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The St. Thomas Christian
Encyclopaedia of India
Indian Church History Classics :
The Nazranies

 The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India
OLLUR Thrissur City India
680306


www.indianchristianity.com , kunjethy@gmail.com , +914872352468, +919846033713 

12 e-books on Christian India

www.indianchristianity.com celebrates its 12 years in existence by hosting the 12th e-book

The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India celebrates its Ruby Jubilee by publishing the 3rd Volume and by hosting 40 articles and papers on www.indianchristianity.com, www.nazraney.com, www.menachery.org
 


 


Prof. George Menachery, Chairman, Organising Committee
kunjethy@gmail.com 0091-9846033713 may be contacted


Dear scholars,

May I invite your attention to the attachment where details of the International Conference proposed to be held from 23-25 Feb. 2014 on megalithic burial sites of south India wsrt Kerala and possible Jewish Connection of these sites followed by a tour of megalithic monuments on the 26th are given. You are invited to participate. If you have suggestions for papers pl. share it with me.

-Prof. George Menachery, Chairman Organising Committee.

kunjethy@gmail.com 00919846033713



ISBN 81-87133-10-4
Mega Malayalam Book by Prof. George Menachery
Price Rs. 1200/- Pre publication price till March Rs. 800/- Send money to SARAS,[ South Asia Research Assistance Services],
OLLUR 680306 Kerala India pallikkalakal@gmail.com  www.indianchristianity.com

Mega Malayalam Book on the art, architecture and cultural heritage of the Thomas Christians. Full book printed on art paper in full colour. One thousand full colour photographs, sketches, plans, maps, epigraphic reproductions on Nazraney heritage. Published on Easter Day, 2014. Price Rs. 1200/- Pre-pub price until March 800/- only. Book your copy by remitting the amount to SARAS, Ollur, 680306. Or transfer amount to A/c SARAS , South Indian Bank, Holy Angel’s Road Branch, Ollur, 680306. A/c Name : SARAS A/c No. 0533073000000008 IFSC Code SIBL 0000533 SWIFT Code SOININ55

Wednesday Morning

More black smoke poured from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel at 11:40 a.m. March 13, though it is “no smoking day”,  indicating that the 115 cardinal electors failed to elect a pope on their second and third ballots.

The cardinals had voted once yesterday March 12 without electing a pope. According to the schedule published before the conclave, the cardinals were to take two votes in the morning of their first full day in the Sistine Chapel and return to their residence at 1 p.m. for lunch if the voting was unsuccessful. Now they will be back in the Cappella in the afternoon for two more votes today.

Romans, pilgrims, and tourists began arriving in St Peter's Square early today  morning in spite of the almost torrential rains, hoping to get a glimpse of history by watching for white smoke from the chapel chimney. "It's an incredible moment, but we want the rain to go away," said one chimney watcher.

And in the afternoon white smoke came out. He who entered the Conclave as Cardinal has come out in the white cassock. Except for the much expected election of Cardinal Ratzinger always a dark horse had won. And South America with more than a third of the world Catholic population surely deserved it and as I earlier remarked it was a football match between Brazil and Argentina and Argentina won. If any place needs a counter-reformation, even more than Africa, it was South America, and the Cardinals have chosen well. And now the South American dictators have reason to shiver in their shoes, as JPII's election made Eastern Europe tremble and burst. By choosing the name Francesco he has shot down two birds at one shot: Francis of Assisi is the beloved of Italy and the new Pope's mode of operation resembles the saint's. And the veneration for the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier could be hidden in the choice, and some regard for India and the East too.

The evening was even colder than Tuesday and the rains were almost incessant. But an even greater crowd waited patiently for the smoke, black or if luck could have it, white. The slogan shouting and occasional prayers gave some relief. But the real relief was the bird which came and perched for such a long time on the cap of the smoke-stack. Probably it was a little warm as the tube was connected to the stoves below in the Sistine Chapel. Anyway the Albatross like vision of the bird gave the rain hoisting crowd something to rest their eyes on. An old fashioned journalist like me thought of the bird as the Holy Ghost whispering the necessary inspiration to the befuddled Cardinals through the thin pipe, and so I was sure it would be white smoke this time. And wnen a small, infinitesimally small, row of lights was switched on some fifteen minutes before the smoke show I was certain the Cardinals had come to a decision. Soon, not so soon, followed the Habemus Papam which was followed by the Pope’s appearance on the central balcony which was now adorned with the papal maroon? tapesties.

Black Smoke for the first time in 2013

After a short siesta I started back to the Piezza San Petro by about 4 p m. When I reached the Square the huge screens installed there were showing the oathtaking of the Cardinals in the Sistine after their colourful procession to the Sistine form the Pauline chapel, gliding two by two along the Scala Regia. Although Cardinal Alencherry is third in the lists of Electors he was seen taking the oath as 87th or 88th and Cardinal Thottunkal followed after three or four other Cardinals in the oath taking. The Vatican spokesan,  Federico Lombardi, who was present for the swearing in said with a smile “They were all there. We counted”.

Soon after that the papal master of ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini, pronounced the words “extra omnes” that is “Everyone Out”. A large number of attendants, clergymen, and Vatican officials were seen trooping out of the huge wooden door. Then he closed the doors with a loud click and locked. The Con – Clave had begun. They wrote the name of their candidate on rectangular pieces of paper and tipped them into a flying-saucer-shaped urn, to be counted by hand and recorded by three cardinals chosen by lot

Then the waiting of the crowd began. The day was long, rainy, and very cold. But the crowd only increased as time went on. As it grew dark and the Sistine smoke stack became invisible the giant screens captured it for all to see. But for the flying of birds near the chimney which was seen on the screen there was little else going. The the lights on the Basilica and the Palace came on step by step. Finally it was a wonderful sight. By seven of the clock the Square must have contained thousands upn thousands of pilgrims, tourists, and tradition loving Romans. At 7.41 the tube began to spew black smoke, not like the wisps of smoke in past conclaves, but huge billows of really black smoke thanks to the second electronic stove this time and the chemicals used for black smoke: The Vatican now uses a mixture of potassium perchlorate, anthracene and sulphur to produce black smoke and potassium chlorate, lactose and rosin for white, the Vatican says on its website. I still remember the straw and coal pieces or pitch I took and put in my coat pocket as souvenirs from near the single stove in 1978 when a few of us were allowed to see Area Conclava. The new arrangements makes it certain that black smoke is black and white smoke white, and you need not listen to the huge Vatican bell Kanchenone or other Roman church bells to make sure a new Pope has been elected.

As the whole periphery of the Bernini colonnade was barricaded the crowd found it difficult to go out of the Square, and many old priests and elderly nuns even were found jumping the barricades, with unfortunate results sometimes. Hope a few openings will be left in the coming days.

The Mass for the Election of the Pope

Missa Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice (Mass for the Election of a Roman Pontiff) 

So Tuesday has dawned the 12th of March, the day the Conclave starts. But before the Cardinals enter the Conclave, today early in the morning at 7 am, they go to occupy their room for the Conclave duration in St. Martha's House ( many reporters call it a hotel, of course it has 3-star amenities in 100 odd suites and more than a dozen single rooms, but it was ordered by John Paul II as a residence for those coming with official appointments with the Pope and for Cardinals during the election, esp. because of the cramped accommodation in the Sistine area, experienced by John Paul himself as Cardinal during the two elections of 1978) which each has drawn in Saturday's lot. From there they proceeded to the Basilica at around 9.30 for the mass for the election of the Pope. I have just rushed out of the Basilica after Cardinal Sodano’s sermon during the mass. The ceremonies began at around 9.30 with the rosary followed by various prayers and ceremonies given in the special liturgical palmphlet distributed to all as is the custom. Last time in 1978 I could not attend all these pre-mass prayers and ceremonies because as one of the fourteen journalists out of 1300 allowed to photograph the event I was still waiting outside the Basilica side entrance for Cardinal Parecattil to arrive for the mass whom I wanted to photograph, and he was the very last to come. So I entered the Basilica only after the preliminary ceremonies. But this time I took my seats provided for the press up front in the Basilica just behind the 115 princes of the Church - in 1978 only we 14 were given such seats, if I remember right early enough so that I could witness and enjoy all the pomp and glory of the opening of the Solemn Mass, this time by Cardinal Sodano – a non electorunlike the last time in 2005 when Cardinal Ratzinger an elector himself said the Mass and gave the sermon – and the sermon also by Sodana. But entering the Basilica late last time I was fortunate catch the latecoming Cardinal Woijtiw on my Minolta  which was the last picture of John Paul II as Cardinal and one of his rarest  preconclave photos (see www.indianchristianity.com/html/menachery/html/GeorgeMenachery.htm )

The beautiful procession of the cardinals to the altar (which already had its six lighted candles), following the sleeba cross flanked by two candles and all the red of the cardinals and the huge crowd of Archbishops, Bishops, Monsignori, Priests, nuns, lay men and colourfully dressed women was a sight to see. I especially noticed with delight a large number of Indian Cardinals kissing the Bible (I think) one by one before the Mass. Especially Cardinal Alenchery who is always No. 3 of the electors by virtue of his alphabetical primacy, and Cardinal Thottunkal ( the second Thottungal to be Bishop I think after Clemens) though at the end of the lists as T is towards the end prominent in all assemblies because of his head dress and because he is the youngest Cardinal Elector. As I am typing from a portal in the media center after rushing out of the Basilica on a typewriter with Italian keyboard and typing in a hurry there will be many mistakes. Hope to send a better message from my room later.Bye for now. (I just discovered the apostrophe and now I shall change all the commas used instead till now). (The American journalist next to me was telling me that she thought that there was no apostrophe for the Italians. OK)

The Cardinals go to Martha's at around 12 and return to the Pauline chapel to begin the precession into the Sistine for prayers, meditation by the Maltese non-elector Cardinal Prosper GRECH and for the oath of secrecy followed by the first vote of the conclave this very evening. At around 5 pm the first smoke will come out, probably black. In any case I want to see that and before that let me take a bite of something from the menu which has a lot of things I can't understand at the Media Canteen.

Possible Popes

I do not want to pick any for the future papacy. First of all almost all prophecies in the past have proven wrong. In most cases, except perhaps in the case of Cardinal Ratzinger, the Italian proverb has proved right: He who enters the Conclave Pope comes out Cardinal. We saw this happening again and again, the last time in 1978 Cardinal Siri was believed sure to be elected Pope and also Cardinal Benelli but the pundits were proved wrong by the reality. This time around, as often in the past, the Cardinal electors are supposed to be looking for "personal holiness and a keen mind combined with a global vision, a capacity to evangelize, and the ability to govern “ in the would be pope.

And yet it would be unnatural for a Vatican – Watcher to keep mum about the matter. And hence here we go:

The pundits and the punters have given us many names. Some of the names suggested have ceased to have buyers any more. A few new names have taken the place of some of the old papabili. The following is only some musings on the topic, based on watching the Vatican for well nigh 35 years and having researched the ways of the Church for four decades, but let me say it again this is mostly only a media game to keep the suspense alive, because the final winner might well be a dark horse.

One of the very first who rose into first place as the papal contender both according to the media and the punters was Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, of Ghana. The exhortations for an African Pope in modern times found Turkson the fittest papabile. But two things have slightly marred his prospects. One: a speech he made depicting muslims not in the best of colours. Two: His remark on the day after benedict’s resignation announcement in which he said he is ready to be pope if God so wished. This type of self projection has been looked down upon by cardinals for a long time and I pointed out this on the same day. In fact Cardinal Siriri’s bright prospects were dimmed because he gave a press conference the day before a previous Conclave.

From the English speaking world and the Commonwealth countries there are half a dozen papabili: From North America we have Cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York, Sean O’Malley of Boston and Donald Wuerl of Washington from the USA and Cardinal Marc  Ouellet from Canada. However the front runners as of today are Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan – previously of Venice- of Italy and Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Brazil. Others perceived as having a chance are Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary, Cardinal Sandri (now heading the Oriental Congregation) from Argentina, and Cardinal Tagle of Philippines. Cardinals from Sri Lanka, Austria are also among those tipped. As i have mentioned on my site and elsewhere India’s Oswald Gracias might be discerned as the most suitable, perhaps.Each Journalist I question give a different name depending upon his own perceptions, wish list, and nationality.

Whatever might be the prophecies as things stand only the third or fourth day of the Conclave can  give us a definite answer.

SUNDAY MORNING

As I was saying, when I went into the Sistine Chapel on Saturday I had wanted to compare the arrangements in the Cappella now with that of 35 years back when John Paul Second was elected. Indeed the situation was entirely different. First of all now the transferring of the Chapel and adjoining halls was only at the initial stages. In 1978 I visited the Area Conclave when all the changes were already in place. Because the Cardinals were staying this time in the St. Martha’s House (Domus Sanctae Marthae), a modern 3 star quality residence building near St. Peter’s completed by John Paul II in 1996 to avoid the inconveniences and hardships of the Cardinals, all forced to stay during previous Conclaves in the little makeshift cubicles in the halls adjoining the Chapel, the only place this time to visit was the Chapel itself. Last time our tour took a long time as we scrutinised the beds, the dining arrangements, the sanitary sections for the electors. Then I remember to have pointed out to some of the leading world pressmen that every table in the dining area had containers with India’s own pepper. Since the tour this time was quite short, though I was able tospend an hour in the Chapel area, more Journalists were allowed to visit this time. Somehow the sense of wonder that was with all the media men allowed to visit was lacking this time, perhaps because all the secrets of the secret Conclave were coming out in the media every day and at length and with lots of graphics and videos.

Sunday was a day of rest, with even the energetic Fr. Francisco Lombardy s.j. deciding not to give one of his lengthy briefings. The Cardinals were free to visit their titular churches in Rome and to say the Mass and pray. Most of them did so while I went to the papal summer resort where I had an appointment with an ecclesiastic acquaintance in Castel Gandolfo which I had visited last Sunday also. The Alba lakeshore is a magnet that no one who has gone there once could resist, with its cycles, cats, birds, calm, chill, and Shanthi, and of course the rustic Tratorias and Pizzerias.

The Sistine Chimney and the Two Stoves Installed

Early in the morning of Saturday 9th March, 2013 when I was heading towards the Media Centre of the Vatican Press Office (catering to the 4000 odd Temporarily accredited media persons) for perhaps the final briefing session before the Conclave by Frederico Lombardi and his efficient team, situated between the first left columns of Bernini, I looked up once again to see whether the chimney has been erected on top of the Sistine Chapel to snake out black and white smoke to indicate non-election or election of a new Pope as the case may be. Yesterday even late in the evening it was not there. In 1978 I went up to the top of the Chapel when the thin pipe had just been installed and in spite of the policemen guarding the pipe was able to just touch the historic tube to the furious reaction of the arm of the law which I have described in my “Vatican Adventure and Roman Holiday”. Click here for the whole story: www.indianchristianity.com/html/menachery/html/GeorgeMenachery.htm  But now I found the Vatican firefighters , I could count at least three of them, hard at work to install the world attention grabbing Chimney. I took a few photographs and was pleased to find Reuters’ photographers just in front of me trying different angles to get the best pic. In case my own pictures turn out not so  good  I could always steal theirs after one or two days, or was it ethical to do so. I checked to see whether my name was there among the first lot of Journalista selected to visit the Conclave Area, but did not find it in the list. But soon Father Lombardi announced that those who still wanted to make that visit could go to the right fountain in front of the Basilica (that is Bernini’s fountain for you) where arrangements would be made to take the Media personnel to the Sistine, though the Sistine was closed to visitors as of Tuesday noon.

I straight away gathered my things together and was about to get up and don my overcoat (today, unlike yesterday, there were no rains) when an Italian Journalist and her Cameraman asked me for my Portal seat if I were leaving.  I gladly gave them my seat and went like an arrow to Bernini’s fountain. Actually the media briefings were getting a little boring as there was mighty little to announce because the media made everything known much before the briefing. Visiting the Chapel being prepared for the Cardinal Electors was much higher up on my agenda. Actually I wanted to compare the present arrangements with the 1978 Conclave Area arrangements which were allowed to be visited by a team of only 60 journalists (out of 1300) which number fortunately had included the present writer also.

At the fountain I met a young person with the Accreditation Card hanging from his neck. So I asked him “Is this the  rendezvous”, and he said yes.  He was from Chicago and his name was John Paul. I said “Oh!”. He explained that when John Paul II had come to Chicago in 1980 his parents were in the audience. His mother was expecting then. She made a vow then if the child was a boy they would call him John Paul. And he was the outcome. At that time the gentle Bruno from Sala Stampa appeared from behind and said, “So, Prof. Menachery, you want to come with us to the Chapel”. It seems he had arranged a special tour for some vvips I understood. I said I would love to. And we proceeded to the Sistine, climbing the scores of steps of the Stairs of the Kings. I do not remember whether in 1978 we had taken the same steps. But then at forty climbing those steps did not make much of an impression, but now at 75 it really felt like climbing the Everest. We saw the many workmen transferring the Chapel to suit the needs of the election. Restorers, electricians, mechanics, carpenters, seamstresses, assemblers, electronic technicians and other labourers from various areas of competence suddenly have replaced the hundreds of tourists who visit the Sistine Chapel every day (20,000 tourists per day in summer to be exact). I took some photos of the levelling of the floor – for three reasons: to provide a level surface for the chairs (115 cherry wood chairs) of the electors, for them to walk to the altar to vote and to work. Secondly to conceal the electronic devices to prevent the use of mobiles and hidden cameras, and also to protect the wonderful floor of the Sistine. I also photographed the two stoves. This time there are two: one for burning the ballots of the cardinals – for this the old stove cast in 1938 (I remember this because I was born in that year) used for the election of five popes already is used, which has the popes’ names etched on it as I had noticed in 1978. Now it has the names of  Pius XII elected in 1939 to that of  Benedict XVI (2005). The modern one, equipped with an electronic device, will add the chemicals to produce the black or white smoke indicating the result of the voting until the election occurs. The second stove has a key, a red start button and seven tiny temperature indicator lights. Flares will be electronically ignited inside it to send out either white or black smoke. I finally had one more look at the great Last Judgement of Michelangelo under which the cardinals will stand to put their ballots into the paten and then slide it into the chalice.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias for Pope

 I propose Cardinal Oswald Gracias for Pope. Two weeks back I would not have made such a, perhaps. surprising statement. Then I was thinking that one of the media’s proposed papabili or a punters’ choice would be and should be elected Pope without much ado. But having arrived in Rome on the 25th of February and having watched with concern almost bordering on consternation the chaos and confusion caused also by the media revelations each and every day and the Cardinals’ own responses and reactions in public and in private I have been forced to suggest an entirely new name for the meditation of the electors.. My experiences in Rome during papal elections and other occasions and my four decades long research into and study of the Church emboldens me to make this suggestion. Cardinal Gracias who considers himself a Goan Catholic, comes from “non-aligned” and generally independent thinking India, a Commonwealth country, a leader of the third world, and a country which still provides a large number of religious and priestly vocations, with an almost self-dependent Church, and active in all mission fields globally. Cardinal Gracias is known to be impartial, highly knowledgable,  an excellent leader, heading with demonstrated skill in holding together a Catholic community divided by heterogenous groups of rites, castes, tribes, languages, and regions in a country whose population is as large as the world Catholic population. He heads one of the largest Archdioceses in the world, is the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, and was elected FABC Secretary General. His good record in the fields of ecumenism and dialogue has been much appreciated.  Of course I am carrying coal to Newcastle as the Cardinals surely know their man. He is a man for all seasons and the man for our own turbulent and uncertain times.

--Chev. Prof. George Menachery, Chief Editor: Christian Encyclopaedia of India, a temporarily accredited journalist in the Vatican.   

 

 

Conclave must not be Pre-poned - Prof. Menachery

If, as is reported, the election process and the Conclave is preponed and the Conclave meets before the end of the stipulated fifteen days after the Chair becomes vacant it will be a great injustice done to the office of the Pope. Because many of the cardinals -ninety in fact - were named by Benedict XVI in five consistories dated March 24 2006 (15), November 24 2007 (23), November 2010 (24), February 18 2012 (22), and November 24 2012 (6) all of them in the past less than seven years. Many became cardinals only in the near past, 52 have been cardinals only for less than three years. The nine days of the novendials used to provide the cardinals the only opportunity to know each other, to assess each other, and to elect the most suitable as Pope. If the cardinals come for the retirement audience of Pope Benedict XVI and start the Conclave soon after, most will lack the opportunity to know the possible candidates intimately, and the election will be only a farce. The election of the Pope must be deemed an important matter at least by the cardinals and they must set apart sufficient time to proceed without haste and estimate each candidate impartially and in one's own light, notwithstanding the help and guidance of the Holy Ghost. I would like this matter be brought to the attention of each voter before a decision is taken on this important matter.  And another thing: These rules for the election of the Supreme Pontiff were promulgated by Popes down the centuries, with Pope Paul VI making some amendments in 1967, 1970, and 1975; Pope John Paul II in 1996; and Pope Benedict in his Motu Proprio of June 11, 2007. It may not look appropriate for Pope Benedict XVI to script an Apostolic Letter on this important matter after he has declared the date of his abdication and in a sense at present heading only a lameduck curia.

Prof. George Menachery

Award for church historian Menachery

Press Trust of India / Thrissur May 08, 2012, 21:35
Prof George Menachery, considered an authority on Christianity in India, has been selected for the Bishop Francis Vazhappilli memorial award for his contrbutions to church studies.
The award, instituted by Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours here to recognize outstanding contributions in the field of the history of Christianity in India, carries a purse of Rs 25,000, citation and memento.
It will be presented to Menachery at the commemorative function on the 70th death anniversary of Bishop Francis Vazhappilly on May 12. Vazhappilly was the first Bishop of Thrissur Diocese and also the founder of the Basilica.
Menacherry was selected for the award by a panel of church historians headed by Basilica Rector Rev. Louis Edakkalathur, a press release issued by the Basilica said.
He had edited and produced "The St. Thomas Christian Enyclopaedia Of India", acclaimed as the first Christian Encyclopaedia based on a particular country.
He has to his credit a large number of publications, research papers, articles, radio talks and TV programmes. His research activities and lectures have taken him to more than 25 countries in four continents.

 

India's George Alencherry among 22 new cardinals inducted by Pope
 


 


 



Pope Benedict, putting his mark on his Church's future, on Saturday inducted 22 men including India's George Alencherry into the exclusive group of cardinals who will one day elect one of their own to succeed him as leader of the world's 1.3 billion Roman Catholics.

Among the most prominent in the group is New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is already being touted by some Vatican experts as a possible future candidate to become the first American pope.

Benedict, who turns 85 in April elevated the men to the highest Church rank below him at a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica known as a consistory.

"Cardinals are entrusted with the service of love: love for God, love for his Church, an absolute and unconditional love for his brothers and sisters, even unto shedding their blood, if necessary (in defence of the faith)," the pope told the new cardinals before giving them their rings and red birettas, or hats.

"Furthermore, they are asked to serve the Church with love and vigour, with the transparency and wisdom of teachers, with the energy and strength of shepherds, with the fidelity and courage of martyrs," he said.

The new cardinals are from the United States, Hong Kong, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, India, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium, and Malta.

 

Eighteen of them are aged under 80 and thus will be eligible to enter the secret conclave to elect the next pope from among their own ranks.

Twelve of those are Europeans, bringing the number of "cardinal electors" from the continent to 67 out of 125.

With the new appointments, Benedict, who was elected in a secret conclave in 2005, has now named more than half the cardinal electors. The others were named by his predecessor John Paul.

Compared to the 67 "cardinal electors" from Europe, Latin America now has 22, North America has 15, Africa has 11, Asia has nine and Oceania has one.

Cardinals are the pope's closest collaborators in the Vatican and around the world. They lead major archdioceses and run key Vatican departments that help the pope decide Church policy and doctrine that can affect the lives of Catholics worldwide.

FIRST, BE MEN OF RELIGION, POPE TELLS NEW CARDINALS

At the ceremony, the pope told the new cardinals that while they will cooperate closely with him in "the delicate task" of governing the worldwide Church, they must first and foremost be men of religion.

"May your mission in the Church and the world always be 'in Christ' alone, responding to his logic and not that of the world, and may it be illumined by faith and animated by charity which comes to us from the glorious Cross of the Lord," he said.

Benedict also asked for prayers so that he can guide the Church "with a firm and humble hand".

Numerically, at least, the pope has increased the chances that the next pontiff will be a conservative European but there have been surprises in past conclaves.

The pope is a conservative on matters of faith and sexual morals such as birth control, homosexuality and the ban on women priests. Each time he names cardinals he puts his stamp on Roman Catholicism's future by choosing men who share his views.

Besides Dolan, other prominent new cardinals are John Tong Hon, archbishop of Hong Kong, and Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin in the pope's native Germany.

Seven of new "cardinal electors" under the age of 80 are Italian - six of them members of the Vatican's central administration and the other the archbishop of Florence.

Popes usually reign for life but in a book last year, Benedict said he would not hesitate to become the first pontiff to resign willingly in more than 700 years if he felt himself no longer able, "physically, psychologically and spiritually", to run the Catholic Church.

Several popes in recent history, including the late Pope John Paul, considered resigning for health reasons, but none did so.

The last pope to resign willingly was Celestine V in 1294 after reigning for only five months. Gregory XII reluctantly abdicated in 1415 to end a dispute with a rival claimant to the Holy See.

The Vatican says the pope's health is good but he needs to conserve his strength. Last October he started using a mobile platform which aides use to wheel him up the central aisle of St Peter's Basilica.

Kerala elated as Alencherry ordained cardinal 

Catholics, and the people at large,  in Kerala were elated as Mar George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church, was on Saturday ordained a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Many of the Catholics, who form 50 per cent of the over seven million Christians in Kerala, were glued to the live coverage from the Vatican as Alencherry was ordained by the Pope along with 21 other bishops from various countries.

Alencherry, 66, becomes the youngest cardinal in the country and the fourth Keralite to be ordained.


Cardinal Mar George Alencherry (right) helps Monsignor Kuriakose Bharanikulangara with the episcopal sash after announcing his appointment as the first bishop of new Faridabad diocese, in Kochi on Tuesday. — DC

Cardinal clears the air
Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday created a new diocese of Faridabad for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and appointed Monsignor Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, 53, the deputy nuncio of Vatican in Germany, as its first bishop.

The announcement was made simultaneously in Vatican and in Kochi. Mar Bharanikulangara will have the title of archbishop as well.
Making the announcement at Mount St Thomas, Kochi, the seat of the Syro-Malabar Church, Cardinal Mar George Alencherry said the new diocese covers the region of National Capital Territory of Delhi and states of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu Kashmir and the Gautambudhanagar and Ghaziabad districts of UP.

The new diocese will look after the spiritual needs of nearly one lakh Syro-Malabar catholics. With this, the number of dioceses of the church has gone up to 30, including the 10 outside Kerala.

The Faridabad diocese will have multiple jurisdiction like the Kalyan diocese of the Church (Other 8 dioceses outside Kerala come under the territorial jurisdiction of Latin Catholic dioceses).

Mar Bharanikulangara, born to Alia and late B.V. Antony on February 1, 1959 at Karippassery in the archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, has served as a diplomat of the Vatican in the last 18 years, including its nunciatures in the UN, Iraq, Jordan, Venezuela, Republic of Congo and Gibon.
 

