Questions and Answers


Dear Thirumeni,
I am trying to understand the orthodox teachings on two
matters
1. In the west Syriac rite for burial service,before the oil is poured
the following prayer is recited “O Lord God, by Whose Godhead’s command
and Lordship’s authority this Your servant N. has departed from this
temporal life, send unto him from above the succor of Your angelic
hosts, and by means of this oil which is to be poured on his body,
grant that he may become slippery and unrestrainable by the adverse
powers and the hosts of the enemies who lie in wait in the air to wage
war against the souls of men.  Bring him safe to the heavenly abodes of
light and exultation among the saints, so that, rejoicing and
exceedingly glad, he may offer glory and give thanks to You, Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever.”
Does this imply the idea of tempation of the soul beyond departure from
this world? Is that possible during the first 40 days after the demise?
Can you also shed some light on Jude 1: 9 Michael contending with the devil over the body of Moses? What’s our take on the
idea of Toll-Houses?

2. Does the sacrament of Baptism wipe away the ancestral sin? Can the sickness of an infant be attributed to the ancestral sin?
Thanking you
Biju New York

Dear Biju

Hope you and your dear ones are doing fine by the grace of God

Regarding your questions

1. No it does not imply that there is a toll house and every departed soul has to go through that. The prayer you quoted is an expression of the primitive understanding of what is called “oyar” or the air. Culturally in the West Asian world people believed that there are evil spirits residing in the desert, in sea and in the air to attack people passing bye. Both living and departed need to invoke the help of the divine to pass through these areas without any harm caused by these spirits. Anointing by oil in that particular culture represents the designing by the good spirit for a purpose. When anointed by this good purpose, no evil spirit can touch that person whether dead or alive. We in the Malankara Church, without proper judgment on the cultural background of the prayers copied it. Whereas in the Western Church, they have the understanding of tormenting house where departed soul will be subjected to punishment for them to get purified or perfected. What we see in Jude 1:9 is an expression of a similar belief. We do not share that belief.

For us those who depart from this world continue the same kind of life in a different realm whether with Christ or without Christ. When we anoint the departed, we designate that person for his/her continued life with Christ assuming on the basis of he/she being baptized and  was participant in the body and blood of Christ.

2. I am not sure what you meant by “ancestral sin”. In our tradition we do not believe that each person is born with what the Western Church calls “original sin”. We only teach that the estrangement that was brought in by the sin of Adam is taken through generations. This has to be corrected and the person born need to be brought back to in relation with God through Christ. For this, we baptize the person. Therefore we do not confess that the sin of Adam made every one born in to this world a sinful person. That is why we do not insist that an infant born to a sacramentally wedded parents if died had to be baptized for salvation. This infant, we hold, will inherit the union with God the parents had through Christ. So there is no ancestral sin for us, rather there is the inherited estrangement. Adam is alone responsible for what he did, not we. But the effect of the act of Adam, that is estrangement is inherited.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

Respected Thirumeni

I wish to know Do we believe the Saints through their photos or The holy cross shed fragrance-perfume/oil etc,

Some catholics 2-3 years before claimed  their Rosa Mistica Mathavu-I dont know whether its St mary shed oil & perfume from Icon, but not announced by their Cardinal,Recently Some of Syriac orthodox churches proclaimed The icons of Saint mary shed perfume,now its told The Holy Cross in Manarcad church poured over perfumed oil-Is this the work Of SATAN,because we dont worship Saints we consider them as heavenly mediators,

IS their any Theological clarification for this,of course we believe through mediation of Saints we get healing,

Please calrify this,THe ORTHODOX CHURCH SHOULD GIVE A CLARIFICATION FOR THIS BECAUSE LOT OF OUR PEOPLE RUNNING BEHIND THIS,

Dear Sherlin

Hope you and your dear ones are doing fine by the grace of God.

Regarding your question through MTV, you must first of all know that we the Orthodox of the Syriac tradition has been part of iconoclasts. This means, we do not hold icons or pictures in high status. However we use pictures for common people’s spiritual assistance. We do not venerate them or worship them.

Of course we do believe that Saints are of much importance in the worshipping community. They are on the one hand models for us to learn how humans can live a life according to the will of God. On the other hand, just as the living ones, they stand with us in prayers and we pray for them and they pray for us. In other words, we are part of the same worshipping group.

