Nerariyathirikkan …

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Ernakulam Meeting

The valedictory function of the centenary celebration of the establishment of the Catholicate in Malankara, held at  Ernakulam on Nov. 25th 2012 was a great success. Few pictures from me.


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Meditation on Announcement of John’s Birth

Meditation for Sunday of Announcement to Zechariah (Originally posted in ICON)



Text: Luke 1:5-25. “The Unexpected”

That was a day like any other day. Zechariah the priest had the privilege by lot to burn incense on the altar of the Lord. What he had in mind was just his duty in the temple. While he was preparing himself, he found a messenger beside him. That was an unexpected visit from God. What astonished him even more was the news that messenger brought.

Of course Zechariah had dreams, dreams of having children of his own and probably the priestly office he held continued through one of them. His wife Elizabeth probably had even more wanted to be a mother. But both had to live without their dream come true. Of course they had hope till she faced that natural point of time every woman would come to. Now that also was over, and on the top of it Zechariah was advanced in age. They had given up of being parents to their own children.

It was at this juncture the messenger brought the news that he was going to be a father. It was too much for him to take. May be first he thought it was a joke. He could not believe his ears. But the messenger was serious about it. Zechariah became speechless and that state continued till he saw it happening. ‘The unexpected message from the Incomprehensible One at an unexpected time’ that was what he had to confront.

Galatians 4:4 states that ‘it was in the fullness of time that God fulfilled His promise given to the first parents that He would send the Savior’ (Gen. 3:15). Luke 2:30 says “For my eyes have seen Your salvation”. Simeon was waiting to see this miracle of the birth of Jesus and being brought to the temple. He was not tired and never gave up. But Zechariah could not wait any more, and had given up. This raises question about our attitude in our lives.

An important message the Bible gives is that ‘it was God who created the universe and He continues to create and re-create’. Along with the creation of the universe, in our world the earth, God created human and other creatures. We have a nature around us too. Hence God’s work is to be seen in nature and in time. Of course, when we stand before God in worship and when the celebrant would utter saying , Upward where Christ sits on the right hand side of God the Father, let our thoughts, minds and hearts be at this hour”, we transcend boundaries of time and space. But the effect of that worship also will be reflected in time and space, that is in our history and nature. It is, then God is the One who is leading our history.

One of the arrogant pride of human is that with enlightenment and intellectual excellence we have overcome limits of all kinds including that of time and space. But with all the know how in the world of technology and science we have acquired, the fact remains that many a time we stand before unexpected events and happenings wonder-stuck and speechless. We think it is we who plan and guide our history. We think we can plan the birth of a child, their education and future. But experience tells us that our plans may not work the way we expected. Then we go frustrated and try to find fault with others or the circumstance. This is the case even with those who claim that they believe in God.

Of course Zechariah’s situation was not this much complicated. He gave up his hope because things had to be like that under normal circumstance. But he had to look beyond the normal in to the mind of God. The ways of the Lord is many a time different from that of ours. What is required on our part is to try to understand God’s purpose with us. There is no baby born in to this world without a purpose, a purpose only his/her creator knows well enough. We also can not for sure determine when one is to be born (here by being born I mean the first moment of the formation of the fetus in the mother’s womb). This is a mystery. Some times it comes when we do not expect or when we are not prepared. But that is the time God thought of as the right time. Same is the case with happenings and events. Things may not happen as we plan, it may not bring the same effect as we thought about. It is for us to wait upon God and listen to Him. Then nothing will be unexpected. We can always expect good things from God at the right time.

Malayalee Christians are under the false pretension that education is the best thing they can give to their children. For that goal we go an extra mile to achieve. Children are sent to school even at the age of two. They are given all possible facilities (some times even those they are not able to handle) for their studies even sacrificing many of the comforts of the parents. Of course world over Malayalee Christians have displayed intellectual and career excellence in their lives. Educational advancement, material growth and prosperity has become an obsession for us. Our faith in God and spirituality many a time are centered around these goals of ours. It is no sin and of course education is some thing important, but we forget the fact that Zechariah got the message of his future and his child during worship that happened in the temple. We are not seeking God’s will rather seeking God’s help in materializing our dreams. Again this is not totally wrong. But without ever understanding whether our dreams coincide with the dream of God about us would not be the right thing. When we come to worship, we pray for either the fulfillment of our dreams or do things mechanically that it does not mean any thing for us. In our urge to give education to our children, worship and spiritual growth of the child are many a time forgotten, ignored or sidelines. To Zechariah what he did in the temple was a customary thing and did not put his life in the context. That is why the message was quite unexpected for him. We can only present our dreams and plans before God in worship. It is He to decide what should happen to us. It is in worship alone He reveals His mind to us. If we do not pay attention, it will be an ‘unexpected’ message for us and we may go mute and some times sad or frustrated as it may not be what we planned and expected. God would say, “OK” sometimes, but He also may say “wait” or “No”. We can hear what His response only when we listen to Him. In our enthusiasm to put our pleas before God, we do not let God speak to us. Even while we do not speak, we may not be listening.