Muziris letter to  Defence Minister AK Antony


Respeced Minister for Defence,

Sir,

Kindly go through the two attachments.Your Excellency,It would be great , both for India and Kerala, if a Muziris Voyage along the lines of the First century voyages from and to the Red Sea Ports of Berinice, Aden- and Socotra - which were frequent in the early centuries - could be re enacted as suggested by the KeralaHistory Association headed by the venerable Justice V R Krishna Iyer. Such a trip would get immense world media attention and will go a long way to promote Tourism in the country and to project a glorious image of India's and Kerala's culture and achievements in the early centuries BCE and ACE. The Indian Navy could play a pivotal role in such a trip as was played by the Omani Navy in the voyageof the 'Jewel of Muscat'.Entreating your good selves and the Navy to kindly take immediate and effectivesteps in the matter, and to include the necessary funds in the forth coming budget itsef for 1. a feasibility study, 2. for a Project Report, 3. for the construction of a Sail Ship at Beypore or elsewhere, and 4. for the training of a dedicated team of sailors and navigators, and 5. to form a team of researcheras for the purpose.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Prof. George Menachery, West Bazaar, Ollur, Trichur District, Kerala 6803060091 98460337130091 487 235 43980091 487 235 2468kunjethy@gmail.com,kunjethy@yahoo.com

Muziris Red Sea Voyage

 

Re-enact Muziris voyages, KHA tells Navy
K.A. MARTIN & S. ANANDAN
 (THE HINDU 21/I/12)


Defence Ministry told to take the lead in rebuilding such a vessel at Beypore
The Kerala History Association (KHA) headed by jurist V.R. Krishna Iyer has urged the Indian Navy to join hands with the Departments of Cultural Affairs and Tourism to re-enact the voyages of ancient trade vessels from the ancient port of Muziris to the Red Sea around 2000 years ago.
In a key resolution, passed early this month, the association asked the Union Defence Ministry to take the lead in rebuilding such a cargo vessel at Beypore, a historical boatbuilding hub in northern Kerala renowned for its esoteric technology adept at building ‘urus' [cargo sail yachts] using locally available timber and coir.
The association felt that recreating a cargo vessel that plied the seas from Muziris to link ports in the Red Sea on the Egyptian and the Yemeni coasts would highlight the strong historical links between the two important regions of the world besides bringing to the world's attention their cultural exchanges.
Historian K.N. Panikkar endorsed the idea when he told The Hindu on Friday that it would be good if the Navy undertook such a mission.
He recalled that such efforts had been made in other parts of the world, including in the recreation of journeys along the old Silk Route.
It must have taken 40 days to reach Muziris from Egypt by sea in the olden times, said George Menacherry, a church historian, who piloted the resolution at the association's meeting.
He, however, added that the ‘Jewel of Muscat,' a replica of the late first-millennium trading vessel that sailed around the world jointly created by the Sultanate of Oman and the Government of Singapore, had shown that the journey would take just 27 days now.
Approached for its comments, the Navy said although it had not received the proposal yet, it would study the merits of the project before taking a call on that.
“While the Navy has always taken a keen interest in understanding, conserving, and contributing to build upon the rich maritime history that India boasts, collaboration in such ventures require decision at the highest-level,” said Navy sources.
In the State, the Navy has earlier assisted the archaeological excavation team at Pattanam (where vestiges of Kerala's trade with the Mediterranean countries were exhumed) by sending its deep-sea divers to conduct underwater surveys.
It sustains a chair on maritime history at Calicut University and the local chapter of the Maritime History Society is headed by the Southern Naval Command's Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST).
When the ‘Jewel of Muscat', currently installed as a maritime history museum in Singapore after a historical sail along the ancient Middle East and the Far East, was constructed in Oman on the lines of a shipwrecked ninth-century cargo vessel, uru-builders of Beypore were called in to build it.
Built without nails or screws and with planks sewn together using coconut fibres, the sail yacht was made by over a dozen carpenters and rope-makers from Beypore.
“There was a time when the boatbuilding industry here had its hands full, building about 60 urus simultaneously. Even now, they build about six to seven urus for foreign customers who use them for tourism promotion. They recently constructed one for a French customer. Exponents of the esoteric technology of uru-making are not many now. But still there are a few and scores of workers are employed by them to carry out the job. They can create mock-ups of ancient ships as well,” said M.P. Padmanabhan, INTUC national leader and an authority on the subject.

 

HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE GOVT. SUBSIDY

Andhra Pradesh Govt. Minority Welfare Dept. Scheme &  Govt. Order

 High Court Verdict Setting aside objections to Pilgrimage Subsidy

Letter to the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Kerala

Prof. George Menachery

From
Chev. Prof. George Menachery
Chief Editor St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India
Member Archdiocesan Pastoral Council
Member Of the Governing Body Christian Chair, Calicut University
Pallinada
Ollur Kerala 680306
09846033713, 04872352468, 04872354398
kunjethy@gmail.com,kunjethy@yahoo.com
www.indianchristianity.com,www.nazraney.com.www.menachery.org

To
Sri Oommen Chandy
Honb'le Chief Minister of Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram

Respected Sir,
We the representatives of the Nazraney Maha Kudumbayogam (Myself as President) had visited you at your residence and submitted a petition signed by the President, Secretary, Office Secretary, and Fr. K. M. George of the Pazhaya Seminary humbly requesting you to kindly grant a State subsidy to the Holy Land pilgrims from Kerala. At that time you had kindly consented to consider the the also the desire for setting up a St. Thomas University, to make arrangements for the protection and conservation of ancient Christian monuments, and to consider the Holy LandPilgrimage subsidy. However when you asked for details of such subsidies granted by other South Indian States we were unable to provide the details during such a short interview.

I am herewith sending the copy of the AP Government Order granting Holy Land Pilgrimage Subsidy to the tune of Rs. 20,000/- per pilgrim.The detailed GO also lays down conditions for tour operators and parameters for the aselection of pilgrims. In the first year AP Govt. had set aside an amount of Rs. Two Crores for the purpose to subsidise the pilgrimage of 1000 pilgrims.

This and the other exemplary schemes of the AP Minorities Development Finance Department are also enclosed.whichcould perhaps be followed by your honourable Goverment also.

Also enclosed is the Court Judgement of the AP High Court setting aside all objections raised by interested parties against the granting of the said subsidy.

We had also met in Trivandrum other ministers and legislators, including Sarvasri K. M. Mani, T.M. Jacob, P.J.Joseph, K.C. Joseph, Abdl Rabb, and the MLAs C.F.Thomas, Mons Joseph, Ravindranath, M. P. Vincent and C. who all expressed their support and goodwill for all these efforts, and many had also asked for copies of the AP GO which I was able to procure from the AP Ministry in Hyderabad recently.

Awaiting your government,s kind and favorable response and action,
Yours faithfully,
Prof. George Menachery.

Copy to: Hon'bleMinister Sri K. M. Mani
Sri Abdul Rubb
Sri. T. M. Jacob
Sri P. J. Joseph
Sri K. C. Joseph

Copies also to Sri P. C.George
C. F. Thomas
Mons Joseph
Prof. Ravindranath
M. P. Vincent
& Other Hon’ble Minsters and Legislators we could not meet on that occasion.

Copy of letters recd. From AP with copies of AP GO on Subsidy to Holy Land Pilgrims and High Court Order setting aside all objections to proceeding with the Holy Land Pilgrimage Subsidies and also Summary of Schemes of the AP Govt. Minorities Welfare Finance Corporation and AP Govt Minorities Welfare Department.

Dear Prof.George Menachary,

Just a short note to send you the attached GO concerning the Holy Land
Pilgrimage for Christians of Andhra Pradesh.

All the best for your efforts to get similar benefits to the
Christians in Kerala.

With warmest regards,

Dr.Jetti A.Oliver

JAO/kbm

Dear Prof. George Menachery,

Hope you had a safe travel back home. This note is to send you the
attached copy of the judgment of the AP High Court lifting the ban on
pilgrimage of Christians to the Holy Land duly sponsored by the
Minority Welfare Department of the Govt. of A.P0. Attached also are
a few paper clippings as desired.

With warmest regards,

Dr.Jetti A.Oliver

JAO/kbm

Download  Affidavit - High Court Hyderabad

Download  Abstract Govt of Andhrapradesh

Download  News - paper

Copy of the petition personally handed over to your good selves at the Chief Minister’s residence, Trivandrum by the Mar Thoma Nazraney Maha Kudumbayogam:

Petition made by the delegates empowered by the extraordinary conference of the St. Thomas Maha Kudumbayogam and invited scholars held at Kuruvilangad on 3rd July, 2011 to the Hon’bleChief Minister of Kerala Sri Oommen Chandy Esq.:, Thiruvananthapuram.

Hon’ble Chief Minister, Sir,

We the delegates of the St. Thomas Maha Kudumbayogam and representatives of the scholars and cultural activists of the various Nazraney Christian Denominations take this opportunity to bring to your attention the incomparable record of service rendered by these Thomas Christian Communities to the people of Kerala in the fields of culture, education, and social service and to request you and your respected Government to kindly take the initiative to implement and realise the following :

1. To establish a University in the name of St. Thomas the Apostle of Christ who was the founder of the Christian Faith adhered to by the lakhs and lakhs of members of the Syro Malabar Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Jacobite Syrian Church, the Mar Thoma Church, the Syro Malankara Church, the Chaldean Church and many other Churches and denominations of Kerala, on the pattern of the Sri Sankara Sanskrit University of Kalady or the Mahathma Gandhi University of Kottayam.

2. To allow a pilgrim grant and/or subsidy to all Christians of Kerala, irrespective of sect or denomination or rite desirous of making a Pilgrimage to the places associated with Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament and the Venerable Fathers of the Old Testament in the Holy Land to promote spirituality and true religious fervour.

3. To instruct the Departments of Archaeology and Tourism to protect, conserve, and popularise all the different Jewish and Christian Monuments in the State, including the Megalithic monuments..

Yours faithfully,
1. Rev. Dr. K.M. George., Old Seminary, Kottayam
2. Chev. Prof. George Menachery, Historian, Trhrissur, President
3.Abram Ben Hur, General Secretary, St. Thomas Maha Kudumba Yogam, Archadeacon Centre, Pakalomattom P. O., Kuruvilangad, Kottayam.
4.Jacob Thomas Edassery, Kuravilangad.
5.Prof. Dr. Tarsis Joseph, Kuravilangad.

CHURCH HISTORY ASSOCIATION OF INDIA

     15th TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE AND PLATINUM JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS

Hyderabad 2011

Inauguration of the 15th Triennial Conference of CHAI, the Church History Association of India at Jeevan Jyothi CRI Andhra Pradesh Centre by the Cultural Secretary of the Govt. of AP Dr. Chellappa IAS presided over by Dr. Sen IPS DGP and Bishop Rajaratnam of Medak. In the picture (l to r) are Prof. George Menachery (Secretary General CHAI), Dr. Oberland Snaitang (President),  Dr. George Oommen (Dehra Dun), Dr. Jos Kalappura (Patna), Dr. Francis Thonippara (President DVK, Bangalore) and Prof. Agnes DeSa (Bombay Jt. Secretary) (6th Oct)

 

 

Inauguration of the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of CHAI  the Church History Association of India at the Jubilee Hall of the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh by Sri Francisco Sardhanha, former speaker and Chief Minister of Goa and at present MP and Chairman of the Plarliamentary Estimates Committee by releasing the 1000 page Platinum Jubilee Volume of CHAI "Christian Heritage of India". Others  in the picture are Sebastian Edathikkavil cmi (Treasurer), Dr. Oliver A. Jetti (Allahabad University and President of the Organising Committee), Ms. Christine MLA, Swami Aravinda (President of the State Hare Krishna Movement), Prof. George Menachery (Secretary General), Dr. Oberland Snaitang (President CHAI), Dr. "Cardinal" Thomas Edmunds (Vice-President), and Dr. Charles Dias MP (Chai Member and Office Bearer).

Download - "India's Christian Heritage" - The Dust Jacket
 

CHURCH HISTORY ASSOCIATION OF INDIA

     15th TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE AND PLATINUM JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS

“INDIAN CHRISTIAN HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES: YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW” 

                                      6TH – 9TH OCTOBER, 2011 – JEEVAN JYOTHI, BEGUMBET, HYDERABAD-500016

 

                                                                             Prof. George Menachery 

                                                                            Secretary General, CHAI

                                                                  The Church History Association of India



CHAI Platinum Jubilee and 15th Triennial
 

The Platinum Jubilee Celebrations and 15th Triennial Conference of  the Church History Association of India (CHAI) will  be held from October 6 to 9, 2011 (i.e. from the Vijayadashami Thursday to the following Sunday) at HYDERABAD,  A.P. at Jeevan Jyothi, Begumpet, Hyderabad. Begumpet is about 4kms from Secunderabad railway station and 6kms from Hyderabad(Nampally) railway station. Bangalore train terminates at Kacheguda railway station which is about 10kms from the venue.Prepaid taxis are available at the Airport.Registration fee for Delegates / Participants is Rs.300/- Boarding and lodging will be provided at no extra cost. The half day city tour also will be financed by the organisers.

Conference Theme:

 Indian  Christian Historical and Cultural Studies -Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow 

1. CHAI is pleased to invite Scholarly Papers related to the above theme, adhering uniformly to any of the standard style sheets, from CHAI members and other scholars. The duration of the paper will be 20 minutes followed by discussion which will not exceed 10 minutes. Title of paper to be sent before the 10th of August 2011; Synopsis to be received by 20th August 2011; and the complete paper to be received before 31st August, 2011 and in any case not later than the 10th of September 2011by e-mail (preferably in MS Word or Adobe Pagemaker) in addition to a hard copy by post or courier addressed to the Secretary General Prof. George Menachery, Pallinada, Ollur, Kerala, 680306; kunjethy@gmail.com, kunjethy@yahoo.com. For other particulars contact the Secretary General 0091 9846033713, +91 487 2352468, +91 487 2354398 or other National office-bearers.

2. The last date for receiving entries for the CHAI Platinum Jubilee All India Essay Competition on the theme"Preservation of Christian Monuments and Landmarks in India" (1000 to 1500 words) is 31st August 2011. Separate competitions are being held for a) Seminarians, b) University and College Students, and c) the General Public. In each category there will be three prizes of Rs. 8000/-, 5000/-, and 2000/-.For further details contact the Convener Dr. Varghese Perayilvarghesepera@yahoo.co.in 09447359139, Prof. Agnes De Sa, ahdesa@rediffmail.com 09967801723, or the Rev. Jeremiah ACTC Hyderabad prjapadam@gmail.com 09247463467 or the General Secretary 09846033713.

3. The Platinum Jubilee Commemoration Volume containing 75 scholarly papers on India's Christian Heritage is in the press. For details contact the chief editors Dr. Oberland Snaitang 09856642859 or Prof. George Menachery 09846033713. 

4. Objects of historical, artistic, archaeological...significance are invited for the Christian Historico-Cultural Exhibition to be held at the venue on the theme Indian Christian Heritage of the South, West, North, East, and North-East. Contact the local organising committee: Dr. Oliver 04027002498, Rev. Jeremiah 09247463467 or the CHAI Southern India Branch Secretary cum Treasurer Dr. Manasseh 09848123927.

5. Useful numbers for details regarding registration of delegates and participants, accommodation, travel details, local taxi and auto fares, bus routes, other directions: Dr. Oliver 04027002498, Rev. Jeremiah 09247463467 or the CHAI Southern India Branch Secretary cum Treasurer Dr. Manasseh 09848123927 or the General Secretary 09846033713, 09400494398.

 CHAI members are cordially invited to participate. Other interested scholars also may kindly contact the organisers.

-Prof. George Menachery, General Secretary, CHAI

Pallinada, OLLUR, Thrissur Dt., pin 680 306; Ph. Nos. 0091-98460 33713,

0487-2352468, 0487-2354398, 09400494398.

Email : kunjethy@gmail.com, kunjethy@yahoo.com

CHAI website : www.chai-online.net 

 

The tallest stone cross in the world the  great cross at Valle de los Caídos near Madrid Spain soaring to a height of 150 Mts. Ca. 450 ft. probably inspired by the open air or outdoor crosses of the Kerala churches termed Nazraney Sthambams, the pedestals of which are ‘balikkallus’ or sacrificial altars or stones.

Invitation
2011 Paithrika Jnana Yatjnjam DUBAI

May 13th, 2011 | Dubai

2011 Paithrika Jnana Yathnam led by Chevalier Professor George Menachery

Friday, May 13th, 2011 | Dubai – 12 noon to 5 pm


A Passion for the Heritage of the Syro Malabar Community

"Several essential features of the Syro Malabar culture, history, traditions and customs are challenged and unknown in our day. It is important that we be well grounded in these truths so that we may have a deep affection for our unique heritage." --- Chev. Prof. Menachery

On May 13th, 2011, UACT is proud to invite you to join us with Prof. George Menachery as he looks at several important and at the same time forgotten or halfforgotten aspects of the great Syro Malabar tradition, such as the Indian sojourn of Apostle St. Thomas, culture, art, architecture, customs, manners and festivals, Syro Malabar folklore, food habits, costumes, and ornaments, Malayalee names and their origins, the Syro-Malabarians’ rightful place in India and in all regions, their international presence, chief events in their history and many other interesting matters…..

We look forward to your active participation

For registration please call: +971 508751316 (Mr. Franson), +971 504995102 (Mr. Alex)

To read What People Are Saying about Chev. Prof. Menachery’s works, please browse:

 

Commencement of a NEW BEGINNING

Once Again About the New Church Consecrated in Doha in 2009

 


The St Thomas Syro-Malabar Church, the largest among the Inter-Denominational Christian Church (IDCC) members, was consecrated on Friday at Mesaimeer, in the presence of thousands of faithful.

The blessing ceremony was led by the Syro-Malabar Church head Major Archbishop Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil and Vicar Apostolic of Arabia Bishop Paul Hinder, who had flown in from the Church’s homeland of Kerala, and the UAE, respectively.

Archbishop of Thrissur Mar Andrews Thazhathu, Archbishop of Rajkot Mar Gregory Karotemprel CMI, ad-hoc priest and church construction committee patron Fr Jose Thachukunnel and others participated in the consecration event.

Committee chairman and the ceremony’s general convener Dr Mohan Thomas, IDCC chief co-ordinator Siby Joseph, Fr Simon Cheruvathur, trustees Antony Tholath and Johnson Antony and officials of various committees were among those who attended.

Speaking during the ceremony, Mar Thazhathu described the St Thomas Syro-Malabar Church as a symbol of hope for the migrants from the community.

“The teachings of the Catholic Church has got a better expression in Doha with this Church,” he said while expressing gratitude to HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

The Syro-Malabar Church is an Apostolic Church which traces its origin to the Apostolate of St Thomas (one of the 12 apostles of Christ) who landed at Cranganore (present day Kodungallore, Kerala) in 52 AD and founded seven Christian communities.

It is one of the 22 sui juris (self-governing) Oriental Churches in Catholic Communion, under the Church of Rome, with its own particular characteristics expressed in worship, spirituality, theology and disciplinary laws.

There are 26 dioceses in the Syro-Malabar Church across the globe, with 15 in India. It is estimated that there are more than 3.7mn Syo-Malabar Catholics.

The IDCC complex at Mesaimeer, which houses the places of worship of 28 different Indian Christian denominations, was inaugurated on March 28 this year by HE the Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah.

 

Syro-Malabar Church:

More Attention to Indian Immigrants in Arab Countries

ROME, Oct. 18, 2010: Bishop Bosco Puthur of Foratiana and participant in the Synod for the Middle East, described the situation of the 400 thousand Syro-Malabar Indian immigrants who work in the Persian Gulf region. For the bishop,the faithful immigrants in Arab countries are moving away from the Church in the absence of parishes and the lack formed clergy.

The situation of the Christian migrants in the Arab countries is among the most important issues discussed at the Synod Churches for Middle East being held in Rome.

With over 400 thousand out of 3 million Christians faithful emigrant in the countries of the Persian Gulf, the Indian Syro-Malabar is among the most important communities in the region. Its presence in the Arab countries, however, is threatened not only by the restrictions typical of Islamic states, but include inadequate attention to the pastoral problems and social rights of the faithful who come from India to work in the region.

Bishop Bosco Puthur stresses that the lack of catechesis and religious sites are distancing many faithful from the Catholic Church and calls for greater attention from the Holy See to this community. He drew attention to the “new and important phenomenon taking place in Middle Eastern countries is the arrival of hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers from Africa and Asia…These people are subject to social injustice…This immigration calls for the attention of our Churches which have the pastoral responsibility to assist them in both religious and social matters”.

The Syro-Malabar faithful have been present in the Gulf Region since 1960s. They fully depend upon the Latin Vicariates of Kuwait and Arabia for their pastoral needs. These ecclesiastical structures created in the twentieth century for a few thousand emigrants are not at all adequate to take care of millions of faithful now present in the region.

We gratefully acknowledge the efforts of the two Vicars apostolic of the region. However, the situation of the pastoral care of the Syro-Malabar faithful in the Arabian Gulf countries is very inadequate and unsatisfactory. There are almost 4,30,000 Syro-Malabar migrants in the region (Saudi Arabia 190,000; UAE-110,000; Oman 45,000; Kuwait-40, 000; Bahrain 35,000 and Qatar 10,000.), but not even a single parish is erected for them. There is no proper pastoral care and faith formation-catechesis for the Syro-Malabar faithful according to the proper ecclesial tradition, except in Doha. The Syro-Malabar hierarchy is not at all involved nor invited for this purpose. The only church that was built for our faithful in Doha is not even erected as a parish, but remains an outstation of the Latin parish. Besides, serious restrictions are placed on the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy through a ‘Rescript’ from the Holy See, which prevents any involvement of our Church for providing proper pastoral care to our faithful in the area.

The community is in a precarious situation and many of them have become indifferent to the practice of Catholic faith. As there is the inadequacy in the pastoral care, there is the ever growing danger of our people being led astray by Pentecostal groups thriving in the Gulf region. Hence it is essential to entrust the pastoral care of the Syro-Malabar faithful to our own Church, erecting proper ecclesial structures and granting jurisdiction to our hierarchy. Contrary to the opinion generally circulated by some ecclesiastics, the governments in the Gulf Region are in general open to the Christian communities, since at present they need emigrant workers.

In this situation, the Syro-Malabar Church proposes to the Apostolic See to take immediate and appropriate action to establish at least one eparchy/ exarchy in the Gulf region for the Syro-Malabar faithful. The proposed ecclesiastical unit may cover the present ecclesiastical territories of the Vicariates of Arabia and Kuwait. Politically this includes the countries of Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The Seat may be Doha, the Capital of Qatar. Here we have the only Syro-Malabar church in the Gulf region and Qatar is relatively open and politically rather liberal. Geographically, it is the most accessible to all in the region.

We hope and pray that the Apostolic See may take appropriate action to redress the grave situation in the region and enable all concerned to provide adequate pastoral care to our faithful in accordance with the liturgical and spiritual tradition of the St Thomas Christians”.

Silver Jubilee of the Indian Visit of Pope John Paul the Second 

Double Delight for Kerala Christians

His Holiness Pope John Paul II commenced his Kerala visit on the 7th of February 1986. The first public function of the day was at Trichur or more familiarly Thrissur - the Cultural Capital of Kerala where the Pope enjoyed the “Pooram” with 15 caparisoned elephants and Muthukkudas (colourful parasols) staged by the Paramekkavu Devaswom and the 25 cultural programmes arranged around the papal path at the St. Thomas Nagar - today’s Shakthan Thamburan Nagar.  During his Kerala visit the Pope beatified Sr Alphonsa (who is now a Saint of the Church) and Fr Chavara Kuriakose Elias at a great function in Kottayam.The whole of Kerala is commemorating this Silver Jubilee event with colourful functions and religious ceremonies. This Silver Jubilee occasion has become memorable on account of another event too viz. the beatification of the saintly pope on 1st May 2011, the first Sunday after Easter, hardly four score days after the event, at the Vatican by the Roman Pontiff Benedict XVI.. It is a “first” in Church History since it is for the first time that the Catholic Church is beatifying a person  just after 6 years of his death on 2nd April 2005.

Pope John Paul II, shard his world-view and vision with dozens of countries and cultures during his long tenure of almost three decades as the Supreme Pontiff. He was a Leader for All Seasons and was accepted by the tens of millions of people who who thronged to have a glimpse of him in various continents as Guide, Philosopher, and Friend. H            is leadership to liberate millions from the yoke of unjust governments has been much appreciated, including his role in the liberation of his own country Poland from Commuism.

He was the most travelled pope ever, visiting more than 120 nations during the third longest papacy in history covering it is said a distance equalling 1.5 trips to the moon.Pope John Paul II is also remembered for raising a record number of persons to SAINTHOOD. He was perhaps the only Pope who was shot at but he survied the May 13 1981 attempt on his life and lived to forgive the would be assassin. His voice resounded from all corners of the world exhoting people againt war, abortions, and human rights violations.  

He passed away on April 2, 2005. During the last ceremonies for the pope attended by millions the cry went up to cannonise him immediately and Pope Benedict XVI waived the 5 year wait for the commencement of the process and now after just 5years of his death he is being beatified - after the miraculous healing of a French nun suffering from the Parkinson’s disease.  

Reuters adds: During his 2005 funeral Mass, crowds at the Vatican shouted for Pope John Paul II to be made a saint immediately, chanting “Santo Subito!” for one of the most important and beloved popes in history.

His successor heard their call and on Friday, in the fastest process on record, set May 1 as the date for John Paul’s beatification — a key step toward Catholicism’s highest honor and a major morale boost for a church reeling from the clerical sex abuse scandal.

Pope Benedict XVI set the date after declaring that a French nun’s recovery from Parkinson’s disease was the miracle needed for John Paul to be beatified. A second miracle is needed for the Polish-born John Paul to be made a saint. 

The May 1 ceremony — which Benedict himself will celebrate — is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Rome for a precedent-setting Mass: never before has a pope beatified his immediate predecessor.

Though the numbers aren’t expected to necessarily reach the 3 million who flocked here for John Paul’s funeral, religious tour operators in John Paul’s native Poland were already making preparations to bus and fly in the faithful to celebrate a man many considered a saint while alive.

“We have waited a long time and this is a great day for us,” said Mayor Ewa Filipiak of John Paul’s hometown of Wadowice, Poland, where the faithful lit candles Friday and prayed at a chapel in the town church dedicated to John Paul.

Father Pawel Danek, who runs a museum in John Paul’s family home, said Benedict had listened to the prayers of the faithful.

“The Holy Father has confirmed what we all felt somehow,” he said. “For us, John Paul II’s holiness is obvious.”

Benedict put John Paul on the fast track to possible sainthood just weeks after he died, waiving the typical five-year waiting period before the process could begin. But he insisted that the investigation into John Paul’s life be thorough to avoid any doubts about his virtues.

The beatification will nevertheless be the fastest on record, coming just over six years after his death and beating out Mother Teresa’s then-record beatification in 2003 by a few days.

It is not without controversy, however. While John Paul himself was never accused of improprieties, he has long been accused of responding slowly when the sex abuse scandal erupted in the United States in 2002. Many of the thousands of cases that emerged last year involved crimes and cover-ups that occurred on his 26-year watch.

Critics have faulted John Paul’s overriding concern with preserving the rights of accused priests, often at the expense of victims — a concern formed in part by his experiences in Communist-controlled Poland where priests were often accused of trumped up charges by the regime.

And here’s what the BBC had reported in 2005:

Pope seeks to beatify John Paul - pilgrims at the Pope’s funeral called for his immediate sainthood.

Pope Benedict XVI has begun the process of beatifying his predecessor John Paul II, the first step to sainthood. 

“The cause for the beatification of John Paul II is open,” the new Roman Catholic leader told priests meeting at Rome’s Basilica of St John in Lateran. 

The Pope waived the usual rules which require a five-year wait before the Church begins to make someone a saint. 

John Paul II died on 2 April, leading to widespread calls from Catholics worldwide for him to be made a saint. 

Standing ovation 

BEATIFICATION PROCESS 

Beatification requires that a miracle has occurred Group approaches local bishop After Rome’s approval an investigation is launched Findings are sent to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints Case is presented to the Pope Blessed may be accorded a feast day Relics of the candidate may be venerated Canonisation (actual sainthood) requires proof of a second miracle 

REASONS FOR THE FAST TRACK

“And now I have a very joyous piece of news for you,” Pope Benedict XVI said in Italian before making the announcement in Latin. 

The Pope read out a letter from Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, the official in charge of sainthood, in which it said that Benedict XVI himself had authorised the start of the beatification process. 

The news was met with a standing ovation from the priests attending the meeting. 

It comes on the anniversary of an assassination attempt on John Paul II in 1981, when he was shot in St Peter’s Square by a Turkish gunman. 

Life Examined 

Information will now be gathered on the former pope’s life and teachings, including all private writings from the period before he became pope, and checked for orthodoxy to ensure that he expressed no heretical views. 

Pope John Paul II abandoned the five-year rule when he beatified Mother Teresa

A commission of historians will be appointed to gather all of the documents together, which will then be examined by panels of theologians, and cardinals and bishops. 

If a two-thirds majority agree with John Paul II’s beatification Pope Benedict XVI will then be called upon to give his own approval. 

But Vatican expert Michael Walsh told the BBC that for the process to be complete the Vatican authorities will then have to establish that a miracle has been ascribed to Pope John Paul II. 

“They have to prove someone has been miraculously healed... by his intercession, by praying to John Paul II, he or she has recovered from cancer or something of that sort,” he said. 

Miracle needed 

In the days following his death Italian media carried a number of reports of alleged miracles attributed to Pope John Paul II, including one claim that an American man suffering from a brain tumour was cured after receiving communion from the late pontiff. 

But the alleged miracles occurred during the Pope’s lifetime, and the beatification process studies those occurring after the candidate’s death. 

Beatification allows public veneration of the person and for the person to be known as “Blessed”. For actual sainthood, proof of at least two miracles is required. 

Beatification allows public veneration of the blessed person

In normal circumstances five years must pass between the death of the person proposed for beatification and the start of the procedure, to avoid emotion playing a part. 

However, John Paul II dispensed with this rule himself when in 2003 he beatified Mother Teresa of Calcutta. 

The entire process was completed just six years after her death. 

On Friday Pope Benedict XVI also announced who would succeed him as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

Sixty-eight-year-old William Levada, Archbishop of San Francisco, is the first American to hold the post as the Vatican’s chief watchdog of orthodoxy. 

 

The Apostolic Nunciature in India, New Delhi.

His Excellency Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Titular Archbishop of Montemarano, is the new Apostolic Nuntio to India. The following is the 
CURRICULUM VITAE of His Grace:

►     His Excellency, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio was born in Marano (Naples) Italy on 7 September 1952.

►     He was ordained a priest on 18 September, 1976.

►     He holds a Doctorate in Philosophy and entered into the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See on 15 April, 1979.

►     He served in the Apostolic Nunciatures in Panama, Ethiopia, Australia, Turkey, Egypt, Yugoslavia and Ireland. 

►     On 28 November, 1998, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda.

►     On 20 November, 2003, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia, and Apostolic Delegate in Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia and Brunei.

►     On 8 May, 2010, he was appointed apostolic Nuncio to India

►     He speaks English, French and Spanish   

His Excellency Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio
Past and Present Ordinaries

Cardinal Gracias and Cardinal Toppo Dedicate the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India to the Nation

GUWAHATI, March 3

The publication of the three volumes of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India is a worthy model for the world Churches and an incomparable achievement and contribution of the Church in India, stated Oswald Cardinal Gracias in Guwahati, dedicating the work to the nation. The publication of the third and final volume is something of which the Encyclopaedia team can be justly proud, but they should not rest on their oars but must continue their much needed work of service to the Church in India today, His Eminence went on to say. Telespore P. Cardinal Toppo dedicated the volumes to the world Christian community. The two Cardinals officially released the Encyclopaedia by exchanging copies of the work, in the presence of Archbishops and Bishops from all over India and members of the CBCI Commissions. Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, Prof. George Menachery the Editor of the Encyclopaedia, and Dr. George Plathottam the secretary of the CBCI Commission for Media also spoke on the occasion.

                           

The Encyclopaedia comprises the contributions of hundreds of well-known scholars from all over India and abroad. There are articles on almost every aspect of Christianity in india, dealing with all chronological, denominational, and geographical divisions. The more than thousand illustrations on art plates, half of them on full colour art plates, in addition to the dozens of maps including a whole Christian and Linguistic atlas of India, and the graphs, tables, figures, and sketches go to make the work an exhaustive reference tool. Each major article is supported by bibliographies and inclusive end-notes, making the encyclopaedia an indispensible reference work for seminaries and teheological colleges. universities and colleges, and libraries of ecclesiastical establishments and headquarters and formation houses of religious congregations.


Justice V. R. Krishna Aiyer [former Supreme Court Judge and president,
History Assn.] on the 3rd Volume of the Encyclopaedia:

"The third volume of the book St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India is an extraordinary work with focus on Christianity but being Cyclopaedic has learned chapters on Hinduism and Islam. Truly it is a holistic work, an eclectic theological composite piece. The chapter on Hinduism illumines its ancient and geographical character and true source of its origin. Read on to learn the basic principles and you will learn that this Sanatana Dharma (moral values for all times)... Professor Menachery has done great service to all religions by weaving all of them into a new fabric in his epic voluminous trinity which if popularly read and discussed and read in libraries will surely be the beginning of Jesus and Sankara and Mohammed as the Founders of a New World Order of peace and stability of human rights and equality with a bias of equity. Gandhiji and Vivekananda did it in different ways. I deeply appreciate the wonderful work of Professor George Menachery. It is not narrowly Christian but broadly universal in thinking. Jesus was the greatest humanist revolutionary and died for a dynamic dialectical world order...

The Syro Malabar Major Archbishop and Cardinal His Eminence Mar Varkey Vithayathil presents the first ever Syro Malabar Church Award instituted through the Liturgical Research Centre for "Outstanding Contribution to the Promotion of Syro Malabar Heritage", to Chevalier Professor George Menachery, editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics, at Mount St. Thomas, Kakkanad, Ernakulam, Kochi on 1st Makaram - 14th Jan., 2010, in the presence of the 36 Bishops and Archbishops of that Church.  Click to see Deepika report.

 

Cardinal Vithayathil Better                                       Campaign for God

His Eminent Beatitude Mar Vakkey Cardinal Vithayathil, Major ArchBishop and Head of the Syro Malabar Church, and President of the CBCI, who was admitted to the hospital Monday night following a heart condition has registered considerable improvement in his condition and has been tranferred from the Ventilator. However His Eminence is still under active medical observation at the Lissie Hospital, Ernakulam. Visitors are strictly prohibited. -SARAS NEWS

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil Critical

The condition of Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar Church, who was admitted to the Lissie Hospital on Monday night after a cardiac arrest, continues to be critical.

He is on life support system after the doctors successfully carried out an angioplasty to remove a major block in the artery, said Fr. Paul Thelekkat, spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Church.

The Cardinal suffered the cardiac arrest on Monday night while he was at the headquarters of the Syro-Malabar Church at Mount St. Thomas Kakkanad. He was immediately rushed to the hospital. The condition of the Cardinal, who is 82-years-old, is reported to be stable,

 


 

Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church Mar varkey Cardinal Vithayathil honours Prof. George Menachery with a bouquet on the latter's being selected for the first Liturgical Research Centre Award of the Syro Malabar Church. Present on the dais were Bishop Mar James Pazhayattil, Archbishop Mar Andrews thazhath, Bishop Mar Thomas Chakiath, and Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt

Vatican City, Sept. 19

At Castel Gandolfo, Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, Major Arch Bishop and Head of the Syro - Malabar Church, presents a copy of the third and final volume of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, the reference work on Christianity in India edited by Prof. George Menachery, along with the Alphonsa Coin to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

"Heads and Fathers" of all the Eastern Catholic Churches discuss future course of action with with Pope Benedict XVI

Vatican city, 19 Sept. 2009:

This morning in Castel Gandolfo Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil met the Holy Father along with other Catholic patriacrchs and major archbishops from the Oriental Churches.

Participating in the meeting were Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, alongside the "Heads and Fathers" of all the Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

They are: His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarh of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq; Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine; Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil C.SS.R.; Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India; His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt; His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites, Syria; His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon; His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon, Archbishops Major of the Rumanian and Syro-Malankara Churches and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

The Pontiff had Lunch with the representatives of the Oriental Churches.

During the meeting the Head of the Syro-Malabar Church Cardinal Vithayathil presented the Holy Father with heritage articles of the Indian Church viz. the Alphona Coin and the third and final volume of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India edited by Prof. George Menachery.

URGENT LETTER TO HIS GRACE

Syro Malabar Processions / Pradakhinams in NRK NRI Cities / Communities 

May I humbly request your Grace to immediately issue a special circular to the NRKs/NRIs exhorting them to hold such a procession and celebration beginning with this July 3rd itself.

From

Prof. George Menachery

Ollur Thrissur City 680306

0091 487 235 2468, 0091 487 235 4398, 0091 98460 33713

14th June, 2009

Your Esteemed and Respected Grace,

May I humbly request your Grace to go through the following and take appropriate action if thought fit.

In the circumstances obtaining among the NRK/NRI Syro-Malabar communities in many Indian and foreign cities the Nazranies hardly get any chance to get together or to maintain their identity. Hence one possibility is for them to celebrate the Ormapperunnal of our father St. Thomas the Apostle with at least a public procession inside the church campus or if possible outside it, with all the cultural elements of our Pradakhinams or church processions.

It could be any one of the four types of processions we have - 1.intra-church procession, 2.procession rounding the open-air cross (this won’t be possible in most cases outside Kerala), 3.procession around the church building or campus, or 4. procession along the streets or Angadies.

I have found how happy our people are to congregate on such occasions - whether in the Americas or Europe or the Middle East, especially in the US and the Gulf, and how proud our people are of our cultural traditions and individuality.. A Syro- Malabar Mass may be said where ( and only where) the local hierarch permits it. Otherwise it can be a well attended religio-cultural event to which there could be no objection from any quarter. Such a programme, I feel - and am convinced from experience in different parts of the world - could and will go a long way to unite our people and to hold them together in the memory of our heritage and roots. AND it could be a first step in many ways.

These Pradakhinams or processions must have as many of the following elements as possible: 1. A gold(en) processional cross with the red (or other) sheath. 2.Two silver(y) crosses with sheaths. 3.Many colourful parasols or umbrellas viz. Muthukkudas. 4. At least one processional Roopakkoodu to carry the image of St. Thomas &c. typically decorated. 5.Band sets and typical Kerala Vadyams and Melams including drummers. 6. Fancy fire-works where permissible. 7. Public and common preparation and distribution of Kozhalappam, Achappam, Unni Appam, Neyyappam, and other Syro-Malabar confectionaries.

May I humbly request your Grace to immediately issue a special circular to the NRKs/NRIs exhorting them to hold such a procession and celebration beginning with this July 3rd itself.

Thanking Your Grace,

Your Graces’ obedient servant,

Prof. George Menachery.

p.s.Establishing a Bahya Kerala - Bahya Bharata Diocese for agreeable areas at least must be another priority.

p.p.s. Could we think of a reserve team of priests willing to serve these communities from time to time on special occasions and to give them cultural experiences and guidance in the form of seminars, video fests, power-point talks &c. occasionally?

Prof. George Menachery elected General Secretary of CHAI (Church History Association of India)

SHILLONG, May 10

At the Church History Association of India (CHAI) Triennial General Body Meeting held at the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) , Shillong, Prof. George Menachery was elected General Secretary of the Association for the next three years. He was working as national vice-president for the last three years.

Dr. O.L. Snaitang, Meghalaya (President), Rev. "Cardinal" Thomas Edmunds, Tamil Nadu (Vice- President), Dr. Agnes de’Sa, Maharashtra (Joint Secretary), S. Edathikavil, DVK, Karnataka (Treasurer), were also elected. Dr. Verghese  Perayil (Aroor), Dr. George Oommen (Deradun) were the other members elected to the Board of Trustees, . Dr. A. M. Mundadan will continue as the Editor-in-Charge of the ongoing History of Christianity in India project while Dr. Joe Kalappura (Patna) was appointed editor of the CHAI Journal, Indian Church History Review (ICHR).

The 14th Triennial of the Southern India region will be held in Thrissur in October, 2009 while the 15th Triennial of the National Association and the Platinum Jubilee will be hosted by the Southern India Branch.

The Vice-Chancellor of the NEHU, Dr. Pramod Tandon inaugurated the meet, presided over by the President of CHAI, Dr. Kranthi Farias. The Key Note address was delivered by Dr. J. Kalappura, Secretary.

The NE regional president Dr. O. L. Snaitang, secretary and Registrar cum Controller of the NEHU Dr. David Syiemlieh were the main organisers of the meet at which more than 20 papers on the Theme of the Conference "Christianity and the Marginalised in India" were presented by scholars from every region of india.
 


 

The new office-bearers and members of the Board of Trustees of CHAI, the Church History Association of India elected at the Shillong Triennial. (From left to right):Dr. Varghese Perayil (Member of the BOT), Dr. Agnes de'Sa (Joint Secretary), Prof. George Menachery (General Secretary), Dr. "Cardinal" Thomas Edmonds (Vice - president),  Dr. O. L. Snaitang (President), Fr. Sebastian Edathikkavil (Treasurer), Dr. George Oommen (Member BOT), and Dr. Jose Kalappura ( Editor, ICHR).

Some of the distinguished participants and delegates at the 14th Triennial of CHAI at Shillong.



 

A scholarly tome onChristianity in India

Staff Reporter

THRISSUR: The third volume of Saint Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India (STCEI) which is scheduled to be published shortly, throw light on various subjects including Christianity in India, Hinduism, Christianity and Sankaracharya, Shaiva Siddhantha and Islam, says George Menachery, the editor of the encyclopaedia. 

STCEI is considered an authoritative workfor reference on India in general and Christianity in particular, says Mr. Menachery. 

It contains articles contributed by renowned archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, educational experts, lexicographers and biographers. The first volume of the encyclopaedia was published in April 1973 in connection with the 1900th death anniversary of Saint Thomas, the Apostle of India. 

The first volume was about the origin, growth and development of Christianity in India. 

The second volume was brought out in 1982. The Thomapedia, an enlarged millennium edition of the early volume, was also published in 2000. STCEI had been described by noted reviewers as monumental work containing significant information on India, Mr. Menachery says. 

Thousands of its copies have been sold the world over and leading libraries have subscribed to it. 

[The HINDU, 3 March 2009]
 

KCBC Darshanika Vyjnanika Award being presented to Prof. George Menachery by HE Mar Thomas Chakiath, Chairman of the KCBC Media Commission on 25th January at POC Auditoriam, Kochi, Ernakulam.
 

KCBC Awards 2008:
Prof. George Menachery awarded the Darshanika Vyjnanika Award

Kochi: A. K. Puthussery has won the literary award instituted by the K.C. B. C. Media Commission. Prof. George Menachery has won the Mar Mankuzhikkari philosophical award. Fr. Geo Payyappilly and Elizabeth Raju  won the media and young talent awards, respectively. [The Hindu].
 
Malayala Manorama and Deepika add: The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council's Media Awards 2008 have been announced.A. K. Pudussery bagged the Media Award for his contributions in the fields of the Novel and the Drama.Prof. Chev. George Menachery was selected for the Mar Mankuzhikkary
Darshanika Vyjnanika Award. Fr. Geo Payyappilly obtained the Media Award while singer Elizabeth Raju was chosen for the Young Talent Award.
 
Rev. Dr. Jacob Kattakkal, O. V. Raphael, Prof. Thomas Kaniyanplavan, Varghese Kanjirathingal, and Abraham Pattani were selected for the Guru Pooja Awards.
 
A judging committee consisting of the Chairman of the KCBC Media Commission Dr.Mar Thomas Chakiath, Dr. George Irumpayam, Dr. Cherian Kuniyanthodath, Dr. Primus Perincherry, and K.C.B.C. Media Commission Secretary Fr. Joseph Nicholas decided the awards.
 
The awards will be bestowed at a function to be held at the POC auditorium, Ernakulam on the 25th of January, 2009.
 

Prof. George Menachery is the Chief Editor of a number of reference works including the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Indian Church History Classics (The Nazranies), the Thomapedia, and the works in progress Ayurveda Encyclopaedia of India, and the Encylopaedia of the Arabian Sea.

Noted historian, archaeologist, numismatist, and geographer Prof. Menachery was in the UAE and Oman for the past several months researching on his latest publications.

Prof. George Menachery Sapthathy Sangeetha Seminar and Conference

Prof. G. Menachery Sapthathi Sangeetha (Musical) Seminar being inaugurated by Prof. George S. Paul the well known art critic and writer at the Kerala Sahitya Academy Campus. Seated from left to right are: M. D. Madhavan Namboodiri (Ch. Editor, Sangeetham, Kozhikode) [who gave a Chitra-Swara presentation of Kumaran Asan'n Veena Poovu in which Sri Namboodiri accompanied forty Veena Poovu paintings of Francis Kodankandath with his musical recital of the entire classicaql poem]: reputed educationist and cultural leader Sri Chitran Nampoodiripad (who presided); Dr. Mar Aprem Metropolitan of the Church of the East (who delivered the Key Note Address); Dr. Paul Poovathingal (who gave a classical concert and spoke on Voco-System in Classical Music); Prof. Balakrishnan (former principal of the Sree Kerala varma College and reputed vocalist who gave the Invocation Song; Prof. A. M. Francis the Principal of the St. Thomas' College (who welcomed the audience); and Prof. V.P.Jones the working Chairman of the Prof. Menachery Sapthathi Samithi who was also the M. C. on this occasion. Picture TWO: Artist Punachitaya gives a demonstration in connection with the Sapthathi Historico-Cultural EXPO on another day. months back he had inaugurated the Menachery Sapthathy Painters' Workshop attended by 40 odd artists from all over South India at the St. Thomas' College and the Archdiocesan Family Apostolate Complex presided over by Sri Madanan, Ch. artist at the Mathrubhoomi, Calicut.. Pic. THREE: Live Sapthathy demonstration by Artist Francis Kodenkandath in the Academy Complex: He painted a Jubilee Commemoration Montage in 55 minutes in which he represented M. T. Vasudevan Nair's Naalukettu, Vykkom Muhammed Basheer's Bhargavee Nilayam, and Kumaran Asan's Veena Poovu to commemorate the Jubilee Celebrations connected with these great sons of Kerala and pioneers in Malayalam Literature. The demo was followed by a two-hour discussion in which some of the leading artists and literary critics of Kerala participated.

Prof. G. Menachery Sapthati Historico-Cultural EXPO 2008

Bestowing "Ponnada" on Prof. George Menachery by Sri Therambil Ramakrishnan M.L.A. and former Speaker of the Kerala Assembly during the inauguration of the Sapthathi  Historico-Cultural Expo 2008 at the Kerala Sahitya Academy Complex. Sri M. V. Devan inaugurated the Expo at a function presided over by Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala Kala Mandalam Dr. K. G. Paulose. Dr. Raphael Thattil, V. G., Archdiocese of Trichur felicitated. Two Professors from the Krakov University of Poland are also seen discussing aspects of Kerala Culture with Prof. Menachery

 


 

 

Guide to Thomapedia

                       The SEVEN Indices in the Thomapedia

 The Thomapedia is the Enlarged 2000 Edition of the 1973 2nd Volume of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India                     both edited by Prof. George Menachery

U S and Canada Libraries having the Encyclopaedia
                                                            

                        Order Thomapedia                             

Send US$ 35.00 (Thirty-five only)
for the Paper Back Edition and  
for the Hard Bound Library Edition
send US$ 60.00(Sixty only) to
The Thomapedia, Ollur 680306 India.
Free Regd. Airmail Delivery
 

Thomapedia Index I
Index to Title Words and Contributors

Thomapedia Index II
Index to Photographs

Thomapedia Index III
Index to Dates

Thomapedia Index IV
Index to Personal Names

Thomapedia Index V
Index to Place Names

Thomapedia Index VI
Index to Subjects, Events

Thomapedia Index VII
Index to Bibliographical Details


[For YOUR EYES ONLY is a new LOL Series which would carry interesting pictures and illustrations which throw some useful light on St. Thomas Christian history, culture, customs, manners representing every church and denominations of Syrian Christians. Prof. George Menachery who is a renowned scholar with vast research experience in Thomas Christian traditions and history organizes this Series.]

 

Ollur Church photo taken in 1904 -  presented to Prof. G. Menachery by Henry C. Q. Brownrigg of the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia in October 2004. Note the three-tier roofing style and the gabled original copper roof of the bell-tower
 



 

Malabar Christians of Ancient Days (from an old painting). Photo published in the Cochin Government  Royal War Efforts Souvenir in 1938.
 



Ollur Church
, inside view. Note the altat, altarpiece, hanging lamps, globes, railings, floor tiles etc.  Photo published in the Cochin Government  Royal War Efforts Souvenir in 1938.

 

Ollur Church photo published in the Cochin
Government  Royal War Efforts Souvenir
in 1938 -  it is almost identical with the
previous picture with slight changes in
the coconut leaves - may be this was
taken at the same time as the 1904 picture.
 

View from the left side of the Ollur Church.
Photo taken in 1904 -  presented to Prof.
G. Menachery by Henry C. Q. Brownrigg
of the British Association for Cemeteries
in South Asia
in October 2004
 

For more info cf. http://www.indianchristianity.com/html/New Article.htm

MALABAR CHRISTIANS OF ANCIENT DAYS
By PROF. GEORGE MENACHERY
 

[For YOUR EYES ONLY is a recently started LOL Series which would carry interesting pictures and illustrations which throw some useful light on St. Thomas Christian history, culture, customs, manners representing every church and denominations of Syrian Christians. Prof. George Menachery who is a renowned scholar with vast research experience in Thomas Christian traditions and history organizes this Series.]

The very costumes and ornaments of the Thomas Christians indicate - at least used to indicate until very recent times - their deep Spirituality and commitment to the Gospel message. What the Bible speaks of the deportment of women is fully satisfied in the dress of Syrian Christian women of Kerala; it is a costume where beauty meets modesty. Allow me to quote (the late) Mrs. K. M. Matthew from the 1973 St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia: "The costumes they wear are worthy of special note which in many ways resemble those of the high caste Hindu women. A white cloth-length 51/2 yards by 12/2 yards [Mundu} is folded into a Pudava which is again folded into fan like pleats. This fan like arrangement, which is highly artistic completely, covers the back portion of the woman when she wears the

cloth. ... The upper portion of the body including the belly and the arm is completely covered with the loose blouse-like Kuppayam or Chatta. Going to the church they cover themselves from head to foot with a nice white cloth, when only the face will be visible. This dress is fully in keeping with the modesty and nobility of the Syrian Christian women. Naturally this dress is not meant to kill, the whiteness representing purity and chastity."

Again this is what Dr. J. Kolengadan has to say in the same Encyclopedia: "...the fan like appendage behind render their dress highly modest as well as artistically elegant...As they went out to church they had a veil like outer garment, with gold brocade, reaching to the ground showing nothing but the face..." The costume of the Syrian Christian women of Kerala does what the Purdah does but without its ugliness, unhealthy anonymity and abuses. Unfortunately today one has to watch the obituary columns of Malayalam newspapers to come across this unique costume - cry, the beloved country. D. Ferroli has this on the costumes of the Syrian Christians: " The mundu [of men] is fastened round the waist and reaches down to the heels. A towel is thrown over the shoulders...". "Except those who kept celibacy and those who had gone on a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Thomas at Mylapore, all kept long hairs tied up in a bundle..."(Placid, Thomapedia, p.107>f,g.)
 

 

[Author Prof. George Menachery is a freelance Indian Journalist and Editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics. After teaching university classes for thirty years, he gave up the job as Head of the Department of Post-Graduate Teaching in order to concentrate on research and publication. SARAS (South Asia Research Assistance Services) provides information and research assistance for topics dealing with India in particular and South Asia in general. He has to his credit a large number of publications, research papers, articles, radio talks and TV programmes. His research activities and lectures have taken him to more than 20 countries in 4 continents.]

THE ROCK CROSSES OF KERALA CHURCHES

By PROF. GEORGE MENACHERY
 


[For YOUR EYES ONLY is a new LOL Series which would carry interesting pictures and illustrations which throw some useful light on St. Thomas Christian history, culture, customs, manners representing every church and denominations of Syrian Christians. Prof. George Menachery who is a renowned scholar with vast research experience in Thomas Christian traditions and history organizes this Series.]
 

This is the pedestal of the stone cross in granite [rock] in front of the Ollur Church which is the oldest church in the Thrissur Corporation area. But the Ollur Church is less than 300 years old whereas there are more than a hundred churches which are 400 years or more old in Kerala. And there are dozens of exquisitely carved open air rock crosses or Nazraney Sthambams in front of many of these ancient Kerala Christian places of worship, e.g. at Kottekkad, Enammavu [now in the Trichur Archieparcal Residence, where it was shifted from the Lourdes Cathedral Christian Cultural Museum that was estd. in 1980 - discovered by this writer in 1980 at Enammavu from a mud deposit] Mapranam, Puthenchira, Parappukkara, Veliyanad, Kalpparambu [the last discovered by this writer in the mud deposits] Koratty, Angamaly

[one each in front of the three churches - the Western church cross, 27ft. tall- has been exactly reproduced in front of the Kakkanad Mount St. Thomas St. Thomas Christian Museum], Kanjoor, Malayattoor, Udayanperur, Kuravilangad,Uzhavoor,Chungam,Kaduthuruthy [2 Nos.], Muttuchira, Kudamaloor, Niranam, Kothamangalam, Chengannur, Thumpamon, Chathannur, Changanacherry [the base of the second cross was discovered by this writer in the Changanacherry cemetery], and many other places.

These crosses have four members: the base with a socket often fixed on a huge pedestal (see pic), the huge monolithic shaft with cylinder-like projections at both ends, the arm with sockets above and below, and the capital which forms the fourth arm of the cross with a cylinder arrangement at the bottom. All these crosses rise from the lotus carved at the top of the base member termed the Pookkallu. Many of these crosses have exquisite carvings and sculptures esp. on the four sides of the pedestal, and in rare cases on the shaft as the Adam, Eve, and the Serpent on the Chengannur Obelisk Cross. Like the Egyptian Obelisks the cross is a ray of the sun - Horus or Christ.
 

[Author Prof. George Menachery is a freelance Indian Journalist and Editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics. After teaching university classes for thirty years, he gave up the job as Head of the Department of Post-Graduate Teaching in order to concentrate on research and publication. SARAS (South Asia Research Assistance Services) provides information and research assistance for topics dealing with India in particular and South Asia in general. He has to his credit a large number of publications, research papers, articles, radio talks and TV programmes. His research activities and lectures have taken him to more than 20 countries in 4 continents.]

Our services include providing research assistance and instruction via the web, e-mail, fax, telephone, mail, and, when possible, in person on topics connected with India's culture and religions (esp.Indian Christianity). Xerox of portions of books and manuscripts and copies of photographs both in our own collections and from other sources are made available at a nominal cost. This web site includes a number of online research guides to help you conduct your study and  research at a distance. Contact:  kunjethy@yahoo.com, kunjethy@gmail.com 0091487-2352468, 0091487-2354398; 00919846033713, 00919387100181; www.indianchristianity.com 

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REASONS FOR THE FAST TRACK

“And now I have a very joyous piece of news for you,” Pope Benedict XVI said in Italian before making the announcement in Latin.

The Pope read out a letter from Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, the official in charge of sainthood, in which it said that Benedict XVI himself had authorised the start of the beatification process.

The news was met with a standing ovation from the priests attending the meeting.

It comes on the anniversary of an assassination attempt on John Paul II in 1981, when he was shot in St Peter’s Square by a Turkish gunman.

Life examined

Information will now be gathered on the former pope’s life and teachings, including all private writings from the period before he became pope, and checked for orthodoxy to ensure that he expressed no heretical views.

