting the Words of Institution where they use bread from bakery with wine. Though they vehemently oppose Orthodox theology, this bread is leavened. May be they are not much concerned on its theology.

Thirumeni, I shall be extremely thankful to Your Grace for the correct theology on this issue and the reasons why differences prevail in Episcopal Churches despite the narrations in the Bible being the same.

Your spiritual son, (?)

Dear …

Sorry it took so long to reply. The New Testament does not have a all agreed statement about the Passover celebration of Jesus. According to John 11:55 it was “before Passover”, which means Jesus celebrated Passover on the previous day of the Jewish Passover, which according to their custom was anticipatory Passover (in our liturgical prayers it was cheru pesaha) and there, you are right, Jesus had to use leavened bread as per the rules of Passover. Unleavened bread was used only on the exact day of Passover. People used to celebrate Passover on previous days to avoid crowd in the temple and they had to do it with leavened bread. There is another reason for John following this. For John Jesus was the lamb of God who had to be slaughtered as a Passover lamb (1:29,36) on the Passover day instead of the day following. If he had celebrated Passover on the Jewish Passover day, he would have been crucified on the next day, a day after the Passover day. So the crucifixion of Jesus was on the Passover day when the lamb had to be slaughtered and had to be eaten the same day fully. So Jesus was slaughtered on the Passover day as the Passover lamb and was buried on the same day because that was a Friday and it was objectionable for them to have the body on the cross on a Sabbath day and the Sabbath day was a great Sabbath as it was the Sabbath of Passover (Mark 15:42 ff.).

But for the other three Gospels Jesus’ Passover was on the Jewish Passover day (Mat. 26:17 ff.;  Mark 14:1; Luke 22:7). This is one day after the Passover of Jesus as per John’s testimony. Added to that what Paul writes, as you said, in 1 Cor. 5:8 also testifies that Jesus celebrated Passover on the day of Jewish Passover (also see John 18:28. “.. But they themselves did not go in to the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover” ).  The western Church which takes Paul as its fundamental theologian would accept these testimonies as basis for what they do regarding the kind of bread they use for communion. However, now most of the biblical interpreters agree that John’s account is more historical for more than one reason than of the synoptic gospels. For us, Orthodox Christians, John is the first among the theologians of the Church (see the hymn of matrimonial liturgy (… suvisesham yohannane …).

When a certain tradition gets deep rooted in the community it is hard to change it even if people later realize that the tradition was founded on not so historical or otherwise safe grounds. In the case of the western Church, now what is important is not the historical accuracy, but the theology of Passover. For them Jesus’ last meal was the Passover meal of Jews which marked the removal of the slavery of (not Pharaoh) sin. So nothing of old (leaven) is to be there. We may have to give them the favour of this reason instead of judging them as wrong. On our part also we do not follow strictly historical dates and days (In the case of Jesus’ death and resurrection we are following the western calendar and not the eastern one. For Christmas we are not following the actual historical date of the birth of Jesus or the set calendar of Orthodox tradition. According to Orthodox tradition birth of Jesus was celebrated along with his baptism on the 6th of the first month – as a matter of fact the birth of Jesus was not so much important for us, rather baptism was-. Here again we are following not historical accuracy but theological and cultural reasons. So why cannot the Western Church do the same? For the sectarian communities, they do not look for any valid theology. Theirs are communities of free people and adopt theology of convenience. I do not want to write more on them in this regard.

Hope I have addressed your question.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni