Question and Reply

Dear Thirumeni,

 

Hope you are keeping fine by the grace of God. As always, can you please clear my doubt.

 

During our Holy Qurbana,the priest prays for the salvation of the whole creation (sarva srishtiyudeyum mochanam). What is meant here – Is it the whole of the mankind OR the entire nature – including men, animals and plants.

 

In this connection another question – do the animals and plants have souls ?

 

Regards,

….. ?

 

Dear …
Hope you and your dear ones are doing fine by the grace of God.
I am sorry I could not reply sooner. I had to attend to too many things during the past two weeks.
Any way to answer your question, we may have to deal with the issue of salvation. What is salvation? There are people who talk about salvation as some thing to do with after death experience. Again there are people who talk about salvation of the soul as if there are several unrelated faculties in God’s creation. Further there are people who talk about salvation as some thing applicable only to human. These interpretations do not do justice to the issue.
Salvation is setting things in the right place. Look at the creation story and read further the story of fall of human. Before the fall of human there was a perfect relationship between God, human and nature. See the phrases used in that part of the Bible. Every thing in creation was related. But with the fall of human, human went away from God, one human was against another, nature was against human. The who relationship was destroyed.

Every thing created by God is primarily related to God and then to one another including human. This relationship keeps every thing in a saved situation. Once this relationship is broken, salvation is impossible for any element in creation.
God work in Jesus Christ was to reestablish this broken relationship. So salvation is to be understood as getting back to the original kind of relationship. Here the whole creation is to be involved.
Look at our situation now. Humans do not look for the will of God, humans are fighting between for no serious reason, nature is showing its fury on us. This causes suffering and death. This has to be changed. A change in nature can challenge our life. A tree can cause pain to our life, a fruit can destroy our life. Look at the change of weather patterns now. It does not respect our dreams and wishes. We do not respect the dreams and wishes of God. Every thing is in a broken world trying to make life safe and peaceful. This has to be set right. This is salvation.
Way back in history, even before these western theologians and philosophers ever thought about ecology and sustenance of this earth and its resources, before any organization to save endangered species, who started programmes to speak against global warming our Church father thought of them and made those concerns expressed in our liturgy. That is the richness of our liturgy. It is a pit that we do not understand and teach them.
Human can not be saved if weather patterns are not favorable which will affect his agriculture, crop and other livelihood activities. This is why ” sarva srishtiyudeyum mochanam” is voiced in our liturgy.
Regards and prayers
Thirumeni

 

 

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233 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sherlinviju
    Nov 10, 2010 @ 14:28:57

    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

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Nov 12, 2010 @ 23:15:55

      Dear Sherli
      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.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  2. John K. Daniel
    Dec 28, 2010 @ 20:07:01

    Dear Thirumeni,

    I have been following your space for a long time, and having been enjoying the many wonderful articles out there. Your latest article, about where to look for God is, indeed very enlightening.

    May I wish you also a (belated) Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year?

    Reply

  3. Trackback: How did this blog do in 2010? « Yuhanon Mor Meletius' Space
  4. John K. Daniel
    Jan 26, 2011 @ 15:22:03

    Dear Thirumeni,

    Hope you are doing well.

    I just got a chance to read your latest write up about the story of Jesus uplifting the Cananite woman and her daughter. It is, indeed, a very eye opening one. I wish, there was a way your writings like this could get more exposure in the mainstream media in our “God’s own country” so that more people could read them, and get enlightened.

    Again, thanks for finding the time in your hectic schedule to come up with thought provoking pieces like this! May the good Lord give you good health and wisdom so that we can learn much more from you.

    Reply

  5. Yuhanon Meletius
    Jan 27, 2011 @ 10:05:06

    Dear John Daniel
    Thank you for your note and appreciation. I am glad you got the message. ‘Hectic’! This should be part of my hectic schedule.
    I am doing fine by the grace of God. Hope you too along with your dear ones.
    Thanks once gain
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

    • sheane
      Sep 12, 2013 @ 12:26:49

      hi thirumani .i am that boy you talk to at the cochin airport to kuwait for your nieces weeding.i hope you are in good health.i recently saw you on youtube and i found that most of your videos cause a fight in between the two churches .i loved talking to you on that very day but i thought that u hope to see the two churches unity as one .i am glad that i saw you that day and talk to you but hope that we have no misunderstanding between us as syrian and indian orthodox cause i like the bishops of your and our churches and i hope we can see and day to see the two churches of differenr names but one tradition come together in peace and harmony and i see more of your video on your teaching and hope to see you soon

      slomo in the name of aloho ,bro and roohu now and forever
      AMEN

      Reply

      • Yuhanon Meletius
        Sep 12, 2013 @ 14:33:30

        Thank you Sheane for the comment. I can not understand why we should be two Churches. That is my question. We have one patriarch, one faith and one tradition. What is that keeps us apart. There is absolutely nothing. So I want both the Churches to be together and work out details of sharing responsibility (what others call power). Wish you and your parents with family God’s blessings.
        Regards and prayers
        Thirumeni

  6. siby mathai
    Feb 14, 2011 @ 16:44:08

    Dear Thirumeni,
    Thirumeni i am a great fan of your views,suggestions and perspectives of life.please give me the list of books which you have published and is available in book shops

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Feb 15, 2011 @ 03:18:03

      Dear Siby
      Thank you for your note and appreciation. I have three books to my credit. The first was published by Marthoma Yuvajana Sakhyam and the title is “Swathantravum Svayam Paryapthathayum”. The second one was published by Gregorios Study Circle, Mavelikkara and the title is “Manavikathayude Kazhchappadukal”. The third was published by CSS, Thiruvella and the title is “Kraisthava Samipanam: Anveshanavum Apagradhanavum”. The first two are out of print and the third is available with CSS, Kurisukavala, Thiruvella. If you check with Diocesan Office Book Store of my diocese, they may have the second one. You can write to them (Manager, Diocesan Office, Bishop’s House, Mannuthy, Thrissur 680651) or call them up at 0487 2371039 and find out.

      Reply

  7. John K. Daniel
    Feb 14, 2011 @ 17:48:36

    Dear Thirumeni,

    Trust that you are doing well.

    I got a chance to listen to your speech delivered during the convention at Kottarakara on the 26th of January. Once again, very interesting, and eye-opening, indeed.

    May I take this opportunity to ask the following few questions about the Great Lent?

    Following is quoted from the article, “Fasting in the Malankara Othodox Syrian Tradition”. by Rev. Fr. Dr. M. John Panicker, Orthodox Seminary, Kottayam that appears at the Malankara Orthodox Church website. While talking about the Great Lent, he states that:

    “Saturdays and Sundays are the days of the Lord and of joy and therefore it is prohibited to fast on these days (with the exception of Holy Saturday) except for the motive of fasting before the reception of Holy Qurbana. The believers who prepare themselves to receive the sacraments must observe the fasting as per the recommendation of the Church. Holy Qurbana is not conducted on fast days (especially the Great Fast and the Nineveh Fast) except on Saturday, Sundays, mid-day lent, fortieth Friday of the Great Lent and on the feast day of Annunciation. Celebration of marriage is prohibited and that of baptism is permitted in the case of extreme necessity. The feasts of martyrs, saints and departed are celebrated only on Sundays and Saturdays. The married people are asked to refrain from using their conjugal rights during the fasting season.”

    With all due respect to Achhan, it is a bit confusing to me. Could you kindly elaborate a little bit more on this, especially fasting (or not fasting) on Saturdays/Sundays during the Great Lent, and the rest? If I am not mistaken, certain other Orthodox churches do allow the faithful to use olive oil/wine, etc. during weekends during the Great Lent.

    Could you also please throw a little more light on “The Fast before the Migration of Virgin Mary the Mother of God” (Eight Days Lent) in as much as Fr. John mentions that it is observed only in the Malankara church.

    Also, which are the fasts/lents that are mandatory for us?

    Thanks again, in advance, for taking the time from your busy schedule to clarify these points.

    Prayerfully,

    John K. Daniel

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Feb 15, 2011 @ 15:42:37

      Dear John K. Daniel
      Thank you for the mail. I do not quite understand what you mean when you say, “If I am not mistaken, certain other Orthodox churches do allow the faithful to use olive oil/wine, etc. during weekends during the Great Lent”. I do not know how you relate oil and wine.
      Again the Achen you mentioned is now the Metropolitan of Chennai diocese, H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros.
      I can not comment on what Thirumeni wrote. I think there is a confusion between lent and fasting. Fasting need not be associated with lent. Lent will be a season of fasting. A faithful has the right to fast on any day except on Sundays and on other Christ’s days (Moranaya days). Fasting on any day is till 3 o’ clock in the afternoon. But we have reduced it in practice to noon time. Saturday is not a universally accepted fasting day. In many of the western Churches Saturday is not fasting day. On fasting days also you could have H. Qurbana if it is celebrated after the prescribed time, which is 3 in the afternoon. Otherwise, you have what is called “rsemkoso” service which is a shorter form of H. Qurbana which can be celebrated in a way that it will end by 3 o’ clock. On Great lent and Nineveh lent days H. Qurbana is not permitted because there can not be fasting after the H. Qurbana and not because H. Quraban is not possible on those days.
      Eight day lent is primarily a lent of the Catholic Canon. It is related to the birth of Mother Mary. They consider the birth of Mary as some thing unique and of without blemish. They also assumes that birth of a child is in blemish (they use Psalm 51 as basis for this. But we do not endorse this). They call the birth of Mother Mary as ‘amalolbhavam’ or birth without blemish. The Eastern Churches do not hold this view. We believe that she was born just like any other child. So there was nothing special about her birth. Orthodox Churches, as a matter of fact, do not encourage the celebration of birth days not even the birth day of Jesus. Earlier the Church used to celebrate the birth of Jesus along with baptism on Jan. 6th. Of course there was the Yeldo liturgy and lent related to it. But it was never of this nature. Any way, now in Malankara Church, in several parishes people observe this 8 day lent (to my knowledge, it started with the practice in Manarcadu Church). Of course, as said earlier, the faithful have the right to observe lent any time they wish. But the reason should be according to the faith of the Church. So if we observe the 8 day lent, it should not be to celebrate the ‘amalolbhavam’ of Mother Mary, rather to remember her submission to the will of God and for being a model to all of us in that matter.
      The canonically accepted lents in our Church are: 1. Yeldo Lent, 2. Apostles’ lent, 3. Nineveh lent, 4. Great lent, 5. Lent of St. Mary’s ascension (15 days). Apart from these Wednesdays (in relation to Mother Mary) and Fridays (in relation to crucifixion of our Lord) on all week days are lent days.
      I do not know whether I have clarified all the points you wished to be. If there is any thing else write to me.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

      • Cini
        Sep 01, 2016 @ 04:45:45

        Hi thirumeni,

        I still have a doubt on the statement that is mentionedabove . that 8 day lent is as per Catholic Canon. But this lent exists only in Syrian church and in malankara church. Has never seen any other Christian communities practising this lent. Can you please clarify? And also the reason for practice of child communion in Orthodox and not in Catholic church.

      • Yuhanon Meletius
        Sep 02, 2016 @ 05:05:49

        To my knowledge the eight day lent is observed only in Malankara Syriac Orthodox (Jacobite) and Malankara Orthodox Syrian churches apart from Catholic rites. For information on infant communion go to https://yuhanonmilitos.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/infant-communion/ in my blog.

  8. John K. Daniel
    Feb 15, 2011 @ 19:28:14

    Dear Thirumeni,

    Many thanks again for clarifying all those points.

    With warm regards and prayers,

    John K. Daniel

    Reply

  9. Yuhanon Meletius
    Feb 16, 2011 @ 03:46:38

    Dear John Daniel
    With regard to use of Olive oil and wine, as you said it is cultural. As a matter of fact much of what is prescribed in the lent is cultural. If you take the Bhramanic culture in India, there is no need for our lent as it is observed now, as Bhramins are all vegetarians. As you may know Syrian Christians in Kerala claim (contrary to historical facts) that they were converted from Bhramins. What is the goal of lent is to reduce rich food during a particular season and keep the body and mind cool. Religion aims at physical well-being too which certainly will have an impact on mental and spiritual well-being. Muslim practice of lent is mainly during summer. During summer day time if you eat it will be hard to digest and so they eat after sunset and during day they stay at home/ tent. In mountainous regions of Turkey where our tradition began, again during summer (great lent falls during summer) it will not be healthy to have meat and such rich food. Rather they eat raw vegetables and fruits with little cooked rice or wheat. This is what we inherited. In certain regions they eat fish during lent. Recently in the Catholic Church, specially in US they have asked people to observe lent my avoiding what is most dear to them and that include food items too. But once a particular pattern is adopted by a denomination or religious group, it will be difficult for individuals of that group to adopt a different style. A change in situation of the people need to be brought to the notice of those who regulate these things in the community and make necessary amendments. Otherwise it will lead to chaos.
    Love and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  10. Lekshmi
    Mar 06, 2011 @ 13:26:54

    Dear Thirumeni,
    I chanced across your blog when I was searching for Kothine Sunday on Google – and I cannot say how informative and uplifting it is. It is a wonder that a person as busy as you could possibly spare time for this blog.
    As you probably guessed from my name, I belong to the Hindu community. However, I am more or less Christian in my beliefs (I know there is no ‘more or less’ for Christ. But then, it is not easy – being born into a certain faith and seeking another…)
    Would you tell me what, in terms of beliefs, sets the Eastern and Roman Catholic Churches apart?
    Thank you..
    Lekshmi

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Mar 07, 2011 @ 03:35:32

      Dear Lakshmi
      Thank you for the note and comment. Well, to be on the net and to be connected with people is part of my mission. Faith is primarily relationship. If you are in relation to the ultimate source, that is all what matters. Religion is primarily a social and cultural phenomenon that helps people to keep that relationship under the given socio-cultural context. It is not whether you switch the faith community or not, it is how you live the given faith is that matters. If you consider your faith seriously, you will certainly see what is important in that religion. One of the greatest quotations from Bhavad Gita is “dharma samsthapanardhayam sambhavami yuge yuge”. this is what is most important. That is human mission in this world too. To work for a world of justice, peace. love and fraternity. To me that is what Jesus Christ came to this world for and that is what Christians are supposed to be doing. Reversing that argument, any one who follow that path will be a Christian.
      Any way, regarding your query, there are both cultural and theological differences between the Roman and Orthodox Churches. Again much of it will be cultural and historical. Divine is beyond exclusive comprehension. However, humans have to continue to search for the content and relevance of the divine. They can do it only within the given socio-cultural context. West see things differently than the the East. That is reflected in the way Western Churches see things just as the Eastern Churches do. In a more general terms, there are a couple of things you can talk about as difference. One, with regard to the personality of Christ, two in relation to the way salvation is understood. These are philosophical issue that need to be detailed which I am afraid, may not be able to do in this forum.
      That is all for now. Hope I made some sense to your query.
      With regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  11. John
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 09:05:26

    This letter is for clarifying my doubts regarding the theological position holding our church and Your eminence regarding the primacy of Roman Pope/ Patriarch of Antioch .Rather I want to know the authentic tradition of the church clearly.

    Below i am enlisting the facts which I know currently(I am not sure how much it is correct)

    1. The tradition of the church is the mind and life of holy spirit .It has a continuity(both historical as well as spiritual).

    2.The primary way of understanding the faith and growing to the Wisdom of God is to participate in the Great Mysteries of the church

    3. The intellectual way of understanding the faith has got only second position in the life of the church.

    4. To understand the authentic tradition correctly we need to study the tradition (and history) and faith formulation of the undivided church (up to the fourth century AD.)

    5.The primary formulation of faith can be found in the Nicean Constantinople Creed .This is a clear formulation of the ‘Theo-logy'(about the Holy Trinity and about the church) though the words in it can not be understand rationally .Its a faith understanding of the Mysteries through worshiping.

    5. The Bible,the Liturgical Texts ,the Teachings of Fathers are the ways to understand the faith in other matters where Bible is the primary witness.

    6.The above three elements form a complex unity.But not any one of them is infallible.So any one of them can not be understand with out the knowledge of the other two.

    7. The heresies takes place if we understand / formulate faith based only on any one of them.

    8. Church is the risen body of christ where Christ is its Head.

    9.No one in the church other than Christ is infallible.

    10. The church as a whole gets infallibility when it is united with Christ but not any particular element in it .

    11. The Roman Catholic heresies are mainly due to formulation of faith by some fathers where the tradition has not accepeted their authenticity. The tradition of the church knows the true faith and decides which father’s teaching is authentic. But once it is recognized by the tradition that a particular father’s teaching is authentic in a particular subject, that father’s teaching is treated as authentic in those aspects. For example St.Ignatius on Episcoposy, Capodocian fathers on Holy trinity and ‘God-Creation reality’ etc.

    12. The Protestant heresies are due to the false interpretation of Bible .

    13. As per the authentic tradition the positions in the church are Bishop, Priest, Decon,Laity, Catechumans,Non Christians etc. where Bishop is the real Presence of Christ,the God-Man.

    14.But they are not forming any hierarchy(rule) rather they represents the order of holiness around the Holy throne of God. This is sometimes called Eucharistic Community where the the whole Church is present including departed ones .Such a church is known as Catholic.

    15.There is no other unique pattern for geographical/universal structure for church rather than eucharistic community .

    16. The church in history has not got uniform structure through out her history .It depends on the political situation encountered by the church in particular locality.
    17. So there is no single primate is essential for the whole church present in this world rather Eucharistic communities are necessary.

    18. The primacy of Roman Pope and the Primacy claimed by the Jacobite faction in kerala to Patriarch of Antioch is wrong and are by quoting false teaching of some fathers. There was not such teaching in the authentic tradition of the undivided church.

    19.All bishops including Pope/Patriarch/Catholicose are mystical presence of Christ and so are equal.
    20. The core idea of the book “Ithu Visvasathinte kariyam” by H.G. Thomas mar Athanasios may be wrong and may have to be corrected as per the authentic tradition and to be published as a “Countering Book” particularly among “Jacobites(?) in kerala”.(The said bishop has changed his position later.) The Jacobites(?) are our brothers and we all have the same faith. H.G. Thomas mar Athanasious is doing great work for the unity of the church .
    21. The master brain behind the divisions in Malankara Church is one poweful church in kerala . The people who are fighting each other are not realizing the fact. Even the Patriach of Antioch also supports unity but the holy father has no control over Bishop Thomas 1,Thampu Thukalan group in the puthenkurisu.

    Yours (Spiritual)Son in Jesus Christ
    John

    Reply

  12. Suraj Iype
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 04:29:30

    Your Grace,

    Thirumeni has mentioned a Rsemkoso service in one of the above letters. Could you kindly elaborate on the above. I had never heard of such a liturgical celebration.

    Suraj

    Reply

  13. Bessy
    Nov 20, 2011 @ 22:56:48

    Dear Thirumeni

    Can u pls explain the meaning of “Mudikal mudanjottithakidum. Balipeedathilirippundu.”

    Regards
    BK

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Nov 20, 2011 @ 23:23:46

      This is the last leg of the hymn sung in remembrance of the departed priests.The Syriac hymn goes like “klele gdilin varsippin al madbah qudso seemin …” The meaning is “there are crowns made placed in a row on the holy altar and they will be given to those clerics who do their job in purity”. When this was translated in to Malayalam it became “Mudikal mudaja ottithakidum balipeedathil irippundu …”. In the new versions it is given as “mudikal mudanjava nira nirayayi balipeedathil irippundu …” which is a better translation.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  14. Sneha
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 11:57:14

    Dear Thirumeni,
    Trust you are doing well by the grace of God Almighty.

    I am Sneha, and my marriage is fixed. God willing, the engagement will be in February 2012 & wedding in June/July 2012. Even as a little girl, its been my biggest dream to be like a princess on the day of my wedding, and that is my biggest dilemma now; for i wish to wear a gown for my wedding!