Pope John Paul II abandoned the five-year rule when he beatified Mother Teresa

A commission of historians will be appointed to gather all of the documents together, which will then be examined by panels of theologians, and cardinals and bishops.

If a two-thirds majority agree with John Paul II’s beatification Pope Benedict XVI will then be called upon to give his own approval.

But Vatican expert Michael Walsh told the BBC that for the process to be complete the Vatican authorities will then have to establish that a miracle has been ascribed to Pope John Paul II.

“They have to prove someone has been miraculously healed... by his intercession, by praying to John Paul II, he or she has recovered from cancer or something of that sort,” he said.

Miracle needed

In the days following his death Italian media carried a number of reports of alleged miracles attributed to Pope John Paul II, including one claim that an American man suffering from a brain tumour was cured after receiving communion from the late pontiff.

But the alleged miracles occurred during the Pope’s lifetime, and the beatification process studies those occurring after the candidate’s death.

Beatification allows public veneration of the person and for the person to be known as “Blessed”. For actual sainthood, proof of at least two miracles is required.

Beatification allows public veneration of the blessed person

In normal circumstances five years must pass between the death of the person proposed for beatification and the start of the procedure, to avoid emotion playing a part.

However, John Paul II dispensed with this rule himself when in 2003 he beatified Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

The entire process was completed just six years after her death.

On Friday Pope Benedict XVI also announced who would succeed him as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Sixty-eight-year-old William Levada, Archbishop of San Francisco, is the first American to hold the post as the Vatican’s chief watchdog of orthodoxy.

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CHAI Platinum Jubilee: First Announcement

The Church History Association of India

(CHAI)

Platinum Jubilee Celebrations and 15th

Triennial Conference

October 6 to 9, 2011 

AMERICAN STUDIES & RESEARCH

CENTRE, HYDERABAD 

Conference Theme : Indian Historical and Cultural Studies -Yesterday,

Today, Tomorrow

A. The Jubilee Celebrations include the following academic programmes:

1. The CHAI is pleased to invite Scholarly Papers related to the above theme from CHAI members and other scholars

2. An Essay Competition on the theme, "Preservation of Christian Monuments and Landmarks in India" is being planned for three categories ofparticipants: a) Seminarians, b) Graduate and Post Graduate University /College Students, c) the General Public.

3. A Panel Discussion by selected scholars during the Jubilee Celebrations(theme to be announced shortly).

4. A Platinum Jubilee Commemoration Volume on India's Christian Heritage

5. A Christian Historic-Cultural Exhibition on the theme Indian Christian Heritage of the South, West, North, East, and North-East to be held at the venue.

Details of all the above programmes will be published in the December 2010

issue of the Indian Church History Review. 

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Ancient Christian site in UAE opens to visitors
Dec 12, 2010,Courtesy AFP

A general view of the United Arab Emirates' only discovered Christian monastery on November 29, 2009, in Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Photograph: MARTIN PFEIFER/ TDIC/AFP 
By AFP 
DUBAI - A 1,400-year-old monastery that is the only known pre-Islamic Christian site in the United Arab Emirates has opened to visitors, The National newspaper reported on Sunday.
The monastery on Sir Bani Yas island in Abu Dhabi emirate is "believed to be the only permanent settlement ever established on the island" and "the only pre-Islamic Christian site known in the UAE," it said.
 

It is believed to have been built around 600 AD by a community of 30-40 monks and was discovered in 1992, said the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Development Company which is developing the island.

Dr Joseph Elders, the chief archaeologist for the Church of England, is leading the team excavating the site, the company said in a statement.

"Twenty years ago, we had no idea that Christians came this far south and east" in the Gulf region, The National quoted Elders as saying. "We don't have many monasteries from this period."

The people who lived at the monastery probably belonged to the "Nestorian Church, or Church of the East," it said, adding that the settlement was abandoned after about 750 AD.

It opened to the public on Saturday.

 

As it happened: Pope in Britain: 19 September 2010


• The fourth day of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the UK saw him lead a beatification service for 19th Century theologian Cardinal Newman at Cofton Park in Birmingham
• He also visited the Catholic Seminary of Oscott, which trains future priests, and held a meeting with the Bishops of England, Scotland and Wales
• Prime Minister David Cameron thanked the Pope for making the country "sit up and think", and vowed to increase co-operation between the UK and the Vatican on issues like poverty and climate change

BBC Well, that's a wrap. Thank you for joining us for our live coverage of the Pope's visit and for all your contributions. We hope you've enjoyed our efforts and will join us again for some more live commentary soon.

Ruth Gledhill, religion correspondent for the Times newspaper, says that where protests occurred they were conducted with "dignity and decorum". She says she was told ahead of the visit that police were on "hair trigger" alert because of previous assassination attempts on the Pope's life, and if there had been any attempt to make an citizen's arrest of the pontiff, as some had suggested, officers would have had to decide in a split second whether to use their weapons.

Chief Constable Meredydd Hughes, policing co-ordinator for the papal visit, tells the BBC it's been challenging, but "enjoyable". He says colleagues at the Vatican have been "amazed" at the British ability - "spirit of fair play", he calls it - to allow both well-wishers and protesters to gather in the same area and make their views known without any problems.

Leo Goatley, from Gloucester, writes: "Perhaps surprisingly, the Pope omitted to place family at the centre of his preaching, which should be pivotal to the teaching of the Church. As a lapsed Catholic married to a devout member of the Church, I found the plea for dialogue between faith and reason curious as the idea of a belief in a God is, to me, far less challenging than a faith required to accept the full creed of Christianity or any other religion for that matter."

If you missed the events in Birmingham earlier today, the BBC's Sitala Peek was there and has written about her experiences.

Adrian Winchester writes: "I had my doubts about how successful this visit would be but I'm now sorry to see the Pope go. He has addressed some important issues that go to the heart of the sort of society we want."

Lord Patten, the government's papal visit co-ordinator, says the cost to the taxpayer is "pretty low", about £10m. "I think it's been an investment in a very important relationship," he tells the BBC. "A relationship with an organisation which is the second largest development organisation in the world, and a relationship with a faith which provides 30,000 different examples of social care in this country."
Archbishop Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, tells the BBC the visit has gone better than he could have expected. Contrary to the image often painted of him, he says the Pope came across as he truly is - "as a gentle, sensitive, eloquent and really lovely person". "It's out of that loveliness that he brings the message that he did," the Archbishop adds.
John Nixon in York writes: "The Pope has penetrated the superficiality and shallowness of many aspects of life today. He speaks in a calm and eloquent manner without an emphasis on him personally or his performance. This has stood out in contrast to the spin and gloss we see from many of our political and religious leaders."

Spoke too soon. The Pope squeezed in one more wave, from the window of the plane as it taxied away for take-off. It's bound for Rome's Ciampino airport where it's due to land at about 2230 local time.

One last wave from the top of the steps and that's it. The Pope steps inside the plane - known in some quarters as Shepherd One - which is flying both the union jack and the papal standard.

After a final shake of the hand and a few private words with the prime minister, Pope Benedict walks the red carpet for the last time and says goodbye to a number of his bishops.

The Pope says he will "treasure the time" spent with members of his Church while in the UK. He once again mentions Cardinal Newman and the lessons he feels we can all learn from him.

The Pope now takes centre-stage and thanks all those who have helped to organise his visit. He says the diversity of modern Britain is a challenge to the government, but also offers an opportunity for greater inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue.

The PM concludes by saying the government and the Vatican have agreed to increase their co-operation "on the key international issues where we share a common goal", including tackling climate change, fighting poverty and disease, and working for peace around the world.
David Cameron says Britain is characterised by a deep, but quiet compassion, and he has felt it personally in recent days "as I have cradled a new daughter and said goodbye to a wonderful father".

"Faith is part of the fabric of our country," the prime minister continues. But he adds: "People do not have to share a religious faith or agree with religion on everything to see the benefit of asking the searching questions that you, your Holiness, have posed to us about our society and how we treat ourselves and each other."

"You have spoken to a nation of six million Catholics, but you have been heard by a nation of more than 60 million citizens," David Cameron says. "For you have offered a message not just to the Catholic Church, but to each and every one of us, of every faith and none. A challenge to us all to follow our conscience, to ask not what are my entitlements, but what are my responsibilities? To ask not what we can do for ourselves, but what we can do for others?"

The Pope has now arrived on the airport tarmac. He emerges from his car, surrounding by his ever-present be-suited security guards, and takes David Cameron by the hand. After a few private words they take to the podium.

David Cameron has arrived at Birmingham airport. He's standing on the red carpet in front of the podium, complete with two gold-trimmed chairs, from which he and the Pope will speak.

The BBC's Robert Pigott says that while the visit has been a success and the turnout pretty good, most people have come out to see A Pope, not The Pope, because Benedict does not embody the Catholic Church as his predecessor John Paul did.

Sarah in Birmingham writes: "I'm not Catholic, but I have really enjoyed the Pope's visit to the UK this week. He has come across as a lovely man, he has spoken wisely and in a way anyone could listen and understand, and the crowds seemed to have responded to this at the events he has been too. He has looked happy to be here and I hope he enjoyed his visit."

RCYouthWorker tweets about the Pope's speech to the bishops: "Nothing in the speech that is a telling off but plenty that will be spun as such. Just wait and see."

The Pope leaves St Mary's on his way to Birmingham International airport.
More photo opportunities. Inside the chapel, the Pope poses for a picture with the heads of the Church in Scotland and England and Wales and the assembled cardinals and bishops. Outside, in St Mary's College garden, it's the turn of the West Midlands Police officers who have guarded him today. Then it's on to a group photo with the seminarians, who go on to give him a rousing send-off.
BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott says the invitation to Anglicans is a "very sensitive subject" and the Pope's first public reference to it on this visit was surprising.

In his closing address the Pope defends the Vatican's offer to welcome disenchanted Anglicans into the Catholic fold. He says the move, which allows Anglicans to retain elements of their heritage, could help contribute "positively" to relations between the two churches. Pope Benedict says the abuse scandal "seriously undermines the moral credibility" of the Church but suggested the lessons could be shared for the benefit of wider society.
The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, says the visit will "long remain in our hearts".
"Already in Scotland we are speaking of the Benedict bounce", says Cardinal O'Brien, as he refers to the four "wonderful days" of the visit.
Cardinal Keith O'Brien, head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, thanks the Pope for graciously wearing a special tartan during his time in Edinburgh on Thursday. He says he's pleased the pontiff was "proud to be an honorary Scotsman for a day". Cardinal O'Brien says the welcome the Pope received in Scotland reminded the world of the country's ancient Christian roots.
The meeting between the Pope and the bishops of England, Scotland and Wales has now wrapped up and we're expecting to hear a few words from some of those who were involved.
LicklePickle, in Birmingham, tweets: "The Pope was running late, so instead of the Popemobile going walking pace, it rushed past about 15mph! Sooo disappointing!"

Archbishop of Birmingham Bernard Longley says he is delighted with how smoothly today's events have gone and how warm the welcome has been. "The city has shown its concern for people of faith," he told the BBC.

Father Christopher Jamison, a Benedictine monk who appeared in the BBC series The Monastery, has given his take on turnout. "I think it is the spontaneity of those 200,000 people in London that will really surprise the Vatican because they'd been led to believe that while the Catholic faithful would welcome the Holy Father, there would be a great upsurge in scepticism and doubt among ordinary British people."

Nick Clegg has been asked about the Pope's visit at the Lib Dem conference in Liverpool. "I think the differences that people might have with the doctrine of the Catholic Church speak for themselves," he said. "But, I have to say that I also believe we are, above and beyond everything else, a liberal and tolerant nation, and that whilst debate, criticism, analysis of the teachings of the Catholic Church is, I think, necessary, I think as a community, as a nation and certainly as a government we have an absolute duty to welcome what is the leader of a very, very significant world religion."
Something else a bit special for you from our team in Birmingham - it's a gigapan image of the beatification service. You can use the controls to scroll around and to zoom in to see specific details up close.

 

Vatican stores computer chip fitted books in bombproof bunkerr
 

The Vatican Library is all set to reopen after a three year long renovation that saw computer chips being fitted in its 70,000 books dating back nearly 2,000 years and then stored in a bombproof bunker.

Daily Telegraph on Tuesday reported that all the library's 70,000 books, which are kept in a bombproof bunker, have been fitted with a computer chip that emits radio signals so as to prevent theft.

Fireproof walls, closed-circuit cameras, automated entry and exit gates and climate-controlled rooms were also introduced during the renovation.

The library houses the world's oldest known complete Bible, dating from around 325 and believed to have been commissioned by Emperor Constantine.

While 5,000 scholars are allowed to undertake research each year, but it is only the Pope who is allowed to take a book out of the library.

The library reading and research rooms will reopen Sep 20. The massive renovation effort, which cost about 7.5 million pounds, was sparked by an attempted theft by an American art history professor who smuggled pages torn from a 14th century manuscript.

In 1996, the professor was sentenced to 14 months in prison after he admitted that he took the pages during a 1987 research visit.

The chips will also ensure that each document is kept back in its proper place in the huge repository below the Vatican.

"In this kind of library, if a book is misplaced, it is as good as lost. "But with this new radio frequency system of identification, it will be much easier to locate a lost book and return it to its rightful place," Ambrogio Piazzoni, the library's vice-prefect, was quoted as saying.

The books and manuscripts were the product of the "thought, passion and faith" of centuries of religious scholarship, he said, adding: "It's not just the heritage of the Vatican Library but of the whole of humanity."

The library was started by Pope Nicholas V in the 1450s.

ST. EPHREM ECUMENICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE (SEERI)

Research & Regional Centre of Mahatma Gandhi University 

 

7th WORLD SYRIAC CONFERENCE

&

SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS OF SEERI

 

8 - 16 September 2010

 

 

                                      ܒܫܢܬ ܕܥܣܪܝܢ ܘܚܡܫ ܢܘܕܐ

ܐܝܣܚܩ ܠܒܪܐ ܕܚܣܟܗ ܒܛܘܪܐ

ܡܢ ܣܟܝܢܐ ܘܗܘܐ ܚܠܦܘܗܝ

ܐܡܪ ܩܛܠܐ ܦܠܛ ܡܝܘܬܐ

ܘܡܝܬ ܡܚܐ ܟܠ  ܒܪܝܟ ܩܘܪܒܢܗ

 

In the 25th year let Isaac give thanks

to the Son who preserved him on the mountain

from the knife and became, in his place,

the lamb that was slaughtered:   the mortal escaped,

while there died He who gives life to all!

Blessed is His offering!

 

                        (St Ephrem, Hymns on the Nativity 18:30)  

                    

PROGRAMME 

 

INAUGURAL CELEBRATION

 

Wednesday, 8th September 2010 at 14.30

                       

 

     To’ ba-šlom: Rev. Fr. M.P George and Group (Orthodox Theological Seminary)

 

Prayer Song: M A Syriac Students (SEERI)

 

Welcome: H.G. Thomas Mar Koorilos

                                         (Metropolitan Archbishop, Tiruvalla and President, SEERI)

 

      Presidential Address: H.B. Baselios Cleemis Catholicos

                                                        (Major Archbishop, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church)

  

Benedictory Speech: H.G. Joseph Mar Thoma

                                                               (Metropolitan, Mar Thoma Church)

                                                   

Inaugural Address: Prof. Dr. Rajan Gurukal

                                                           (Vice Chancellor, M.G. University, Kottayam)

 

Keynote Address: Prof.  Dr.  Sebastian P. Brock 

                                                                             (Oxford University)

Felicitations:

 

Prof. P.J. Kurian, Member of Parliament.

H.G. Mar Mathew Moolakkatt, Archbishop of Kottayam.

H.G. Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Metropolitan Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.         

H.G. Kuriakose Mar Ivanios, Knanaya Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church.

Rt. Rev. Dr. John R. K. Fenwick, Bishop, Free Church, England.

 

Vote of Thanks: H.G. Mar Aprem,

                                                             Metropolitan, Church of the East, Thrissur.

 

Benediction:

 

Special Programme: A thirteenth century Chinese source on a certain Syrian Christian  

                                  Ruler in Kollam/Quilon, India 

 

*******

 

 

Thursday - 9th September 2010

 

06.30 – 07.30: Holy Qurbana 

 

Celebrant: H.G. Mar Aprem (Metropolitan, Church of the East, Trichur)

 

Registration: 08.00- 08.45

 

Session-I

           

Moderator: Rt. Rev. Dr. John Robert Kipling Fenwick

                                                                                        (Free Church of England)

 

08.50 –08.55 Prayer Song (Sisters, Udhanashram, Idukki)

 

08.55–09.30 Alison Grace Salvesen: Jacob of Sarug’s memre on the book of Daniel.

           

09.30–10.00 Colette Pasquet: Oriental Syriac Commentaires on Gen 1.26 and     

                                    Incarnation’s Mystery.

                                               

10.00–10.30 Buda Lorenzo: Mar Aprem: Martyr and Singer of the Word.

                        

Session-II  

 

Moderator:   Prof. Dr. Dr. Hubert Kaufhold

                                                         (Jura, Univ. München, Germany)

 

11.00–11.30 Christophe Vielle: Johann Ernst Hanxleden S.J. (1681-1732) and St. Thomas  

                                    Christians: from Malayalam poetry to Syriac liturgy and philology.         

 

11.30–12.00 Paul Blaize Kadicheeni: Baptismal liturgy in the writings of Timothy II.

 

12.00–12.30 Johnny Messo: The Syriac Universal Alliance, the endangered Syriac Cultural

                                          Heritage and the envisaged role of scholars.

 

12.30–12.40 Noon Prayer (Church of the East – Archdeacon Emmanuel Yokhanna)

 

Session III  

 

Moderator:  Rev. Dr. John Kochuthundiyil        

                                        (Rector, St. Mary’s Malankara Major Seminary, Trivandrum)  

 

14.00–14.30 Istvan Perczel: New sources for the history of the Chaldean Syrian                                                     

                                    community in India.

 

14.30–15.00 Toda Satoshi: Reconsidering the Intellectual Background of Bardaisan.

 

15.00–15.30   Emmanuel Thelly: Prayers of the Feast of Denha in the Syro-Chaldean

                                    Breviary.

 

Session IV

 

Moderator:     Dr. F.B. Chatonnet

                                 (CNRS IVRI Paris, France)

           

16.00–16.30    Robert Hawley:  Plants of Indian origin in the Syriac Pharmacopeia.

 

16.30–17.00   Joseph Palackal: Kerala, the Cradle of Christianity in South Asia: The

                                    Cultural Interface of Music and Religion.

 

(After supper: Discussion for setting up the syllabus for the proposed theological college of the Church of the East, Sydney as requested by Mar Meelis Zaia, Archbishop of Australia)

 

Friday - 10th September 2010

 

06.30 – 07.30 Holy Qurbana

 

Celebrant:  H.E. Mar Joseph Kallarangattu

                                                     (Syro Malabar, Bishop of Pala)

Session V 

 

Moderator:      H.G. Dr. Mar Aprem

                                          (Metropolitan, Church of the East, Trichur)                               

 

08.50–08.55    Prayer Song (Students of SEERI, East Syriac).

           

08.55–09.30   John R K Fenwick: Some Neglected Sources for the History of the St.

                                    Thomas Christians.

 

09.30–10.00   Hubert Kaufhold:  Die Reise des Syrisch-Orthodoxen Patriarchen Petros          

                                    IV, nach Indien (1876/1877).  

 

10.00–10.30    Martin Tamcke: “Bishop Gabriel”.      

 

Session VI

 

Moderator:       Prof. Dr. Jürgen Tubach

                                                (Martin Luther Univ., Halle, Germany)

 

11.00–11.30   Theresia Hainthaler: Christ in the flesh, who is God over all (Rom 9,5                   

                                    Pesh.). The letter of Catholicos Timothy I. (780-823) to the monks of Mar Maron.

 

11.30–12.00  Hidemi Takahashi: Additional information on the Syriac manuscripts
                                    at Yale University.

12.00–12.30  David A. Michelson: Proposals for Syriac Prosopography & Authority Control.

 

12.30–12.40  Noon Prayer (Syro Malabar – Fr. Emmanuel Thelly CMI)

                   

Session VII

 

Moderator:    Prof. Dr. Rainer Voigt

                                                            (Freie Univ. Berlin)

                                   

14.00–14.30  Timothy B. Sailors:  Quotations of Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians in                                               Syriac.

 

14.30–15.00  Simon S. Ford: Translating the faith: Syriac scholarship and the legislative program in the canons ascribed to Maruta of Maiphweqat.

 

15.00–15.30 Abraha Tedros: Isaac of Nineveh, Filoxenus of Mabbug, John Saba: three fundamental names of Ethiopian monasticism, theology and spirituality: History of the translation of the texts attributed to them and their influence.

 

Session VIII

 

Moderator:  Rev. Dr.  Johns Abraham Konat

                                                                       (Prof., SEERI, Kottayam)

 

16.00–16.30  Thomas Koonammakkal: Justin and Ephrem: A parallel.

 

16.30–17.00  Andrea Schmidt & Gaby Abousamra: Cataloguing the Syriac Manuscripts and Fragments of the Manuscripts Institutes in Yerevan and Tbilisi. The case of Syriac Amulets from the Urmia Region.

 

Saturday - 11th September 2010

 

06.30 – 07.30 Holy Qurbana

 

Celebrant:  Msgr. Jacob Vellian

                                      (Syro-Malabar Knanaya Catholic, Kottayam)

Session IX

 

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Martin Tamcke

                                              (Georg-August Univ. Göttingen, Germany)

 

08.50-08.55   Prayer Song (Bethany Sisters).

 

09.00–09.30  F.B. Chatonnet & Jimmy Daccache: Researches on Syriac writing in the background of Antioch.

 

09.30–10.00  Rainer Voigt: From the Aramaic script to the Indian scripts & from the Indian scripts to the Ethiopic scripts.

10.00–10.30  Baby Varghese: West Syrian Liturgy: A survey of hundred years of  

                                    Researches.

 Session X 

 

Moderator:   Prof. Dr. Andrea Barbara Schmidt

                                                             (Université Catholique de LLN,  Belgium)

           

11.00–11.30 Amir Harrak: New evidence on the Christian emirs of Mesopotamia during the Mongol period.

 

11.30–12.00 Abdo Badwi: The painting of the crowning of Our Lady between Lebanon and Kerala.

 

12.00–12.30 Mar Aprem: East Syriac books printed in India.

 

12.30–12.40   Noon Prayer (Abuna Abdo Badwi - Maronite Church).

 

 

Session XI

 

Moderator:  Dr. Alison Grace Salvesen

                                                              (Oxford University, UK)

 

14.00–14.30 Ugo Achille Zanetti: "Fraction prayers" in the Coptic Mass.

 

14.30–15.00 Philippa Malas: The illustrations of Syriac lectionary Add. 7170 in the British Library as evidence of cultural exchange.

 

15.00–15.30 Thomas A. Carlson: The nature of the Church (of the East) in Ishaq Shbandnaya’s “Poem on the Divine Economy”.

Session XII

 

Moderator:   Moderator:  Hidemi Takahashi

                                                                 (The University of Tokyo,  Japan)

 

16.00–16.30 Steve Cochrane: Angamaly: a re-examination of its importance in the light of early 9th century Asian comparative history.

 

16.30-17.00 JMF Van Reeth & Peter Strauven: The emergence of the Syriac Oktoèchos: a liturgical translation of the Universe.

 

 

Sunday - 12th September 2010

 

08.00 – 09.30: Holy Qurbana

 

Celebrant: Rev. Fr. Raju Parakkott

                                        (Vicar, St. Thomas Malankara Catholic Church (SEERI))

 

 

Excursion Programme (Foreign Delegates)

 

            10.00: Depart from SEERI. In the list, there are 10 destinations.  Necessary changes in the destinations will be made during the journey, according to feasibility and availability of time. Those interested should give their names at the registration counter by Friday, Sept. 10, to facilitate booking of transportation.

 

1. St. Mary’s Church, Kuravilangadu (There we can see “The boat of Jonah”. This is the only church where the 3-day fast in Kerala is solemnly celebrated. We can also see Pre-Diamper bell with Syriac inscription & Tomb inscriptions in Syriac).

 

2. Visit to Beth Aprem Nazrani Dayra, Kappumthala near Kuravilangadu.

 

3.  Kaduthuruthy St. Mary’s Church (Syro-Malabar Knanaya Church with the oldest and biggest granite Cross.

 

4. Pampakuda (The famous Konat collections of Syriac manuscripts, guided by Fr. Dr. Johns Abraham Konat).

 

5.  Mulanthuruthy Mar Thomman Church   (the venue of several Synods; pre-Diamper Syriac inscriptions on the main entrance and the tomb inscriptions of Mar Koorilos Yuyakim - responsible for West Syriac renaissance in the region).

 

6. Kandanad (Jacobite Syrian) Church, with mural inscriptions on the parish house and facade of the church.

 

7. Tripunithura Nadamel Palli (Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church), with beautiful Syriac inscriptions on the altar & tombs.

 

8. Kadamattam Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church with Syriac inscriptions. Famous for the legend of Kadamattathu Kathanar.

 

9. Pallikkara Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church with Syriac inscriptions and one of the best Portuguese interior decorations of the madbaha.

 

      10. Kothamangalam Cheriyapalli (Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church), famous for Altar and biographical inscriptions in Syriac.

 

Monday - 13th September 2010

 

06.30 – 07.30 Holy Qurbana

Celebrant:  H.E. Mathews Mar Aprem

                                                     (Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church)

Session XIII

 

Moderator:      Rev. Dr. Philip Njaralakkatt

                                                  (Prof. Syriac, Retd. Principal St Thomas College, Pala)

 

08.50-08.55   Prayer Song (Bethany Sisters, Kalathilpadi).

 

08.55–09.30  Erica C.D. Hunter:  Syriac prayer-amulets from Turfan.

 

09.30–10.00  Frederic Alpi: Severus of Antioch and Eastern Churches (512 -518).

 

10.00–10.30   Philip Vysaneth: Music, the language of heart in the Syro-Malankara liturgy and its relation to Raga in the Indian Music.

Session XIV 

 

Moderator: Rev. Dr. Xavier Koodapuzha

                                     (Reš Dayro. Mar Thoma Šliha Nazrani Dayara, Nallathanni)

 

11.00–11.30 Thomas Kollamparampil: Multiple covenants and the “People from the

                                    Peoples” in Aphrahat.

 

11.30–12.00 Kuriakose Valavanolickal: Attitude of Aphrahat to the poor.

 

12.00–12.30 Jiphy Mekkattukulam: Acts of Thomas: new findings.

 

12.30–12.40 Noon Prayer (Fr. Saju Keepanassery - West Syriac)

                                   

Session XV 

 

Moderator:  Amir Harrak

                               (Professor, Univ. of Toronto, Canada)

 

 

14.00–14.30 Gebremedhin Dimetros Woldu: The Significance of St. Ephrem in the

                                    Ethiopian Christian Tradition.

14.30–15.00 Rima Smine Gannage: The Iconography of Syriac Lectionaries: British Library Add. 7170 and Vatican Syr. 559.

 

15.00 –15.30  Paul C. Dilley: Heavenly visions in the martyrdom of Mihr-Narse. 

 

Session XVI 

 

Moderator:  Rev. Dr. Mathew Mannakattu

                                             (President, Paurastya Vidya Pitham, Vadavathoor, KTM)

 

16.00–16.30 Jean-Paul Deschler: Word and Meaning: A Glossary in Liturgy and Iconography with special reference to the theology of the Eastern Churches.

 

16.30–17.00  Rifaat Ebied: A Collection of acrostic admonitions in Syriac attributed to St. Ephrem the Syrian.  

                                                

20.40 -21.30  Cultural Programme: (Music, dance etc) led by Msgr. Jacob Vellian and his troupe.

 

Tuesday -14th September 2010

 

Jubilee Celebrations: Liturgy Service

                            Holy Qurbana (09.00 a.m.): 

Chief Celebrant: H. B. Ignatios Youssef III Younan,

                                                                             Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch

            Co-celebrants: The Archbishop and Bishops of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. 