Why do you want to blame it on Satan for every nonsense thing we humans do? It is the hand work of human when you see icons and pictures shedding perfume, oil and tears. This has been proven in several cases. Do not get carried away by these mimics. Trust in the Lord, He working in your heart and among the believers, the living and the departed.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

My dearest thirumeni, hope u r doing fine by the grace of lord. Seeing ur space, i wondered since u r a busy person. Im very fond of u, ur qurbana & speeches. Im saju. Pls clear my doubts. 1. The fig tree parable in st mark – y jesus cursed it though it was off season? 2. Is it right to eat with uncleaned hands? Y jesus told so? I think the items in front of him was fruits. 3. Y jesus asked the young man y u calling me good,only god is good. Im not taking much of ur time. Rest in the next. May lord bless u. 4. In holy qurbana, removal of veil is opening of heaven. We do it many times but marthomites do only once in holy qurbana. 5. Some people in catholics and russian,greak oc make the sign of cross from right to left. Moreover, we are taught that the three fingures must joined together but some priests dont do it while they turn west and bless us. 6. In first tubden, we salute patriarch,catholicose,jerusalem patriarch as aboon mor instead of moran mor. The meaning i think is his holiness. Im not sure. Please pray for me and my family. With love and prayers

Dear Saju

Yes I am doing fine and hope you and your dear ones are doing fine by the grace of God.

Regarding your questions: 1. Many of the things Jesus did were symbols. This incident is one among them. The fig tree symbolizes the Jewish community. The tree was with full of fresh leaves. According to the nature of the tree it gives fresh leaves along with fruits. During summer all leaves of the tree will be gone. Then it will give flowers and fruits. When there are leaves the expectation is that there will be fruits. If there are no fruits, the tree is fooling the people and not acting according to its nature. This is what the Jewish people also were doing. They showed to the world that they are a chosen people and are full of fruits or deeds. But people had no benefit from them. So there is no point in its existence. This symbolic message was conveyed through the fig tree.

2. Jews were very particular about external hygiene and cleanliness, but were full of misconduct and treachery. They had set customs for people to follow like washing the hand before eating and washing the face, legs and hands before praying. But what they ate was the robbed food from poor people and their prayers had not sincerity. The question is what should be more important. Of course you may have to wash your hands before you eat. But for people who are not eating any thing watery, like dry bread and dry fruits, there is not much point in washing the hand. Of course it is good if they can, but there is no need to make it a big issue.

3. Yes God alone is good and there is no need to specially call Jesus good teacher because He is God. When he calls Jesus good, it is evident that he did not recognize Jesus as God.

4. Removal of veil is not opening of the heaven. It is part of the reenactment of a historical drama which is staged in H. Qurbana. The whole history of humanity is re-enacted in H. Qurbana. The curtain represents the stages in this history. The Marthomites do not hold this concept.

5. The Eastern Orthodox people and those who follow that tradition in Catholic and Western world draw the cross slightly different from the way we do. For them they are accepting the cross of Jesus Christ on their body. When you draw cross yourself you do it the way we do, that means the second part starts at the left side and goes to the right side. But when you take a cross from outside its left side is on your right side. It is like in a mirror. We make the cross on us, they take the cross on them.

6. We say aboon mor for all the tree. Some people specially the Jacobites say the way you said. Aboon Mor is our father lord. Moran means our lord.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. V.g. Saju
    Mar 04, 2012 @ 16:29:22

    Dearest thirumeni, thank you for giving answer to my questions. Here are few more. 1. The name of the beautiful and unique black cap that our bishops wear and the occasions that it should wear.
    2. The reason for praying with and without masnaphto in holy qurbana.
    3. Which is the higher rank among ramban, cor episcopa and ramban cor episcopa. The last one resembles a bishop – without staff and cross.
    4. I came to read that H.G. Paulose mor Severios – Arthatt, was collapsed in madhbaha and passed away. In such cases, how the H.Qurbana is completed if there is no priests? 5. Many churches in malankara claim the relics of parumala thirumeni, yeldho bava etc. Do we open the kabar as catholics do? Hope that you are fine by His mercy. Please pray for me and my family – Saju

    Reply

  2. Yuhanon Meletius
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 04:28:32

    Dear Saju
    Regarding your questions
    1. The Syrians call it Kava. We usually call it “mudi thoppi” .
    2. Cor-Episcopo is the highest. A deacon can be Ramban (Correct word is Rabban). If that person is both Rabban and Cor-episcopo, then he gets cor-episcopo grade. Rabban has no grade.
    3. There are other such incidents too. If a priest can not complete the H. Qurbana he is celebrating. Another priest present can complete then and there. If there is not one with enough preparation, then it can be completed the next day or in the evening after enough preparation.
    5. The tombs were never opened. They use either kunthirukkam from the tomb or some thing they used during their time like cloth or some thing. Technically these are not relics. Relics in strict sense is the bone from that person.

    Reply

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