    Thirumeni, is there any rule in our Sabha that prevents a girl from wearing a gown on her wedding day? I know the Kerala culture (as i was there till i finished my 12th std and then came to Bangalore to do my higher studies) and i will not wear a immodest dress.

    My fiance is from Ernakulam, and he too wants to see me in a gown on our wedding day. But it seems the priests are telling that it is not possible.

    Thirumeni, I’d attended a wedding of one of my friends in Parumala church, where she looked resplendent in a gown. if it is possible in one of the most holiest pilgrimage places for us Syrian Christians, is it not possible elsewhere?

    I know the issue is very trivial and i humbly apologize for bothering Your Highness with such an issue. But with so many conflicting opinions from many sources, I am confused.

    Please help me.
    And humbly requesting you to remember us in your prayers.

    Humbly,
    Sneha.

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Nov 23, 2011 @ 12:43:52

      Dear Sneha
      Thank you for your mail. I congratulate you for being betrothed. I wish God’s blessings on you, your finance and both families.
      I approved this post to be public in my space that any one has similar question may also be helped by my reply.
      There is absolutely no rule preventing a girl from wearing a gown for her wedding. Of course the dress has to be modest and decent. As a matter of fact I conducted my cousin’s wedding on October 23rd at a village parish Church at Onakkur near Piravom and she was wearing a beautiful white gown. No one in the Church objected that. It has become common in Kerala for brides use gown as their wedding dress. I must say, it does not need to be very expensive, but beautiful and modest.
      I wish you to have a wonderful wedding and a blessed married life.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

      • Sneha
        Nov 24, 2011 @ 03:14:52

        Dear Thirumeni,

        Thank you for you wonderful reply. Its certainly taken away a huge chunk of worry from me.. Thank you, once again.

        With prayers,
        Sneha.

  15. Appu (Mathew Thomas)
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 03:23:26

    Hi Milithios Thirumeni,

    this is Appu from Philadelphia, I hope your doing fine, here is the link to the Ecumenical Pictures I took in Philadelphia. Sorry, for the dark pictures. Thanks

    https://picasaweb.google.com/115072329742188170364/Ecumenical2011

    Appu

    Reply

  16. Appu (Mathew Thomas)
    Jan 01, 2012 @ 12:17:08

    Hi Milithios Thirumeni,

    hope your doing well. Just wanted to wish you a happy new year.

    Reply

  17. Jeffin John
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 08:23:04

    Dear thirumeni,

    I have admired your talks in various news channels. It is very unfortunate that others target you personally when they fall behind. In a way they are indirectly surrendering to you by acting that way, I really appreciate the level of maturity you have shown at such circumstances.

    My queries are as follows

    1. What is the colour of MOSC flag? I’ve seen saffron and yellow used. What does it signify?

    2. The colour of cassock used by bishops I believe differs. Why is this?

    3. My final question is with regard to the concept of ‘dashaamsham’, where an individual is expected to contribute 1/10th of his income to the church. When the government provides tax exception for people below a certain income level, is it fair on the part of church to encourage this given the current rate of inflation and all? I don’t think our church has such a policy but few people are campaigning on this. What are your views on this matter?

    Regards
    Jeffin John

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Feb 02, 2012 @ 10:41:01

      Dear Jeffin John
      1.The colour of the flag of Orthodox Church is yellow. I have not seen a good explanation for using this colour for our flag. Probably we got it from one of those Churches which influenced us like the Chaldean Church and the Antiochean Church. There are other Churches also who use this colour like Greek Orthodox Church. Even the Vatican and the Papal flags have yellow on it. If you are looking for the meaning of yellow, it could be spirituality, joy etc.

      2. The colour of the cassock of bishops has to be black just like that of the priests. But we followed the Antiochean Church that followed Old Catholic tradition of using red cassock. In India both black and red colours are not good for regular use due to our climate. So we try to lighten the red coloug. Now we have light, reddish colours. Some of us use Indian tradition and use saffron colour.

      3. We in the Church do not make it mandatory for members to contribute one tenth of their income. This is an Old Testament practice and though they do not accept all of OT, the Pentecostals require its members to contribute this way that they can make some extra money in the name of God. There could be stray occasions of asking for 1/10 in our Church. That may be for a particular project and does not need to be a serious issue.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  18. Appu (Mathew Thomas)
    Jan 30, 2012 @ 22:14:51

    HI thirumeni how are you? I havent talked to you in so long. Hope your doing well. Congratulations on your 39th year as a deacon. Whens your next visit to Philadelphia.My parents said Hi as well.

    Mathew Thomas (Appu)

    Reply

  19. Prajusha
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 15:50:05

    Dear Thirumeni,
    This is Prajusha from hyderabad, I just come across your space and read your recent post about Meditation on Kothine Sunday Reading, sounds very informative and interesting. Would like to read all your post, definitely I feel much learning’s are hidden in this blog.
    I have a question, I was reading through an article today in wikipedia, I come across a word stating Eastern orthodox doesn’t follow Ash Wednesday whereas Western follows Ash Wednesday and there fasting starts. Why such variant in orthodoxy.
    Why we don’t celebrate Ash Wednesday and why it is considered very important in Catholics. I studied in catholic convent, attending holy Qurbana; following ash Wednesday procedures was very strict in school days. Just eagerly want to know thirumeni.
    Have a nice rest of the day!
    Keep us in your prayer too Thirumeni!

    Reply

  20. Sneha
    Feb 23, 2012 @ 16:54:37

    Dear Thirumeni..

    Hope you are fine by the grace of God Almighty..

    I was talking with a friend today regarding the Lent and why we should observe it.. on the talk continuing, some questions popped up..

    1. Why do we have to take Qurbana on an empty stomach? Is it compulsory that we should go for Absolution (hoosoyo) also on an empty stomach?

    2. Why is it said that we should take a bath before going to church?

    3. Why is it said that we should observe Lent? Should it not be a personal choice to observe Lent? or is it compulsory?

    Is there any biblical reference for the above questions?

    Hoping Your Holiness can clear these doubts,

    With prayers,
    Sneha

    Reply

  21. V.g. Saju
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 14:01:18

    Dearest thirumeni, how are you? Hope u r fine. Please clear my doubts. 1. In holy qurbana, removal of veil is opening of heaven. We do it many times but marthomites do only once in holy qurbana. 2. 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. 3. 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 – saju

    Reply

  22. V.g. Saju
    Mar 12, 2012 @ 14:21:47

    Dearest Thirumeni,
    Thank you for your answers. Today my questions are about John the Baptist. Did he eat locusts? Is it a translation error? Why he sends his disciples to Jesus and asks him whether they should wait for someone else though he testified Jesus as the Christ at Jordan? Why the least in the kingdom of God is greater than him? Hope you are fine. Pray for us – Saju

    Reply

  23. benjohnvarghese
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 05:45:03

    Dearly Beloved Thirumeni..,

    Hope you are keeping fine.
    Thirumeni I have certain doubts which are mostly common to all .

    1) why is the Gagultha placed on 25th day of the lent & why it is placed in the middle of the church .. & why on the day of Sunday we change the the color from Red TO Black..? What does the Color Black signifies .?

    why the alter boys are advised to wear light color dress..???

    & why on the day of Easter the Gagultha is placed inside the Madbaha on the left side of the alter.

    Why is 12 candle lighted on thronosu & ‘IF’ it signifies 12 disciples & why on day of easter we light all 12.? why not 11…..?

    thirumeni why do we conduct munumel Qurbana. ??
    what does it signifies ?? Why everything 3.?? blessing of 3 appam & wine ? wwhy 3 censer ?? & all ??

    Your Loving Child In Christ

    Ben John VArghese

    Reply

  24. Yuhanon Meletius
    Mar 31, 2012 @ 07:20:18

    Dear Ben
    We place the cross in the middle of the Church on the day of mid lent. You may remember that on the way of Israelites to Canaan they were bit by fiery serpent and God asked Moses to make a bronze serpent and set it up on a pole in the middle of the tent (Num. 21). This became a symbol of salvation and Jesus quoted this and said that He had to be lifted up like Moses did (John 3:14). Jesus was lifted up on Golgotha for the salvation of the whole creation. Cross symbolizes our Lord for us. So as a symbol of our salvation we set up the cross on a pedestal and set it up in the middle of the Church which is tent of meeting of modern time. Since Moses lifted the serpent in the centre of the tent we find the centre of the lent days also which is the 25th day.
    Black colour in several cultures like in western culture signifies mourning. In the Syrian culture black signifies penitence. We who follow Syrian tradition in our liturgical life adapted it and use black coloured dress for priests and bishops.
    I do not know who advised them to wear light coloured dress. They are supposed to wear white coloured dress both as the official dress and also as their regular dress when they enter the altar. May some people advised them to wear light colour if there is no white colour dress. May be the say that to avoid any deep coloured dress as it will not look good with the white coloured outer gown they wear during service.
    The Golgotha is placed on Easter day on the northern side of the sanctuary. The altar signifies the throne of God and Jesus is facing us from the right hand side of God.
    There is no rule that says there should be 12 candles on the altar. It should be equal in number on either side. It can be one each on either side, two each or three each. There should not be too many to make the altar crowded. Of course there are people who explain that 12 signifies the number of disciples. That is not a correct interpretation. Most of the time side altars will have only a couple of them. All candles should be lighted for every H. Qurbana.
    Moonnimmel H. Qurban is not part of our tradition. Some time back in history the Catholic Church had this practice and our association with them made us follow that. The Catholic Church later discontinued this practice. But for unknown reason we continued. Our practise is to have more than one priest/ bishops serving one altar at the same time which is called con-celebration. Two years back the H. Episcopal Synod of our Church decided to discourage moonninmel or tri-mass and encourage con-celebration. But there are several Churches that already have three and some times five altars and they insist to have H. Qurbana on them on feast or perunnal days. This is a clear example of our slavishness to other people.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  25. George
    Apr 03, 2012 @ 06:29:06

    Dear Thirumeni

    will you please clarify this

    Why we keep whashing of feet service after the pesha service,

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Apr 04, 2012 @ 02:38:32

      Dear George
      Washing of the feat liturgy is an attempt in the church to actualize the humility Jesus had shown. The liturgy in the church will be performed by the leader of the community like a bishop or priest to show and the make the leader understand that this is s model to any one in the leadership role.
      Regards and prayers
      Thumeni

      Reply

  26. GEORGE EAPEN
    Apr 08, 2012 @ 06:35:40

    Dear Thirumeni

    Please clear my doubt on this.. One of my friend asked me this question and was not able to answer this
    How come Jesus Christ could be crucified on Friday and be resurrected on Sunday after being buried for three days? You cannot squeeze three days between Friday and Sunday. By no stretch of the imagination is it possible to stretch the period from Friday evening to Sunday morning into “three days and three nights.”

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Apr 08, 2012 @ 18:31:49

      Dear George Eapen
      I think the question comes from lack of understanding about the day calculation of Jews and for that matter of Syriac tradition which we and the Gospel writers followed.
      Jesus was crucified and died on Friday around 3 in the afternoon. For Jews day ends at 5.59 in the evening and new day starts at 6 p.m. Friday he died at 3 and that day is counted as one day. Then comes Saturday at 6 pm on Friday. He was in the tomb on the following night and all day. That was the second day. Saturday ends at 5.59 p. m and Sunday begins at 6 p. m. on Saturday evening. Jesus was resurrected on Sunday on Sun rise (Luke 24:1). So he was dead for three days. The problem is when you read Matthew 12:40 where it is said that Jesus said that he will be in the tomb for three nights and three days. Well here we may have to apply some of the disciplines of biblical interpretation. This account comes from Matthew who at more than one occasion tried to relate Jesus with the events or records in Old Testament without properly understanding the passage. Matthew wanted to say that Jesus assumed fully the role of Noah and perfected salvation just as Noah brought salvation to people of Nineveh. On the other hand other Gospel writers only speak about three days without specifying day and night. This is quite right when we understand the day and night division time of Jews I mentioned earlier. Jesus did spent three days in the grave. But he did not spend three nights and days in the grave.
      Hope I made myself clear.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  27. Georgie
    Apr 10, 2012 @ 07:50:41

    Dear Thirumeni,

    Let me take this opportunity to wish You a Happy Easter.

    I have a question for which I look forward to your guidance. My question is as to whether Faith is something given or something which we acquire through our own efforts. Throughout the Bible one can see that more often than not Faith was given to individuals at some point of their life and was not something acquired by an individual’s efforts. Typical examples include, Jacobs fight with God (or an Angel), Jonah’s experience with the whale, St. Peter’s believing when he saw the risen Christ, St. Thomas’s believing after he touched Christ’s wounds, St. Paul’s experience on his way to Damascus, etc. Indeed in the Old Testament we have many instances where prophets/kings/ holy men (including Moses, Gideon and a lot of others) ask God “what proof will you give me…. so that I may believe “. Is not this testing God?

    I have a background for asking this question. Born into an Orthodox family who for generations blindly held on strong to their Faith, I have lost my Faith some 6 years back After a series of setbacks, I prayed for help and an indication of what God wanted from me. But silence was the only answer I got. In good times, it appears to me that God was very close to share the success but when hard times came, He either would not help or would want me to believe that these hard times are a result of some lapse from me.

    I stopped going to the church and today doubt to the existence of a God. It is not as if I am an atheist. I so much want to believe. Who would not like a loving, merciful and helpful father in this world? But my experience makes me doubt as to whether there is a personal God as described by the Bible. Or is God impersonal as described by Hinduism, the Brahman- who does not bless, curse, punish, is not affected by anything that we do? Or is it that all what matters are our deeds and our desires (cravings/ aversions) as described in the Buddhist Dhamma? The more I delve, the more I lean towards Buddhism as offering me answers that fit my understanding and rational (not that I have become a Buddhist). But I find the Buddhist answers more rational, where my salvation is my responsibility through practicing right thoughts, words and deeds. I also feel that Buddhism can be linked to Christianity without a clash. In the thousands of births and rebirths to attain salvation- if Adam represents the fall of Man, Christ represents the salvation of Man and through all intermediate lives like David, Melchizedek, etc. In other words Christ represents the role model to attain salvation- something which is within the reach of every man and can be emulated by any man. There is no role for Faith or a God in this model. Am I cutting my feet to fit the shoes??

    My wife is blessed with blind faith. She just accepts that everything that happens to her is God’s plan for her and this is good for her. I wish I could have faith like hers. She blames my reading and questioning as the reason for my confusion. Probably right. But then my reading and seeking started when I received silence as an answer for my prayers. My vicar tells me that I should shun my pride. What pride, Thirumeni – what pride does a broken, loser like me have? I am so insignificant, have attained nothing and mean nothing. All that I have is a non comprehension of the situation that I am in today and my role in this life and I search only for answers.

    Hope you do not find this mail offensive. I have gone through a lot of your replies and feel that you can help me with my feeling of hopelessness and total lack of worth. How can I attain faith that can move mountains? Faith without an iota of doubt. Faith that can help me go through the struggle and turmoil which I am facing now.

    Lots of love and regards,

    Georgie

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Apr 11, 2012 @ 03:54:24

      Will get back to you shortly

      Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Apr 29, 2012 @ 07:51:29

      Faith as for me is a response to what you see and experience. It can not be said that set backs are the result of some one’s faults or sin. It can be caused for education, caused by some one else’s short sightedness or fault, caused by the very nature of the universe. It is sad that you were not able to see the presence of God with you when you are experiencing set back. Read the book of Job. There is no person like him who faced set backs in life. Looking at life with a negative outlook will not help any one. That is how experiences can be made positive and educative experiences. This produces faith. Do not get confused by what other religions say. They are addressing different questions from their point of view and from their context. Buddhism is basically nihilism and that is why it did not survive the test of time. Christianity provides hope, the message of resurrection, and that helps people live in this world. There can not be any one without aspirations as Buddhism says. Aspiration will help people go forward and develop. Jesus is not just a model, rather He is the path, the path to liberation through sufferings and set backs. The craving for resurrection will only help people go beyond death or depression or as you said set backs. Human is not to surrender to set backs. We learn to survive and outlive through set backs. The story of phoenix is a good example. The story of the king who failed seven times and later learned from the spider who was making a web is another example. Human is created to outlive obstacles and attain future. There is no message than the message of Christ that will help us hope for beyond and live in hope. If you lose hope you will not be a human being. There may be silence for a while, it is because God is asking you to wait patiently and explore in to new possibilities. Also you need to check for yourself on you whether there is any of your attitude or prejudice that is preventing you from hearing or going forward. Perception to life may need to be corrected. It is not a question of sin, rather a question of perception. Take for example what you read in Luke’s Gospel about Jesus’ appearance to the disciples after his resurrection. Jesus walked with them who were going to Emmaus, but their prejudice that Jesus was dead, prevented from recognizing Jesus who was walking and talking with them (Luke 24). This again happened with Hagar who did not see the water fountain in her desperation as explained in the Book of Genesis (Gen 21). No one in this world is insignificant or unimportant and useless. If you consider yourself as one, then no one can help you. You should have self respect and value for yourself. That will help you cut across all odds and walk forward. Faith will help you do that. Also you do not have to depend just on your abilities. No one in this world can live a happy life just by his/her own abilities. Seek the help of other starting with your wife. Listen to others, talk to them. God most of the time works through people for others. New possibilities will emerge, I am sure about it and I have seen many like this. Wish you all the best in future. God be with you and help you though.
      Regards and prayers, Thirumeni

      Reply

      • Georgie
        Apr 30, 2012 @ 07:59:00

        My Dear Thirumeni,

        Thanks for replying to me despite your hectic days. I read from the newspaper about the turmoil that is going on in Thrissur and know how pressured you would be. For some time, when I did not get a reply, I was a little disappointed, but then I told myself how hectic and pressured Thirumeni must be. I hope and pray that this vexatious issue of the “sabha dissonance “ is soon sorted out . Today, more than ever, a troubled flock needs its shepherds, and this is not the time for the shepherds to enter into an internecine fight at the expense of a flock left without the shepherd. Let’s hope and pray that we all become one flock and Jesus the One Shepherd. Nothing matters except the thought that we are all pedigree of The One who said “No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:18).

        Thirumeni’s reply had a mixed effect on me and let me start with the statement which I found most comforting and soothing. New possibilities will emerge, I am sure about it and I have seen many like this. I find this reply most empowering since Thirumeni is talking from experience. It infuses a sense of optimism that things can change and there are people who have been in a similar position and has endured and ultimately prevailed. Thank you, Thirumeni, for the reassuring words.

        Thirumeni has also correctly said about Job. I always saw a lot of similarities between Job’s life and mine. But unlike Job, who was a righteous man, I am hardly so. My life is neither black nor white, it is grey, neither a hardcore sinner nor a saint. But like Job, I was blessed. I was gifted more than I deserved. But fine morning, for no specific reason, I lost everything. But unfortunately, I cannot find any comfort by reading Job because even in the depth of his despair when Job asks questions, God answers by asking more questions. And today, unlike Job, who reconciled with God, I still dispute Him. I feel like Esau, asking God as to why was he, before his very birth, made second to Jacob, despite being the firstborn. I feel like Cain, who offered to God the produces from the “sweat of his brows” and yet whose offer was rejected.

        What confuses me was Thirumeni’s reply If you lose hope you will not be a human being. Is not hope, a child of faith? Faith in something…in God, in Oneself, in Humanity, in anything. Can there be hope without faith? When I pray for things to change, can I hope, if I doubt the power or existence of the One to whom I am praying to? Can I hope when I do not feel His presence or His help? Isn’t therefore faith the more important aspect And that is what I meant, when I said, what should I do to attain faith ? The sort of faith that moves mountains. In my search, I came across this website http://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher/acquiring-mountain-moving-faith/. It says that there are two types of faith- one like my wife’s which is a spiritual gift and not meant for everyone. I will touch upon the other type in my next paragraph.