 

             Homily: H.E. Abraham Mar Julios,

                                                  Bishop of Muvattupuzha.

 

11.00 a.m. Public Meeting

 

           To’ ba-šlom – Rev. Fr. M.P. George and Group

 

Prayer Song: Bethany Sisters

 

Welcome Speech: H.G. Thomas Mar Koorilos,

(Metropolitan Archbishop, Tiruvalla & President, SEERI)

 

Presidential address: H.G. Mar Joseph Powathil,

                    (Archbishop Emeritus, Changanacherry & Chairman, Inter-Church Council for Education)

 

Inaugural address: H.B. Ignatios Youssef III Younan,
                    
(Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch)

Felicitations:

 

Rt. Rev. Sebastian Thekethecheril, Bishop of Vijayapuram, Roman Catholic Church.

H.G. Mathews Mar Aprem, Malankara Jacob Syrian Church, Angamaly.

Mr. K. M. Mani, Member of Legislative Assembly.

Mr. V.N. Vasavan, Member of Legislative Assembly, Kottayam.

Dr. Rajan Varghese, PVC, M.G. University, Kottayam.

            Tuvaik SEERI: Rev.Fr. Emmanuel Thelly CMI, Poonjar.

Msgr. Gabriel Quicke, Secretary, Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.

Prelate Prof. Dr. Lothar Waldmüller, Munich, Germany.

Ms. Borgna Luciana, Missio Munich.

Mr. M.L. Thomas, CNEWA.

Abuna Abdo Badwi, Director, School of Sacred Arts, Holy Spirit Univ. Kaslik, Lebanon.

Prof. Andrea Schmidt, Catholic Univ. Louvain, Belgium.

Prof. Jürgen Tubach, Martin Luther Univ. Halle, Germany.

 

Vote of Thanks: Rev. Fr. Raju Parakott

                                                              (Asst. Director, SEERI)

Benediction.  

Photo Session 

 Session XVII (A) 

Moderator:  Prof. Rifaat Ebied                  
                             
(Emeritus Professor of Semitic Studies, University of Sydney, Australia)
 

14.00–14.30  Jürgen Tubach: Indigenous and foreign Christians in the East Arabian dioceses of the hyparchy Persis. 

14.30-15.00  Roula Skaf: La définitude en araméen-Syriaque. 

15.00–15.30    Lutz Greisiger: Emperor Heraclius in Jerusalem as reflected in 7th century Syriac and Hebrew apocalyptic narratives. 

Session XVII (B) 

Moderator: Theresia Hainthaler

                                        (Hochschule Sankt, Georgen, Frankfurt, Germany) 

14.00–14.30  Jacob Vellian: Taksa d’Raze. 

14.30–15.00 Stephen Plathottathil: Ramšo d-Denho: Technical terms and themes of Penquitho

15.00–15.30 Garry Moon Yuen Pang: The historical and theological significance of the Chinese-Syriac Jingjiao Monument in China.

Session XVIII (A) 

Moderator:  Rev. Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla
                                
(Principal Mar Thoma Seminary, Kottayam)
 

16.00–16.30  Behnam Keryo: St. Ephrem, a monk in love. 

16.30–17.00  John Vattanky: Understanding Christian eschatology against the background of the thought of Ephrem and Sankara.

 

Session XVIII (B)  

Moderator: Dr. George Anton Kiraz

                                        (Beth Marduto - Gorgias Press,  USA)
 

16.00–16.30 Kuriakose Moolayil: Printed versions of the Nomocanon 

16.30–17.00 George Menacherry: Realities of South Indian social life and apostolic traditions as reflected in certain hymns of Ephrem.  

Wednesday - 15th September 2010 

Session XIX  

Moderator:  Prof. Erica C.D. Hunter

                                           (SOAS, London Univ., UK) 

08.50-08.55 Prayer Song: Orthodox Theological Seminary Students           

08.55–09.30 Zeki Aydin: Jacob of Sarug’s Mimro on Zakai. 

09.30–10.00 Assad Sauma Assad: Ephrem's commentary on the Blessings of Jacob 

10.00–10.30 Simone Isacco Maria Pratelli: The most ancient manuscripts of the store house of mysteries & Gregorius Barhebraeus’ commentary on the prophets: a few remarks.

Session  XX
 

Moderator:  Fr. Dr. K.M. George

                                  (Principal, Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam) 

11.00–11.30 Sebastian P. Brock: The significance of the new finds of Syriac manuscripts at St. Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai 

11.30–12.00 Jomy Joseph: The eco-theological perspectives of Ephrem the Syrian.    

12.00-12.30 George Kiraz: The šhimo in the Syriac tradition. 

12.30–12.40 Noon Prayer (West Syriac Orthodox Seminary students)                                 

 

Session  XXI 

Moderator:  Rev. Dr. Thomas Kollamparampil CMI

                                      (President, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore) 

14.00–14.30  Jonathan Loopstra: Perceptions of the Syriac Bible in the works of the 17th century biblical critic Father Richard Simon. 

14.30–15.00  Jincy O.U.:   A study on the commemoration of Sts. Peter and Paul from the Hudra of the Church of the East.  

15.00–15.30   Robert Gabriel: The first printed books in Syriac. 

Session  XXII 

Moderator:     Rev. Fr. Jerome, Peedikaparambil OIC

                                            (Provincial, Navajeevan Province, TVM) 

16.00–16.30   Robin Beth Shamuel: The Western missionaries and the revival of the neo-Aramaic dialects (Sureth). 

16.30–17.00    Shinichi Muto: Christ's descent to the underworld in the
            Khara-Khoto Syriac document found in inner Mongolia. 

Thursday - 16th September 2010 

Session XXIII (A) 

Moderator:  Gaby Abousamra

                                                (Kaslik Uni. Beirut, Lebanon)

 

08.50-08.55  Prayer Song: SEERI Students           

08.55–09.30  Rifaat Ebied & Lionel Wickham: A short Treatise on the Trinity in Syriac  

                                        attributed to St. Ephrem the Syrian. 

09.30–10.00  P.V. Philip: John the Evangelist, the disciple that Jesus loved.           

10.00–10.30  Saju Keeppanasseril: A Homily on the Number 12. 

 

 

Session XXIII (B)     

 

Moderator: Dr. Assad Sauma

                                        (Aram Stockholm, Sweden) 

08.50-08.55  Prayer Song: SEERI Students 

08.55-09.30  Stephen Olikal: The concept of “woman” in Mar Jacob of Sarug’s Mimre.                

9.30-10.00 Varghese George: Tesbuhtho d-Pothuro according to Jacob of Sarug. 

10.00-10.30 Luis Philipe Thomaz: St. Thomas in a 16th century Portuguese poem.

 

Valedictory Session: 11.15 hrs.           

Prayer Song: Rev. Dn. Severios 

Welcome: Rev. Dr. Kuriakose Moolayil Corepiscopa 

Valedictory Address: Prof. K. Mathew, Member, Syndicate, M.G. University             

            Moderator for Evaluations: Dr. Mary Hansbury (Philadelphia, USA) 

            Evaluations: A delegate from each of the following regions/countries is

                                    requested to evaluate this conference:

 

America 

Australia 

Europe 

Far-East 

India 

Middle-East 

Recommendations and suggestions: Open to floor. 

Vote of Thanks:  Rev. Dn. Shaun Mathew (1st Year M A Student) 

Tuvaik seeri & Abun d basmayo

Visit to Mannanam Collection of  Syriac Manuscripts & M. G. University: 16th September 2010

Fr. Prior of the St Joseph Monastery has invited us to visit Mannanam the citadel of Syriac heritage. Those interested may give their names at the registration counter. We will also be visiting Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala’s largest university, which also has the greatest number of affiliated colleges in Kerala. 

Additional Papers           

Nelson P.: Anaphora of Dionysius Areopagite 

Varghese Varghese: Ido d-Denho according to Mar Jacob of Serugh.  

Jose Charuvil: Prayer of peace in the Anaphora of St. James in comparison with those of other Anaphorae. 

John Kannanthanam: Jewish influence on East Syriac traditions with a special mention of marriage ceremonies.                  

            Raju Parakkott: St. Paul according to Narsai. 

            Mathew Kuttiani: Persian martyrs of early 5th century.            

             Johns  Abraham Konat: Cataloguing of the Syriac Manuscripts of  Pampakuda collection.  

            Thomas Mannooramparampil: An ancient Commentary of an anonymous author on the East Syriac Holy Qurbana.

            Jacob Thekeparampil: Simon as tupso – a model for penitence according to Jacob of Serugh.

 

BP oil leak offers 'lesson in humility'  and 'limits of technology' 

 

 

Catholic News Service   

The "sense of powerlessness and delay" in resolving the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history offers a lesson about the limits of technology, a Vatican official said.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said in a commentary June 19 that the leaking BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexicowas a disaster "of enormous proportions, and getting worse."

He compared it to the 1984 chemical factory explosion in Bhopal, India, or the 1986 meltdown of the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine.

"What is striking in this case is the sense of powerlessness and delay in finding a solution to this disaster faced by one of the largest and most technologically advanced oil multinationals in the world, but also by the most powerful country on earth," Father Lombardi said.

"It seems incredible, but it is a fact. This is not the eruption of a volcano, but a relatively small man-made hole in the seabed. Yet, in two months, expert scientists and technicians, leaders in their field, have failed to plug it," he said.

The Vatican spokesman said he hoped people would draw from the disaster a lesson of prudence and care in the use of the earth's resources.

"Perhaps we can also draw a lesson in humility," he said.

"Technology will advance. But if a relatively simple production process leaves us so helpless, what will we do if much more complex processes get out of hand, such as those affecting the energy hidden in the heart of matter or moreover in the processes of the formation of life?" he said.

Father Lombardi noted that the issue of responsible use of technology was addressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his latest encyclical, "Caritas in Veritate" ("Charity in Truth").

                 Belgaum Priest Wins Top Protestant Ecumenical HR Award

Coutesy CSF
A
 Catholic priest working in India’s Karnataka state has been selected for a human rights award instituted in memory of a Protestant clergyman. Father P. J. Jacob from Belgaum diocese is the first Catholic priest to be conferred the M. A. Thomas National Human Rights Award. He will receive a citation and cash prize of 100,000 rupees (US$2,174) in Bangalore in August. Father Jacob, founder of the Vimochana (liberation) Development Society, has “contributed immensely” toward social justice and “consistently promoted” people’s rights for 45 years, the Vigil India Movement (VIM) said in a statement. VIM set up the award in 1993 to honor Reverend M. A. Thomas of the Mar Thoma Church, who died in 1993 at the age of 80.
Father Jacob, a former member of the state legislative assembly for a term of five years, also established institutions to educate the poor, VIM program manager, John Juliana said. The human rights award is given once in two years to an individual or institution for making significant contributions in the field of human rights. Reverend Thomas, an ecumenical leader, founded VIM and the Ecumenical Christian Centre in Bangalore
.

                                             CRI Meets the Challenge of a New India

The Conference of Religious India (CRI) is to launch a special scheme to prepare new Indian Religious congregation leaders to meet challenges posed by the country’s expected rapid development in the next decade. “There are many people predicting that India will be adeveloped country by the year 2020 and the Catholic Religious will have to prepare for that,” said Brother Mani Mekkunnel, CRI national secretary. He said the conference will organize courses on “visions for the future” for young Religious in its 13 regions across India. “We are planning to bring one Religious aged 30-35 from each region for the program,” Brother Mekkunnel explained. The first session is scheduled for July 1-4 at the Renewal Centre in Kochi, for the Kerala region. The program will conclude with a national convention in March, 2011 in Pune, where more than 1,000 young Religious are expected to attend. CRI represents more than 125,000 Catholic Religious brothers, priests and nuns in India. Some 30,000 religious are aged 30–35.
                                  
 
Religious who participate in the program would become leaders in their congregations and regions by the year 2020, Brother Mekkunnel said. The participants will make a commitment to seek ways to make Religious life more relevant in the modern world. They will set 10 goals to achieve this. Many of the traditional functions done by Religious today will become irrelevant in the next ten years, said Brother Mekkunnel. The Religious will have to look for ways to make their life meaningful and purposeful, he said, adding “nothing will be imposed” on the participants during the program. It would be a collective search, he added.
 

 

Popes and Ecumenical Thinking 

 Eastern Theology Has Enriched the Whole Church    

  by Pope John Paul II

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. Continuing my reflection on Eastern Christianity, today I would like to focus attention on the development of Eastern theology, which, even in the centuries that followed the age of the Fathers and the sad division with the Apostolic See, led to profound and stimulating perspectives at which the whole Church looks with interest. Although there is still disagreement on this point or that, we must not forget that what unites us is greater than what divides us.

An important doctrinal development occurred between the eighth and ninth centuries after the "iconoclast" crisis unleashed by several Byzantine emperors, who decided radically to suppress the veneration of sacred images. Many were forced to suffer for resisting this absurd imposition. St John Damascene and St Theodore the Studite come to mind in particular. The victorious outcome of their resistance proved decisive not only for devotion and sacred art, but also for a deeper understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation. Indeed, in the final analysis the defense of images was based on the fact that God truly became man in Jesus of Nazareth. It is therefore legitimate for the artist to endeavour to portray his face, not only with the aid of his talent, but especially by interior docility to God's Spirit. The images refer to the Mystery that surpasses them, and they help us feel its presence in our life.

2. The hesychast controversy marked another distinctive moment in Eastern theology. In the East, hesychasm means a method of prayer characterized by a deep tranquillity of the spirit, which is engaged in constant contemplation of God by invoking the name of Jesus. There was no lack of tension with the Catholic viewpoint on certain aspects of this practice. However, we should acknowledge the good intentions which guided the defense of this spiritual method, that is, to emphasize the concrete possibility that man is given to unite himself with the Triune God in the intimacy of his heart, in that deep union of grace which Eastern theology likes to describe with the particularly powerful term of "theosis", "divinization".

Precisely in this regard Eastern spirituality has amassed a very rich experience which was vigorously presented in the famous collection of texts significantly entitled Philokalia (love of beauty") and gathered by Nicodemus the Hagiorite at the end of the 18th century. Down the centuries until our day, Eastern theological reflection has undergone interesting developments, not only in the classical areas of the Byzantine and Russian tradition, but also in the Orthodox communities scattered throughout the world. One need only recall, among the many studies worthy of mention, the Theology of Beauty elaborated by Pavel Nikolaievich Evdokimov, which is based on the Eastern art of the icon, and the study of the doctrine of "divinization" by the Orthodox scholar, Loth Borovine.

How many things we have in common! It is time for Catholics and Orthodox to make an extra effort to understand each other better and to recognize with the renewed wonder of brotherhood what the Spirit is accomplishing in their respective traditions towards a new Christian springtime.

3. Let us ask Mary, Mother of Wisdom, to teach us to recognize promptly the infinite expressions of God's presence in the history of mankind. May she help us to concentrate on the positive rather than the negative, and to use all the creativity of mutual understanding for engaging in fruitful dialogue, even on points where differences remain. For this reason, may the Holy Spirit grant us the wisdom of heart so dear to Eastern spirituality and essential to any genuinely Christian experience.

I am pleased to welcome all the English-speaking visitors who have joined us for this Angelus prayer. May these summer holidays be a time of relaxation and spiritual renewal for you and your families.

Today, as we remember St Clare of Assisi, my thoughts turn to the Poor Clares and to all cloistered nuns. I express to them the loftiest esteem which the Christian community has for this kind of life, "a sign of the exclusive union of the Church as Bride with her Lord, whom she loves above all things" (Apostolic Exhortation Vita consecrata, n. 59). By offering themselves to Jesus for the world's salvation, they represent "a joyful proclamation and prophetic anticipation of the possibility offered to every person and to the whole of humanity to live solely for God in Christ Jesus" (ibid.). They therefore deserve my gratitude and that of the whole Church, and an encouragement to persevere faithfully in the cloistered life according to their specific charism.

    Document Information

  • Description:
     

    Pope John Paul II's Angelus Message, August 11,

    full text

  • Larger Work:
    L'Osservatore Romano

  • Publisher & Date:
    Vatican Press, August 21, 1996

 

The Apostolic Nunciature in India, New Delhi.

His Excellency Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Titular Archbishop of Montemarano, is the new Apostolic Nuntio to India. The following is the 
CURRICULUM VITAE of His Grace:

►     His Excellency, Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio was born in Marano (Naples) Italy on 7 September 1952.

►     He was ordained a priest on 18 September, 1976.

►     He holds a Doctorate in Philosophy and entered into the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See on 15 April, 1979.

►     He served in the Apostolic Nunciatures in Panama, Ethiopia, Australia, Turkey, Egypt, Yugoslavia and Ireland. 

►     On 28 November, 1998, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Rwanda.

►     On 20 November, 2003, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia, and Apostolic Delegate in Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia and Brunei.

►     On 8 May, 2010, he was appointed apostolic Nuncio to India

►     He speaks English, French and Spanish   

His Excellency Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio
Past and Present Ordinaries

Platinum jubilee of CHAI to be held in Hyderabad

The Hindu, Hyderabad, April 26 Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The National Board of the Church History Association of India which met on Saturday has resolved to hold platinum jubilee triennial assembly here in July 2011. A massive exhibition of early Church initiatives dating back to the first century AD covering the themes of socio-economic upliftment, literacy and printing technology initiation, peace promotion and other subjects would be the highlight of the assembly. Historians from India and observers from other countries will attend the event, according to Prof. Snaithong of Shillong and Prof. George Manachery of Kerala, president and general secretary respectively of CHAI.

Hyderabad, 24 April
The Church History Association of India CHAI celebrates its Platinum Jubilee and 15th Triennial together at the American Research Centre Complex Hyderabad / the ACTC on a large scale with five-day long programmes. The National office bearers and the Church History Association of Andhra Pradesh CHAAP the local organisers took this joint decision at a meeting presided over by Bishop Parmar at NCC HQ / Satyodaya, Hyderabad.

More than 18 Scholars will present papers at the Triennial on "Indian Christian Historical- Cultural Studies- Yesterday, today". A platinum Jubilee Commemoration Volume containing 75 learned papers edited by Dr. Oberland Snaithang (CHAI President) and Prof. George Menachery (CHAI Secretary General) will be published on the occasion. A National Essay competition on the preservation of Christian Monuments in India will be conducted under the charge of Dr. Varghese Perayil, prof. Agnes d’Sa, and Rev. Jeramia (ACTC). An Indian Christian Historico-Cultural Exhibition under the auspices of the association’s Northern, North-Eastern, Eastern, Western, and Southern branches will be organised under the leadership of Dr. Oliver, Dr. Francis Thonippara, Dr. Pasupalethi Manasseh, Dr. Thomas Edmunds, Dr. George Ummen, Dr. Mathias Mundadan, Rev. Jeramiah, Rev. P. Diggal and Dr. Leonardo Fernando. The national executive committee and the Twin Cities’ organizing committee solicited the active co-operation of Church leaders and historians to make the CHAI Platinum Jubilee celebrations a success. The delegates were received in typical and traditional Telugu style and decorated with Ponnadas and Veshtis by former Moderator Bishop Rev. Dr. Parmar.  

A Source of Hope
The flourishing Church in India is destined to play a leading role in ecclesiastical affairs
 in the 21st century. in ecclesial affairs in the 21st century.

by Jeff Ziegler

Nearly two millennia ago, a doubting apostle saw, believed, and preached the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Fifteen hundred years later, a student at the University of Paris met Ignatius of Loyola, helped found the Jesuit order, and obeyed an order to accompany the Portuguese who were colonizing the East. The apostolic labors of St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Francis Xavier have borne much fruit in the ensuing centuries. If demography is destiny, then the Church in India, more than any other nation, is destined to play a leading role in ecclesial affairs in the 21st century, much as the Church in France left its mark on the 13th century and the Church in Spain deeply influenced the 16th. At the end of 2007, India’s Catholic population ranked 16th in the world, behind Brazil, Mexico, the Philippines, the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Colombia, Poland, Argentina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Germany, Peru, Venezuela, and Nigeria. Yet more than the faithful of any other nation, India’s 18.6 million Catholics have fostered a culture in which priestly and religious vocations and Catholic institutions flourish. India has more seminarians (14,120) than any other nation—nearly 5,000 more than second-ranked Brazil. (This figure does not include India’s 10,875 high-school seminarians.) Between 1999 and 2007, the number of Indian seminarians increased by an astounding 40 percent. Nearly 64 percent of India’s seminarians will be ordained for religious orders rather than local dioceses. Between 1999 and 2007, the number of diocesan priests ministering in India rose by 24 percent, from 10,690 to 13,290—not counting the 1,032 diocesan priests serving in other nations— while the number of religious-order priests rose by 33 percent, from 8,248 to 11,003. During the same time period, the number of diocesan priests in the United States—which has 67.8 million Catholics—fell by 5 percent, and the number of religious priests plummeted by 17 percent. Vocations to non-ordained religious life are flourishing as well. India has more nuns than any other nation (except Italy), and will soon rank first in the world if trends continue. Between 1999 and 2007, the number of professed women religious grew by 19 percent, from 79,608 to 94,450, during a time

when the number dropped by 23 percent in the US, from 81,364 to 63,250. During the same time period, the number of non-ordained male religious in India rose by 37 percent, from 2,558 to 3,502, while the number declined by 13 percent in the United States to 5,124. Accompanying the continued growth of the priesthood and religious life in India is an institutional presence unmatched anywhere in the world. India has 10,240 Catholic elementary schools with more than three million students— more than any other nation in the world, and more than all the nations of North and Central America combined. India has more than five thousand high schools with over three million students— again, more than any other nation, and more than double the number of Catholic high school students in all of North and Central America. There are more Catholic hospitals in India than in all of North America. Indeed, the Church in India has more hospitals (754), medical dispensaries (2,504), leprosaria (220), and orphanages (2,327) than any other nation. These institutions are desperately needed in a nation where the per capita gross domestic product is $2,900 but 42 percent of the people live on less than $1.25 a day.

Sacramental statistics point to an active missionary presence within India and a seriousness with respect to Catholic marriage. Nearly 17 percent of baptisms in India are baptisms of adult converts; in the United States, the figure is 7 percent. Less than 6 percent of Catholic weddings in India are mixed marriages between a Catholic and non- Catholic spouse; in the United States, the figure is more than 27 percent. In addition, Church authorities in the United States annulled 22,174 marriages in 2007; in India, the number was 801. THRE RITES While the majority of Catholics in India belong to the Latin rite, the Church there is also blessed with the presence of two vibrant Eastern Catholic Churches: the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church.

In A.D. 52, St. Thomas the Apostle preached the Gospel in what is now the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. The St. Thomas Christians in time adopted the Chaldean liturgical tradition, now used by the Chaldean Catholic Church and the separated Assyrian Church of the East. When Portuguese explorers encountered the St. Thomas Christians in 1498, the latter professed the primacy of the pope. By 1510, Portuguese missionaries began to spread the faith further up the coast at Goa. The Latin Catholic hierarchy was established with the founding of the Diocese of Goa in 1533; its territory stretched at one time from South Africa to China. Even today, the archbishop of Goa and Daman is also known as the Primate of the East and the Patriarch of the East Indies. Latin-rite Catholicism established a much firmer foothold with the arrival of St. Francis Xavier; using Goa as his base, he preached in western India from 1542 to 1545. In time, the Portuguese Latin rite hierarchy angered many St. Thomas Christians down the coast by imposing changes on the ancient Chaldean liturgy. In 1653, thousands of St. Thomas Christians left the Catholic Church and sought communion with the Syrian Orthodox Church, forming the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, which now numbers 2.5 million members. A Malankara Orthodox Syrian monk and bishop, Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, was reconciled with the Holy See in 1930, leading to the formation of the Syro- Malankara Catholic Church, which now has 413,000 faithful and celebrates the sacred liturgy according to the Antiochan tradition. The cause of beatification of Archbishop Mar Ivanios— hailed by G.K. Chesterton as the “Newman of India” when the two met at a Eucharistic congress in Dublin—was opened in 2007.

The St. Thomas Christians who remained faithful to Rome in time became the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Now the second-largest Eastern Catholic Church (after the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church), it is a community of astonishing vitality. Led by the Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, it has 3.7 million faithful, 9,121 priests, 2,607 seminarians, and an astounding 35,000 women religious. The typical Syro- Malabar parish—there are 3,200 of them—has 1,150 laity, three priests, and 11 nuns.

“Not attending Sunday Masses is almost unthinkable for one growing up in a Catholic family,” says Father George Madathiparampil, vicar general of the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago, as he discussed the vitality of the Syro- Malabar Catholic Church. “It would even invite social condemnation.” “There is a great respect for the pope and the bishops and hence, here is very little chance of any act of challenge to their authority,” he added. “Humanae Vitae did not create any ripple of disobedience among Indian Catholics.” Both the Syro-Malabar and Syro- Malankara Catholic Churches—unlike the majority of Eastern Catholic Churches—practice the discipline of clerical celibacy.

“In India, renunciation of worldly pleasures is the hallmark of a person of God,” observed Archbishop Benedict Varghese Gregorios Thangalathil, who led the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church from 1955 to 1994. “A celibate Brahmachari is one who lives and moves in Brahman (God),” he noted in a 1993 essay. “If the non-Christians do not fail to see the advantage of celibacy for the good of religion and society, for a Christian…the motives for celibacy are much more deep and the benefits are much more lofty. Jesus, who lived a virgin life and exhorted his close followers to leave all, including marriage and family attachments, is the ultimate inspiration and the most exalted model of perfect renunciation.”

India has more seminarians than any other nation— nearly 5,000 more than second-ranked Brazil. (This figure does not include India’s 10,875 high school seminarians.) February2010_Complete1.indd 16 1/22/2010 1:03:03 PM THEE CATHOLLIIC WORLLD REEPPORT,, FFeebbrruuaarryy 22001100 1177 A MINOR ITY PRESENCE The least Catholic area of the United States is north-central Mississippi, where the 65 counties that form the Diocese of Jackson are 2.4 percent Catholic. India is even less Catholic than north-central Mississippi: only 1.6 percent of India’s 1.17 billion people are Catholic. India remains an overwhelmingly Hindu nation (81 percent) with a substantial Muslim community (13 percent) and a tiny Christian minority (2.3 percent, including Catholics). “In India the people have a sense of religion deeply rooted in them,” says Salesian Father Joseph Parippil, secretary to the archbishop of Guwahati, a northeastern Indian archdiocese where only 1 percent of area residents are Catholic. “All traditional families are deeply religious whatever religion they belong to. The common people do follow their conscience and are ever seeking the spiritual values.”

“Indian Catholic culture is closely linked with the rich cultural tradition of the country,” concurs Professor K.V. Thomaskutty, a historian at St. John’s College in Anchal, Kerala, and one of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church’s most prominent laymen. The vice president of Malankara Catholic Association told CWR that “decaying but still strong family bonds, dependence, love, care, and associations are there in the social structure of the Indian society.” “Even Communism could not establish atheistic Communism, though so far three states have been ruled by the Communist Party,” adds Father Parippil. “Indian Communists are not atheists.”

While India’s deeply religious non- Christian culture in a sense supports Catholic devotional life and the discipline of clerical celibacy, it also has led to the persecution of the Church. The US State Department’s 2009 international religious freedom report notes that “the government has not admitted new resident foreign missionaries since the mid-1960s. There is no national law barring a citizen or foreigner from professing or propagating religious beliefs; however, the Foreigners Act prohibits speaking publicly against the religious beliefs of others.”