Let us wait upon our Lord and listen to His voice that speaks to us about our lives and about our world.

My Day at St. James Church Sunland

I had the second service on November 11th, 2012 of the current visit to my mission at Sunland St. James Orthodox Church. The service was followed by lunch hosted jointly by Board of Elders and Board of Trustees in honor of their bishop.

Video made of pictures of the events is uploaded to Youtube.

My Sermon at Sunland

The text of the sermon I gave during the consecration of the new Church of the St. James Syrian Orthodox Church on 3rd Nov. 2012.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, One true God.Amen

Very Rev. Corepiscopo Dr. Joseph Tarzi, Rev. Clergy, beloved brothers, sisters and children.

I am standing here with heart filled gratitude before God and appreciation for all the hard word you put in that brought us all to this wonderful auspicious point of time. I have no words to express my joy and happiness when I perform this sacred liturgy of consecration of the Church building this congregation of St. James Syrian Orthodox Church of America presented before the Lord for the worship of His faithful children.

Things have not been easy for us. Our experience was painful but, thank God, pedagogical in more than one way. It taught us in the first place how good our Lord was to us all along the way He lead us. Second, He told us that we need to stand before all tests and challenges for the preservation of justice, love and what is right. Third no matter who ever may betrays us, God is there to open new doors for His people. A fourth one, He taught us to trust in the Lord and not in any humans or human made institutions or authorities.

Now, bye gones are bye gones, all those struggles and sufferings have passed us unsuccessful. What is left with us is only what we learned from those unhappy experiences. We shall not forget the positive things from those experiences.

First of all I should remember the untiring efforts of Aboon Khouri Tarzi to keep us together and progressing. He did not have to, just a word of sorry before the top brass would have saved him from all those unhappy experiences. But he did not, because his God is not of that type and he was faithful to his God who said ‘people first’ and justice, peace and love are the cardinal principles in people’s life. Not only he, his family also had to go through such a difficult time, to the point of losing faith in God and in human, but they did not. Rather they stood beside him and helped him cross over. I salute Very Rev. Corepiscopo Tarzi, his wife Julian, children Urahoi, Shayo and Nahrin (a personal note, when ever I am with them they make my stay pleasant and homely).

Again you the members of the congregation, you stood firm at the face of this test. We always pray in the Lord’s prayer, ‘lead us not in to test’. But in this world tests come every now and them. What you had eight years back was one big test. But you were able to live what followed in the prayer which says, ‘but deliver us from the evil one’. God was willing to deliver you from the evil one, and you followed God and got delivered all right. The board of elders, the board of trustees, current and of the past terms, the women’s fellowship, the Sunday School, the scout, our young girls and boys, every one of the 300 plus families, you stood firm and made this great achievement. Today you enjoy the fruit of your faithfulness to the faith of our forefathers, and to the principles our Lord has laid before us.

Today was your wedding day. You are now wedded to the Lord for life. Several years back you were betrothed as a new bride. Abraham was called by God that He thought Abraham will become a blessing to all generations. Though Abraham, Issac and Jacob were faithful to their calling, their children in the promised land failed in their mission. So God had to send His Son with a new marriage proposal. Those ‘so called children of God’ did not respond to God’s invitation. So He called people from all places, generations and races to be His bride. The fathers of the Church took a firm decision to honor that relationship and handed it over to us, their children. But some of the children forsaked the Lord and were unfaithful just like those of the old. So we had to leave and be betrothed anew to the Lord some time back. Now that betrothal has been confirmed and today, through this liturgy of consecration, the wedding has taken place. Let us take an oath like the oath Joshua took after he and his people entered the promised land. This is the oath: “We shall always be faithful to our Lord and the fathers who followed Him and who taught us to follow Him and shall hand it over to our children and their children and their children”. Coincidentally, this is the eve of the feast of the sanctification of the Church according to the lectionary of our Church. Son on two counts we are being sanctified and blessed by our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. So let us thank Him for His love towards us.