        The third aspect of Thirumeni’s reply which I wanted to remark was on attitude or prejudice that is preventing you from hearing or going forward. It could be possible that I was fixated on what I wanted, rather that what God wanted. But I tried so many avenues, so many possibilities which were so different from each other, only to be met with either a barrier or defeat. And today, at this point in time, I do not know what God wants of me or is asking me to do. This brings me to the second type of faith mentioned in the website above. What it says is to completely and totally give my life to God, not making a single decision on my own, but submitting everything to Him. Is that what I should do now? Stop worrying and pursuing things and wait for God to act? Isn’t it said Thaan paathi, Daivam paathi ? Is inaction good when a person is in a predicament like mine? Does God act only when you are silent, inactive and helpless ?

        I know that Thirumeni would be busy and so would not have the time to reply immediately. Please take your time. But please do guide and help me.

        Love,

        Georgie

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      May 10, 2012 @ 03:16:52

      Dear Georgie
      This is regarding your post on April 30th.
      First of all you cannot compare one person with another. Experiences may be similar or identical. But persons cannot be compared. So you cannot compare yourself with Job or with anyone else for that matter. Think about Job who had several questions was asked more questions. That could have made him even more mad at God. But the lesson he got from that was educative. He of course did not understand all God said, but understood one thing, that God was not away from him when he was in despair. That was enough for him to be comforted.
      Now about a person, there is no person who is born bad. Every person created by God should be essentially a good person and potentially capable to become better. There has to be a first and a second. Every one should be first is the foolish hope of parents with their children. Esau did not take care of the gifts given to him, rather was careless about his first born ship.
      It was not because Cain was a bad person, he killed his brother, rather because his understanding of God and the kind of human life in this world was not correct. Again he had that understanding because his parents had gone away from the perfect company of God who provides correct understanding. God did not reject Cain’s offering, he thought God did under the cultural context. If God had, then He would not have provided a safe environment when he complained that he would be killed by people. God cares for every one, we fail to see that. That is our problem and not of God.
      May a time possibilities are not met by self. It will be revealed through interaction. Ask people who know, go for a counseling who will help you find what are your strong points and what are your weak point. When you work with your strong points, you will certainly succeed. It may not be easy for a person to find his/her role in the society/ world all by himself/herself. I am not sure what this person of the website mean by give completely to God. It is easy to say. But the question is how do you do that? These for me, forgive my arrogance, popular preachers’ gimmick. I would not go by that. I would talk to people about what I do not know. Because I believe God works thorough humans, nature and history his creation. These are the places where I see Him and hear Him. These people may be believers or non-believers, after all irrespective of that, He created every one and He is present with all of those. He do not need dreams or angels to do His job, he uses His creation for His purpose. You said you tried every avenues, I wonder whether you talked to any one who really know how to direct people to a goal?
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

      • Georgie
        May 16, 2012 @ 12:11:53

        My Dear Thirumeni,

        Thanks for your very valuable reply. It was very profound, deep and poignant.

        Have and am still talking to people who are more knowledgeable than me about my situation. Unfortunately, things are yet to take off. When repeatedly my efforts are futile and do not bear fruit, it is easy to get desperate. That is where I am right now.

        I hope that one day, sooner rather than later, I will realize ( not just intellectually, but with every cell in my body) that God is with me in all my trials. I hope that one day I can experience His very real presence and His guiding hand in all my efforts. Not for anyone to see or to convince the world that I am religious , but for my own consolation and my own sense of security. To be completely secure in the firm knowledge and belief that what is happening is His divine plan. That I am not alone and that God is very real and with me.

        I wait for that day, continuing to follow your kind words, seeking the help and advice of others, trying and trying again and remaining persistent. Till that time, in all honesty, God for me is an intellectual notion. An entity whose presence, at least for me, is just theoretical. A belief without conviction and a false sense of hope in an otherwise hopeless world. A belief that makes me feel good but far from reality. An opiate for the masses as Marx put it (communism itself was a big opiate )!!

        Please do pray for me for I need your prayers and guidance a lot. Thanks a lot Thirumeni for all the answers you have given me and your kindness shown in replying to me in spite of all your hectic schedule.

        Lots of love and regards,

        Georgie.

  28. Elizabeth
    Apr 27, 2012 @ 18:04:25

    Dear Thirumeni,
    we normally see the brides in our church come wearing white sarees to get married.can a orthodox bride come forth wearing a gown to get married ? and why does the officiating priest ask her to remove the veil and the crown?

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Apr 28, 2012 @ 02:20:30

      There is no reason. This is some thing new in our community that came in from Catholic Church in Kerala. Any thing new will normally objected in our community.
      Actually the priest is supposed to give a crown instead of a chain on the heads of both bride and groom during the crowing of both. If that is done no need for another crown. But when there is no crown given by the priest during the liturgy of matrimony, there is no need to object the bride wearing a crown.

      Reply

  29. Stanley
    Apr 28, 2012 @ 03:24:33

    Dear Thirumeni,

    I would like to know if the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches will be in communion. Was the Council of Chalcedon a whole misunderstanding, because I have read a few articles saying that it contained some political motives as well
    misunderstandings over language?

    Reply

  30. Mathew Thomas
    May 13, 2012 @ 11:32:54

    Dear Thirumeni,
    By the grace of god it has been one year since you have ordained me into the altar. I wanted to express my sincere thanks to you. I hope your doing well. Please keep us in your prayers and we will do the same thing for you. So whens your next visit to Philadelphia. Thank you

    Sincerly- Mathew Thomas (Appu phildelphia)

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      May 13, 2012 @ 14:45:20

      Dear Appu
      Thank you for your notes on my space. Hope you are doing a good job in the alter.
      I am doing fine by the grace of God. Hope you, your parents and sister are doing fine too. How is your photography doing? I still have the picture you took as my profile picture in FB. I will be in US from 25th this month. But may not come to Phili. May be next October or November when I am again in the East cost. Take care, God be with you and my prayers.
      Love and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  31. Mathew Thomas
    May 13, 2012 @ 11:35:08

    Christ is Risen!
    Indeed he is risen!

    Reply

  32. Yuhanon Meletius
    May 13, 2012 @ 14:53:10

    Dear Appu
    It is for the whole created universe. This is because every thing in this created universe was affected by human trespass and need to return to God. Every thing has in one way or another, directly or indirectly an influence on humans. So when we pray we need to pray for the salvation of every thing, including human even for grass on the ground that feeds the cattle from which we get the meat. Love and prayers Thirumeni

    Reply

  33. Yuhanon Meletius
    May 16, 2012 @ 15:24:20

    Dear Georgie
    My prayers assured.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

    • Georgie
      May 17, 2012 @ 19:55:36

      Dear Thirumeni,

      Thanks a lot. A small poem which I just wrote.

      Where art Thou, my Lord, my Creator and my Father?
      My cry, does not it Thee, bother?
      My prayers why do Thee answer with silence?
      My travels are gone wrong by Thy absence.

      Searched for you in the church,
      My search Thou did besmirch,
      As if I did not matter,
      And so my cries are now bitter.

      The prodigal son, I cry, before You,
      Seeking Thy grace and rescue,
      In these storms as I drown,
      A spirit completely broken down.

      Adonai, Adonai, Adonai, Adonai,
      I seek your lap to rest and lay,
      My life is my Gethsemane,
      And here I wander lost and alone.

      Where art Thou, my Lord, my Creator and my Father?
      Why doest Thou move away farther and farther?
      In this valley of death called life,
      Like a sheep I go alone to meet the knife.

      Sorry for the pessimism. The Christian faith, I always believe is large enough to accommodate the bitterness and nihilistic view of a broken and crushed spirit as evidenced by the inclusion of Ecclesiastes and Lamentations in the Holy Bible. Mine is a spiritual battle and I know that I have a long way to go. I know that I have to go alone in this travel and find the answers myself, if ever I can and if it is meant for me.

      Please pray for me. Prayers of people like you who have won this spiritual war will stand me in good stead in this search of mine.

      Lots of love,

      Georgie.

      Reply

      • Varghese
        Oct 18, 2012 @ 10:14:17

        Dear Thirumani

        I happened to read Mr.Georgie’s maills and your many response. I do not know whether it is proper to put-in my thoughts also….? Probably, he has not come across people with strong faith in Christ, yet experience trails and sufferings in all walks of their life. I am one of them, in my loneliness and hard times, everyone left me, I was left alone to take the burden. I cannot explain what all I want through..yet I continued my prayer with hope…I asked God to take my pains away, and give me strength to face the challenges…there were no answers for a lone time..yet I did not stop praying…then I came across 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you…imagine, St.Paul, what he did not do for Christ..yet the answer was “my grace is sufficient for you”. Then I thought… am I greater than St.Paul…..? No…no….never. Psalm 18…the verses gave me comforts and hope….I waited…and waited….patiently…I know God has His plans..

        It came one day, finally, He gave me my answer…he restored me…..through a non-christian….He did not allow my feet to slip….

        If some one wants God to do things the way he/she wants…it does not work. Let God’s plan work for us…

        Yours in Him, Praying for all to be strong in faith.

        varghese

  34. Yuhanon Meletius
    May 18, 2012 @ 02:56:20

    The poem is beautiful Georgie. No it is not just you alone who go the way, there will be lot of people who walk with you. You may not know that, but that is how things work. So don’t feel lonely and alienated.

    Reply

  35. Varghese
    May 28, 2012 @ 10:55:37

    Dear Thirumeni,

    How are things with you? Hope you are keeping fine. I am from Mumbai, recently I met you during your last visit. I have a question, appreciate your response to it.

    “after resurrection our Lord Jesus, appeared to his disciples as narrated in the gospel of St.John. He breathed, and said receive Holy Spirit and they received the HS”.

    Most probably 10 of Jesus Christ’s disciples (Apostles) were there and have received HS.

    In Acts, on the day of Pentecost it seems these same disciples received Holy Spirit along with 3000 people. Is this not incorrect? Probably, 3000 people must have received Holy Spirit as new converts, not those 10 Apostles who had already received Holy Spirit as described in the gospel of St.John.

    I believe, receiving Holy Spirit is not repeated; that why Kind David in Psalm says “do not take away your Holy Spirit”.

    Can you please put some light on this?

    yours in Christ.
    Varghese

    Reply

  36. Varghese
    May 28, 2012 @ 11:02:39

    Dear Thirumeni,

    How are things with you? Hope you are keeping fine. I am from Mumbai, recently I met you during your last visit. I have a question, appreciate your response to it.

    “after resurrection our Lord Jesus, appeared to his disciples as narrated in the gospel of St.John. He breathed, and said receive Holy Spirit and they received the HS”.

    Most probably 10 of Jesus Christ’s disciples (Apostles) were there and have received HS.

    In Acts, on the day of Pentecost it seems these same disciples received Holy Spirit along with 3000 people. Is this not incorrect? Probably, 3000 people must have received Holy Spirit as new converts, not those 10 Apostles who had already received Holy Spirit as described in the gospel of St.John.

    I believe, receiving Holy Spirit is not repeated; that is why King David in Psalm 51 says “do not take away your Holy Spirit”, since he had already received it.

    Can you please put some light on this?

    yours in Christ.
    Varghese

    Reply

  37. Mathew Thomas
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 03:29:10

    Hi thirumeni

    hope you are doing well. Just wanted to wish you a very Happy Birthday. Your very lucky to have a birthday on July 4th. My dad, mom and sister wish you birthday wishes as well. Hope you have a good one.

    Appu

    Reply

    • Thirumeni
      Jul 04, 2012 @ 16:24:19

      Thank you Appu very much. Hope you have a wonderful vacation. Try to learn few lessons about professional photography during vacation even if you do not make it a profession. God be with you. Love and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  38. Mathew Thomas
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 16:37:52

    Thank you thirumeni.

    Reply

  39. Thirumeni
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 16:45:42

    You are welcome Appu. Happy independence day

    Reply

  40. Mathew Thomas
    Jul 04, 2012 @ 18:26:58

    Same to you. Happy birthday/Independence day.

    Reply

  41. Varghese
    Jul 05, 2012 @ 04:33:37

    (sarva srishtiyudeyum mochanam). What is meant here?.

    Please allow me to add a rejoinder: When you say “Sarva Srishtiydeyum Mochanam” it is certainly meant everyone including the dead (the departed ones), which please note. The Varpadu Group makes distinction in this case and try to confuse faithful members. In christian life the “death” has no meaning, as The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it” Eccl:12:7- what is the departed soul doing, after departing the physical body? Check Luke 16:19-28 (1) What is Abraham doing, (2) where is the departed soul of Lazars? both are conscious and alive rejoicing!!. However, salvation is a “destination”. Like when you take a bus/train ticket to Kottayam, it gives you the right to travel till that destination in the particular ROUTE-unless you take the trouble of travelling all the way to Kottayam THROUGH THAT ROUTE you cannot say that you are in Kottayam; and you are still sitting at the starting point. When you reach Kottayam, you can say I have reached Kottayam and some one should CERTIFY THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN THE CORRECT BUS/TRAIN AND THE CORRECT ROUTE ETC. AND REACHED; THEN YOU ARE QUALIFIED FOR THE REWARD FOR HAVING REACHED THE PLACE AS DIRECTED, not before.-during the journey you may have to go through many ups and downs. Salvation is something like this, it is a process (travelling) until you complete this process you cannot get this. Now I believe, Abraham, Lazars and all our departed ones now reached safe, but still wait for the certificate and reward. So salvation certificate is not something that you get right here; but you can be eligible for entry into that process by obtaining a TICKET- that is believing in Christ and follow His commends. Hope I am not beating around the bush…….this is the fact…but unfortunately, Varpadu groups for their selfish motive twist the Word of God.

    yours in our Lord.

    Reply

  42. Yuhanon Meletius
    Jul 05, 2012 @ 15:54:30

    Dear Varghese
    I have no clue what is the relevance of this statement. Whole creation includes humans and every thing else in the created world. When we say humans created by God it includes every one in this earth and not here but left this world physically and every one yet to come to this world physically.
    You seem to be in defense of your faith, but doing it over against some one else is not a not a correct methodology in doing faith statement.
    The reason that we have too many denominations and divisions in the Church is that we have been presenting our faith over against some one else. What we need to do is state our faith without prejudice and not defending or offending any one. We can only state that this is what we believe. Ultimately it should be God who should judge others. Instead when we take that role, we are making ourselves God. Let us not play god. Above all the question here was just why the priests pray ‘I pray for the salvation and liberation to the whole creation’. In answering this question where do we have space for talking about our faith regarding the departed soul?
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  43. Elizabeth Mathew
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 07:38:40

    Dear Tirumeni,

    i wanted to know what is orthodox church’s take on blood donation.i happened to chance upon Jehovah witnesses who said that they don’t support blood donation because the bible says so.they would let their loved one die and see them in new life after Armageddon. they say god forbid blood donation and every christian should not donate blood.

    how can we not see a suffering person and not donate blood? i am very confused.kindly guide me with some scripture verses please. i would like to enlighten them with the orthodox church’s viewpoint about the same

    thank you,
    Elizabeth Mathew

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Jul 25, 2012 @ 11:31:05

      Dear Elizabeth
      There are people and communities who mis-represent the faith Christ presented to the world. They read in to the words of Jesus their cultural or otherwise prejudices. There are some do that out of their arrogance without properly understanding the implication of the very core of Christian faith. The core of the Christian faith can be put in just one verse in the Bible “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son that who ever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16). Then Jesus on His part gave us His Body and Blood that we may have eternal life (John 6). What does it mean to us? The primary focus of God is humans and their welfare including eternal life. Eternal life is a life that begins here on this earth and that finds its culmination in the other world. Without our life in this world in its fullness there is no life after. For our fullness of life in this world our Lord gave up His life and shared His Body and Blood. If he has done that, why can’t we do the same?
      The Jehovah Witness people say, only Christ can do that. Then what happens to His words “… you also do likewise …” at the last supper table? What He meant was just to eat and drink at the table or to follow every step He walked. I think it was a command to die for others and even shed blood if needed. Two out of three (Gen. 9:4; Lev. 17:10; Acts 15:29) Biblical passages they quote to support their argument are from Old Testament. You can not always quote OT passages to argue for a Christian faith question. Because many of the OT directives were corrected by Jesus Himself (… you have heard so, but I tell you… Matt. 5). So OT has to be judged by what Jesus taught. More over both the OT passages asks not to eat blood. Blood transfusion is not eating blood. The third passage they quote also talk about drinking blood. There was the practice of eating flesh and drinking blood of animals as part of pagan worship. The Jerusalem Synod reported in Acts 15 lays directions to new Christians from among gentile communities and this was one of them. This again has nothing to do with blood transfusion. More over if this saves a person, there is no other better thing a human can do regarding. Another reason they give is that in OT blood represents life and therefore it should be reserved for atonement of sin. This again is an OT concept. Of course blood represents life and that is why we give our life that some one else may have life. Here we give life without losing the donor’s life.
      Their argument that each person’s blood is the sole property of that person also would not stand. A child’s blood comes from the mother and the whole body comes from the mother and father. Through those parents, the body and blood has passed on millions of generations. So it is not a personal property. It is the product of a long chain of transfusion.
      A study undertaken by Drs. Larry J. Findley and Paul M. Redstone showed that not every Jehovah Witness members follow their what is called “blood doctrine” strictly. The point is, if blood transfusion would save a life, it is to be understood as Christian. We Orthodox people do not subscribe to the position taken by Jehovah Witness people.
      Hope I addressed your question.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  44. Kiran Raj
    Aug 06, 2012 @ 12:48:48

    Dear Thirumeni

    Hope that Your Grace is doing fine,

    I have a doubt regarding our Worships. In our Churches the veil before the Madbaha opens from right to left (south to north). Does this have any significance.

    The explanation that I have heard is, when the veil opens from right to left (south to north), the women who stand on the right hand side in the Church are the first ones to see the Madbaha. And that symbolizes wwomen seeing the Risen Lord first. Is this explanation correct ?

    Thanks
    Kiran
    Hyderabad

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Aug 06, 2012 @ 15:39:15

      Dear Kiran Raj
      I am sorry to say, when people do not know things, they do not show the courtesy to admit that, instead comes up with some answer to misguide people. Their ignorance will become others wisdom, that is the danger.
      When this person told you that it is to resemble the women who saw the tomb of Jesus first, he/ she does not realize that until about 50 years back women were posted at the back of the Church behind men. So on both sides men used to stand at front. This is the case even today in many of the Churches of our tradition in Turkey and Iraq. Then how can they see it first? The change happened in our Church was due to the western influence. I still remember this practice in my own parish Church and in the neighborhood during my childhood days.
      There is no law that the curtain should be opened from right to left. There are several Churches where it is opened from the middle to both sides. There are atleast a few where it can be opened to either side and a few that opens to the right.

      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  45. Varghese
    Aug 07, 2012 @ 06:47:27

    Dear Thirumeni,

    How are things with you? We continue to pray for your good health and long life.

    Thirumeni, can you please explain what is “Science Based Bible”? Is it beneficial for Orthodox Christians to read and Study? If yes, how can one go about it?

    With prayers
    yours in Him.
    Varghese

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Sep 27, 2012 @ 14:38:35

      Dear Varghese. Sorry for the delay. I do not believe in Science based Bible. Bible can never be a science text book neither faith can be scientific. Who ever may say they are have not understood both well enough.
      Thirumeni

      Reply

    • Varghese
      Sep 28, 2012 @ 04:38:12

      Dear Thirumeni

      Thank you for your response, I appreciate. Hope you are doing well; we continue our prayers for your health and your good works.