Although India is a secular nation whose constitution respects religious freedom, five of India’s 29 state governments have enacted anti-conversion laws, and some states have turned a blind eye to the persecution of Christians. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—which ruled the nation from 1999 to 2004 and remains a major political party—has called for the passage of anti-conversion laws throughout India. Anti-Christian persecution in India attracted worldwide attention in 2008 when violence in the northeastern state of Orissa left 90 dead and fifty thousand homeless (see “Kill Christians and Destroy Their Institutions,” CWR, December 2008). Most anti-Christian persecution, however—such as these incidents that took place during the last six months of 2009—is rarely mentioned in the Western media.

• In July, the BJP government in Karnataka refused to extend a property lease and demanded that a Catholic social service agency return 58 acres to the government. In 1977, the state government had leased the property to the agency to help care for leprosy patients. Over the years, the agency built 60 houses for leprosy and AIDS patients, as well as a factory, a job training center, and a dispensary. Upon implementation, the government decision will leave 360 homeless.

• On July 6, the Supreme Court of India reversed an earlier court ruling and decided to consider a lawsuit by a Muslim student at a Catholic school in Madhya Pradesh. The Muslim student argued that the school was infringing on his religious rights by requiring male students to be clean shaven. Bishop Antony Chirayath of Sagar said he was prepared to undergo a lengthy legal battle to uphold the right of the Church to set disciplinary policies in its schools.

• On July 30, Father James Mukalel was brutally murdered in Karnataka as he was returning from the funeral of another priest. No arrests were made in the case.

• On September 5, Father Varghese Thekkekut, a priest who heads a mission school in Chhattisgarh, was kicked and almost strangled by two young men. No arrests were made in the case.

• On September 29, Maoists in the eastern state of Jharkand kidnapped and beheaded a Catholic police officer.

• In October, thousands of Catholics in the eastern state of Chhattisgarh faced the prospect of the destruction of their homes as the government developed plans to confiscate largely Catholic villages and agricultural land in order to build industrial parks.

• On October 13, a BJP government official in Madhya Pradesh gave the Diocese of Jhabua three days to provide the government with details about Church property and cemeteries. A Church spokesman feared that the order portended a government attempt to control Church institutions.

• On the night of November 7, vandals broke into a parish in Karnataka, desecrated the tabernacle, stole a chalice and two ciboria, and scattered the hosts around the church. Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore— India’s fifth-largest city— denounced government and police apathy.

• On November 20, the bishops of February2010_Complete1.indd 17 1/22/2010 1:03:04 PM 1188 THEE CATHOLLIIC WORLLD REEPPORT,, FFeebbrruuaarryy 22001100 the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka issued a statement against the rise of “moral policing,” in which Hindu fundamentalist groups attack youths from different religions when they socialize together.

• On December 19, a politician and his bodyguards used their rifles to beat Father Lawrence Chittuparambil, director of a Catholic school in the northwestern state of Punjab. Police did not arrest the politician; after the Church closed 150 Catholic schools and the local diocese organized a protest in which 1,500 people blocked all entries to the town where the school was located, the politician turned himself in to police.

• On December 20, a group of militants, invoking the names of Hindu deities, attacked a Christmas fair in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and set fire to biblical representations. The local archbishop lamented that authorities rarely respond to attacks on Christians. Despite these and similar incidents of violence and discrimination, Father Hector D’Souza, provincial of the South Asian Jesuits, told UCA News upon leaving office in 2009: What we need now is real persecution. Persecution can purify us of our lethargy, inactiveness, and failure to live the Gospel. If purification does not come within the Church, God will use other means to purify us. Wherever the Church faced persecution, it has become very strong. For example, the Church in Gujarat…has become alive and vibrant after Hindu radicals targeted it a decade ago. The Church in India was very vibrant when the Bharatiya Janata Party ruled India. People were out on the streets for their rights. Similar things happened after the attacks on Christians in 2008. However, the violence we have experienced is only pinpricks. Real persecution will come only when our structures are affected.

MISS IONAR IES AND REL IGIOUS Although the Church in India is known for its education and charitable institutions, “Indian Catholicism will be mainly associated with missionary activity” in the decades ahead, Father Madathiparampil believes. The statistics support his claim: Catholic missionary vocations are flourishing in India. In 1968, Syro-Malabar Bishop Sebastian Vayalil founded the Missionary Society of St. Thomas the Apostle to preach the Gospel in non- Christian regions, principally in India. Today, the order has more than 300 priests. In 1984, the late Father Jose Kailett, a Latin rite priest, founded the Heralds of the Good News, an Indian missionary order whose priests serve in areas where local vocations are lacking, including Guatemala, Italy, Kenya, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and the United States. The order now has 211 priests and 745 seminarians. These male religious congregations, while growing, are not among the world’s largest. Four of the nine largest women’s religious communities, however, are now Indian. Each has more members than the Benedictines, Dominicans, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, School Sisters of Notre Dame, and other well-known women’s communities. The Franciscan Clarist Congregation, founded in 1888, is based in Kerala and combines the spirituality of St. Francis with that of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Assisting the elderly, orphans, lepers, AIDS patients, and others in need, it has 7,078 members, a gain of 156 between 2006 and 2009. The Congregation of the Mother of Carmel, founded in 1866 by Blessed Kuriakose Elias Chavara, was the Syro- Malabar Catholic Church’s first women’s institute. Working in 500 schools and running 18 hospitals, these active Carmelite sisters gained 109 members between 2006 and 2009 and now number 6,508.

The Missionaries of Charity, renowned the world over for of the sanctity of their founder, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1910-97), serve the poorest of the poor in 133 countries. The Missionaries of Charity have grown to 5,128 members, an increase of 236 between 2006 and 2009.

The Syro-Malabar Sisters of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, founded by Bishop Thomas Kurialacherry in 1908, have spread to 100 dioceses. Centered upon Eucharistic adoration, the sisters also serve in the areas of education, health care, missionary work, and publishing. In the past decade, they have begun to staff missions in Kenya and Tanzania. Their membership now stands at 4,654, an increase of 135 between 2006 and 2009.

THREATS TO GROW TH In a November National Catholic Reporter column, John Allen discussed the influence of “adventurous” Indian theologians, including Father Felix Wilfred and Jesuit Fathers Michael Amaladoss and Aloysius Pieris, who “have been controversial because of the various ways in which they try to give positive theological value to non-Christian religions.”

The greatest threats to the dynamism of the Church in India, however, according to those interviewed by CWR, are Western-style secularism and smaller families. “Things are changing even here with all the modern media giving a secular picture and a culture of consumerism,” says Father Parippil.

“Many of the congregations in India struggle hard to find sufficient vocations,” adds Professor Thomaskutty. “Ever increasing secularizing forces, leftist thinking, antagonism on the part of the governments, and a host of similar factors contribute to this phenomenon.” “A weakening in this strong and active Catholic life is happening nowadays as the children move out of this strong Catholic ambience to join professional colleges in big cities,” says Father Madathiparampil. “In those situations, parents [still] take a lot of pains to insist that the children go to church for Sunday Masses.”

The temptations to secularism become greater with emigration. “One of the major challenges is the emigration of the young looking for jobs in Europe and America. It is then they lose the support of a culture that is permeated with religion. They become easily susceptible to the secularism of the countries in which they live and fall from the practice of their faith.” “Indian Catholics always had large families,” Father Madathiparampil adds. “Now things are changing. Families are becoming smaller. Smaller families pose a great danger to the flourishing of the faith, as then the number joining the missionary ranks of the Church will be fewer.”

Father Parippil agrees. “Now the families are becoming smaller and smaller. Within a few years we too will have to face a sharp fall in vocations to religious and priestly life.” n Jeff Ziegler writes from North Carolina. February2010_Complete1.indd 18 1/22/2010 1:03:05 PM

 

The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India
OLLUR Thrissur City India
680306

www.indianchristianity.com , kunjethy@gmail.com , +914872352468, +919846033713 

Cardinal Gracias and Cardinal Toppo Dedicate the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India to the Nation

GUWAHATI, March 3

The publication of the three volumes of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India is a worthy model for the world Churches and an incomparable achievement and contribution of the Church in India, stated Oswald Cardinal Gracias in Guwahati, dedicating the work to the nation. The publication of the third and final volume is something of which the Encyclopaedia team can be justly proud, but they should not rest on their oars but must continue their much needed work of service to the Church in India today, His Eminence went on to say. Telespore P. Cardinal Toppo dedicated the volumes to the world Christian community. The two Cardinals officially released the Encyclopaedia by exchanging copies of the work, in the presence of Archbishops and Bishops from all over India and members of the CBCI Commissions. Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, Prof. George Menachery the Editor of the Encyclopaedia, and Dr. George Plathottam the secretary of the CBCI Commission for Media also spoke on the occasion.

                           

The Encyclopaedia comprises the contributions of hundreds of well-known scholars from all over India and abroad. There are articles on almost every aspect of Christianity in india, dealing with all chronological, denominational, and geographical divisions. The more than thousand illustrations on art plates, half of them on full colour art plates, in addition to the dozens of maps including a whole Christian and Linguistic atlas of India, and the graphs, tables, figures, and sketches go to make the work an exhaustive reference tool. Each major article is supported by bibliographies and inclusive end-notes, making the encyclopaedia an indispensible reference work for seminaries and teheological colleges. universities and colleges, and libraries of ecclesiastical establishments and headquarters and formation houses of religious congregations.

GUWAHATI, Assam to Host Catholic Bishops’ Meet

Assam will for the first time host the general body meeting of the apex body of the country’s Catholics, CBCI, from Feb. 24, 2010. 

The objective of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India is to facilitate co-ordinated study and discussion on issues pertaining to the Church, besides adoption of a common policy and effective action in ecclesiastical matters.

“It is good news that Assam has been chosen as the venue for the meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India. Many of the bishops wanted to see Assam as they have never come here. This is a wonderful opportunity for all of them,” Archbishop of Guwahati Diocese, Thomas Menamparampil, said.

The meeting will be held at the Don Bosco Institute, Kharguli, from February 24 to March 3 and will be attended by 160 bishops from across the country.

Menamparampil said chief minister Tarun Gogoi had also expressed happiness over the hosting of the meeting here for the first time.

The first meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India in the region was held in Shillong about two decades back.

The bishops will be treated to the region’s beauty and cultural diversity through programmes.

“We want to show them that the Northeast is a ‘paradise on earth’ and not just a land of violence. It is a beautiful place with lots of cultural diversity,” the executive director of Don Bosco Institute, V.M. Thomas, said.

Thomas said a seven-minute video film on the Northeast — a song sung and composed by national award winner Tarali Sarma — was being shot.

Sarma won the coveted Rajat Kamal as the best female playback singer in 2004, becoming the first woman from the state to win the prestigious award.

The film is being shot at different locations of the Northeast and will depict its land, people and culture.

On February 28, a special cultural extravaganza will be held where 75 troupes from across the region will showcase the diversity of the region through music and dance.

This time, the theme of the conference is Youth. Discussions will be held on the challenges confronting modern-day youth and the Church’s response.
 

Appointments of  Bishops (Catholic)

25.01.2010: Rev. Fr. Anthony Valiyavilayil, OIC, Clergy of the Order of the Imitation of Christ has been appointed Curia Bishop of the Archiepiscopal Curia of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, assigning him the Titular See of IGILGILLI.

25.01.2010: Rev. Fr. Stephen Thottathil, Clergy of the Archieparchy of Tiruvalla has been appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archieparchy of Tiruvalla, assigning him the Titular See of SOZOPOLI di EMIMONTO.

25.01.2010: Rev. Fr. Samuel Kattukallil, Clergy of the Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum has been appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum, assigning him the Titular See of TAMALLUMA.

25.01.2010: Rev. Fr. K. M. Vincent Kulapuravilai, Clergy of the Eparchy of Marthandom has been appointed Eparchial Bishop of Marthandom.

25.01.2010: Right Rev. Joseph Mar Thomas, Auxiliary Bishop of Trivandrum and Apostolic Visitator to North America and Europe has been appointed Eparchial Bishop of Bathery.

25.01.2010: Rev. Geevarghese Mar Divannasios, Bishop of Bathery has been appointed Eparchial Bishop of the new Eparchy of Puthur.

25.01.2010: Right Rev. Yoohanon Mar Chrysostom, Bishop of Marthandom has been appointed Eparchial Bishop of the new Eparchy of Pathanamthitta.

18.01.2010: Rev. Monsignor George Njaralakatt, Proto-Syncellus of the Eparchy of Bhadravathi has been appointed Bishop of the new Eparchy of Mandya.

18.01.2010: Rev. Monsignor Paul Alappatt, Rector of St. Mary's Minor Seminary and Judicial Vicar of the Archeparchy of Trichur has been appointed Eparchial Bishop of the new Eparchy of Ramanathapuram.

18.01.2010: Rev. Monsignor Bosco Putur, Rector of Mangalapuzha Seminary, has been appointed Curia Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.

18.01.2010: Rev. Monsignor Raphael Tbattil, Proto-Syncellus of the Archreparchy of Trichur has been appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the same Archeparchy.

18.01.2010: Rev. Monsignor Remigiose Inchananiyil, Secretary , Chancellor and Judicial Vicar of the Eparchy of Thamarassery has been appointed Eparchial Bishop of the Eparchy of Thamarassery.

18.01.2010: Rev. Monsignor Pauly Kannookadan, Secretary of the Archepiscopal Commission for Liturgy , Clergy , Institutes for Consecrated Life and Executive Director of L.R.C, has been appointed Eparchial Bishop of the Eparchy of lrinjalakuda.

10.12.2009: Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado, Bishop of Nashik, has been appointed Bishop of Vasai.

10.12.2009: Bishop Lourdnada Daniel, Bishop of Amravati, appointed Apostolic Administrator of Nashik.

06.11.2009: Archbishop Dominic Lumon, Archbishop of Imphal, has been appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Kohima.

25.08.2009: Bishop Prakash Mallavarapu, Bishop of Vijayawada, has been appointed Apostolic Administrator sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the Diocese of Eluru.

14.08.2009: Rev. Fr. John Vadakel, CMI, appointed Eparchial Bishop of Bijnor

11.05.2009: Fr Arockia Sebastian Durairaj Alangaram svd, Provincial of SVD central India Province (Indore), has been appointed as bishop of the diocese of Khandwa.

11.05.2009: Fr Devprasad John Ganawa svd, Parish Priest of Khrist Jyoti Mandir, Meghnagar, has been appointed as bishop of the diocese of Jhabua.

08.05.2009: Bishop Joseph Kariyil, of Punalur, has been appointed as bishop of the diocese of Cochin.

08.05.2009: Rev. Fr. Selvister Ponnumuthan, of the Clergy of Neyyattinkara and Rector of the St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Carmelgiri, has been appointed as bishop of the diocese of Punalur.

07.04.2009: Rev. Fr. Sebastian Kallupura, of the clergy of Patna and Director of the Bihar Social Forum, Sewa Kendra, Patna, has been appointed as bishop of the diocese of Buxar.

04.04.2009: Bishop Thomas Dabre, bishop of Vasai diocese, has been appointed as bishop of the diocese of Poona and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Vasai.

02.04.2009: Bishop John Barwa, Coadjutor bishop of Rourkela diocese, has been appointed as bishop of the diocese of Rourkela.

10.02.2009: Fr. Ignatius Loyola Mascarenhas, of the clergy of Delhi, rector of the preparatory regional seminary at Kauli, has been appointed as bishop of the diocese of Simla-Chandigarh.

10.02.2009: Msgr. Binay Kandulna, of the clergy of Khunti, collaborator of the apostolic nunciature in New Delhi has been appointed as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Ranchi.

23.01.2009: Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, has been appointed member of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

23.01.2009: Fr. Sebastian Maria Michael S.V.D, director of the Andheri Institute of Indian Culture in Mumbai has been appointed consultor of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

22.01.2009: Fr. Edward S. Mudavassery, S.J, has been appointed Provincial Superior of South Asia. He will assume office on 31 May 2009. He succeeds Fr. Hector D'Souza S.J.

17.01.2009: Rev. Fr. Franco Mulakkal, the Treasurer of the Apostolic Union of the Clergy (Rome) has been appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Delhi Archdiocese and titular Bishop of Chullu.


 

Church in India
C. B. C. I.

 

Origin and Aims

C.B.C.I. is permanent association of the Catholic Hierarchy of India. It was formally constituted in September 1944 at the Conference of Metropolitans held in Madras. Its objectives are to facilitate co-ordinated study and discussion of questions affecting the Church, and adoption of a common policy and effective action in all matters concerning the interests of the Church in India.

General Body

The C.B.C.I. has now 201 members of whom 38 are honorary members. The 163 members with voting right consist of 27 Archbishop-Metropolitans (including one Archbishop-Patriarch), 122 Diocesan Bishops, 1 Co-adjutor Archbishop, 1 Co-adjutor Bishop, 13 Auxiliary Bishops. The members meet for Ordinary General Meetings once in every two years, while Extra-ordinary Meetings are held according to need. At the General Meetings the C.B.C.I. reviews the situation of the Church in India and takes appropriate decision on future plans and actions that are called for. These meetings also consider the annual reports presented by the Secretary General and by the various Commissions.

The C.B.C.I. Centre

The C.B.C.I. Centre is the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. It is headed by the Deputy Secretary General who is assisted by various Secretaries of the C.B.C.I.. The Centre started functioning in 1962. Besides the C.B.C.I. Secretariat the Centre houses the Offices of some of the C.B.C.I. Commissions. Caritas India the Social and Developmental wing of the C.B.C.I. has its headquarters at the centre.

The C.B.C.I. Secretariat

Right from the establishment of the C.B.C.I. in 1944 the Secretariat was functioning in Bangalore until 1962 when it was shifted to Delhi. The functions are to watch over the various movements, to study legislative measures in the States and the Centre; to link together the various sections of the C.B.C.I. and to give information and guidance whenever required.

Statistics at a Glance


1. Ecclesiastical Units

 

Archdioceses
30

Dioceses
129

Total
159

2. Rite
    a) Latin
    b) Syro-Malabar
    c) Syro-Malankara


23
5
2


105
21
4


128
26
6

3. Bishops
    a) Diocesan
    b) Coadjutors
    c) Auxiliaries
    d) Apostolic Visitator
    e) Retired


29
-
10
-
11


123
1
-
2
33


152
1
10
2
44

4. Cardinals

3 (3)

-

3 (6)

Statistics (2003)

Total number of diocesan priests
Religious Priests
Religious Brothers
Religious Sisters
Total no. of Religious Congregations
For men
For women
 

14, 000
13, 500
 4, 300
90, 000
300
70
230
 

Educational Institutions

Institutions

Students

K. G. & Nursery Schools
Primary Schools
Secondary Schools
Colleges
Medical/Nursing
School/Colleges
Engineering College
 

3, 785
7, 319
3, 765
240

28
5
 

600,000
3,000,000
2,000,000
500,000

10,000
1,500
 

Social Welfare Activities

Technical Training Schools & Polytechnics
Hostels & Boarding Houses
Orphanages
Creches
Hospitals
Dispensaries & Health Centres
Leprosaria
Rehabilitation Centres
Homes for Aged, Destitutes & Physically
Challenged
 

Caldwell’s language laboratory was a small shack
 
CHENNAI: Conversion of the house of Bishop Robert Caldwell at Idayankudi in Tirunelveli district into a memorial will be the second honour bestowed on the scholar, who came to India as a Protestant missionary, by the Tamil Nadu government.

The house was originally a small shack measuring just 17X11 feet when Caldwell occupied it in 1841 after walking down to Idayankudi from Chennai, covering about 800 km. He started the journey in July 1941 and reached the poverty-stricken backward village towards the end of that year, says H Vincent Kumaradoss, a former office bearer of the Church History AAssociation of India (CHAI) , who has written a biography of the Christian missionary from United Kingdom.

After reaching Madras in 1838 as a 24 year-old evangelist, Caldwell spend three years before setting out on the odyssey down south and choosing Idayankudi for his missionary work.

It was at that point that he lived in the small house, even as he was struggling to build the Holy Trinity Church in Idayankudi. It took Caldwell 33 years to build the church, which was consecrated in 1880.

Besides pre a ch i n g , Caldwell, who had graduated from the University of Glasgow, spend enormous time on linguistic research. In 1849 he published an ethnographic treatise on Shanars, the local community of people, and then in 1856 came out with a book on Dravidian grammar.

Besides coining the term ‘Dravidian’, he was the one who first who pointed out that the south Indian languages - Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada - had their origins outside the Indo-Aryan family and that they were distinctly different from Sanskrit.

Honouring the seminal work on Dravidian grammar, the DMK government headed by C N Annadurai installed a statue of Caldwell on the Marina during the second World Tamil Conference that was held in Madras in 1968.

The statue still stand hidden from public glare in a corner.

The shack became a proper house much later when the Idayankudi church congregation felt the need for a bigger accommodation for their pastor.

Caldwell vacated it only in 1882 to move into a Bishop bungalow in Thoothukudi.

The shack, whose both walls you could touch by stretching both hands, was subsequently converted into a parish hall, says Kumaradoss, whose book, Robert Caldwell - A Scholar- Missionary in Colonial South India, is perhaps the only biography of the man who devoted his entire life for the uplift of the backward region in Tamil Nadu, besides setting the tone for the later day Dravidian movement.

Caldwell died in 1891 and his body was interred beneath the chancelled floor of the Holy Trinity Church.

6 New Bishops for the Syro Malabar Church 

Six new bishops have been announced for the Syro - Malabar Church of India. The names of these new bishops and their Sees were announced simultaneously from the Vatican and at the Major Archiepiscopal Curia, Mount St. Thomas, Kakkanad, Kochi. The names were announced also at the respective Diocesan Seats. The Dioceses of Palghat and Manathavadi have been bifurcated forming the Diocese of Ramanathapuram (Tamilnadu), and Mandya (Karnataka). 

The following are the new bishops:
Remigius Inchakkananil (Bishop's Secretary and Chancellor and member of the Governing Body of the Christian Chair of the Calicut University) for Thamarassery in the vacancy created by Dr. Mar Paul Chittilappilly resigning;

Dr. Msgr. Bosco Puthur (at present Rector of the St. Joseph's Pontifical Seminary of Alwaye and former Vicar General of Trichur)  for the Major Archiepiscopal Seat of Kakkanad);

Dr. Pauly Kannookkadan (Director LRC and Secretary Liturgy Commission) for the Diocese of Irinjalakuda in the vacacy created by Mar James Pazhayattil resigning;

Dr. Paul Alappatt the former Chancellor of Trichur and at present Rector of the St. Mary's Madonna Seminary for the newly created Diocese of Ramanathapuram;

Dr. Msgr. Raphael Thattil the present Vicar General of Trichur as the Auxiliary Bishop of Trichur;

and Dr. George Njerelakkatt as the Bishop of the newly created Diocese of Mandya. 

Other details will be announced later. [SARAS News]

The CBCI gives some more details:

New Eparchies of Ramanathapuram and Mandya created

NEW DELHI, Jan. 18, 2010, 16.30 Hrs (CBCI News):

His Beatitude Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, Major Archbishop the of the Syro-Malabar Church, with the consent of the Synod of Bishops of the Syro- Malabar Church, having obtained the assent of the Holy See, has created the Eparchies of Ramanathapuram by carving out the civil districts of Coimbatore, Erobe, Karur and Thirueur from the Eparchy of Pal ghat, with its See and the Head-Quarters at Ramanathapuram and the Eparchy of Mandya by carving out the civil districts of Mandya, Haffan, Mysore and Chamaragnagar, from'" the Eparchy of Mananthavady, with the See and the Head Quarters at Mandya.

In the same time, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has giving his assent to the appointment of:

  1. Reverend Monsignor Pauly Kannookadan, Secretary of the Archepiscopal Commission for Liturgy , Clergy , Institutes for Consecrated Life and Executive Director of L.R.C, as Eparchial Bishop of the Eparchy of lrinjalakuda

  2. Reverend Monsignor Remigiose Inchananiyil, Secretary , Chancellor and Judicial Vicar of the Eparchy of Thamarassery , as Eparchial Bishop of the same diocese.

  3. Reverend Monsignor Raphael Tbattil, Proto-Syncellus of the Archreparchy of Trichur, as Auxiliary Bishop of the same Archeparchy

  4. Reverend Monsignor Bosco Putur, Rector of Mangalapuzha Seminary , as Curia Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.

  5. Reverend Monsignor Paul Alappatt, Rector of St. Mary's Minor Seminary and Judicial Vicar of the Archeparchy of Trichur, as Eparchial Bishop of the new Eparchy of Ramanathapuram

  6. Reverend Monsignor George Njaralakatt, Proto-Syncellus of the Eparchy of Bhadravathi, as Bishop of the new Eparchy ofMandya.

[These ecclesiastical provisions were made public on today the 18th of January, 2010 @ 1630 hrs. (IST), and were formally announced in L 'Osservatore Romano on today itself in Rome.]


Indian President Pratibha Patil, Vice Prez, Other Dignitaries 
attend Christmas celebration at Rashtrapati Bhavan

The President of India recieives a present at the Christmas function in New Delhi.

The official residence of the President of India witnessed moments of Christmas cheer. There was a Christmas tree and Carols.

The Ashoka Hall in Rashtrapati Bhavan saw important dignitaries enjoying the Carols presented by troupes from the North East and Delhi itself.

In addtion to the President Pratibha Patil herself the Vice President Ahmed Ansari, the wife of Prime Minister Manhoman Singh Gursharan Kaur, Lok Sabha Speaker Meera Kumar and some cabinet Ministers were present.

The Programme featured carol singing by the Shillong Chamber Choir, Meghalaya; the Centenary Methodist Church, Delhi; Zowe Madrigal, Nagaland; St. Thomas Mar Thoma Syrian Church Choir, Delhi; Golden Jubilee Choir, Delhi; Mizo Minstrels Choir, Mizoram; Jesus and Mary College Choir, Delhi and Paranjoti Academy Chorus, Mumbai.

The Christmas Message was delivered by Archbishop of Delhi, Rev. Vincent Concessao.

Last year, the annual traditional programme was not held at Rashtrapati Bhavan in view of the terrorists’ attacks in Mumbai. The festivities were cancelled as a mark of respect for the victims of the attacks.

However, Rashtrapati Bhavan had sent grocery items such as Rice, Sugar, Dal and Ghee to orphanages in Delhi on behalf of the President.

The Christmas celebrations, last year, were also toned down in the wake of violence against Christians in Orissa and Karnataka.

Churches that anticipated huge turnout of pilgrims apparently were discouraged as less people turned up.

In Orissa, although there were no reports of violence, it was a gloomy Christmas for many. Still thousands are said to be living as refugees with lack of food and shelter.

Few of these victims on Dec. 25 will be joining a carol-singing programme at India Gate organised by the Delhi Archdiocese.

"Christmas carols will be sung by the victims of Kandhamal riots who would like to let the world know that Jesus' birthday is a good occasion to be reconciled with all and to share his message of love," said a note from the Archdiocese.

[Courtesy Christian Today India]

India Leads World In Women Religious
 

India led the world in the number of vocations to women’s Religious life in the Catholic Church, statistics show.

 

Asia and Africa made considerable gains in the number of female Religious since 2000, while Europe, Americas and Oceania showed a downward trend, according to Jeff Mirus of Catholic Culture, who analyzed the statistics for the website.
 

In Asia, India recorded an increase of 9,398 women religious during 2002-2007 while Vietnam added 2,545 more nuns. South Korea and the Philippines increased by about 500.

Three Kerala-based congregations and Blessed Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity were among those showing an upward trend in world-wide scenario.

 

The Franciscan Clarist Congregation, the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel and the Sisters of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continue to attract more members. Another rapidly growing congregation was the Claretian Missionary Sisters.

 

Major losers worldwide are the Salesian Sisters, the Order of Discalced Carmelites, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, the Sisters of Charity of Saints Bartholomea Capitanio and Vincenzia Gerosa and Benedictine Nuns.

 

Upward trend was noticed all across Africa: Tanzania and the Congo increased by around 1,500 while Nigeria, Madagascar, Kenya andAngola added 500 to 800 more nuns.