I should express my sincere thanks for this wonderful opportunity God gave me to be part of your fellowship, the flock of Christ. Soon after you took a decision on that big question several years back, Aboon Khouri and Mr. George Grer came to me twice while I was in Chicago and discussed with me  about the possibilities of this relationship. None of you knew me then, and in turn I did not know any one else, other than these two, among you. After having known you, I can say with all my heart, I am glad this happened. Your love and care that you have been showering upon me has been limitless and wonderful. I hope I have not disappointed you. I should thank The Holy Synod of Malankara Orthodox Church that considered your request and put me in this responsibility of being your shepherd. A special mention is made regarding the support given by H.H. Baselius Marthoma Mathews II Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan of blessed memory who first gave the green signal to initiate dialogue with you and H.H. Baseliius Marthoma Didymus I, the retired Catholicos under whose leadership the H. Synod decided on the matter and who issued the historic bull of acceptance, and the present Catholicos H.H. Baselius Marthoma Paulose II.

I should also thank Rev. Fr. Yohannan Panickar for helping this Church by conducting Holy Eucharist service on more than one occasion. I thank on my accord the clergy and the faithful from other denominations and from other Malankara parishes who are attending this service and for the moral support they have been extending. A special word of gratitude to the Rev Pastor and the members of the Trinity Lutheran Church, for providing us with their facility for worship till we found this place. I should also thank those who sold us this Church in Sunland. We remember all of you in our prayers and shall continue to be grateful to you. Please keep us in your valuable prayers.

Let me conclude. I am lost in words to thank our Lord for his abundant mercy now and always that helps us overcome all odds in our lives. Galations 4:7, “You are no longer slaves, but children …”. Let our Lord continue to bless you and keep you safe and happy with His merciful right hand, now and always. Amen.

Consecration of St. James Orthodox Church, Sunland

St.James of Serugh Orthodox Church in Los Angles, California is a mission of the Diocese of Thrissur as per the decision of the H. Episcopal Synod of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church declared through a bull of H.H. Baselius Marthoma Didymus I, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan. Ever since its inauguration in 2005, until last year, they have been worshiping in a rented facility of the Trinity Lutheran Church. They purchased a Church in Sunland, California and after remodeling, it was consecrated and dedicated for the worship of the faithful on 3rd of November. Here is a movie made of pictures uploaded to Youtube:

Want to see more pictures? Go to the Church website:

My Sermon in Philadelphia

I conducted H. Qurbana at St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, Philadelphia on 21st of October, 2012. This parish has been a long time friend of mine. My sermon during the H. Qurbana on Youtube:

My Cross Country Journey in US

My Cross Country Journey in US on a Train

This is what hurricane Sandy did to me. I was supposed to fly from New York to Los Angles to be with my parish in Sunland. Near Los Angles CA on 31st of October 2012. But all airports in the tri-state area in US was closed and my flight got canceled. I had to get to LA at least by 3rd morning as we had planned the consecration of the new Church my congregation had bought in Sunland, California. People were looking forward with so much enthusiasm for the event and I was the only celebrant. I could not at any cost disappoint my people who are so nice, loving and caring. So I decided to think of other options. Bus was one of them. But it was not advisable to go for it for several reasons.  The other one was train. Every one I consulted discouraged me saying it would be very long and tiring. As a matter of fact I always wanted to go cross country in US to see the country in a bus stopping at various country side locations and home-staying with people to get to know real US. But this was no time for that. I decided to go for the train. I was staying in New York with Mr. George Parambil (Thambi) from Vadakkumchery, Palakkad where there was no power and internet connection. Fortunately his brother Kunju’s son-in-law Abu had a smart phone and he offered to book a ticket through internet. We got a ticket to travel on 31st which will get me at LA on 3rd morning. Since the train stations in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia were closed I had to go to Albany, capital of New York state to board. Abu and his wife Preetha took me to Albany 3 hours far from White Plains, NY where I was staying.

The train left at 7.05 pm on Wednesday and reached Chicago at 8.15 am the next day. There was several hours lay off. My next leg started at 3 in the afternoon. Though it was really tiring, that was an experience (this was my second train journey in the US. The first was long back in 1990 when I was a student in Chicago and it was from Chicago to New York. I did not like it at all). I could arrive on Saturday and be with my people to consecrate the Church. Here are two movies from my journey. The train journeyed through the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona to reach California. I have uploaded two videos to my Youtube channel. Here is a map of US (in part)