      Reply

  46. AJ
    Aug 16, 2012 @ 13:07:00

    Dear Thirumeni,

    Hope that Your Grace is doing fine,

    I needed your advice on a topic “Youth As Ambassadors Of Christian Faith In the Modern World”. I writing an essay on this topic but I’m confused with this topic.
    I need your help.

    Reply

  47. Yuhanon Meletius
    Aug 22, 2012 @ 02:44:24

    Have we met in person or on the cyber space?

    Reply

  48. George V
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 13:41:58

    Dear Respected Thirumeni,
    While we thank God Almighty for His immense blessings that He has showered on us in the past 1960 years of Christianity in India, we often forget to remember our Patron-Saint Thomas.

    A friend of mine who was in the process of constructing a house for his family in Kerala faced various difficulties in realising his dream. A non-Christian carpenter who was working there asked this gentleman to seek the intercession of St. Thomas. He knew that this saint was also a carpenter by profession – and seeking his intercession will get things right.

    Another friend of mine who was in distress in connection with his job in UAE interceded through St. Thomas and received the offer letter from a new company on 21 December 2011 (Martyrdom day of St. Thomas). Both the above mentioned friends checked for the availability of an Intercessory prayer book dedicated to St. Thomas, but could not find one.

    We have dedicated Intercessory prayer books in the names of St. Mary, St. Gregorios and other saints, but couldn’t find one in the name of St. Thomas. It may be there, but is not readily available. It reminded me, a comment made by one of our clergy member in his sermon which was in malayalam….”we remember, adore and intercede to chittapans and perappans but not our appan …and that is the reason why feast of St. Thomas goes un-noticed in most of our churches, whereas other feasts are noticeable”. Comparatively, Indian Orthodox educational institutions/destitute homes dedicated to the Holy name of St. Thomas is almost nil in Kerala. In addition, Orthodox people venerate icons a lot – we should also try to draw/paint Indianised icons depicting St. Thomas (and other saints also), prayerfully.

    Is it possible for us to make the intercessory prayer book dedicated to St. Thomas , available to all the Orthodox faithful, in this 1960th year of existence of Christianity in India; perhaps the inauguration of distribution can be made at the Thiruvithacode Arapaali or St. Mary’s Church-Niranam.

    Reply

  49. Yuhanon Meletius
    Oct 19, 2012 @ 11:34:08

    Dear Varghese
    You are right, out of our ignorance we plan for thing s and when we are not successful in getting is through, we go depressed. It will be good on our part to try to see God’s purpose in our lives for a happy life.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  50. Jaise Joseph
    Oct 24, 2012 @ 16:14:07

    Dear Thirumeni,

    I am Jaise Joseph and am now in Pune.
    Hope you are fine by the grace of God.

    I have doubt. Could you please help clearing it.
    I would like to know what is the difference between the light God created on the first and fourth day of Creation(Gen 1:3 & Gen 1:14). I came across this doubt when I was watching a talk. But it was not explained in it.

    Regards

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Nov 08, 2012 @ 05:35:30

      Dear Jaise
      If you closely follow the sequence of creation events you will see that light was created before sun was created. We can not take what is said in those passages about creation literally. They are symbols. Symbols point to some thing farther. We see according to Gen. 1:2 that darkness was upon the face of the earth. Darkness symbolizes lack of knowledge, lack of creativity and of life. It is a symbol of incomprehensibility. God is creating life and that creative power itself is light and it removes darkness. However, darkness was not completely removed. Rather it was brought under control. Even though knowledge is good and it is creative, still there are areas where knowledge is limited. Darkness was used by God to give rest to creation. Though knowledge is good, all knowledge coming in together and without time to digest is not good. So there should be some time to rest and digest. Of course since this darkness obeys God, eventually it will completely fade away and knowledge will prevail. Until then darkness shall be there parallel to light. Nevertheless, human activity can bring this darkness back to force and can turn God’s creative light go not so effective. We see in the Bible two instances to this effect. One is in Egypt when Pharaoh refused to let the slaves go (Ex. 10:21) and later when Jesus was crucified (Matt. 27:45). Of course in Gen. 1:5 it is said that light and darkness were set for day and night. Here again we have to take them as symbols. Night is understood as a time for rest and beyond the area of full knowledge, where as day a time of learning, understanding and creativity.

      Reply

  51. shyno
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 04:47:53

    Thirumeni, I want to know the meaning of ‘rasa’, I know the wordings “sancharikuna aaradhana” given by Mathews II bava thirumeni. But i want to know in detail its significance, also i know there is some order for the procession. I believe this order also have some meaning or significance. Recently i heard that for funeral procession, dead body is carried behind “nadapanthal”, that is the reason why believers are not supposed to walk behind ‘nadapanthal’ in case of ‘rasa’. also, Do the flag which we carries represents “John”? Heard that is why it has the shape of body without head(body with 2 hands and 2 legs). Please clarify doubts and explain symbolic meaning so that it will help people like me to understand the concept fully.

    Thanks in advance for your time and patience.

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Nov 08, 2012 @ 06:09:41

      The word ‘rasa’ and the custom related comes from Catholic Church’s liturgical tradition. It is the procession with blessed bread in a casket commonly known as ‘arulikka’ which goes in to the public. It is the procession of the holy bread. Our liturgical procession related to perunnal can not strictly be called a rasa.
      For us it is a procession of the community of the faithful around the area of their living to sanctify it. We do not take the holy bread in the procession. On the other hand we, the clergy and faithful carrying the cross, the Gospel and incense go around their living environment proclaiming good news and salvation. It is the procession of the flock lead by the shepherd. In front there should be the cross. Then the shepherd with the Gospel and incense. The people will follow just as the sheep follow the shepherd. But these days for some reason the people go in front and the clergy follow (this may be a symbol of the change of the morale of the situation).
      The body of the dead will be among the people. For us there is no dead person, only sleeping (1 Thes. 4:13 ff.) person and since they are alive, they are part of the flock.
      Flags can be seen in all cultures and societies including nations. It proclaims the presence, pride and identity of the community. You can see the end of the flag split in may communities specially those in the desert areas like Arabia and Africa. With this the flag will not take wind to tear it off. It is only a practical issue and has nothing to do with John the Baptist.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  52. Varghese
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 07:26:15

    Dear Thirumeni

    How are you? Hope you are keeping fine. I have new question and request you to give me your thoughts on that: The question is:

    Was Jonah physically dead while he was in the belly of Fish for three nights and three days?

    With regards and prayers.

    Varghese

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Nov 08, 2012 @ 06:19:25

      Dear Varghese
      Why do you ask that question. The book of Jonah clearly says that he prayed while he was in the stomach of the fish. If you are referring to Matthew 12:40 where it is said that Jesus had to be in the earth just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days, the analogy speaks only of the time spent under the earth and not to the state of Jesus while under the earth. It is a general principle in Biblical interpretation that the parables or analogies in the Bible can be used only for the purpose it is meant and no allegorical interpretation shall be correct.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

      • Varghese
        Nov 08, 2012 @ 07:40:28

        Dear Thirumeni

        Thank you for responding. Hope you are keeping fine.

        I asked that question, because I believe thaat, Jonah physically died the moment the great fish swallowed him, or probably in the belly of the fish. The prayers he uttered thereafter seems to be of his soul’s, which translate that the souls after physical death remain conscious and can communicate. Pls. correct me, if I am wrong.
        :
        1. Jesus Christ physically died on the cross and was buried, which is very clear
        (John 19;30, Luke 23:46, Mark 15:37 etc)
        2. After His physical death, He went and preached to the dead/spirit in Sheol/prison
        (1 Peter 3:19-20).

        Some people can argue that nothing is impossible to Jesus Christ being Son of God/God; that is why He could speak (conscious state) to the spirits in prison.

        But again those who died at the time of great flood, were conscious in soul and they could hear Jesus preaching the Gospel to them!!.

        Now, my question is how could Jonah survive physically in the belly of great fish for 3 nights and 3 days, especially when he is not God or nor having any supernatural power?. He was a man like us (he was disobedient too)?

        Is it wrong to believe that, as a normal person Jonah must have died physically the movement he was swallowed by the fish, or most probably in the belly of the fish due to various environmental issues; the prayers that Jonah had made thereafter seems to be of his soul not when he was physically alive?
        (Johan 2:6-7″To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever.But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple)

        Is it not exactly like Abel, in Genesis 4:10 – The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. and in Hebrew 11:4-“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being died still speaks”. Abel by all means was not cursing his brother, but he was praying to God to forgive his brother’s transgressions/offences.

        Hope I have not offended; and taken too much line to explain one more point that the souls even after physical death remain conscious and can communicate.

        Keep you in our daily prayers for your good health. Kindly respond conveniently.

        Yours in Him/Varghese.

  53. Prajusha
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 09:53:30

    Dear Thirumeni,
    Trust your grace keeping well.
    As usual I came up with a doubt. May be I may sound funny but I have asked few achen’s as well but noone answered :(.
    My question is as follows:
    We celebrate annunciation of St Mary on Mar 25. But we also do celebrate the Annunciation of St Mary on month of November too. And this year it falls on Nov 25th. Why do we celebrate Annunciation of our mother twice every year and what is the significance. Request you to clarify on this Thirumeni.
    Thirumeni as usual seek your valuable prayers.
    Regards,
    Prajusha

    Reply

  54. Yuhanon Meletius
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 09:45:18

    Dear Prajusha
    Mother Mary, as you know, is the chief among the saints of Christianity. There are several feasts under her intercession.
    January 15 is observed as the feast day of St. Mary for seeds as she is the bearer of the seed of God.
    March 25th is observed as the day of annunciation of the birth to St. Mary (sooboro)
    May 15th is observed as the feast of St. Mary for the kernel bunch (kathirukal) as she is the bearer of the fruit of the love of God or the Word of God.
    August 15th is observed as the day of ascension (Soonoyo) of St. Mary
    November 25th (this year, otherwise variable) is observed as the day of annunciation of the birth of Jesus to Mary
    December 26th is observed as the day of glorification of St. Mary
    As you said there are two days for the observance of the annunciation of the birth of Jesus to St. Mary. The first is the day of annunciation (March 25th) and the other is the Sunday of the annunciation (the date will vary as per the day of Christmas). The first is the observance according to the cycle of the observance of year round feasts and is the actual historical day of annunciation. The other one is associated with the day of Christmas and is not historical in any way. As you know we have an annual cycle of observance of the whole life of Christ in the Church. It is not a historical calculation, rather to have the whole life of Christ celebrated in the worshiping community in one year. So that each year in the life of the faithful will be in line with the life of the Savior. To fit in to this cycle our Church fathers have attributed the Sundays of the year to a particular event in the life of the Lord. Of course there are other Sundays like the Sunday of the departed, or the Sunday of the priests which may look as if not directly related to the life of the Savior on earth. But if you closely follow the readings of those Sundays you will see that they are also related to some event in the life of the Lord on earth which has influence in the life of the faithful. When each Sunday is arranged accordingly, we need to have few Sundays to remember the important events prior to the birth of Jesus. This also has to coincides with the year round lectionary. So we start the Sunday on or after October 30th as the first Sunday of the year. Then we have few important events before the birth of Jesus such as, the annunciation to Zechariah, annunciation to St. Mary, Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, Birth of John, annunciation to Joseph and preparation for the birth of Jesus. Prior to these we have the initial Sundays for the establishment of the community. So we have the sanctification of the community (Koodos Etho) and establishment of the community (Hoodos Etho). To sum up, the first one (March 25th) is the historical day of annunciation and the second (November 25th, – date variable) is the liturgical day of annunciation. Hope I made myself clear.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  55. PRAJUSHA
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 13:59:56

    Beloved Thirumeni,
    Thank you very much for your valuable response. It means a lot to me.
    Trust you are doing great too.
    You have not only clarified doubts but you gave me new task by giving important dates of our mother. I will try to learn the importance of all the dates and significance of the same, as per our church tradition.

    Last week, I posted a note regarding 8 Sundays prior yeldo in facebook. I am reposting again Thirumeni for your kind review. Requesting you to give me your valuable opinion, it helps me to learn more.

    Koodosh Eetho to Yeldho by Prajusha Lissyraj on Monday, November 26, 2012 at 3:05pm •
    This is a gist about 8 Sunday’s prior to Christmas. It’s an attempt to summarize the importance; I hope this would be useful. This is not a deep narrative, this is just an outline.
    1. Koodhosh Eetho (Sanctification) Sunday – 04 Nov 2012
    04 Nov 2012, The Sunday that comes on or after October 30th is called Koodhosh Eetho (Sanctification of Church) Sunday. The first period of our liturgical year begins at the end of October or at the beginning of November, on the Sunday between October 30th and November 5th. It is the beginning of the Orthodox Church calendar. This Sunday is called Koodhosh-Eetho Sunday. It means to “sanctify or purify the church.
    2. Hoodhosh Eetho (Dedication)Sunday – 11 Nov 2012
    11 Nov 2012, The Sunday after Koodhosh Eetho is called Hoodhosh Eetho (Dedication of Church) Sunday.
    Hoodhosh means “to consecrate” and Eetho means “church”. This feast is also known as the “Feast of Lights”. A building becomes church only after it undergoes the process of sanctification and dedication. In the same way, we should dedicate our life to Christ.
    3. Sunday of Annunciation to Zechariah – 18 Nov 2012
    18 Nov 2012, This Sunday is commemorated as the day when John the Baptist’s birth was announced to Zachariah by Angel Gabriel.
    4. Sunday of Annunciation to St. Mary. – 25 Nov 2012
    25 Nov 2012, This feast is celebrated on March 25th, exactly 9 months prior to December 25th when the Nativity of our Lord is celebrated. We celebrate the Feast of Annunciation to St. Mary twice a year. On the 3rd Sunday after Koodhosh Eetho and on March 25th.
    5. Sunday of St. Mary’s visit to Elizabeth (Women’s’ day) – 02 Dec 2012
    02 Dec 2012, We commemorate the visitation of St. Mary to Elizabeth, Zachariah’s wife. Upon hearing the greeting of Mary, the infant (St. John the Baptist) leaped with joy in Elizabeth’s womb. Elizabeth welcomed Mary calling her, `”Mother of my Lord” and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb”.
    6. Sunday of Birth of John the Baptist – 09 Dec 2012
    09 Dec 2012, We commemorate the birth of St. John the Baptist. We actually commemorate the birth of St. John the Baptist on June 24th. So very correctly, after six months we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th. Similarly, we also commemorate the Annunciation of the Lord, to Mary on March 25th and after nine months, we celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th. Both these days are fixed days. According to the Liturgical calendar, we once again commemorate both the birth of St. John the Baptist and Annunciation to St. Mary, as we approach the advent season of our Lord.
    7. Sunday of Annunciation to St.Joseph. – 16 Dec 2012
    16 Dec 2012, we commemorate the Revelation to Joseph. Angel of the Lord visited Joseph four times in dreams. The first time the Angel appeared to him in sleep, revealing to him that Mary had conceived a Son by the power of the Holy Spirit, and commanded that he take Mary as his wife and Jesus as his own son.
    8. Yeldho/Christmas (Incarnation of our God), Ends 25 day Lent. 25-Dec 2012
    Today a special day, our savior is born; we commemorate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ in our church. It is the first festival in our Church calendar.
    With Prayers,
    Prajusha

    Reply

  56. Jaise Joseph
    Jan 24, 2013 @ 15:34:19

    Dear Thirumeni ,

    Hope you are fine by Grace of God.
    Please help me in clearing some doubts.
    I was reading about the teaching of the new generation church’s and saw couple of videos too. In that that people are doing abnormal things some are dancing some are rolling n the floor some are yelling some are laughing some are producing animal like sounds and walking like that some are falling down. I really felt sad by seeing how people are misguided by wrong Pastors saying these all are the way Holy Spirit is acting upon us. Some of the words they use for this are Holy laugh, Holy barking, Holy cry ,slain in the spirit etc. These kind of acts are now in India too. I heard of some such groups here in Pune from our housemaid. She is a Hindu and is planning to go there with her Husband to stop his drinking habit.

    1. I like to know what all things I can do to stop people(both christian and non-Christians) get misguided by such teaching . And how our church can defend such people from taking our church members ?

    Also I went through some counter views about the teachings of such churches. The one thing I found almost common in all what I read is that, these acts have its base on kundalini Yoga. Also I saw some articles written by a priest of a Holy Apostolic Church (not oriental orthodox) saying yoga is a Satanic act and it is against Christianity. What they stress is that by yoga we are seeking help of principle of reincarnation in Hindu Philosophy to achieve salvation .

    2. Though I don’t know Yoga I heard this as an exercise for body and mind. Could you please clarify whether it is against Christianity ? and if the acts of those church’s are not result of Yoga then where it is based at?

    Reply

  57. Yuhanon Meletius
    Feb 08, 2013 @ 06:08:54

    Dear Jaise. It is not easy to convince a person of the type you detailed. This is to me a mild sickness. They get excited on sound, scene and other external impulses and go hysteric. Some of the non-denominational so called christian communities and sectarian churches promote this for various reasons. They take ecstatic feelings as divine and promote that. Only a professionally trained and qualified psychologist, some times psychiatrist can help these people if they volunteer to.
    Again regarding yoga, it has nothing to do with any religion. It is a kind of meditation with physical postures and breathing. It so happened that it got associated with Hindu religion in India. Even our early fathers have dome some thing similar. Our prostration during prayer is a kind of yoga. In Islam too there are physical postures done with prayers. There is nothing wrong in Christians doing it. Many of our bishops practice yoga for better living.

    Reply

  58. Louis
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 07:01:43

    Dear Thirumeni

    I am sorry to pose so many questions which i am sure you have been asked before. But i wanted clarity on these topics. Kindly answer them as and when your time permits.

    1. Is a marriage between a Roman Catholic and a Jacobite accepted?

    2. Does the Jacobite have to be baptized into the Catholic Church in order to be joined in Holy Matrimony to the Catholic groom?

    3. If the Jacobite bride need not be baptized into the Catholic church, can she receive the Eucharist during the wedding ceremony or otherwise?

    Thank you

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Apr 30, 2013 @ 12:19:57

      Dear Louis
      If you are talking about marriages between Jacobites (under the patriarch of Antioch), there is an official agreement between them and the Catholic Church that there is no joining or leaving any Church. The wedding is done as if between people of the same denomination. The only restriction is that the authorization letter has to be issued by the local bishop. If you are referring to the Orthodox Church by ‘Jacobite’ then the two Churches are in the process of coming to a similar kind of agreement, but as of now there is no agreement. The marriages between a catholic girls and an Orthodox boys are accepted, but official letter of consent is not issued between. There is no question of a baptism what so ever, since both accept each other’s baptism. There is only a question of some of the faith affirmations. The bride has to join the groom’s Church by giving an affidavit and taking a pledge to the effect that she shall be a faithful member of the Orthodox Church. The bride, if getting married to an Orthodox boy, has to go for pre-marrital counselling and then take confession and communion. Before that the bride has to give the affidavit and faith affirmation to a priest of the Orthodox Church. I am not quite sure of the proceedings the Catholic Church has if a boy of their community take a girl from the Orthodox Church. I am told that she has to join a Catholic rite before she gets married.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  59. Louis
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 17:49:04

    Dear Father

    I frankly did not expect you to reply to my trivial question so fast despite your busy schedule. Thanks a lot father. I was not aware of the two kinds of Jacobites. I was referring to the Orthodox church when i used the term ‘Jacobite’. Unfortunately there is no agreement as of now between the two churches is what i understand from your reply.

    My intention in asking this question would have been quite obvious. I am a catholic and i am interested in marrying a Jacobite girl from the Orthodox church. The two of us met through evangelistic activities and have worked on several gospel activities. And through our experience, we did not find many differences between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Since the two of us share similar theological beliefs especially when it comes to aspects of devotion to saints and Mother Mary, we realized that we are not that different as most people believe the two churches to be.