 

The Middle East and the Caribbean also have added more nuns. Women Religious increased in 99 nations since 2000, according to the analysis.

 

Unfortunately, their gains are not yet quite enough to offset the 4.6 percent decline among women Religious worldwide during 2002-2007.

 

Most losers are the Western nations. For example, Italy had 11,156 less nuns during 2002-2007. The United States came second, losing 10,454 nuns during the period.

 

Germany and France lost around 6,000 nuns each, followed by Canada and Spain each had 4,000 less women Religious. Ireland,Belgium and the Netherlands in Europe, Argentina, Brazil and Columbia have also lost nuns in hundreds.

 

Between 1965 and 1995, the United States had lost 49 percent of its female Religious, while the number dropped by 46 percent in Canada, 44 percent in France, 48 percent in German, 43 percent in Great Britain, 51 percent in the Netherlands.

 

All together, there are about 750,000 women religious serving around the world, or approximately one nun for every 9,000 humans.

Fabulous 50s Christmas Carols

A Holly Jolly Christmas
Burl Ives

Away In A Manger
Loretta Lynn

Christmas Alphabet
The McGuire Sisters

Christmas Country Christmas
The Statler Brothers

Christmas In My Hometown
Sonny James

Christmas Song
Alvin & The Chipmunks

Christmas Times A Coming
Bill Monroe
And The Bluegrass Boys

Christmas Waltz
Frank Sinatra

Christmas Without You
Kenny Rogers
Dolly Parton

Frosty The Snowman
Gene Autry

Grandma Got Run Over
By A Reindeer

Elmo & Patsy

Hard Rock Candy Christmas
Dolly Parton

Hark The Herald Angels Sing
Nat King Cole

Have Yourself A Very
Merry Christmas

Rosemary Clooney

Home For The Holidays
Perry Como

Its Beginning To Look
A Lot Like Christmas

Bing Crosby &
The Andrew Sisters

I Saw Mommy Kissing
Santa Claus

Jimmy Boyd

Its a Most Wonderful
Time Of The Year

Johnny Mathis

Jingle Bell Rock
Bobby Helms

Jingle Bells
Roy Rogers
Most Interesting Middle!

Jingle Bells
Perry Como

Jingle Bells
The Jingle Bell Piggie

Joy To The World
Nat King Cole

Leroy, the Redneck Reindeer
Joe Diffie

Let It Snow
Andy Williams

Lets Put Christ
Back Into Christmas

Tammy Wynette

Little Drummer Boy
Neil Diamond

O Christmas Tree
Nat King Cole

Please Come Home
The Platters

Pretty Paper
Roy Orbison

Rocking Around The
Christmas Tree

Brenda Lee

Rudolph The Red
Nose Reindeer

Gene Autry

Rudolph The Red
Nose Reindeer

Unknown Group

Santa Baby
Cynthia Basinet

Santa Claus Is
Coming To Town

Bing Crosby

Santa Claus Is
Watching You

Ray Stevens

Silver Bells
Bing Crosby/Peggy Lee

Silent Night
Dean Martin

Sleigh Ride
Johnny Mathis

The First Noel
Andy Williams

Up On The Housetop
Gene Autry

White Christmas
Bing Crosby

White Christmas
The Drifters (1954)

Winter Wonderland
Brenda Lee

Christmas
With Elvis

Charismatic Churches attractLutheran Youths in India

The enthusiasm and modern worship styles of charismatic churches are swaying away young Lutherans from parent churches.

“Youth are drifting away from their parent churches to charismatic churches,” as the latter offer worship styles that fit the young generation, said Ms Sofia M. Samuel from the India Evangelical Lutheran Church, at the Asia Pre-Assembly Consultation of the Lutheran World Federation.

Close to 100 delegates from many Asian countries have convened for the 6-9 Dec. Consultation in Bangkok, Thailand, to deliberate on the theme - “Give us today our daily bread".

In a plenary presentation apprising the urgent issues that must be addressed for the inclusion and participation of young people, Samuel urged for worship and church life to be made more relevant to young people's needs.

Says Samuel, young people are interested in being more actively involved, but they lacked initiative and encouragement from church leadership.

To tackle this, she called for orientation and training in church administration and management to prepare them for such responsibilities.

Meanwhile, presenting the LWF Asian region youth response, Rev. Sekino Kazuhiro from the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church, stressed the need for giving spiritual guidance to youths for helping them get their daily material bread and meet their spiritual needs.

“Today, many young people are crying of physical hunger and of spiritual hunger,” said Kazuhiro, underlining the importance of gainful employment.

“However, many young people cannot get a job; the unemployment rate is too high,” he noted, citing the unemployment crises in countries such as Hong Kong (China), India, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan and Thailand.

“Sometimes they have to choose a job that is lower than what they are trained for and sometimes they don’t get a job at all,” noted Kazuhiro, who is a member of the LWF Council.

In his keynote address, LWF Vice President Bishop Dr Munib A. Younan, called churches to speak out boldly about the underlying causes of hunger.

The prayer for daily bread, he said, “speaks to a deep existential fear that still plagues humanity today, as millions of mothers and fathers do not know how they will feed their children tomorrow.”

“It is a fear confirmed by the fact that 16,000 children die of hunger every day,” he added. [Courtesy Christian Today India]

Father Joseph Neuner, SJ, at 96 : A Retrospect from ExpressIndia 

Father Joseph Neuner, SJ, 96 Fr Neuner is a renowned theology professor teaching at different theological institutes. Through his long life he has witnessed landmark events such as the two World Wars, the rise of Nazism and communism and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. Fr Neuner came to India and Pune due to an accident of fate - two others who had been appointed to be sent to Pune were not able to get the certificate of tropical fitness while Fr Neuner was able to do so. Neuner has written several books.

TREASURED TIMES: “Working in the service of Church life in India has always being my mission. I treasured the moments when I shared my insights on theology with the priests and parishes. I have been lucky to have been in close association with Mother Teresa and a committee member when preparatory steps had been taken in the process of beatification. Not only that, I was in close contact with Mother Anna Huberta in setting up the Helpers of Mary, a diocesan congregation of the Archbishop of Bombay, “ muses Fr Neuner.

A FULL DAY: Ask him what is his way of life today and he smiles. “By God’s grace, I do not suffer from any ailments. I spend time meeting with people who come to seek my spiritual guidance. I read books on the Church life from across the globe. I also write forewords and prefaces for books penned by theology scholars as well as letters to my Jesuit friends.”

His day starts at 5.30 am with prayers, followed by a walk. My meals are a typical Indian breakfast and lunch, while for dinner I prefer a bowl of soup with chappatis. My day ends at sharp ten pm.”

LONGEVITY LINES: ‘‘Life is immortal. It must be carried on in the service of humanity without thinking about dying,”he believes.

WISHES: To meet the new Pope when he is elected.

Jesuit Father Joseph Neuner, dead at 101, eulogized
by Thomas C. Fox on Dec. 07, 2009
Courtesey NCR Today

Jesuit Father Jesuit Father Joseph Neuner, spiritual advisor to Mother Teresa and probably the world’s oldest Jesuit, died Dec. 3 at 101 in Pune, India. Neuner, born in 1908 at Feldkirch in Austria, had been a Puneite since 1938. For many years, he taught theology at the city-based Jnana Deep Vidyapeeth. In the 1960s, Neuner served as an expert at the Second Vatican Council.

Janina Gomes, an NCR contributor and author of the recently published "Prayers from the Heart," (Pauline Publications @ Sister Bombay Society), wrote the following tribute.

IDEAL PRIEST

By Janina Gomes

If ever there was an ideal priest, I knew one. Father Joseph Neuner, who died at the ripe age of 101 years, sowed many seeds in his life and also reaped a spiritual harvest that is only possible for the faithful, humble and true servants of God.

I knew him for well over 30 years. As a friend, he saw me through the best and the worst, through moments of failure and moments of success. He wrote letters faithfully, even to those others had given up on, and I was one of them. I remember Fr. Richard De Smet, another Jesuit giant telling me that Neuner had an apostolate of letters. He wrote faithfully to those who needed spiritual direction and help in their lives.

A great theologian, who worked on documents for the Second Vatican no doubt, but his spirituality was practical and down to earth. I remember once writing to him about a bathroom leakage I had in my flat. When he visited next, he walked in and immediately asked to see the leakage. That must be what great theology is like, irretrievably linked to the daily and mundane details of life.

How did such a prolific priest who wrote regularly for, the Indian theological journal, Vidya Jyoti, in a series called ‘Listening to the Spirit’ get his originality and wisdom? When he was teaching theology at De Nobili College, he would everyday take a walk to the graveyard and meditate, most in touch with life by reflecting on death.

I remember the long walk he once took me on, the open maidan outside De Nobili. He was able to understand and resonate with the young as well as the old. I also remember the times I would meet him at Shradhha Vihar (He was founder of the Daughters of the Helpers of Mary and wrote their constitution.). He would share with me the special meals made for him by the nuns and be the generous host that he was.

Neuner was a walking marvel. He could walk from Bandra Station to my house and back, taking everything in his stride. When he had a fall and injured himself, once again it was the hardy, determined side of him that won over and gave him a longer lease of life. He was still exercising through most of the latter years.

He did present me with his memoirs which he wrote at the age of 90. But, his personality and person were much richer than a book could capture. He had a capacity to reason and analyze that would be the envy of many a scholar, but it was balanced by an earthy humaneness, compassion and quite strength.

I have a vivid memory of him in a bright yellow cotton checked shirt showing me the original rosary presented to him at his ordination, which he had tucked below his pillow.
The last I saw him was about a year ago still concelebrating mass from a wheelchair. Though he did not recognize people, he was still lucid in mind in many respects.

I once wanted to write a profile of him, but did not do it to his satisfaction and he was a little bit of a perfectionist in his work. What I could not do when he was alive, I am now attempting to do after his death- to pay tribute to a great soul and an ideal priest.

 

Josef Neuner S.J. passed away last night (Dec. 3);
Funeral today (Dec. 4)at Papal Seminary, Pune

Forwarded by Srampikal, sj, from Rome 

4th December 2009 

This is Fr. Noel Sheth, S.J. writing. I am at present in Manila, the Philippines, teaching a course on Buddhism at the Ateneo de Manila. I just got news about the passing away of Fr. Josef Neuner, S.J. Please pass on this news (see below) to those who knew him. The death of this renowned theologian, peritus of Vatican II, and one of the pillars of Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, leaves a great void in Pune, in India and the world.

 

Centenarian Fr. Josef Neuner, S.J. passed away last night (3rd December, the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Patron of India) at the Pune Provincial's House, Sanjeevan Ashram. His funeral is at 4.30 p.m. today in Papal Seminary-Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth. He will be buried in the Campus Cemetery, in accordance with his wish to be buried in the place where he spent most of his life, animating the professors and the students, building up the Church in India and radiating his influence throughout the world. 

 

I thank God for the gift of Neuner to Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, to Pune, to India and the world. May he continue to be an inspiration to all of us and in this way live on in our memories and our deeds. 

RIP

Noel Sheth, S.J.--

Prof. Dr. Noel Sheth, S.J.
Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth
Pontifical Institute of Philosophy and Religion
Ramwadi, Pune 411014,
India.
Tel.(Residence): 91-(0)20-41036237.

CHAI Southern India Branch 14th Triennial Conference
Thrissur Deepavali 2009
 

The CHAI SIB 14th Triennial commenced with a welcome procession in which the delegates and dignitaries assembled at the Archbishop's House Junction were ceremonially received and led to the venue of the Conference by the Caparisoned Elephant Unnikrishnan of the Thiruvambady Devaswom, one of the two Devaswoms most closely associated with the Thrissur Pooram Festival.

Invocation : Thamasorma Jyothir....
The CHAI SIB 14th Triennial Thrissur
DBCLC Hall 17th October, 2009.

 

 

Welcome Speech : Chev. Prof. George Menachery, General Conveneor of the Conference and CHAI Nat'l General Secretary. Dr. Thonippara and Dr. Thomas Edmunds are also in the picture.


 


Seated on the dais are (l to r) : Dr. Francis Thonippara (SIB Secretary cum Treasurer), Dr. "Cardinal " Thomas Edmunds (CHAI Nat'l Vice-President), Metropolitan Dr. Mar Aprem, Catholicos Elect Paulose Mar Milithios who inaugurated the Conference, Therambil Ramakrishnan MLA and former Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, Dr. Oberland Snaitang (CHAI Nat'l President), Dr. P. Manesseh (SIB President), and Charls Dias MP (CHAI SIB Executive Committee Member).
 
Catholicos Elect Paulose Mar Milithios inaugurates the 14th SIB Triennial by lighting the bronze Nilavilakku. Second in the picture from the left is P. C. Chacko MP who presided over the function.
 
Delegate Gudrun Lowner with Unnikrishnan the caparisoned elephant.
 

Adv. Therambil releases the CHAI Thrissur Conference Souvenir

 


Dr. Thonippara toasts Charls Dias MP, our Exe. Com. member, newly nominated to the Lok Sabha by the President of India
 


New Delhi
Pre-View Function of Volume III of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of इंडिया
 


 


 


 

 

 

 

PAPERS PRESENTED AT THE 14th CHAI TRIENNIAL SHILLONG 2009

And the Study Tour and Panel Discussion

Dr. Jose Kalapura:

Christianity and Marginalised Communites in India

Academic Session I

Moderator: Dr. Kranti K. Farias

Dr. Samuel Jayakumar:

Christianity as a Change Agent in Indian Society: Ministry of the Poor and Oppressed Chridren of India

Dr. Varghese Perayil:

Christianity and Dalit Liberation

Dr. Thomas Edmunds:

The Impact of Christian Charismatic Songs of Rev. Fr. S. J. Berchmans on the marginalised communities in Tamil Nadu, India : A Critical Study

Dr. P. C. Laltani:

Women as Marginalised Community within the Mizoram Presbyterian Church

Academic Session II

Moderator: Prof. George Menachery

Dr. Jeanette Pinto:

The Siddis of Karnataka: From Slaves to Scheduled Tribe

Dr. S. Santha Prabhuraj:

Missed Dei Marginalis : The Nilgaria: A Case Study

Dr. Charles Dias:

European Descendants in Kerala: A Discriminated Sect

Dr. John Alexander:

Christianity as a Factor in Stamping out of Head Hunting Practice in Nagaland

[Study Tour of Don Bosco Musem Guided by

Dr. George Maliekkal]

Academic Session III

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Thomas Edmunds

Dr. Gladson Jathanna:

Representation of Bhoota Worshippers of South Kanara in the Annual reports of Basel Missionaries (1834 - 1860)

Dr. D. Christin Das:

V. V. Thomas -Understanding Subaltern History

Dr. V. L. Hruaia Khiangte:

Analysis of Sources in the History of Christianity in Mizoram: A Critique from a Mizo Christian Perspective

Academic Session IV

Moderator: Dr. Vanlalchhuanawma

Dr. Joan Dias:

Folklore and Oral Tradition as an Expession of Progress and Development in South Gujarat

Dr. Alex Mathew:

The Role of Pratyaksha Reksha Daiva Sabha: Emancipation of Dalits w.s.r.t. Sri Kumaragurudevan

Prof. George Menachery:

Impact of the Christian Presence on the Situation of Women in 19th Century Kerala

Dr. Pratap Digal:

Khonds in Khondamal: Problems and Prospects

Academic Session V

Moderator: Dr. Francis Thonippara

Dr. N. Benjamin:

Up from Agricultural Backwardness - Life and Times of San Higginbuttom (1874 - 1958)

Dr. Kranti Farias:

Within Bounds No More: Christian Work with the Marginalised Communities of Maharashtra

Dr. Anto Florence:

Contribution of Christianity to Education

Dr. Cosme Jose Costa:

Apostolic Christianity in Goa

Panel Discussion:

Christianity in North East India : A Vision for the Future

Academic Session VI

Moderator: Dr. Jeanette Pinto

 

Dr. George Oommen:

Gandhi’s Early Christian Encounter

Sandeep Gaikwad:

Sale of Church Property in Mumbai &c. : Issues and Remedial Actions

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Dr. John Alexander:

Christianity as a Factor in Stamping out of Head Hunting Practice in Nagaland

[Study Tour of Don Bosco Musem Guided  by Dr. George Maliekkal]

Academic Session III

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Thomas Edmunds

Dr. Gladson Jathanna:

Representation of Bhoota Worshippers of South Kanara in the Annual reports of Basel Missionaries (1834 - 1860)

Dr. D. Christin Das:

V. V. Thomas -Understanding Subaltern History

Dr. V. L. Hruaia Khiangte:

Analysis of Sources in the History of Christianity in Mizoram: A Critique from a Mizo Christian Perspective

Academic Session IV

Moderator: Dr. Vanlalchhuanawma

Dr. Joan Dias:

Folklore and Oral Tradition as an Expession of Progress and Development in South Gujarat

Dr. Alex Mathew:

The Role of Pratyaksha Reksha Daiva Sabha: Emancipation of Dalits w.s.r.t. Sri Kumaragurudevan

Prof. George Menachery:

Impact of the Christian Presence on the Situation of Women in 19th Century Kerala

Dr. Pratap Digal:

Khonds in Khondamal: Problems and Prospects

Academic Session V

Moderator: Dr. Francis Thonippara

Dr. N. Benjamin:

Up from Agricultural Backwardness  - Life and Times of San Higginbuttom (1874 - 1958)

Dr. Kranti Farias:

Within Bounds No More: Christian Work with the Marginalised Communities of Maharashtra

Dr. Anto Florence:

Contribution of Christianity to Education

Dr. Cosme Jose Costa:

Apostolic Christianity in Goa

Panel Discussion:

Christianity in North East India : A Vision for the Future

Academic Session VI

Moderator: Dr. Jeanette Pinto

 

Dr. George Oommen:

Gandhi’s Early Christian Encounter

Sandeep Gaikwad:

Sale of Church Property in Mumbai &c. :  Issues and Remedial Actions

Communication for Proclamation

CICS - General Information - Director F. Jacob Srampickal, SJ

a. Introduction

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Communication Studies (CICS) was established at the Pontifical Gregorian University, with the purpose of "examining the problems and opportunities which mass communication offers for proclaiming the Gospel message and in general for theological and philosophical language," and thus being "of service to all Christian communities in their dialogue with the contemporary world." (Carlo Maria Martini, S.J., Opening Address for the Academic Year 1978-79, and repeated on February 28, 1981, when the CICS was instituted.)

b. A Vision of Communication Studies within the Church

The Gregorian is an ecclesiastical university, and so the primary aim of the CICS is to develop a vision for communication and media involvement in the Catholic Church as envisaged by the documents Inter Mirifica, Communio et Progressio, Aetatis Novae and others. The primary mission of the CICS is to train church leaders in communication through academic research in areas relevant to the church’s mandate in communication. The focus of the programme is three-fold: theological, philosophical and socio-cultural. The CICS promotes a research-oriented approach rather than a technical-equipment-related approach in all its training. Hence areas of study such as communication as communion, the philosophy of and theories of communication, theology and communication, the psychology and spirituality of communication, semiotics, ethics of the media, communication and development, cultural and group media, media aesthetics, media and religion, sociology of the media, etc are important. Besides giving the students basic technical know-how through hands-on training in all aspects of media production, the courses in pastoral communication, theology of communication, homiletics, training of the diocesan directors of communicators, are all aimed at directly aimed at serving the church’s mission.

The CICS plays an important role in preparing persons for leadership in communication in the church, including the training of professors of Communications in Catholic universities and seminaries, of directors of communication and of media offices on the diocesan level and for Episcopal conferences, and of educated and capable Catholic men and women who can play a crucial role in formulating communications and media policies in their own countries.

Many of our former students are now providing valuable services in these areas in various parts of the world.

Staffed by a group of international professors, CICS invites students from all over the world, who are trained to work meaningfully in various areas of communication in their country.

c. The Philosophy of the CICS programme

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Communications Studies envisages the development of clear perspectives on the complex reality of communication; with a mix of theory and research, it intends to adapt to the changing situations in and needs of the Church.

In fact, reaching beyond the confines of any specific local church or nation, communication studies in the CICS stresses the following three areas:

  • The importance of a cultural studies approach and a design and development of media to promote local cultures;

  • The importance of a participatory, community media approach;

  • The importance of developing media products which favour justice and democratization.

With these general goals as background, the CICS aims to help those preparing for administrative, planning and teaching positions in the communication work of the Church worldwide. It focuses on preparing future Church leaders, who understand the world and the Church and who think critically with the Church, enabling it to face the complex challenges generated by the explosion of media messages in the modern world.

The CICS programme of study concentrates on the impact of mass media on culture and on the consequences such impact has for proclaiming the Gospel in the contemporary world.

The programme therefore is articulated into four areas or dimensions:

  • The «theological-philosophical dimension»,

  • the «semiotic-cultural dimension»,

  • the «socio-cultural dimension»,

  • the «practical, pastoral dimension».

Taking its cue from the Church document, “Redemptoris Missio”, people trained in media in ecclesiastic universities must be “evangelisers of the media”.

The media products they create or develop must, along with a high level of professional expertise, demonstrate the following qualities:

  • be able to discern and promote the issue of human rights and of Christian values;

  • be able to move their viewers to influence communication policies for the welfare of society, they must be a “leaven, that spreads the hope of the gospel”;

  • give voice to the voice-suppressed, empower the weak, the marginalized, women, minorities, etc.

  • create awareness among people regarding the real issues in their society, without getting lost in the inevitable glamour and manipulation of the media world;

  • educate people to become watchdogs of democracy, contributing to the development of an egalitarian society;

  • be respectful of indigenous cultures, demonstrating a clear understanding of their uniqueness and richness.

As the Puebla document of the Church in Latin America emphasizes , "Media training must equip professionals to adopt a critical attitude toward the bombardments launched by the mass media and to counteract the impact of media’s alienating messages, whether ideological, cultural, or promotional."

Syro Malabar Processions / Pradakhinams in NRK NRI Cities / Communities 

May I humbly request your Grace to immediately issue a special circular to the NRKs/NRIs exhorting them to hold such a procession and celebration beginning with this July 3rd itself.

From

Prof. George Menachery

Ollur Thrissur City 680306

0091 487 235 2468, 0091 487 235 4398, 0091 98460 33713

kunjethy@gmail.com,kunjethy@yahoo.com

Your Esteemed and Respected Grace,

May I humbly request your Grace to go through the following and take appropriate action if thought fit.

In the circumstances obtaining among the NRK/NRI Syro-Malabar communities in many Indian and foreign cities the Nazranies hardly get any chance to get together or to maintain their identity. Hence one possibility is for them to celebrate the Ormapperunnal of our father St. Thomas the Apostle with at least a public procession inside the church campus or if possible outside it, with all the cultural elements of our Pradakhinams or church processions.

It could be any one of the four types of processions we have - 1.intra-church procession, 2.procession rounding the open-air cross (this won’t be possible in most cases outside Kerala), 3.procession around the church building or campus, or 4. procession along the streets or Angadies.

I have found how happy our people are to congregate on such occasions - whether in the Americas or Europe or the Middle East, especially in the US and the Gulf, and how proud our people are of our cultural traditions and individuality.. A Syro- Malabar Mass may be said where ( and only where) the local hierarch permits it. Otherwise it can be a well attended religio-cultural event to which there could be no objection from any quarter. Such a programme, I feel - and am convinced from experience in different parts of the world - could and will go a long way to unite our people and to hold them together in the memory of our heritage and roots. AND it could be a first step in many ways.

These Pradakhinams or processions must have as many of the following elements as possible: 1. A gold(en) processional cross with the red (or other) sheath. 2.Two silver(y) crosses with sheaths. 3.Many colourful parasols or umbrellas viz. Muthukkudas. 4. At least one processional Roopakkoodu to carry the image of St. Thomas &c. typically decorated. 5.Band sets and typical Kerala Vadyams and Melams including drummers. 6. Fancy fire-works where permissible. 7. Public and common preparation and distribution of Kozhalappam, Achappam, Unni Appam, Neyyappam, and other Syro-Malabar confectionaries.

May I humbly request your Grace to immediately issue a special circular to the NRKs/NRIs exhorting them to hold such a procession and celebration beginning with this July 3rd itself.

Thanking Your Grace,

Your Graces’ obedient servant,

Prof. George Menachery.

p.s.Establishing a Bahya Kerala - Bahya Bharata Diocese for agreeable areas at least must be another priority.

p.p.s. Could we think of a reserve team of priests willing to serve these communities from time to time on special occasions and to give them cultural experiences and guidance in the form of seminars, video fests, power-point talks &c. occasionally?

Prof. George Menachery elected General Secretary of CHAI (Church History Association of India)

SHILLONG, May 10

At the Church History Association of India (CHAI) Triennial General Body Meeting held at the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) , Shillong, Prof. George Menachery was elected General Secretary of the Association for the next three years. He was working as national vice-president for the last three years.

Dr. O.L. Snaitang, Meghalaya (President), Rev. "Cardinal" Thomas Edmunds, Tamil Nadu (Vice- President), Dr. Agnes de’Sa, Maharashtra (Joint Secretary), S. Edathikavil, DVK, Karnataka (Treasurer), were also elected. Dr. Verghese  Perayil (Aroor), Dr. George Oommen (Deradun) were the other members elected to the Board of Trustees, . Dr. A. M. Mundadan will continue as the Editor-in-Charge of the ongoing History of Christianity in India project while Dr. Joe Kalappura (Patna) was appointed editor of the CHAI Journal, Indian Church History Review (ICHR).

The 14th Triennial of the Southern India region will be held in Thrissur in October, 2009 while the 15th Triennial of the National Association and the Platinum Jubilee will be hosted by the Southern India Branch.

The Vice-Chancellor of the NEHU, Dr. Pramod Tandon inaugurated the meet, presided over by the President of CHAI, Dr. Kranthi Farias. The Key Note address was delivered by Dr. J. Kalappura, Secretary.

The NE regional president Dr. O. L. Snaitang, secretary and Registrar cum Controller of the NEHU Dr. David Syiemlieh were the main organisers of the meet at which more than 20 papers on the Theme of the Conference "Christianity and the Marginalised in India" were presented by scholars from every region of india.


 

The new office-bearers and members of the Board of Trustees of CHAI, the Church History Association of India elected at the Shillong Triennial. (From left to right):Dr. Varghese Perayil (Member of the BOT), Dr. Agnes de'Sa (Joint Secretary), Prof. George Menachery (General Secretary), Dr. "Cardinal" Thomas Edmonds (Vice - president),  Dr. O. L. Snaitang (President), Fr. Sebastian Edathikkavil (Treasurer), Dr. George Oommen (Member BOT), and Dr. Jose Kalappura ( Editor, ICHR).

Some of the distinguished participants and delegates at the 14th Triennial of CHAI at Shillong.



 

ANNOUNCEMENT

14th CHAI Southern Branch Conference


My Dear CHAI SIB Members,
A General Gathering of the CHAI Southern Branch was held on May 5, 2009 at Shillong. It was decided to have the next CHAI Southern Branch Conference held at Trichur from the Afternoon of Saturday October 17th to the Afternoon of Monday October 19th, 2009 in the premises of the Archbishop’s House, Trichur. SIB members please note down the dates and make sure of your participation. Prof. Chev. George Menachery (Ollur, 680306. 09846033713, kunjethy@gmail.com) has already begun the local level planning of the Conference. Rev. Dr. Samuel Jayakumar will co-ordinate the scholarly papers to be presented at the Conference.
The main theme of the Conference will be: " Challenges and Prospects of Christianity in India Today". Those who are interested in presenting papers may contact: Rev. Dr. Samuel Jayakumar. 19/C (new No. 26), Appadurai Main Street, Ayanavaram, Chennai 600023, Tel.: 044- 26602134, 09445107984, revsjayakumar@yahoo.co.uk
Registration fee for the Conference (Rs. 300) may be sent to me by M.O. Early confirmation of your participation would be appreciated.
With warm regards,
Francis Thonippara
CMI, CHAI Southern Branch Secretary.080 41116230, 09480582973 fthonippara@dvk.in, president@dvk.in
Prof. Dr. Francis Thonippara, CMI, President / Principal, Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Pontifical Athenaeum of Philosophy, Theology, and Canon Law, Dharmaram College, Bangalore, 560029.
 