    I believe that any person who accepts and believes in the Holy Trinity is a Christian, however we do not wish to pose a problem to our families who made us what we are today through our marriage. And therefore it is only right and just that we join in Holy Matrimony in the accepted way and traditions of our families. This was the reason that i wanted to clarify as to whether the Jacobite girl has to be baptized into the Catholic Church.

    I would have to humbly trouble you with one more question father. You said that the question of baptism does not rise since the two churches acknowledge both baptisms. However, you mentioned in the end that the girl would have to join the Catholic rite before she marries. Without being baptized into the catholic church, how can one join the Catholic rite?

    With love and prayers

    LOUIS

    Reply

  60. Jaise Joseph
    May 15, 2013 @ 15:14:57

    Dear Thirumeni,

    Hope you are fine by Grace of God.
    Sorry for asking very silly doubts. I am trying to prepare an article on the topic “Prayer”. But In the beginning itself too many questions starts going around my head and I am only getting some unclear answers in my own thinking. Could you please help answering it.

    1. What is Prayer ?
    2. Why we have to Pray?
    3. What we have to pray ?
    4. How we to pray?
    5. In intercessory prayer what we have to pray ?

    My understanding on Prayer is that it is to raise our-self to the presence of God even a small thankful word, a praise from heart or a silent meditation is also a Prayer. But I’m struggling to answer some question. Thirumeni, Please help correcting my understanding if I’m wrong.

    Reply

  61. Yuhanon Meletius
    May 18, 2013 @ 03:06:23

    Dear Jaise
    You are asking a question which can be subject for several classes. To put it in one or two sentences, prayer is standing before God and with His creation, recognizing His presence and opening yourself up. Since you are standing with God’s creation every element in the created world will be mutually helping. This is intercession. We consider intercession only of the saints even the grass on the ground is there with us and talking to God about us.

    Reply

  62. Jaise Joseph
    May 20, 2013 @ 10:09:10

    Dear Thirumeni.
    Thank you very much for your time
    Could you please give names of some book I can refer book.

    Reply

  63. Bobby Mathew
    Jun 06, 2013 @ 15:44:00

    Hello Thirumeni,
    I am Bobby from Vadodara, Gujarat. i am an MGOSCM member and i have had the privilege to interact with you in regards to your talk about ‘ Christain Individuality ‘.
    Thirumeni, i have a doubt regarding the Theejwala Sushrusha. i have heard that people can often deposit their old bibles, song books and other in the pit where the fire can burn them off. why is it necessary to deposit the books there? is there no other way?

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Jun 10, 2013 @ 15:35:54

      Hi Bobby. Thank you for your question. There is no guide line that asks us to burn the Bible or any liturgy book or any thing of that sort with the fire of the Christmas day. Needless to say that Old books have to be burnt like that. Let us keep them so that it will be a memory for future.
      There are probably very conservative people who would say, Bible is too holy that an old or worn out one can not be kept with this. This is a total misunderstanding. You do not have to burn them for any reason. It is not he Bible that is holy, rather it is the Word and Message that is in it that is holy. You don’t burn the message in any case.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  64. Bobby Mathew
    Jun 11, 2013 @ 18:38:08

    Dear Tirumeni,
    While reading the Old Testament, I saw that there was a lot of blood shed that took place. There were a lot of fights and wars. Somehow I get the idea that the Old Testament is quite violent. Since it is known that all are God’s creations and He is powerful, then why not just put them straight? Why should God kill His creations? For instance, the great flood, the red sea crossing scenarios could have been avoided. What was gained?

    Reply

  65. Yuhanon Meletius
    Jun 14, 2013 @ 06:23:40

    The first question in this regard is what is this Old Testament? The answer would be, it is the holy scripture of Jews. When you say Jews, it is a community of just two tribes of the children of Jacob, Israel. They call what we call Old Testament TANAK with three parts in it namely Torah (the Law), Nebiim (the Prophets) and ketubim (the Writings). That means it does not represent even the history and life of majority of tribes or all of Israel. On the contrary its approach most of the time is against the other ten tribes in the North of the region not to speak Canaanites and neighboring communities. Old Testament in general and the historical books in particular comes to us from those two tribes from a time of one of their greatest crises of its life which was their time in Babylon. That was a time of community formation and self realization. But on the one hand they collected all the sayings of the prophets who criticized them, and on the other they took pride in being a community specially chosen by God. We can see both these sentiments in the Old Testament material. In general the writings in OT represent what they thought about themselves, of their neighbors and of God. This does not mean that all you see in there is just subjective stuff. In the middle of predominantly subjective material you can also see the work of God in the life of a community presented in the most open manner. This is especially true with the writings of the prophets. Even in the Psalms you will see songs of hatred and rivalry.
    Then you might ask why do you have Old Testament at all as part of the Bible. First we are not considering Bible as some conservative evangelicals or Pentecostal Protestants do. We look at it as it is and try to derive the message and do not read it literally to suit some agenda. Again we have those books because it was the sacred scripture of the community of our Lord. Jesus himself have used it often but had a realistic and critical approach to it. That is why we see Him making several corrections to the prescriptions as recorded in Matthew ch.5 in the Sermon on the Mount. He considered many of the laws said to be from Moses are there because of the hardness of the heart of the people (Matthew 19:8). He did not respect the laws regarding purity as He touched the man with leprosy and allowed the woman with bleeding to deal with Him. Again in the Old Testament irrespective of all that we see unacceptable with the present day standards, we see God at work though and in the history of a people to equip them to work for the liberation of the whole creation (Gen. 12: 3) that suffered the consequence of the sin of Adam.
    The rivalry, killing and bloodshed were all attributed on God by those who wrote or composed them. God can only be “love” as Jesus revealed and cannot kill any one rather waits patiently for return. But it should be remembered that some of us like the way it is presented in there as we also have this kind of attitude toward others. In fact what we see in the Old Testament in terms of rivalry, killing and bloodshed are either the interpretation of the writers as to what happened or about those who suffered death or suffering due to their own shortcoming. In the case of people suffering due to their own mistake, even God can not help to stop. But the OT writer who had the idea that every thing happens because of God would say that these things were also God created where as they were human created. This happens even today. Why those innocent people died in shoot out during the Boston marathon? Why so many people are being killed in Syria, Afganistan or in Iraq, or in Bihar or the infants’ death in Attappadi in Kerala? These are man made and God can not be blamed for. But a person who believes in fate these all would be labeled as God guided or known by God in advance who did not stop it.
    Again the question why can’t God stop it is a question against the free will of humans which God gave and hoped will be used wisely. God on the other hand keeps on attempting to liberate human from using it in the wrong way. If human was not given this freedom, human would not have been human, but another animal on two legs. The Old Testament is there so that we will learn from history, see the salvific work of God, thank Him for that and will work with God to help us come out of our own misbehavior and wrong way of using the freedom, which is the greatest gift human has ever received from God, so that history will not be repeated.
    With regard to ‘great flood’ it was not God created if you think of it in a realistic way, it was human made with their sin (read carefully and just eliminate God from the scene and think of the reason the statement in Gen. 6:5). The Old Testament writer did not know how to explain it otherwise. But if you read the words of prophets closely you will see them talking about it this way (see Isaiah 5:13. Also see Jer. 20: 4; 1 Chro. 9:1 etc). These calamities were not God created. There is also another point to explore. The created world is moving towards perfection. In that movement there will be imperfection and imperfection causes suffering and set back. This has to be explained at a later time. To sum up, God did not cause any bloodshed or bad things happening. It was the way the writers put it. But it certainly brings us lessons of God’s work in history. With God given freedom enjoyed by human, and suffering in the midst due to human error, God is not able to stop what happens in that line.

    Reply

  66. Jobin Kora
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 01:19:28

    Dear Thirumeni I am really happy to see your efforts to interact with the public.Let me have a clarification on an argument made by the Marthoma Church.I have heard that when Abraham malpan left the old seminary after losing the case,somebody threw a chair used by him which actually was the Malankara Throne over the window.He took it and left with it. Today,the Marthoma church claims that they are with the possession of the Throne,so the Malankara Metropolitan title belongs to them.What is our perspective on this?

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Jun 16, 2013 @ 10:24:00

      Dear Jobin
      Some one really fooled you with his/her ignorance. There is no chair called the Malankara chair. If they are referring to the throne of St. Thomas or that of the Malankara Metropolitan (for that matter the throne of St. Peter too), what is referred here with the word ‘chair’ or ‘throne’ is not a physical chair with four legs rather it is a position or an office of authority. If some one talks about English chair in a university, it does not refer to a chair in its literal sense. It is the official position of the English department. Recently a chair was instituted in the name of H.G. Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios in Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam. There is no specific chair there for the dean of the department to sit on. Malankara Metropolitan or the successor of St. Thomas holds an authority and position in the community and that is called a throne or a chair. The word comes from the terminology of monarchy.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  67. Jobin Kora
    Jun 16, 2013 @ 15:56:58

    Thank you Thirumeni for your valuable reply and time.Can I have clarification on one more doubt? Idolatry is strictly prohibited by orthodox faith.The reason is evident from the bible,the 10 commandments.Paulose apostle,in his letter to the romans says that God do not need the creation of human hands,as he is the creator of the universe.If so,is the picturization of God and saints idolatry as they are also hand-made?Is there any mistake in doing that? Please clarify my doubt.

    Reply

  68. Yuhanon Meletius
    Jun 17, 2013 @ 03:26:49

    Idolatry is worship of hand made things or natural things like river or sun or star or mountain or tree as god. In Orthodox Church we do not consider any picture or material as God. Even the pictures we do not worship.They are only representations for visual assistance of some reality. It is just like a milestone or a sign board on the road side. When they write on the sign board Horlicks is good for you with the picture of a cup of hot Horlicks, no one goes to take it from the sign board. Or if there is a sign board saying 50 KM to Kottayam no one goes to the sign board as if it is Kottayam.

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Aug 13, 2013 @ 05:46:58

      Dear Jaise
      God uses humans, objects and symbols to convey messages both of salvation and of punishment. No one can dictate to God what He should be using. We have seen people behaving strange when asked by God to give a sign or message. For example, God asked Isaiah to go naked and bare foot for three years (Isaiah 20:2, 3). We also see a donkey speaking the mind of God (Numbers 22). God can use other nations to speak to His people. God can use nature to speak to his people (eg. Flood, locusts etc.). Here in Numbers 21 God is using a symbol to speak to His people. Idol is an image that takes the position of god, or god represented by an idol. This is what Israel did when Moses was on the mountain talking to God. Read Exodus 32:4 carefully
      “He (Aaron) took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” This is what is called idol. Here Aaron calls the calf he made ‘god’. In this sense even the so called idols of Hindu temples are not idols. They only carry the ‘chaithanyam’ of god. They would not call those images in which the presence of divine god. Unfortunately we call Hindus ‘idol worshippers’ without really knowing what they are doing and how they consider those images.
      You may remember that God asked Moses to make two cherubim in gold to place them in the tent of meeting to cover either side of the mercy seat (Exodus 25). God did not ask them not to make images of any thing, rather He asked them not to make idols. Idols can be images, but all images can not be idols. In this case in Numbers 21:8, 9 God is using live serpents to punish His people and a bonze serpent to save His people. God used during the time of His Son a wooden cross, which was used as an instrument for killing people sentenced to death at that time. To sum up, no, the bronze serpent God asked Moses to make was not an idol, rather a symbol of the salvation God worked out. So looking at that Serpent will not come under the law of idoltary.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  69. jaise152
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 10:11:19

    Dear Thirumeni,

    I really like the examples you gave with the above answer. Nowhere I found such good simple examples.

    I have a doubt, a question I saw in a social networking site. They took Numbers 21: 8-9 It says “And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”
    Then question is like this
    God could have saved people from snake bite in a number of other ways… He is Almighty… But, why did He command to make an idol (A Serpent), while in 10 commandments He categorically says to not to make any idol?

    Reply

  70. jaise152
    Aug 25, 2013 @ 10:30:41

    Dear Thirumeni,

    Hope you are fine.
    As other time, now also I came up with a doubt. I saw this also in a discussion thread in Facebook.

    Why the Trisagion Prayer of Oriental orthodox church and eastern orthodox church are different ? Is there any particular reason for our usage “who was crucified for us, have mercy on us” than that of eastern Orthodox version “Glory to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever and to the ages of ages”

    Reply

  71. Yuhanon Meletius
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 05:23:30

    The interpretation given by our tradition is that while the body of our Lord was being prepared for burial by Joseph and Nichodemus (the name of Nichodemus is not seen in the Biblical record, but he was also present according to the tradition – see the Passion Friday hymn yauseppodu neechodemos .. ) after the body was brought down from the cross, the angels came down and praised their Lord by singing “Holy are you Oh God, Holy are you Almighty, Holy are you Immortal”, He being God Almighty and Immortal. Then Joseph (and Nichodemus) praised Him saying “Crucified for us, have mercy on us” recognizing His salvific work on the cross. This is primarily a faith statement. Technically speaking the Trisagion is addressed to the Son in our tradition instead of the Father or the holy Trinity as they are in other traditions.

    Reply

  72. 3ialen
    Aug 27, 2013 @ 08:59:32

    Dear Thirumeni,

    I noticed an article about the St. James Orthodox Church Parish at Sunland which is under your supervision. May I know more about it?

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Aug 27, 2013 @ 10:24:03

      Yes Alan, St. James’ Syrian Orthodox Church, Sunland, CA is under my care as per the decision of the Holy Synod of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. It is a congregation of ethnically Syrian people. They were under the Western America diocese of Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch under the Patriarch H.H. Ignatius Zeka I. They had to leave the fellowship due to the allegedly unjust and non-ethical conduct of the bishop in California. They left that group and requested the help of Malankara Church for spiritual care and we after enough study of the matter accepted their request. Since I was the one first contacted by them, the H. Synod put me in charge. This a congregation about 300 families. If your question can be specific about what you want to know, I shall be happy to reply on that.

      Reply

  73. jephin
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 13:25:17

    Dear Thirumeni,
    Hope you are doing well
    I came up with some doubts about rosary.Do oriental or eastern orthodox pray rosary?.I noticed that malankara orthodox can also pray rosary,hw can i use it.?

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 14:02:10

      Oriental Orthodox Churches do not have formal Rosary prayer, though individuals do use them. The Coptic Church does not encourage it due to the Hail Mary prayer and the western ideology related to it. There is no generally accepted pattern for that. It is believed that St. Pachomius of 4th C started this practice. There are several rosary prayers used in Eastern Orthodox Church. The Eastern Church generally use the prayers “Jesus Christ, Son of God Have Mercy on me the Sinner” and have 33 beads in it. For your information H.G. Geevarghese Mary Ivanios of blessed memory used a rosary. I have created a rosary just for my spiritual nourishment. Several people are using it for their spiritual enrichment. If you are interested I can get you one with the prayers. Write to me at mormilitos@gmail.com

      Reply

  74. Yuhanon Meletius
    Oct 12, 2013 @ 15:13:06

    No, they requested us to help them in their particular situation and we agreed to until they have a hierarchy of their own.

    Reply

  75. John
    Nov 15, 2013 @ 05:59:49

    Dear Thirumeni,

    Greetings…

    I enjoy reading your space and am greatly encouraged by your blog.. I hope to write like you some day..

    I wanted to request your opinion on the following the issue:

    The great commissioning of our Lord to the apostles (Gospel according to St. Mathew 28: 16 to 20) was to reach out to the world and to make disciples and share the good news of God’s reconciliation and salvation. Based on that commission St. Thomas came to our Land and shared the good news even at the cost of risking his life and becoming a Martyr..

    2000 years have gone by and we have grown to be the Indian orthodox Church. But somewhere the commissioning to make disciples have taken the back seat. Upholding our tradition and pastoring the already existing members has become our upmost ideal. Isn’t it time that we refocus our call as Indian Orthodox church to make disciples across India and world rather than keeping this treasure only with malankara.

    Thanks..

    John, Chennai

    Reply

  76. Yuhanon Meletius
    Nov 16, 2013 @ 15:18:08

    Dear John
    Thank you for the note. Well there are two things that I should mention about your question. One I do not think the mission of the Church is to verbally preach and make disciples rather seeing our life people should be attracted to Christ. This we are not doing and there and I am afraid I do not think we are able to do that with our unrealistic claims as high class and that we were Brahmins. With this kind of attitude we are not able to attract people. Again we should not be concerned of number but quality. Many Christian communities in our country have gathered people and have added number to their credit but never changed their life. So if the Church can be minority and if still can be a ‘light on the top of the hill’ that will be how we do our mission. As long as we can not do that either there is no point in converting people from one religion to another religion.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  77. John
    Dec 08, 2013 @ 08:24:35

    Dear Thirumeni,

    I hope you are keeping well.. Thanks for your sharing. It encouragesus in more ways that you probably could imagine.

    I wanted about any theological base that we have which says about what happens to the soul once it dies on the following aspects:

    a. Weather it has the judgement immediately, or are does it stay in a state of stillness till the final judgement or is there any other form.

    b. do we believe in the concept of purgatory.

    c. Does the last funeral rites do anything to the soul. In other words if those rites are not done will it make any difference. and other post funeral traditions of 41days etc.

    Thanks.

    John

    Reply

  78. Yuhanon Meletius
    Dec 09, 2013 @ 10:58:24

    Dear John
    Thank you for your comments and further questions. Actually it is hard to explain matters of faith in a virtual dialogue than in face to face dialogue. I have tried here to reply to your questions.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni
    Question a. Weather it has the judgment immediately, or are does it stay in a state of stillness till the final judgment or is there any other form.
    Reply: What we call judgment can not be thought of as we see in our courts of any sort. It is a process like our life is. There are two kinds of references from Jesus about judgment. One suggests that it is going to be some time in the future (Matt. 10:15; 11:22,24; etc. Luke 11:31,31; John 5:29; 16:8 etc). At the same time there is another suggestion that the judgment has already come on the basis of whether they have accepted Jesus or not as savior (John 3:19; 9:39; 12:31 etc.). Taking both set of references seriously we may say that it is a process. Any one, when decides that Christ is his/her Lord the judgment begins (Matt.10:34). Accepting Him is a judgment in favor and not accepting him is a judgment against. This is the first stage of judgment. Those who took a negative judgment will have chance to correct this and take a positive judgment any time during his/her life time in this world. Even after accepting Christ, still people at every moment may take a judgment by acting according to the positive decision made or against the spirit of that decision which is called a sin. But those acts against the decision that Christ is Lord (sin) have to be corrected through repentance and absolution. To know the negative and to correct the community of creation (some times people, sometimes nature) will play a crucial role (this is the role of natural calamities and people’s messages, advices and sermons). Those positive acts have to be strengthened also (here again the community will help). This continues till departure from this world. Then there is no chance of going away, but there is a chance for coming closer with the help of fellow beings who support the person in prayer before God. However, anyone who has not at any point repented or never accepted Christ’s role in his/her life cannot be helped by the community. Those who were on an down (sin and repentance) but rather steady growth in relationship can only be helped by the community after death. The second stage of judgment comes when the second coming of Jesus occurs. This is the culmination of all the judgments during life time and after. So to put it in one sentence, judgment is a process that begins with the initial decision and proceeds to the final through ups and downs till the end of time when the whole history is wrapped up.
    Question b. do we believe in the concept of purgatory.

    Reply. No we don’t hold the theory of purgatory that was initiated by the Western Church in the council of Florence (1438-144) and was affirmed later in the council of Trent (1545-1563). There is no suggestion to hold that theory either in the Bible or in the writings of the early father of the Church. However, there is a point to be noted in this regard. The theory of purgatory says that ‘the prayers of the faithful and the service offered at the altar will help the departed grow closer to Christ’. In this sense we may agree with them as a stage and not as a place of correction with tormenting and punishing.
    Question c. Does the last funeral rites do anything to the soul. In other words if those rites are not done will it make any difference. and other post funeral traditions of 41days etc.
    Reply: The funeral rites have two purposes; one is to prepare the diseased to go in peace with an assurance of continued support of the faithful along with prayers addressed to God for a passionate consideration towards the departed. This shall be continued even after the funeral. When there is no funeral rites these two things will be missing.
    The observance of 40 days (not 41 days) has two bases. One, it takes seriously the days Jesus was with his disciples after His resurrection and assumes that the departed soul will be with the dear ones for that many days before it enters in to a different realm. But there is a problem with this. Jesus was with the disciples for forty days after his resurrection and not after his death. Here we are not doing it after the resurrection. This is where we have the second base becomes relevant. This is basically a cultural practice. In every culture the relatives will mourn on the death of a departed relative for certain number of days. This will help all the dear ones to get a grip of life being comforted by others and by doing certain rituals. Life has to go on even after some of the dear ones departed from this world. For that people have to overcome the grief. These forty days observance and rituals related to that will help people in that. It will also give time for a collective supplication before God on behalf of the departed.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  79. Jaise Joseph
    Dec 24, 2013 @ 19:56:37

    Christmas Greetings to you Dear Thirumeni,
    Hope you are fine.
    Could you please help me in understanding the significance of “Sleeba agosham(സ്ലീബാ ആഘോഷം )” in Christmas feast? Is there any instruction set in our church saying it is not necessary/mandatory to conduct “Sleeba agosham (സ്ലീബാ ആഘോഷം )” in Christmas feast?
    Thanks

    Reply

  80. Chippy
    Jan 21, 2014 @ 19:43:24

    hello thirumeni,
    i was raised in us from 13 years of age and when i was in kerala i was in catholic community. upon coming to the us i have been different churches and wasn’t able to agree with their customs and such so i just stopped going to church but kept my relationship with God. my question is now that am old enough to get married i have been proposed by a boy that’s from the orthodox community. i was wondering what are the things that i have to do in order to have a marriage in orthodox church and can i have the wedding in Dec. ? waiting for your reply. thank you

    Reply

  81. Litto
    Mar 09, 2014 @ 17:57:13

    Most Respected Thirumeni,

    Sheep stealing by Pentacostals and other new generation churches is a thing that our church has to address seriously.I am not sure whether our Holy synod has discussed about this yet.Many of our youths are getting converted to this group.The main reason is the lack of awareness about the faith of our church, especially about child baptism, remembering departed people,intercession of saints.Catholic church has started to address this problem.Recently they had ‘faith year’.My humble suggestion is that we should have ‘faith week’ in each year.During this week we should educate our sheeps about the above subjects and how it is related to Holy Bible.Also we have to solve all problems with Jacobites through discussions.

    With prayers,
    Litto

    Reply

  82. Yuhanon Meletius
    Mar 12, 2014 @ 06:49:53

    Dear Litto
    Thank you for your question. Yes it is a reality that some of our young people go to other denominations and groups for prayer. I do not think this is because of lack of awareness in our faith and practices. Because most of them are former Sunday School students and many of them have served in the Holy Altar and may also have participated in MGOCSM and OCYM activities.
    The issue is mainly sociological and psychological. Look at the kind of movie songs you hear today. The old lyrics based songs are no more attractive to young people. They need fast rhythm and high volume. This is the trend of the time. Some people need personal attention. Both these are not possible in our Church as we follow a particular patter. When the young people join other groups they find this as a difference. Our young people are becoming less concerned of the former generation and former traditions. Even their relationship with parents are getting different. They don’t stick around to take care of their older generation. So emotionally they get distanced from them whether living or departed not to speak of departed saints. Further they want immediate and direct result for any thing they wish ask or do. This will also take away the need, for them, any intercessor, but only direct relations. Of course some are guided by lack of proper education. But that is not a big number. Of course we could try some thing like advanced study in matter of faith. Our Divya Bodhanam is aimed at that. But even that will not help people if they decided to go away.
    There is this psychological issue too. People are getting more and more emotional and any kind of emotional emancipation they would attract them. Knowing this, the new generation prayer groups introduce that card also in their care.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  83. Aneesh Varghese
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 18:05:35

    Most Respected Thirumeni,
    Hope you are doing fine by the Grace of God.

    My father, who teaches at the Sunday School, requested me to forward the following queries to your Grace.

    1) In Genesis 4:13, Cain says to the Lord ” I will be a homeless wanderer on the earth, and anyone who finds me will kill me”. Were there people on the earth during that time, other than Cain, Adam, and Eve ?

    2) Is Mary Magdalene the sister of Lazarus, whom Jesus resurrected from dead ?

    Could you please answer the aforementioned queries?

    With Prayers,
    Aneesh

    Reply

  84. Yuhanon Meletius
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 07:40:57

    Answer 13: One of the problem with our Bible study is that we have not accepted Bible as Bible rather as a scientific book. Well it is not, it is a book written by people who had faith. When people write with faith, they look at things in a different way. They don’t look for reason or how or why. Rather they look at the question who. Scientific question will how and why. When we look at Bible with these scientific questions, we may not see what the Bible is trying to tell us. This is particularly significant with Old Testament books.
    To talk about the creation narrations we see in the Book of Genesis, the author was trying to tell us who is responsible for what we see around us. Every thing we see around us was created by God and all of them were created to be good. But then the question would be, if that was the case how come you have suffering, rivalry, bad acts etc. The answer given is that is caused by human. So we have two answers to the basic question who. To this back drop we have to further see other things. The Bible does not say Adam was the first and only man (male) created by God. It was we, the interpreters who said that. To understand this, we have to look for the language in which it was written and the meaning of the word. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew. In that language Adam means human and not man (in singular or man as masculine singular). This is even more evident if we try to look for the feminine gender of the word Adam. It is ‘Adamah’ and the meaning of the word is ‘earth’ not eve. The name given to the woman is ‘hava’ which is a derivative of the root ‘ha’ which means ‘to be’ and hence ‘have’ means life. Again this is not about a single woman rather refers to womanhood.
    Consequently we may say that what Old Testament is trying to say is, God is responsible for the existence of humanity with its life in feminineness. Once again Adam is not singular, it is collective singular which means human. If you closely study the first two chapters in the book of Genesis, you will see that there are two accounts of creation. The first from ch.1:1 to ch.2:4a and the second the rest of chapter 2. The book gives both to say that there are multiple ways of explaining the question how and therefore do not search for that answer in the Bible, just ask only the question who.
    To come back to the original question: Yes when God created human, He created community and not single man/male. So there were lot of people who existed side by side and when some one was guilty of some wrong doing, others tried to take revenge on him.
    I am not sure whether I made it clear to you. Biblical study is a serious discipline and I tried to make it as simple as possible to you. It will be good if you could find a book on Old Testament interpretation from Divyamodhanam series.
    b). No, Mary Magdalene was a woman with seven evil processed woman who was cured by Jesus when He was divining at the house of Simon the rich man (Luke 8:2). Since then she was accompanying Jesus until after His resurrection (Mtt.27:55-56:61 // Mark 15:40, 47; Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:9-11; Luke 24:10; ; John 19:25; John 20:1-18).
    Mary sister of Lazarus is the one who sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to his words (Luke 10:39). She had washed Jesus’ feet with perfume (John 12:3). Jesus saw this as a pre-taste of His funeral rites (John 12:7). According to Luke 7: 36-50, certain sinful lady poured oil on Jesus’ feet. Close examination of Luke 8:2 in comparison with 7:36-50 will show that this is not the same person who was healed by Jesus. However, Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9 talks about a lady anointing Jesus’ head with oil. Biblical interpreters are not sure whether this person is the same as that referred in John’s Gospel. In John the pouring is on the feet and in Matthew and Mark it is on the head. In any case Mary Magdalene is not the sister of Lazarus and Martha. There were from Bethany and not from Magdalene.

    Reply

  85. jayinthomas
    Mar 31, 2014 @ 10:49:28

    Respected Thirumeni,
    I have always pondered about the Holy Trinity concept.
    In our old Testament, The Holy Spirit has been mentioned several times. But before ascending to heaven Jesus Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would be send to the disciples. Does this mean that Jesus Christ did not want to authorize the Holy Spirit during his ministry on earth? He had mentioned about The Holy Spirit earlier itself. Does that mean that Holy Spirit is the third one in the Trinity, beneath Jesus Christ? Kindly clarify.

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Apr 01, 2014 @ 03:10:31

      Dear Jayin, There is no mention of Holy Spirit as we understand it in Christianity in Old Testament. What is said of rooah elohim is mis understood as Holy Spirit by many. It is to be translated as heavy or powerful wind. Holy Spirit in New Testament is the continuing work of God the Father as He did in God the Son after the Ascension of the Son. It has the same essence that of the Father and the Son. Of course just as the Son was with the Father before incarnation, the Holy Spirit was. It is because they three have the same essence. How ever both the Son and the Holy Spirit began working as obvious persons only in time. The Son from the time of incarnation and the Holy Spirit after the ascension of the Son. They do not have any difference in age, power, will or importance. That is how it becomes one God but three persons. Hope I made it clear to you.Thirumeni

      Reply

  86. jiz
    Apr 10, 2014 @ 17:29:29

    Dear thirumeni,
    I am a roman catholic(kottayam diocese) and i would like to marry an orthodox boy.I came to know that a common agreement is on act regarding inter church marriages.But i am still confused that is it possible for us to conduct betrothal in catholic church and marriage in orthodox church.Shall i need to be baptized again as per the orthodox church?Is it possible for me to attend H.communion in orthodox church?Is there any religious legal formalities regarding inter church marriages?Do my parents have any restrictions from our catholic church allowing their daughter to marry a non catholic?I am really worried cause of different replies from many.I am expecting your valuable comment regarding this.

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Apr 12, 2014 @ 06:16:20

      There is no formal agreement on marriage between Orthodox and Catholic communities yet, though it is in the process and there are agreements on few other matters. The process is rather simple. The local Church of the boy will require you to go to an Orthodox Church near to you or the Church of the boy to take confession and communion after giving in writing an affidavit saying you wish to join the Orthodox Church in a judicial stamp paper submitted to the parish of the boy. Some parishes may require the affidavit only during the liturgy of the matrimony. There is no second baptism required. Some priests in Catholic Church may impose some disciplinary action against your family for you getting married to a boy outside the community, some priests may not do that. If both families agree the betrothal can be done at your place. But the Catholic priest may not agree to that as the wedding will not be according to their canon law. Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  87. Yuhanon Meletius
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 06:19:33

    Dear Jiz
    Regarding your question, there is no formal agreement on marriage between Orthodox and Catholic communities yet, though it is in the process and there are agreements on few other matters. The process is rather simple. The local Church of the boy will require you to go to an Orthodox Church near to you or the Church of the boy to take confession and communion after giving in writing an affidavit saying you wish to join the Orthodox Church in a judicial stamp paper submitted to the parish of the boy. Some parishes may require the affidavit only during the liturgy of the matrimony. There is no second baptism required. Some priests in Catholic Church may impose some disciplinary action against your family for you getting married to a boy outside the community, some priests may not do that. If both families agree the betrothal can be done at your place. But the Catholic priest may not agree to that as the wedding will not be according to their canon law. Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  88. NaveenPeter
    Apr 17, 2014 @ 13:25:43

    Hello Tirumeni,
    I’m form St, Gregorious Cathedral in Bangalore. During this holy week I have encountered one question, which I find very difficult to answer. Many of my friends have come up to me and wished HAPPY GOOD FRIDAY for some reason. Though I have just smiled and moved on without replying anything, I would like to have your take on the same.
    1. Is Good Friday or Dhukha Velliyacha a day to mourn or rejoice?
    2. Is it right to wish someone Happy Good Friday?

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Apr 17, 2014 @ 18:06:26

      Hello Naveen. Thank you for the comment. No we do not call the Friday of Jesus’ suffering, death and entombment “Good Friday”. It is for us Orthodox people a day of suffering so it is called in Syriac arubtho d’haso which means Friday of Suffering or arubtho dskeeputho (Friday of crucifixion). So it will be dukha Velli for us. It is not a day to greet “Happy Good Friday”. We, as a matter of fact, will not take or give any greeting of joy or peace during the whole week not to speak of just Hasa Friday.
      Wish you a Blessed Easter!
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  89. Varghese
    Jun 02, 2014 @ 10:59:21

    Dear Thirumeni

    Hope you are keeping fine. Can you pls. clarify a doubt for me?

    Can I use RTI Act Adm/faith/traditions/finance/marriage issues or for any other matter in the Church, if repeated verbal/written requests are not responded properly or withholding information?.

    With warm regards and prayer

    Reply

  90. Yuhanon Meletius
    Jun 03, 2014 @ 03:09:12

    I am not sure. I have not done any serious study of RTI act

    Reply

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  92. elizabeth
    Jun 18, 2014 @ 16:17:15

    Hello Tirumeni,

    I hope you are doing fine. i wanted to clear a doubt that has been nagging me since long. is it compulsory for us to position our heads in the east direction and sleep? m prohibited by the elders in my family from sleeping in the NSW directions.they say it is not correct according to the Bible. would certain harm come to me if i place my head in NSW direction? practically it is not possible in my room. is all this a superstition or a fact?

    Reply

  93. Yuhanon Meletius
    Jun 18, 2014 @ 18:18:25

    Dear Elizabeth
    Well religion is so much tied up with culture and customs. Our earth is round and there is not much of a direction of east and west or south and north except on the Equator. However, within the limitations of the region people live in, they create safe modes that they will feel safe and comfortable. Religiously there is nothing to suggest that this direction is better or worse than the other. The world was created by God and found good. Every thing in the globe is good, except when we make it bad. So what every direction you may want to keep your head while you lie down or sleep, I don’t think there would be a bad omen or problem.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  94. Abi
    Jul 29, 2014 @ 03:44:54

    Dear Thirumeni,
    I am a Mar Thoma girl marrying an Orthodox boy in Kottayam this year. I live outside India and have heard differing views about rules pertaining to attire for the bride. I just wanted to know if I would be allowed to wear a gown for my wedding. I have attended Orthodox weddings here (in North America) where the brides have worn gowns. I just am not sure if the rule changes if the wedding is back home in Kerala. The gown will definitely be modest and appropriate for a church service.

    With prayerful regards.

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Jul 29, 2014 @ 03:56:52

      Dear Abi
      Thank you for the query. Well, the dress we wear for any occasion is a matter of culture. In the US the culture is different from that in Kerala. So what is normal in US may not be normal here in Kerala. How ever, now we having a globalized world many of the cultural traits of the west is slowly getting infiltrated in to Kerala culture. Nevertheless, it has not reached every corner of the state in equal magnitude and shape. I have seen brides wearing gown in Kerala in Orthodox weddings and I have conducted such weddings too. But it all depends on the vicar of that parish. If he is open minded he will have no problem, but if not so much of that kind, he may not allow. So it will be better to check with the vicar of the parish where the wedding is to be conducted. Technically speaking a decent dress is fine for any occasion.
      Wish you God’s blessing all through the wedding ceremony and also afterward when you prepare for a family which shall be the pre-taste of Kingdom of God.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

      • Abi
        Jul 29, 2014 @ 04:35:10

        Thank you for your response and your blessings, Thirumeni. I have never really spoken to a Thirumeni like this and consider this a blessing by itself. Thank you for the work you do, especially on social media like this!
        When we had asked the Achen of the parish, we were told that since a Thirumeni was officiating the wedding, he didnt mind as long as the Thirumeni was ok with it.
        I guess my concern is that we are traveling to India in two days and I already got my dress not knowing this would be a problem. Seeing as in you have conducted weddings with brides in gowns, can we assume that most Thirumeni’s would be ok with it too?

  95. Yuhanon Meletius
    Jul 29, 2014 @ 09:52:32

    Dear Abi
    I do not think any Thirumeni would have problem with a gown.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  96. Sam
    Aug 12, 2014 @ 17:06:23

    I was born and brought up in an orthodox family.. I don’t understand why in orthodox church the ceremony of blessing the crown is omitted in second marriages. I personally feel like its insulting the person..

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Aug 16, 2014 @ 04:06:21

      Dear.
      In Orthodox tradition there is no second marriage. There is only one marriage. According to Matthew 19:5 and 6 if a woman and man are married, they are married for eternity. They can not be separated for any reason. Even death shall not separate them. This is the official position of the Church. But we also know that there are situations when people are forced to have a second marriage. The Church does not say a final no to them, particularly if it is due to the death of a partner. In such situations the Church does make exception. But it is only an exception and the law still stands. So the so called second marriage is only a compromise and the Church does not account it as a marriage in its full status. So there are several elements that will be missing. A member of the Orthodox Church has to accept this. Regards and prayers Thirumeni

      Reply

  97. John & Veena Daniel
    Sep 01, 2014 @ 01:44:10

    Thirumeni,

    We trust that by the grace of God, you are doing well. Here is a posting that I made on Marthoman T.V.
    “First of all, let me ascertain that I am writing this without an iota of irreverance or disrespect to our Bava Thirumeni. My family and I wish Him many happy returns of the day.

    Having confirmed that, let me say this. Somewhere in our prayers, we state that ” ദൈവമേ നീ പരിശുദ്ധന്‍ ആകുന്നു” . “നീ അല്ലാതെ ആരും പരിശുദ്ധന്‍ ഇല്ല”. Sorry for my Malayalam typing; I struggled.That being the case, why do we refer to our Bava thirumeni as “പരിശുദ്ധന്‍”? If God is the only one who is “പരിശുദ്ധന്‍”, why are we addressing our Bava thirumeni as “പരിശുദ്ധന്‍”? I have seen our Bava Thirumeny’s photo, sitting in front of a laptop. If He sees this, Will he be kind and gracious enough to respond; and if He feels that it is wrong, would He be kind and gracious enough to instruct all concerned to address him in any other nomenclature?”

    Do you have any comments?

    Reply

  98. Yuhanon Meletius
    Sep 03, 2014 @ 19:43:00

    Dear John
    The question of calling some one a saint or parisudhan is quite in line with our Christian faith. As a matter of fact all Christians are saints. See Acts 9:13, 32, 41; 26:10; Rom. 1:7; 8:27; 12:13; 15:25, 26; 27 etc. Paul calls every Christian a saint. However, among Christians some are considered as special and the congregation of saints with added respect call certain individuals saints. Again the text you quoted was quoted only in part. The other half of the proclamation in the Eucharistic liturgy says, that the “… Holy Father is with us, … the Holy Son with us and … the Holy Spirit with us. Yes God is the only Holey One, but our participation with Him makes us holy. Our participation with the Holy Trinity makes us holy and help us receive the holy mysteries. There is nothing wrong in we calling any one a holy person. As a matter of fact early Church and later in history also people considered certain individuals whom they thought lived a better life in the Church were called a saint. Many of the saints in the local Church are thus named by the local congregation. So your question may not be from correct understanding of the matter.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  99. jobin mathew
    Sep 05, 2014 @ 14:42:47

    Dear thirumeni,i
    am a c.s.i guy and my gal is malankara catholic.By gods grace n

    Reply

  100. fr. anish mathew
    Sep 22, 2014 @ 14:00:17

    Dear thirumeni,
    Hope you are in good health. I have two doubts
    1. What is the theological implication of Blessing of the censor(DHOOPAKUTTI VAAZHTAL) in the Holy Qurbana.

    2. What was the practical and theological importance of YHW asking Moses to erect a metal snake, when the jews murmured against YWH.

    REGARDS

    anish achen

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Sep 26, 2014 @ 06:48:53

      Dear Achen
      Here are my explanation to the questions you raised. Thirumeni

      1. The blessing of the sensor is a trisagional praise. The incense is used for the blessing of the people and to represent their prayers. Here the main purpose is to bless the people. You can see that in the prayer during the blessing of the censor. The incense becomes a sanctifying medium for the people. But the incense itself does not have any power without it being blessed. The person who offer the incense also does not have any inherent power. Any thing can be blessed only by the name of Holy Trinity and any one can bless any thing only by the name of the Holy Trinity.

      2. The bronze serpent serves an apotrpaic function. That is to avert evil with its own counterpart. Ancient cultures had great owe towards powers in nature. They honored and worshipped them to avoid their anger and mis-fortune. Those Israelites certainly had inherited some thing of that sort from Egypt. In Egypt the Pharaohs’ cap had serpent on it. So Israelites who were bit by the firey serpent certainly have had the tendency to worship the snake to avert the danger. But here Yahweh without disturbing their inherited blind devotion, asked Moses to put up a bronze serpent. Through this, Yahweh was showing that it is Yahweh who prescribes remedy for what all difficulties they may face.

      Reply

  101. jayinthomas
    Oct 14, 2014 @ 06:42:50

    Respected Thirumeni,

    In our Parish Divyabodhanam unit here in Bahrain, we were discussing about the Holy Chrism.
    One of my fellow mates referred to Exodus Chapter 30 verses 22 – 32 which describes about the preparation of “Anointing Oil”.
    However, in verse 30 – 32, it says, 30 “Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. 31 Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32 Do not pour it on anyone else’s body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. 33 Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.’”

    1) What does it mean by “Do not pour it on anyone Else’s body?
    2) We use the Holy Chrism during Holy Baptism, so isn’t this contradicting?

    Reply

  102. Wilson George
    Nov 20, 2014 @ 11:22:16

    Dear Respected Thirumeni,
    Is Lucifer and Satan the same? I studied that Lucifer and Satan are same. But today I heard a Bible study on Satan – saying they are different. Satan is from the beginning a liar, from the day of his creation. Lucifer is not like that, he was a holy cherub till the day he was found guilty.

    Regards,
    Wilson George
    Riyadh

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Nov 22, 2014 @ 13:28:45

      Dear Wilson George
      The question of evil power has been dealt in different cultures differently and have given different names and personification. Many of them got their way in to the Biblical testimony too. We may see it as multiple realities or powers. If God is one, there can only be one opposition no matter what name you may call. That is the satanic tendency. Every thing else is culturally conditioned symbols of the same tendency.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

      • jayinthomas
        Nov 23, 2014 @ 08:49:58

        Respected Thirumeni,

        In our Parish Divyabodhanam unit here in Bahrain, we were discussing about the Holy Chrism.
        One of my fellow mates referred to Exodus Chapter 30 verses 22 – 32 which describes about the preparation of “Anointing Oil”.
        However, in verse 30 – 32, it says, 30 “Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. 31 Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32 Do not pour it on anyone else’s body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. 33 Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.’”

        1) What does it mean by “Do not pour it on anyone Else’s body?
        2) We use the Holy Chrism during Holy Baptism, so isn’t this contradicting?

  103. jayinthomas
    Nov 23, 2014 @ 08:49:28

    Respected Thirumeni,

    In our Parish Divyabodhanam unit here in Bahrain, we were discussing about the Holy Chrism.
    One of my fellow mates referred to Exodus Chapter 30 verses 22 – 32 which describes about the preparation of “Anointing Oil”.
    However, in verse 30 – 32, it says, 30 “Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. 31 Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32 Do not pour it on anyone else’s body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. 33 Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.’”

    1) What does it mean by “Do not pour it on anyone Else’s body?
    2) We use the Holy Chrism during Holy Baptism, so isn’t this contradicting?

    Reply

  104. Yuhanon Meletius
    Nov 25, 2014 @ 02:51:48

    We are not the Old Israel, rather the New Israel. In New Israel the rights of Aaron, who was the priest of the Old, is given to all members of this New Israel. Read 1 Peter 2:9 which says we are a Royal Priesthood. Again we are not taking all the symbols of Old Testament as such. We are accepting them as Christ made us free members of the Holy Church.. Again there is one more symbol included to the Oil of Anointing in our. Read the passage that is used in the Baptism Liturgy. It is the fragrance of Messiah, sign of true faith, and seal of the Holy Spirit which was not in the Old Testament time. This is a renewed Oil and not of the Old. Read Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:20; Hebrews 8:13; :15; 12:24 etc.
    So all members of the Church are potentially priests and they hold all the rights of Aaron in our religion right from the time of baptism and Holy Chrism.
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  105. Dr.Vinu Thomas
    Jan 30, 2015 @ 00:24:10

    Respected beloved Thirumeni,
    I just came across for the first time ‘Yuhanon Mor Meletius Space’ today as I read about opening of your website in ICON and trailed it.
    Your Q&A columns are unique and contemporarily informative.Appreciate and Thank you for the same.
    Congratulations on launching of your website.We are proud of your good initiatives that are constructive and in tune with times.
    Seeking your kind prayers,
    Dr.Vinu Thomas,Dubai.

    Reply

  106. Jobin Kora
    Feb 09, 2015 @ 17:22:58

    Dear thirumeni, hope you are doing well by the grace of God. I would like to know about the status of the Catholicos of the Jacobite faction. What is his position in the hierarchy of Malankara church? Will his status be a constraint in dialogues with them? It seems that present Patriarch is also in favour of him. Thank you your grace.

    Reply

  107. Yuhanon Meletius
    Feb 10, 2015 @ 06:05:07

    Thank you Jobin
    The issue of peace in the Church of which the Patriarch talks is in a primary stage. We have to wait and see how things move forward to get answers to your question. Thirumeni

    Reply

  108. reubeil
    Feb 11, 2015 @ 13:56:00

    Hi Thirumeni,

    I have been reading your blog for a few days and I’m really happy to see you embracing new technology to reach our to people and share the Gospel.

    The main reason for me writing here is to clarify few questions regarding my wedding. Before I get into the questions I’ll just give a brief idea of my situation. I am born in an Orthodox family and the girl I’m planning to marry has been a Christian for the past 7 years ( was born in a Hindu family) she got baptized in a non denominational Protestant church 5 years back and had been a strong Christian since then. Her family is still Hindu but they have excepted her as Christian and are happy to have it in a Christian Church. The questions I have are.

    1. If I want to have my wedding at Alia cathedral Kottayam, what should I do and what should the girl do? Is the marriage counseling only required.?

    2. Will the girl be allowed to wear a gown and if yes what are the restrictions.

    3. I’m planning to have it in the month of August this year, will it be possible to have it during the lent period, between 1st and 15th or does it have to be after that.

    Regards,
    Reubeil

    Reply

    • reubeil
      Feb 11, 2015 @ 13:58:31

      Sorry I meant her family has accepted her.

      Reply

      • Yuhanon Meletius
        Feb 11, 2015 @ 14:53:11

        Dear Reubell
        Thank you for the questions. These are not silly ones, but very important for you and hence I can try to answer.
        In Orthodox Church, some times some priests take tough stand on things you mentioned and therefor it will be easy to check with the priest in charge of Elia Cathedral. My position is that the girl has to be anointed with Holy Oil, then go for counselling and confession.
        The question of gown is again a question of the discretion of the priest. Some may object, some may not. Strictly speaking one can insist only on a decent dress whether sari or gown.
        Further it is not possible to have a wedding during the lent period. It is, though, allowed in urgent situation with special permission.
        Regards and prayers
        Thirumeni

  109. sandra
    Feb 17, 2015 @ 05:40:30

    dear thirumeni,
    i am sandra, i would like to know how to practise fasting during 50 days,which are the days in a week where we can do upavasa

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Feb 17, 2015 @ 10:17:22

      Hi Sandra
      Thank you for your query. Strictly speaking, according to West Syriac tradition which Malankara Orthodox Church follows, the fasting (upavasa) is till 3 pm on weekdays. Saturday and Sunday are not fasting days. But lent food restrictions are in effect on Saturdays and Sundays too. But in practice fasting is till 12 noon and after mid day prayer people break fasting. Hope I answered your question.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  110. Srinivas Bharadwaj
    Mar 22, 2015 @ 00:03:44

    Dear Father (Yuhanon Meletius) Thirumeni,
    I am a Hindu by faith, and I am sure you will find my question curious. Please feel free to correspond with me and I am happy to explain myself. I am interested in the etymology of your name “Thirumeni”. I am looking at Ras Shamra texts, which end with Dictated by Attani Puruleni, donated by King of Niqmadd, Lord of Yargub, Lord of Tharumeni. I know that the Knanaya Community came from Canaan. I also know that St. Thomas the Apostle converted the community to Christianity. I am trying to ask if your name Thirumeni and that of several other Syrian Christians is related to the village Thirumeni – or is the Village named after the origins in Canaan, so long ago.

    I must say that I am researching this issue for a paper related to the Ras Shamra text.

    Yours Sincerely
    srini

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Mar 28, 2015 @ 16:09:24

      Dear Srini
      Thank you for the mail and your question. I don’t think you have to go as far as Ras Sharma texts to see the etymology of Thirumeni. Christianity came to Kerala and it survived as privileged community by the help and support of the rulers of the region.First of the Dravidian rulers and then Hindu rulers. They considered the clergy of the Christian community equal to that of the Hindu clergy. The clergy of the Hindu community in Kerala are called Thirumeni as they are by cast Brahmins. The word is from two words Thiru and Meni. Thiru means sacrad and meni means person. This may simply mean a holy person or a person representing the divine. To Christian bishops this title is used in almost all denominations in Kerala except that of the Catholic Church.
      I am a student of Old Testament in the Bible and the Ras Shamra text is included in our discipline
      I wish all the best in your research.
      Regards
      Yuhanon Mor Meletius Metropolitan

      Reply

  111. Roshen
    Mar 27, 2015 @ 15:02:11

    Dear Thirumeni,

    In our church, which all days marriage ceremony is allowed. I know that sunday and monday only is permitted. But I heard that marriage can be conducted in saturdays with special permission.

    Regards,

    Roshen

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Mar 28, 2015 @ 04:25:26

      Dear Roshan
      You are right, on normal situation, only on Sunday and Monday we are permitted to have weddings. In United States and Canada, we permit it on Saturdays. Under specific and unavoidable proven situation in India also we allow on Saturdays.

      Reply

  112. Srinivas Bharadwaj
    Mar 28, 2015 @ 18:45:13

    Dear Father Thirumeni,
    I want to thank you for your reply. May the Truth set all of us Free.
    Yes, Thirumeni is also common among Namboothri Brahmins.

    When I read Keret in the Ras Shamra text, I am blessed to see Bhagiratha. And you see the God of Abraham and Moses and are blessed.

    Today is Lord Rama’s birthday. And tomorrow is Palm Sunday.
    All Faith is unified in our land. You represent the Holy Work and dare I say,
    the Holy Land too. And so the Christians of Kerala are doubly Blessed.

    Warm Regards,
    srini

    Reply

  113. Thomas. J
    May 27, 2015 @ 08:30:45

    Dear Thirumany, I am thinking Our Holy Qurbana is one of the main susroosha .and in this holy Qurbana we included all prayers . But some priest are doing pray for birthday and weddings prayaers after the holy Qurbana. This is correct or not

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      May 28, 2015 @ 05:17:26

      Dear Thomas
      Thank you for your question. Hope you and your dear ones are doing fine by the grace of God.
      Well, strictly speaking, we are to follow Syrian Christian tradition since we are an Orthodox Syrian Church. In that tradition there is no room for this kind of prayers. But we added it following the tradition of some of the western and reformed Churches. But forget the fact that we have space to incorporate these kinds of prayers within the main body of the Holy Qurbana. The second diptych (tubden) is meant to remember all those still alive in this world and have given special requests for prayers. During this, the priests can sure include brief prayers remembering those who celebrate birthdays and wedding anniversaries. I have seen few priests in our Church doing that which is a better way of organizing the liturgy. Doing it at the end makes it of secondary importance. Same is the case with remembering the departed. They can be remembered during the sixth diptych or when the quklion of the departed is sung. Instead we do it again after the service placing a mat on the floor making that also an appendix and of inferior quality.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  114. Thomas. J
    May 28, 2015 @ 07:39:44

    Dear Thirumani ,
    I am very thankful for your valuable reply. And this type of prayers again continueing, what the normal sabha members thinking in our Holy Qurbana didn’t have blessing prayers for birthday and wedding anniversary. Becouse all other sabha don’t have this type of prayers in theirs Qurbana. So they are doing after the Qurbana. Otherwise our preist are doing only for cover collection purpose.

    (Kambam kazhijittu olapadakkam pottikkanoo)
    If anything wrong forgive me & please remember in your prayer.
    Thanks THIRUMANI.

    Reply

  115. Anu
    Jun 13, 2015 @ 16:33:31

    Dear Thirumeni
    Need your help to understand the mudak process in the Syrian Jacobite community in case of marriage to a non Christian.
    Will the entire family be boycotted from the church and deprived of the last rights? Or is the boycott applicable only to the Christian bride/ bridegroom marrying the non Christian. Please help understand the process and implications if any for the Syrian jackinge family in case of such a marriage outside church through registration.
    Thanks and regards
    Anu

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Jun 14, 2015 @ 22:15:46

      Dear Anu
      No, not the entire family, only the person marrying without the consent of the Church. But you have option of the other community person getting converted in to the Church. Regards and prayers Thirumeni

      Reply

  116. Anu
    Jun 14, 2015 @ 16:32:31

    Sorry for the typo.. I mean implications if any for the Syrian jacobite family

    Reply

  117. Saji Varghese.
    Jul 05, 2015 @ 17:11:05

    Respected Thirumeni.

    It was wonderful experience for me reading your answers to so many queries.Many of my own doubts were cleared reading them. I have a small doubt. Can a general body in a Church decide on Compulsory Marriage Donation from the Brides Family to allow marriage to be conducted in the Church. To my knowledge NOC from the other Church should be enough as per Sabha Rules and Brides family should not be compelled to Donate. It should be from their free will whatever they want to donate. Is there any guidelines in this regard.
    Regards and Prayers
    Saji Varghese.

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Jul 11, 2015 @ 09:41:47

      Dear Saji
      I do not have the full picture of the issue here. In normal case both bride and groom will pay their dues in the respective parishes and when that marriage is conducted in one of those Churches no fee will be collected from the other party except what is called “kettu panam”. That will be a nominal amount and that is paid by the member of the parish whether bride or groom. The parish assembly has the right to decide on the amount in such case. If you are talking about any additional fee from the party that comes for the wedding other than the member then it is not a normal thing to do. You have the right to appeal on that before the Metropolitan of the diocese. Hope I addressed your question.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

      • Saji Varghese.
        Jul 11, 2015 @ 17:14:33

        Respected Thirumeni,
        Extremely thankful for your valuable guidance. Until now the groom if belonged to our church paid a fixed donation amount. we never insisted on any specific donation from bride if she was from other parish .Only NOC was required. But now our General Body decided to impose a specific donation from bride/groom from other parish which I felt was not within our purview. This meant another NOC from our Church after depositing the donation (which may be any amount) by the bride/groom coming from other parish. I personally felt its not correct.So my query.
        Warm Regards,
        Saji Varghese.

  118. Priyanka
    Jul 10, 2015 @ 11:07:38

    Respected Thirumeni,hope you are doing good.I’m an orthodox girl from kottayam and I’m getting married on the 4th of October 2015 by HIS grace.Its one of my biggest dream to wear a gown on my big day.I just want to know whether there are any restrictions for this.Trust me the gown would be decent.I heard that if ever the priest of the church permits this,then the Thirumeni will ban this priest forever!Hope you will help me out. Thankfully

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Jul 11, 2015 @ 02:57:07

      Dear Priyanka
      Thank you for the question. There is no directive from the official circles of the Church against using gown for bride in weddings. There was a circular from the Manager of Parumala seminary to that effect. But that is not a universally accepted norm. Some priests and bishops may follow that. The best thing is to check with the vicar of the Church in which you will be getting married. Also if you invite a bishop, check with him also. If that doesn’t help, you have the option to conduct the marriage in a Church this is not forbidden other than the home parish or where it is planned to be conducted. When the weddings are conducted in our Church in western countries, no restriction is applied. I wish you a blessed and happy married life. Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  119. Yuhanon Meletius
    Jul 13, 2015 @ 04:08:14

    Yes Saji, that is a violation of the right of the bride. Thirumeni

    Reply

  120. Saji Varghese
    Aug 15, 2015 @ 14:36:09

    Respected Thirumeni,
    In many orthodox homes , I came across Sacred Heart of Mary or Jesus.Are we to avoid using such photographs .One respected vicar told me that Such Photographs are to be avoided in Church but they can be used in establishments. and organisations .

    Reply

  121. Saji Varghese
    Aug 17, 2015 @ 14:25:18

    Thanks Thirumeni.So many of our doubts are being clarified through this site.
    Seeking your Blessings
    Saji Varghese.

    Reply

  122. V.G. Saju
    Sep 10, 2015 @ 15:01:19

    Dear Thirumeni,
    Hope your grace is doing well. I am worried a lot by hearing the church news in many dioceses but hope our church will over come it. Here I list few questions.

    1. If my salary is Rs. 1000 and the normal expence is Rs. 900, what will be the tilth? Rs. 100 or Rs. 10?
    Some priests and preachers now call the people to give the tilth.

    2. In some retreat centres, the priest or the pastor give revelations and prophesies by putting hand on head. They say it as the power of Holy Ghost. By seeing and hearing it a lot of Orthodox people go there. What is your grace’s opinion on this matter? Is it genuine or false?

    3. What is meant by “Other Tounge”? I cant accept the meaningless words of Pentacosts Believers. I have read the Acts but according to me, on the pentacost day, the followers of Jesus spoke in 15 new languages which they didn’t know before. Or what they spoke, the people from 15 nations could make out it.

    Seeking your grace’s prayer on me and my family members.
    With love and regards,
    V.G. Saju

    Reply

  123. L. Thomas
    Oct 20, 2015 @ 18:41:14

    Dear Thirumeni,
    I have been following all your answers related to interdenomination marriages. I have a question related to this same issue. Hope Thirumeni fins some time to answer my question . Is it allowed for a Marthomite boy married to an orthodox girl to convert to orthodox faith and become a member of the orthodox church? If it is allowed what are the steps to become a member of the orthodox church?
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Oct 22, 2015 @ 06:34:30

      There is not much to convert. You can just ask any Orthodox priest to take you to the parish he is serving as a member. You may have to give and application in writing and give a declaration of your faith for that matter. If you already had confirmation/ Holy Mooron in your Church, then that may not be needed either. Otherwise it may be administered on you.
      Regards Thirumeni

      Reply

  124. L. Thomas
    Oct 22, 2015 @ 13:50:12

    Thanks Thirumeni.So many of our doubts are being clarified through this site.

    I need clarification on one more thing, as a continuation of my previous question, so if the Marthomite boy becomes a member of the orthodox church, can he and his wife ( who was orthodox ) can receive holy Qurbana and get all the priveliges of an orthodox member.
    Thanks

    Reply

  125. Yuhanon Meletius
    Oct 23, 2015 @ 10:54:26

    Dear Thomas. Even if you don’t become an Orthodox Church member, since your wife was one and got married with the express knowledge of the parish (unless of course she voluntarily relinquished her membership), technically speaking your wife doesn’t lose her right as an Orthodox Church member. People who are not well equipped in their role may say differently. Unless a person is excommunicated from the Church, he/she can not be denied any right in the community she/he became part of. To excommunicate marriage is not a valid reason. There need to be valid reason, asked for explanation and excommunication only if the reply is not satisfactory which has to be stated in writing and intimated to the party. But if you become an Orthodox Church member, sure your wife is entitled to all the benefits.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  126. L. Thomas
    Oct 23, 2015 @ 15:21:38

    Thank you Thirumeni.

    Reply

  127. Thomas.
    Dec 21, 2015 @ 06:49:40

    DearThirumeni,
    Greetings in the name of Almighty. Hope his Grace is keeping fine. Thirumeni I have certain doubts to be cleared. Is it possible to wear a decent gown during the wedding which is modest without the crown.Is there any restrictions for the same.
    Secondly during engagement is it possible for the boy and girl to stand together in stage and receive guests and friends as many of them may not be available during wedding. Can they cut a cake and light the lamp and receive gifts.
    Hope Thirumeni will clear my doubts.
    Seeking your Grace prayers and blessings.

    With love & prayers,
    Thomas.

    Reply

  128. Thomas.
    Dec 22, 2015 @ 14:07:44

    Dear Thirumeni,
    Thanks for your prompt reply and your answers have cleared my doubts. Thirumeni this space is really helpful and informative. Your question and answer colomns is really unique and appreciate your interest to interact with people like us. Seeking your prayers and blessings.
    Thirumeni, if you do not mind please share your telephone no or your secretary no.

    With Prayers,
    Thomas.

    Reply

  129. thomas chandy
    Jan 02, 2016 @ 10:47:26

    Respected Thirumeni

    Greeting to you.. How are you? Hope your Grace is keeping fine.

    Thirumeni, can you please clarify my doubts on the Deacon’s (in Orthodox Church) limits and responsibilities, before ordination as Priest in the Church.

    some of my questions are::

    1. What are the limits of Purna Zammazans (Deacons) in the Holy Madhbaha during Holy Qurbana, I mean what all he can do, and should not do.
    2. Can he give Holy Qurbana to members.
    3. What/when/where he can offer his service in the Church.
    4. What all he can do in the absence of a Priest in a Parish.
    5. During Holy Qurbana, if the priest is unwell, how the Holy Qurbana can be concluded
    6. Can the Deacon step on the Dharga in place of the Priest, to conclude the Holy Qurbana, can he touch the Thaiblitha and other scared Kaza and Peelaza
    7. Can he take administrative control of a Parish in the absence of Vicar.
    8. Can he bless the congregation

    Best regards
    Thomas Chandy.

    Reply

  130. abraham
    Jan 04, 2016 @ 09:57:17

    Respected Thirumeni,

    Greetings to you. How are you? Hope your Grace keeping fine.

    Appreciate, if you could clarify my doubts.

    1. What do we mean by Purna Zammazan (Deacon)
    2. What are his areas of functions in the Church till marriage
    3. What are his limits of functions in Holy Quabana
    4. What are his limits of functions in administering Holy Sacraments
    5. What all Holy Sacraments he can handle with and without permission of Priest
    6. Can he conclude or get-in to conclude Holy Quarbana, in case the priest is unwell.
    7. Can he touch Casa and Pilasa
    8. Can he bless the congregation
    9. Can he hear confessions

    Best regards
    Abraham.

    Reply

  131. abraham
    Jan 04, 2016 @ 09:59:45

    Respected Thirumeni,

    Greetings to you. How are you? Hope your Grace keeping fine.

    Appreciate, if you could clarify my doubts.

    1. What do we mean by Purna Zammazan (Deacon)
    2. What are his areas of functions in the Church till marriage
    3. What are his limits of functions in Holy Quabana
    4. What are his limits of functions in administering Holy Sacraments
    5. What all Holy Sacraments he can handle with and without permission of Priest
    6. Can he conclude or get-in to conclude Holy Quarbana, in case the priest is unwell during Holy Qurbana
    7. Can he touch Casa and Pilasa
    8. Can he bless the congregation
    9. Can he hear confessions

    Best regards
    Abraham.

    Reply

  132. Yuhanon Meletius
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 05:39:56

    Dear Abraham, Here is my reply to your question. 1. What do we mean by Purna Zammazan (Deacon). A Purna semmasan is called a M’semsono in Syriac. In Syriac (same in almost all Orthodox Churches) liturgical tradition, there are three essential participants in a liturgy. One a celebrant (bishop or priest), a deacon and the laity. Here the deacon means one who has received full deacon position. We usually talk about four positions in the office of a deacon. Strictly speaking there aren’t four. Only one. When we talk about four, the first is m’samrono (singer – without any ooraro), the second a khoruyo (reader with ooraro in a cross shape on both front and back), third is Auphadyakno (door keeper – who has an ooraro hanging on the left shoulder but with a single across the chest over the shoulder). The fourth is m’semsono who has ooraro on the left shoulder hanging front and back. Strictly speaking he is the only authorized person in the altar apart from the celebrant. Other three orders have to stand either in the choir or near the reading table or at the door. But now with the Catholic influence we have abolished all these system and let lay people do all these roles including that in the altar. In India only the Chaldean Syriac Church strictly follows the traditional pattern. The so called altar assistants now we have in our Church is a diversion from the original order. Strictly speaking our service is missing the second element in our Holy Eucharistic service. He assists the celebrant and at the same time instruct the congregation regarding each element and occasion in a service.
    2. What are his areas of functions in the Church till marriage. As I said earlier he is in-charge of the altar and its affairs. Prepare elements for the service, assist the priest in service, and instruct and help the congregation in worshipping meaningfully. Marriage makes no change in that functioning.
    3.
    3. What are his limits of functions in Holy Quabana. I think what is explained able is his job and any thing beyond that is not possible.
    4.
    4. What are his limits of functions in administering Holy Sacraments. He can help the priest by dispensing H. Qurbana to laity.
    5.
    5. What all Holy Sacraments he can handle with and without permission of Priest. He can not do any thing by himself. He is under order from the priest.
    6.
    6. Can he conclude or get-in to conclude Holy Quarbana. It depends on what is the stage of the H. Qurbana. If it is at the last stage, he can dispense the H. Qurbana to the people and leave the rest for a priest to finish. If it was some where in between, he has to bring in a priest to further the matter.
    7. Can he touch Casa and Pilasa. Yes he is supposed to prepare the table for H. Qurbana and can dispense from Casa or Pilasa.
    7.
    8. Can he bless the congregation. No, he can not bless the congregation. Blessing is in the authority of the priest.
    8.
    9. Can he hear confessions. No. He can not. He is not a celebrant, an assistant or help.
    Regards and prayers
    Thirumeni

    Reply

  133. abraham
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 06:19:07

    Dear Thirumeni,

    Thank you very much for your response, it was very informative. I had asked above questions, because recently I heard a senior priest saying, a Purna sammasan-M’semsono can step-in to complete the remaining part of Holy Quarbana, in case the priest celebrating Holy Qurbana become physically unwell.

    I have seen, one of the priests stand-by with all Holy Attires when aged Thirumenies celebrating Holy Qurbana, not M’semsonos.

    Sorry to ask further clarity on Your Grace response on Sr.No.4- “help the priest by dispensing H. Qurbana to laity”

    Does it (helping) mean M’semsono- can take Casa/Pilasa physically in his hands, and give Holy Qurbana to laity, when the celebrant priest is very much present ?

    Kindly clarify conveniently.

    Best regards and prayers
    Abraham.

    Reply

  134. Yuhanon Meletius
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 08:00:28

    Yes Abraham he can administer from the Chalice and Cup along with the priest

    Reply

  135. abraham
    Jan 06, 2016 @ 09:18:24

    Thank you Thirumeni for your response. Regards/Abraham.

    Reply

  136. Deepa
    Feb 21, 2016 @ 11:31:14

    Thirumeni,
    i wanted to get some knowdledge from you
    actually can a jacobite syrian christian girl marry a hindu guy without him getting converted to christian or vice versa,

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Feb 22, 2016 @ 05:51:41

      Dear Deepa
      Thank you for your question. If you are asking about a sacramental wedding in the Church, that is not possible in Christian Church. I am not sure of the Hindu custom. With my limited understanding a Hindu wedding is possible in a temple or at home. For civil marriage this will not be an issue.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  137. Mariam binu
    Feb 25, 2016 @ 14:34:09

    Dear thirumani,
    I am a Catholic girl .. my would be is from csi.. can we conduct betrothal in a Catholic church

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Feb 27, 2016 @ 03:34:15

      Dear Mariam
      Thank you for your question. I can not reply for sure to your question about the Catholic Church’s attitude to the matter. To the limits of my understanding, Catholic Canon doesn’t allow any marriage alliance between member of two Christian communities unless there is an agreement on that. To my knowledge Catholic Church has such agreement only with Jacobite community in India. Betrothal is part of the wedding ceremony and hence they may not allow it to happen with a CSI person in Catholic Church unless he decide to convert to Catholic Church.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  138. Lincy
    Mar 19, 2016 @ 16:21:41

    Dear Tirumeni,
    My question is based on attending the mass in our orthodox church. Does our church has put a kalpana that a women after her delivery cannot attend the Holy mass with the baby even after 60 days of her delivery?? The baby is not baptized so a mother with her baby is not allowed to attend the mass, this is what kerala people says

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Mar 20, 2016 @ 07:27:06

      No Lincy, there is no kalpana like that. A child born to a sacramentally wedded parents is a Christian. Baptism is 1) an affirmation of that fact and 2) a sealing against all evil-some tendencies. An Orthodox woman and her child is eligible to go to Church when she is physically fit any day after delivery.
      Blessed Easter
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  139. Linz Vallelil
    Jun 20, 2016 @ 19:05:59

    Respected Thirumeni,

    Trust you are doing well by the grace of God Almighty.

    I look at your blog for any questions I’ve on the Orthodox church. I’m getting married in August this year at the Parumala Church, Kerala. I’ve been hearing about certain requirements on the wedding rings. Could you please help me with the following questions
    1) In Orthodox, is there any restriction on the ring (like material etc) which the bride or the groom wears?
    2) In Orthodox, is there any restriction on having a stone on the bride’s wedding ring?

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Jun 20, 2016 @ 19:12:01

      Dear Linz
      No there is no restriction with regard to having Gold or platinum ring or having a stone in it
      Wish you God’s blessings on you and your would be to make a blessed family.
      Regards and prayers Thirumeni

      Reply

  140. Rachel
    Oct 23, 2016 @ 03:13:41

    Respected Thirumeni,

    Trust you are doing well by the grace of God Almighty.

    My question is , can second cousins get married ?
    We both are from marthoma .

    Looking forward for your reply
    Thank you

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Oct 24, 2016 @ 06:55:40

      Dear Rachel
      Thank you for your question. I am sorry, I can not answer your question as Marthoma Church may have a different position regarding the matter. In Orthodox Church it is not permissible.
      Regards and prayers
      Meletius Thirumeni

      Reply

  141. bishijohn
    Oct 24, 2016 @ 13:42:53

    Respected Thirumeni,
    I know this question has been asked to you a lot of times regarding if the bride can wear gowns on the marriage day in the orthodox churches. My marriage has been fixed and it’s taking place in Parumala Church on 15 jan2017. My parents told me that I cannot wear gown as it’s not being permitted in the holy church. It’s been my hearty wish to wear a gown on my wedding day so wanted to know if this rule is still intact. Can I still wear a gown? Thank you for your time.
    Yours Faithfully
    Bishi

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Oct 24, 2016 @ 14:29:52

      Yes Bishi, it is still in effect. This is only in some Churches and Parumala happens to be one among them. If you still want to wear a gown for your wedding change the venue. Irrespective of that, I wish you God’s blessings that the liturgy and related functions go well and help you make a wonderful loving family.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  142. Vishal
    Dec 13, 2016 @ 10:29:29

    Respected Thirumeni

    I have gone through this entire page. I am enquiring on something which has been answered umpteen amount of times and I apologize in advance for that. I am getting married on Sep 2017 at the Adoor church in Pathanamthitta disctrict. My fiance’s dream is to wear a gown for her wedding. I have read the kalpana sent out by the Parumala church putting out a blanket ban on gowns. Will this rule be applicable to other churches like Adoor or is it specific only to Parumala?

    Thank you for your time. Looking forward to your reply.

    Regards
    Vishal

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Dec 14, 2016 @ 01:15:00

      This circular from Parumala applies only to those weddings conducted at Parumala. Talk to the achen concerned and he may have no problem with brides wearing gown. Wish you a wonderful and blessed married life

      Reply

  143. Jinu
    Dec 26, 2016 @ 09:53:19

    Hi Thirumeni

    Praise the lord…………Hope you are well by the grace of God Almighty. Belated Happy Xmas…..Thirumeni I am having a question regarding wedding. I heard that it is not possible to marry first cousin. Kindly let me know the fact regarding the same…….as per the laws of sabha is it possible to marry first cousin…….heard that in other religion it is not banned….

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Dec 28, 2016 @ 15:36:46

      Dear Jinu
      Thank you for the greetings. Wish you and your dear ones a Blessed Nativity season.
      No, the Church doesn’t approve marriages between first cousins. Earlier days among certain Hindu casts, they used to have murapennu, or daughter of mother’s brother’s daughter system for marriage. In South Kerala CSI too this is followed. But not in Syrian communities.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  144. Mary
    Jan 09, 2017 @ 17:20:51

    Dear thirumeni
    I’m asking this on behalf of my friend.
    She is getting married soon and she wants to wear a gown for her wedding.But the achan told her gown idan patilla.It was her dream since her childhood to wear a beautiful white gown… Look like a princess.But she is all sad after hearing this.She is a very good girl and never dresses in an indecent way.If she dresses in a decent way is it possible for her to wear a gown for her wedding?

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Jan 11, 2017 @ 05:19:36

      The direction of the vicar is valid and need to be followed in that particular Church. If she still want to wear a gown, should go for another parish where the vicar may not have any objection. This is possible with any other Orthodox parish.

      Reply

  145. Nithin Mathew
    Feb 04, 2017 @ 16:26:59

    Dear thirumeni….

    I have a doubt is that we all read sleeha vayanappadi before holy evengeliyon.. is it compulsory to read sleeha on both sides of altar…

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Feb 04, 2017 @ 19:37:38

      Dear Nithin
      Thank you for your question. The general epistle is not mandatory before Holy Qurbana. But the epistle of Paul is mandatory for all gentile community which we include in.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  146. John Thundyil
    Feb 27, 2017 @ 10:55:29

    Dear Thirumeni,

    I hope you are doing well and in the best of health. I am avid reader of your posts but have not had too many questions to pose. I have one now and although I wonder the propriety of it, I wanted a closure to my question.

    So my question is , “Is it customary or mandatory or even prescribed by the church to have my first born child (either son or daughter) to have my father/ mother as a god father or god mother? I tend to be a free thinker, so was curious if my wife’s parents have a right too? If the parents on both sides are alive I am told the first born child need to have the guy’s father or mother as the godfather/mother.

    I think someone of your authority would make this decision easy for me .

    Sorry if my question was too naive. It would help if there was anything in the bible that I could refer to pertinent to my question.

    Hope I did not bother you Thirumeni.

    Thank you .

    John.

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Feb 28, 2017 @ 01:53:42

      Dear John
      Thank you for your question. First of all, no question is naive. Questions help people grow up both who asks and who replies. Now about the question: we live in a community which is male dominated and tradition enslaved. So some of the practices that were created by communities of that nature get general approval and will be considered as religiously valid. No, this practice of dad’s dad becoming the god-father of the first male child or god-mother of first girl child has no religious or otherwise basis. It is only a matter of choice.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  147. Raina
    May 02, 2017 @ 18:43:52

    Dear Thirumeni,

    Hope you are well. I need some guidance on a question regarding marriage. I know this will sound naive because I’m still very young. Recently a boy from Kerala I met and I really like claims that it is okay in the Orthodox church for us to marry. He happened to be my distant relative I have never met until now because I lived in the US my whole life. He is my second cousin once-removed (dad’s side of family) and we are the same age. Is this legally allowed in the Indian Orthodox Church? I have been holding back for the sake of my family and do what is right because I have to be wise about such matters. What is the best possible way to go about this situation? I want to make sure I go about this situation wisely so nobody gets hurt in the end or families break-up over this.

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      May 04, 2017 @ 11:05:06

      Dear Raina
      Thank you for the query. Well, your description of the person you are presenting is a bit confusing. You said first he is a distant relative. Then you said “second cousin once-removed”. I don’t understand what you mean by “once-removed”. To the Orthodox Church, marriage between second cousins is not permitted. But the question would be if distant relative, how distant he is.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

      • Raina
        May 04, 2017 @ 11:11:12

        Hi Thirumeni,

        Sorry I wasn’t being specific he is the son of my second-cousin. My dad and this boy’s grandfather are first-cousins. So I’m guessing that isn’t distant. And that isn’t allowed probably in the Orthodox church.

      • Yuhanon Meletius
        May 05, 2017 @ 06:05:22

        You are right, it makes third cousin. It is not technically allowed in Orthodox Church.
        Thirumeni

  148. Binil Jacob
    Jun 19, 2017 @ 05:16:49

    Dear Thirumeni,

    A few days back, I was debating with my colleague over evolution of human. On that discussion I got stuck up on a question that Why would have god created human?
    What god would have tried to achieve by doing that?

    Reply

    • Yuhanon Meletius
      Jun 20, 2017 @ 03:42:18

      Dear Binil
      Thank you for the comment and question. I wish you read some of the books of late lamented H.G. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthatheos Thirumeni’s books where he talks about these things. He always talks about God being Love. The epistle of 1 John clearly portrays the self and identity of God as, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). This is a new law as you may know distinct from former religions and philosophies. When God is Love, God can not be alone. Even the Holy Trinity itself is an expression of His Love. Love can not be self love. It is not an emotion rather an attitude and act of attitude. Love has to extend, go out to, extend to others. When God was (not a time but a state) alone, He had to have some thing to love. So He created the universe. But the universe itself can not stand alone. There should be some one to do things with God in the universe. So He created human. Love does not look for getting some thing back. It only gives. So God was not looking for some thing to get back when He created human, rather was looking for a partner to work with for the better and progress of the universe He created. That is why He made human in His own Image and Likeness and breathed breath in to his/her nostrils so that God will have a perfect partner to work with. This is what God wanted to achieve by creating human, a partner in his creative and saving work.
      Regards and prayers
      Thirumeni

      Reply

  149. Naina
    Oct 01, 2017 @ 17:13:03

    Hello Thirumeni,
    Hope you are doing well. I wanted to kindly ask a couple of questions since I was curious about this and I did a lot of research on this topic for one of my anthropology and theology classes. In the Indian Orthodox Church do sacramental traditions/guidelines of marriage align with the other Orthodox Churches (Greek, Antiochian, Ethiopian, Oriental, etc.)?
    For example, consanguinity/kinship is one of these controversial topics that is rarely addressed in the congregation because it is taboo. But according to these websites they clearly establish it and from my understanding marriage in the orthodox church with a collateral relative is allowed from seventh degree onwards. Second cousins are sixth degree separated and marriage between second cousins are prohibited but anything past that is technically considered to be okay. From your knowledge have you ever heard of any marriages in the Orthodox Church in Kerala or anywhere being conducted with collateral relatives? If so, do Orthodox Achens allow it or are they allowed to say no even thought canon law says otherwise?
    I was interested in because even one of my second cousins in Kerala married a far cousin of theirs in the Orthodox Church but I am not sure to what degree.
    While you were studying in Aramana, did they ever mention about a book called “The Rudder”? From my research, it is a book which had rules established by the founding fathers of the Orthodox Church. Do Orthodox Churches follow it to this day and create canon laws?
    I am curious about your opinion Thirumeni and can’t wait to hear back from you. You can’t really ask this kind of question to parents or to an Achen in person without being scolded for being curious. I am very sorry if my questions sound disrespectful to you. Also, why doesn’t our Indian Orthodox Sabha have a website uploaded for sacramental guidelines yet?
    Please check out the links I listed below:
    http://www.allsaints-stl.org/Marriage.html
    http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/03/prohibited-marriages-in-orthodox-church.html

    Reply

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