Archbishop Cyril Vasil New Secretary of Oriental Congregation 

Congratulations of Indian Christianity to
Archbishop Cyril Vasil New Secretary of Oriental Congregation

 

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Jesuit Fr Cyril Vasil as the new Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. Until now he has been Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute. The Holy Father has also appointed him titular Archbishop of Ptolemais in Libya.

Biography:
Fr Cyril Vasil, S.J., was born on 10 April 1965 in Košice, Slovakia. He attended the University of Bratislava's School of Theology from 1982 to 1987. He was ordained priest in 1987.

He entered the Society of Jesus on 15 October 1990 and was solemnly professed in 2001.

He earned a license in canon law (JCL) in 1989 and a doctorate (JCD) in 1994, both from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome.

In 2002 he was elected Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Canon Law and Pro-Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute. In May 2007 he was appointed Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

He is a consulter to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. He attended the Synod of Bishops in 2005 as an expert. He is a visiting professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and the Universities of Bratislava and Trnava. In 2003 he was named spiritual counsellor to the International Union of the Guides and Scouts of Europe.

In addition to Slovak, he knows Latin, Italian, English, Russian, Ukrainian, French, German, Spanish, Greek and Old Church Slavonic.

He is the author of a number of books and articles and is a collaborator of the Vatican Radio.

Cordial and Personal THANKS of the the Editor and Christian Encyclopaedia Staff to Dear Fr. Matthew Elapanickal 

On Monday, 20th April 2009 the inmates of Mount St. Thomas including the Major Archbishop Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil together with Their Graces Mar Mathew Moolakkatt, Mar Andrews Thazhath and Their Excellencies Mar Mathew Arackal, Mar Thomas Chakiath, and Mar Sebastian Adayanthrath and the Rev. Sisters belonging to the FCC, CMC and SABS Congregations who had rendered service at Mount St. Thomas and the distinguished guests and Rev. Fathers from the CMI Generalate, MST Media Centre, representative from CNEWA and others somehow connected with the ministry of Fr. Mathew Elappanickal at Mount St. Thomas gathered to bid him farewell during a lunch organized in his honour. Fr. Mathew Elappanickal having completed two terms of as the Finance Officer of the Major Archiepiscopal Curia handed over the reins of administration of the Curia to his successor Fr. Mathew Pulimoottil, from the eparchy of Thamarassery who was serving as the Director of the Pastoral Missionary Orientation Centre and the Procurator of START in the eparchy of Thamarassery. Fr. Antony Kollannur, the Chancellor and the newly appointed Superior of the Major Archiepiscopal Curia welcomed the guests. His Beatitude Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil in his address summed up the sentiments of everyone present and said that Fr. Mathew Elappanickal has transformed Mount St. Thomas to a beautiful garden, to a family of love for the inmates and a home for anyone who visited it by his amazing hospitable nature. He presented Fr. Mathew with a bronze plaque as a memento of his meritorious service at the curia for the past ten years and wished him further success in his future ministry. Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, Bishop Mathew Arackal and Bishop Sebastian Adayanthrath and Sr. Teresitta, the mother superior of the SH Convent at Mount St. Thomas acknowledged the great service of Fr. Elappanickal and gave expression to the deep gratitude each one of them and the entire Syro-Malabar Church owed to Fr. Mathew Elappanickal. Fr. Mathew Pulimoottil, the newly appointed finance officer introduced himself and assured the gathering that he would be at the service of the Church in this new office with total dedication and commitment. In his reply, Fr. Mathew Elappanickal thanked the gathering for the fine words and expressed his satisfaction that he could serve the Church effectively for the last 10 years as the Finance Officer of the Curia. Fr. Pauly Kannookadan, the Executive Director of LRC, was the Master of Ceremonies and gave the vote of thanks. Fr. Mathew Elappanickal will assume his new office (which is yet to be disclosed) by the middle of May. We wish him continued success in his future ministry in the Archeparchy of Kottayam.

JAMSHEDPUR, JHARKHAND, FEB. 19, 2008, 16.20 Hrs (CBCI News)

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly has been elected new president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) today at Jamshedpur.

Also, Archbishop of Bombay and President of CCBI (Latin Rite) Cardinal Oswald Gracias has been elected as the First Vice President, Major Archbishop of Trivandrum Moran Mor Baselios Mar Cleemis Catholicos as the Second Vice President and Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes re-elected as Secretary General.

80-year cardinal Vithayathil is presently head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

Cardinal Vithayathil was born on 29th May 1927 of Thresiamma and Justice Joseph Vithayathil at North Parur, had his school education at North Parur and Thiruvanathapuram, and his college education at University College Thiruvanathapuram, and St. Joseph College, Trichy.

Joining Redemptorist Order, Varkey Vithayathil professed as its member on 2nd August 1947, and after completing his studies in Philosophy and Theology he was ordained Priest on 12 the June 1954.

In 1955 he went to Rome for his studies in common law at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) from where he took doctorate in 1959 on “The Origin and Progress of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy”.

After coming back from Rome, Dr. Varkey Vithayathil served as professor of Canon Law for about 25 years at the Redemptorist Major Seminary, Bangalore.

In 1972 he took his Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Karnataka University. He also taught different subjects in several other Seminaries in Bangalore. He served as the Provincial Superior of the Redemptorist Order from 1978 to ’84, and as president of the CRI from 1984 to ’85.

Rev. Dr. Varkey Vithayathil was nominated Titular Bishop of “Antinoe” and the Apostolic Administrator of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church and of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly. He was consecrated bishop in Rome by Pope John Paul II on 6th January 1997.

He assumed charge of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Church and of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly on 18th January 1997.

On 23rd December 1999 Pope John Paul II appointed Mar Varkey Vithayathil as the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church and as the Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly.

His installation as the Major Archbishop took place at St. Mary’s Basilica, Ernakulam on 26th January 2000.

His Holiness Pope John Paul II nominated Mar Varkey Vithayathil a member of the College of Cardinals on 21st January 2001. In the consistory on 21st February he was raised to the dignity of a Cardinal.

He is a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts and of the Pontifical Council for the promotion of unity of Christians.

Palayur pilgrimage held
(Indian Expess)

THRISSUR: Thousands of faithful, priests and nuns took part in the pilgrimage to St Thomas Forane Church at Palayur near Guruvayur, on Sunday. The faithful from Thrissur town and nearby areas covered the 31-km distance from the town by walking. The annual pilgrimage to Palayur, considered as the cradle of Christianity in the state, is being organised for the past 12 years by the Thrissur Archdiocese as part of sacrifice during the Lent season. Delhi Archbishop Vincent Concessao inaugurated the pilgrimage at St Thomas Forane church, Palayur, in the afternoon. Archbishop (Emeritus) Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhi presided over the function. Thrissur Archbishop Mar Andrews Thazhath welcomed the gathering

A scholarly tome onChristianity in India

Staff Reporter

THRISSUR: The third volume of Saint Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India (STCEI) which is scheduled to be published shortly, throw light on various subjects including Christianity in India, Hinduism, Christianity and Sankaracharya, Shaiva Siddhantha and Islam, says George Menachery, the editor of the encyclopaedia. 

STCEI is considered an authoritative workfor reference on India in general and Christianity in particular, says Mr. Menachery. 

It contains articles contributed by renowned archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, educational experts, lexicographers and biographers. The first volume of the encyclopaedia was published in April 1973 in connection with the 1900th death anniversary of Saint Thomas, the Apostle of India. 

The first volume was about the origin, growth and development of Christianity in India. 

The second volume was brought out in 1982. The Thomapedia, an enlarged millennium edition of the early volume, was also published in 2000. STCEI had been described by noted reviewers as monumental work containing significant information on India, Mr. Menachery says. 

Thousands of its copies have been sold the world over and leading libraries have subscribed to it. 

[The HINDU, 3 March 2009]

KCBC Awards 2008:
Prof. George Menachery awarded the Darshanika Vyjnanika Award

Kochi: A. K. Puthussery has won the literary award instituted by the K.C. B. C. Media Commission. Prof. George Menachery has won the Mar Mankuzhikkari philosophical award. Fr. Geo Payyappilly and Elizabeth Raju  won the media and young talent awards, respectively. [The Hindu].
 
Malayala Manorama and Deepika add: The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council's Media Awards 2008 have been announced.A. K. Pudussery bagged the Media Award for his contributions in the fields of the Novel and the Drama.Prof. Chev. George Menachery was selected for the Mar Mankuzhikkary
Darshanika Vyjnanika Award. Fr. Geo Payyappilly obtained the Media Award while singer Elizabeth Raju was chosen for the Young Talent Award.
 
Rev. Dr. Jacob Kattakkal, O. V. Raphael, Prof. Thomas Kaniyanplavan, Varghese Kanjirathingal, and Abraham Pattani were selected for the Guru Pooja Awards.
 
A judging committee consisting of the Chairman of the KCBC Media Commission Dr.Mar Thomas Chakiath, Dr. George Irumpayam, Dr. Cherian Kuniyanthodath, Dr. Primus Perincherry, and K.C.B.C. Media Commission Secretary Fr. Joseph Nicholas decided the awards.
 
The awards will be bestowed at a function to be held at the POC auditorium, Ernakulam on the 25th of January, 2009.
 

Prof. George Menachery is the Chief Editor of a number of reference works including the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Indian Church History Classics (The Nazranies), the Thomapedia, and the works in progress Ayurveda Encyclopaedia of India, and the Encylopaedia of the Arabian Sea.

Noted historian, archaeologist, numismatist, and geographer Prof. Menachery was in the UAE and Oman for the past several months researching on his latest publications.
 

Prof. George Menachery Sapthathy Sangeetha Seminar and Conference

Prof. G. Menachery Sapthathi Sangeetha (Musical) Seminar being inaugurated by Prof. George S. Paul the well known art critic and writer at the Kerala Sahitya Academy Campus. Seated from left to right are: M. D. Madhavan Namboodiri (Ch. Editor, Sangeetham, Kozhikode) [who gave a Chitra-Swara presentation of Kumaran Asan'n Veena Poovu in which Sri Namboodiri accompanied forty Veena Poovu paintings of Francis Kodankandath with his musical recital of the entire classicaql poem]: reputed educationist and cultural leader Sri Chitran Nampoodiripad (who presided); Dr. Mar Aprem Metropolitan of the Church of the East (who delivered the Key Note Address); Dr. Paul Poovathingal (who gave a classical concert and spoke on Voco-System in Classical Music); Prof. Balakrishnan (former principal of the Sree Kerala varma College and reputed vocalist who gave the Invocation Song; Prof. A. M. Francis the Principal of the St. Thomas' College (who welcomed the audience); and Prof. V.P.Jones the working Chairman of the Prof. Menachery Sapthathi Samithi who was also the M. C. on this occasion. Picture TWO: Artist Punachitaya gives a demonstration in connection with the Sapthathi Historico-Cultural EXPO on another day. months back he had inaugurated the Menachery Sapthathy Painters' Workshop attended by 40 odd artists from all over South India at the St. Thomas' College and the Archdiocesan Family Apostolate Complex presided over by Sri Madanan, Ch. artist at the Mathrubhoomi, Calicut.. Pic. THREE: Live Sapthathy demonstration by Artist Francis Kodenkandath in the Academy Complex: He painted a Jubilee Commemoration Montage in 55 minutes in which he represented M. T. Vasudevan Nair's Naalukettu, Vykkom Muhammed Basheer's Bhargavee Nilayam, and Kumaran Asan's Veena Poovu to commemorate the Jubilee Celebrations connected with these great sons of Kerala and pioneers in Malayalam Literature. The demo was followed by a two-hour discussion in which some of the leading artists and literary critics of Kerala participated.

Prof. G. Menachery Sapthati Historico-Cultural EXPO 2008

Bestowing "Ponnada" on Prof. George Menachery by Sri Therambil Ramakrishnan M.L.A. and former Speaker of the Kerala Assembly during the inauguration of the Sapthathi  Historico-Cultural Expo 2008 at the Kerala Sahitya Academy Complex. Sri M. V. Devan inaugurated the Expo at a function presided over by Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala Kala Mandalam Dr. K. G. Paulose. Dr. Raphael Thattil, V. G., Archdiocese of Trichur felicitated. Two Professors from the Krakov University of Poland are also seen discussing aspects of Kerala Culture with Prof. Menachery.

Vatican City, Oct 12: India got its first woman saint when Pope Benedict XVI canonised Kerala nun Sister Alphonsa at a special ceremony at St Peter's Square in the Vatican City on Sunday. Watched by over 5,000 Indian Christians who came here for the historic ceremony from India and other parts of the world, the Pope declared Sister Alphonsa a saint, after reading excerpts from the Holy Bible.
The Pope himself read out the biography of Alphonsa after the ceremony.

Sister Alphonsa had been "an exceptional woman, who today is offered to the people of India as their first canonised (woman) saint," the Pope said.

She had lived in "extreme physical and spiritual suffering," the Pope said. She "was convinced that her cross was the very means of reaching the heavenly banquet prepared for her by the Father."

The Pope also used the occasion to express his concern over the violence against Christians in states like Orissa and Karnataka.

"I urge the perpetrators of violence to renounce these acts and join with their brothers and sisters to work together in building a civilisation of love," the Pope said in his concluding speech after canonising Sister Alphonsa and three others -- Maria Bernarda Butler from Switzerland, Narcisa de Jesus Marlillo Moran from Ecuador and Father Gaetano Errico from Italy.

"As the Christian faithful of India give thanks to God for their first native daughter to be presented for public veneration, I wish to assure them of my prayers during this difficult time," he said in his speech which was televised internationally.

Sister Alphonsa's "heroic virtues of patience, fortitude and perseverance in the midst of deep suffering remind us that God always provides the strength we need to overcome every trial", the Pope said.

"I invite prayers for reconciliation and peace in situations which provoke alarm and great suffering," he said. Many priests and guests who attended the ceremony at the St Peters Square said it was a great day for them particularly when Christians have been targeted in certain states in the country.

After her canonisation, sister Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception has become the first woman from India to be conferred sainthood and the second Roman Catholic from country after Gonsalo Garcia, who was conferred the honour in 1862.

A 15-member official Indian delegation, led by Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes, attended the ceremony. A Catholic delegation comprising a number of Cardinals and Bishops from the country, including members from the Syro-Malabar, Latin and Malankara churches of Kerala were also present on the occasion.

Other members included Kerala Public Works Department minister Mons Joseph, P C Thomas MP, former Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani, MLAs P C George and K V Thomas, former Meghalaya Governor M M Jacob and Mahatma Gandhi University Vice-Chancellor Jancy James.

Church sources say that elevation of Sister Alphonsa as a saint is of special significance to Indian Christians as she is a 'home-grown' person born and brought up in the 2000-year old Syrian Christian traditions of Kerala.

Sister Alphonsa, who lived a quiet religious life helping people around her place in Kerala, was hailed for a number of miracles, including two which were officially put up to the Pope.

One of the miracles attributed to her related to the healing of a young boy's twisted feet after his family prayed at her tomb at the Alphonsa Chapel at Bharananganam near Kottayam.

The beatification process, the last formal step before sainthood, of Sister Alphonsa began in 1996 by Pope John Paul II, who had declared her a 'Blessed Servant of God', when he visited India.

According to Indian church history, the first Indian person to become a Catholic saint was Gonzalo Garcia, a Jesuit born in Vasai near Mumbai. He died a martyr at Nagasaki in Japan in 1597 and was raised to the status of a saint in 1862.

Sister Alphonsa was third in the number of four saints canonised on Sunday. Gaetano Errico, born October 19, 1791, in Italy was canonised first. The second was Mary Bernard, born in Switzerland on May 28, 1848. The third was Sister Alphonsa.

Narcisa De Jesus Martillo Moran, born in 1832 in Ecuador, was the fourth to be canonised.

Celebrations

Bells rang and firecrackers burst across Kerala and in other parts of India as soon as the Pope declared the Roman Catholic nun a saint. The nun can now be worshipped by the followers of Christianity.

The canonisation ceremony was telecast live from the Vatican.

Special masses were held in all Catholic churches in the state, where Saint Thomas, one of the 12 apostles, is believed to have arrived in 52 AD, bringing Christianity to India.

"It is a very important event and a big recognition for a woman born in a simple, ordinary Indian family," Orissa Archbishop Raphael Cheenath said.

"It's a matter of immense pride for us since one of our believers is being bestowed with the sainthood. It will strengthen the church in the country," Father Dominic Vechoor, chancellor of Palai diocese, where she was a nun from 1927 till her death in 1946, said prior to the canonisation.

The Central government announced yesterday that it will issue a commemorative coin in honour of Sister Alphonsa.

Christians make up 2.3 percent of India's billion-plus population, with Roman Catholics accounting for 70 percent of the minority that is largely concentrated in the country's South and Northeast.
 

Take Action Now: points to include in your email (see below – You Can Help)

  • Express your horror at the atrocities committed against the Christian community in Orissa and neighbouring states and the failure of the Indian authorities to take timely and effective action end these gross human rights abuses.

  • Ask for assurance that immediate and effective measures will be taken to end the attacks and to bring to justice those responsible for the reported murders, rapes and arson of homes, shops, schools, orphanages and churches.

  • Express deep concern at reports that local police have ignored some of the crimes being committed and have failed to carry out investigations into the crimes when the victims are Christians.

  • Ask specifically about what steps have been taken to investigate the murders of Pastor Akbar Digal, Pastor Samuel Nayak of Bakingia, Kandhamal, Pastor Matthew Naik from Kanbagiri, seven month pregnant Kamalini Naik and her one year old son from Kandhamal district and Pastor Gopana Naik from Badimunda and to bring those responsible to justice.

  • Ask what investigation has been conducted into the attack on four nuns of the Missionaries of Charity who were travelling on a train from Raipur to Indore on 5 September that resulted in the nuns being severe injuried.

  • Ask what investigation is being conducted into the murder of a young woman, Rajni Majh, who was burned to death by a mob on 25 August at the orphanage where she worked.

  • Ask that the Indian authorities take immediate and effective action to provide all necessary support to people who have been forced to flee their homes to ensure their health and well-being and to provide them with adequate compensation to rebuild their homes.

  • Ask that relief agencies and Indian churches be allowed free access to provide humanitarian relief to those who have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the persecution they have been subjected to  

 

  
ARCHBISHOP ANDREWS THAZHATH OF TRICHUR ALONG WITH ABP. EMERITUS JACOB THOOMKUZHY CONFERS
PONTIFICAL EQUESTRIAN ORDER OF SAINT GREGORY THE GREAT ON PROF. GEORGE MENACHERY

THRISSUR [Palayur] –  Archbishop Mar Andrews Thazhath on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI  knighted Prof. George Menachery and the playwright C. L. Jose with The Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great on Sunday March 9, at the ancient Palayur church during the Palayur Maha Theerthadanam in honour of St. Thomas the Apostle of Christ attended by more than 55000 faithful followed by the Eucharistic Celebration. While Mar Thazhath decorated Prof. Menachery with the official insignia of the Pontifical Order, the inscription of the Secretary of State was presented by Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy and a laudatory speech was made by Catholicos Mar Cleemis, Archbishop of Trivandrum. The investiture comes at the end of a yearlong celebration honoring the 70th birth anniversary or Sapthathi of Prof. George Menachery. Prof. Menachery made a suitable response.


 

 

Through the past, clearly

For George Menachery, exploring the history of Christians in India, particularly in Kerala, is a passion that
has grown with him. In a chat with K. A. Martin, he discusses some of the issues and instruments in his research.
 

THAT PEOPLE in India lack a sense of history is received wisdom. We are still not too sure of the age of Kalidasan or Ezhuthacchan. Neither do we know much of Alexander's India invasion from Indian sources.

Is this reason enough to believe that our predecessors missed the significance of their life and times? No, says George Menachery, a path-breaking researcher whose amateur interest in the history of
Christians in India, particularly in Kerala, grew into a passion and set new standards of scholarship in the discipline.

He feels that it is because of a keen sense of history that our ancestors indulged in selective amnesia. They remembered and left to posterity only what they wanted to be remembered. The rest is (not) history. They now come in a baggage we call the `dark areas'.

Menachery had more interesting things to say and more cogent arguments to put forward on history as we sat across a table at St. Thomas Mount, Kakkanad, where he was instrumental in setting up a Christian museum.

Museums like the one at Kakkanad has been his prime weapon in an attempt to recreate the past as well as to keep alive the new generation's interest in its traditions.
So far, Menachery has had a free run setting up several museums across the State. The first was the Christian Cultural Museum in Thrissur in 1980. Later, he also set up a museum at Palayoor which has recently been expanded.

He had firmed up the idea of the museum as the carrier of a sense of history at the first World Malayalam Congress in 1977 in which he was in charge of the Christian stall at the Kanakakunnu palace premises. A. L. Basham was among the visitors who spent several hours at the stall, he recalls. Menachery is now busy giving the final touches to the third volume of `St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia', the first volume of which came out in 1973.

`Thomapaedia', as it has come to be called, was intended as a single volume on the history and culture of Christians in Kerala. As the work progressed, its scope was expanded as the materials available swelled. It would now be completed in four volumes with over 300 photographs.
He says that several doctoral theses have been written by students in various parts of the world relying mostly on Thomapaedia.
`The Nazranies', edited by him and the first volume of which is out is expected to run into three volumes. It will be a ready reckoner for any researcher.

More than three decades of research has brought him recognition and respect. It was none other than M. G. S. Narayanan who heaped praises on `Thomapaedia' when it was first published. Kerala History Congress has recently honoured Menachery with the Joseph Nedumkandam Award.
The scope of Menachery's historical research makes it impossible for us to cast him in any other role. That he retired as the head of the department of English at St. Thomas College, Thrissur, may be a quirk of a chance.

And, it is a measure of his success that even the church hierarchy which often seems a little too preoccupied with the present, fell to his ceaseless energy and keen mind as he endeavoured to provided a new perspective to research in church history. In the process, Menachery has carried the day and assured himself of a place in history.
 

Picture / Photo Gallery
Here are some Early Christian pictures and photos from Kerala India

 

WOOD WORK IN KERALA CHURCHES
By PROF. GEORGE MENACHERY


WOOD WORK IN KERALA CHURCHES

 

Kerala's forest wealth has been praised by local poets of the Sangham era (first centuries BCE / CE) and by foreign travellers from time immemorial. Perhaps the workmanship of Kerals's wood craftsmen excels wood carving found in almost every State of India and every country in the world, including African and Scandinavian countries. The teakwood of Kerala as well as such timbers as Rosewood, Irumul, Royal wood of Kerala forests have enjoyed world fame for many millennia.

The wood carvings of Malabar Churches are more abundant, more varied, and even often more artistic than similar works in other edifices…especially because even when the Hindu temples began to be influenced by the rock culture of mainland India the Churches mostly continued with their tradition of wood carving. The altars and altarpieces (reredos), Pushpakkoodus (rostra or pulpits), the ceilings and balconies, railings, statues, and Roopakkoodus … all display the highest achievements of the wood carver and the carpenter.
 

Here are some examples of woodcarving photographed by H.C.Q. Brownrigg of London- of the BACSA). These are from the Church at Kottarakkara.Mr. Brownrigg has taken a large number of photographs and slides dealing with the Kerala churches and has given a number of talks on the same. Read about the Kottarakkara church pictures in his own words:
 



 

Dear Professor Menachery,

It was a great pleasure for me to visit you in Ollur and see the Menachery family `mana'. Thank you also for showing me round St. Anthony's, which is one of my favourite Kerala churches. Lastly, thank you for `Glimpses of Nazraney Heritage', which I read on the journey home and found enjoyable and extremely informative on a number of subjects. I also read the book edited by Bosco Puthur, in which MGSN expands on his points about Nambudiri migration.



 

Enclosed are copies of the photographs which I took at the Mar Thoma church in Kottarakkara. ( I am rather proud to have found a church which you have not already visited ! ) What put me into it was a passage in the travel book written almost a hundred years ago by Mrs. E. Hatch in which she describes the church as being in a ruined condition but with fine carvings and beams. Since then it has twice been rebuilt, but one long beam is preserved in the porch. It has eight protruding blocks, of which four have figurative panels. I am not sure what the subjects are.



 

One looks as if it might be the Annunciation, while another looks like the Weighing of Souls on the Day of Judgment. Incidentally, is the motif underneath these carvings what, in Glimpses, you call an ` Indian Cross ' ? Have you any idea where it originates? It seems half way between being a cross and a more decorative motif like the lotus.



 

I did not see any sign of an inscription, but one would need to go up on a ladder to look properly. Perhaps it might be worth writing to the priest.

Lastly, in the churchyard there is a deepastambha but without any deepas! Is it just a cenotaph?



 

I hope to find an excuse to return to Kerala later this year or early next, when I hope we can meet again. Incidentally, a paper based on my talk at Changanasseri is supposed to be being published in the Journal of South Indian History. Since it was written as a talk illustrated with numerous slides I fear that it will be rather hard to understand when only illustrated with a small number of photographs. Have you heard anything about (the persons who organized that Seminar) They all seemed to disappear without trace!

With Best Wishes
H. C. Q. Brownrigg
 

THE ROCK CROSSES OF KERALA CHURCHES
By PROF. GEORGE MENACHERY


OLLOOR CHURCH CROSS

This is the pedestal of the stone cross in granite [rock] in front of the Ollur Church which is the oldest church in the Thrissur Corporation area. But the Ollur Church is less than 300 years old whereas there are more than a hundred churches which are 400 years or more old in Kerala. And there are dozens of exquisitely carved open air rock crosses or Nazraney Sthambams in front of many of these ancient Kerala Christian places of worship, e.g. at Kottekkad, Enammavu [now in the Trichur Archieparcal Residence, where it was shifted from the Lourdes Cathedral Christian Cultural Museum that was estd. in 1980 - discovered by this writer in 1980 at Enammavu from a mud deposit] Mapranam, Puthenchira, Parappukkara, Veliyanad, Kalpparambu [the last discovered by this writer in the mud deposits] Koratty, Angamaly [one each in front of the three churches - the Western church cross, 27ft. tall- has been exactly reproduced in front of the Kakkanad Mount St. Thomas St. Thomas Christian Museum], Kanjoor, Malayattoor, Udayanperur, Kuravilangad,Uzhavoor,Chungam,Kaduthuruthy [2 Nos.], Muttuchira, Kudamaloor, Niranam, Kothamangalam, Chengannur, Thumpamon, Chathannur, Changanacherry [the base of the second cross was discovered by this writer in the Changanacherry cemetery], and many other places.

These crosses have four members: the base with a socket often fixed on a huge pedestal (see pic), the huge monolithic shaft with cylinder-like projections at both ends, the arm with sockets above and below, and the capital which forms the fourth arm of the cross with a cylinder arrangement at the bottom. All these crosses rise from the lotus carved at the top of the base member termed the Pookkallu. Many of these crosses have exquisite carvings and sculptures esp. on the four sides of the pedestal, and in rare cases on the shaft as the Adam, Eve, and the Serpent on the Chengannur Obelisk Cross. Like the Egyptian Obelisks the cross is a ray of the sun - Horus or Christ.


PEDESTAL OF CHANGANCHERRY ROCK CROSS



 

PEDESTAL OF ANGAMALY ROCK CROSS
 

MALABAR CHRISTIANS OF ANCIENT DAYS
By PROF. GEORGE MENACHERY

[For YOUR EYES ONLY is a recently started LOL Series which would carry interesting pictures and illustrations which throw some useful light on St. Thomas Christian history, culture, customs, manners representing every church and denominations of Syrian Christians. Prof. George Menachery who is a renowned scholar with vast research experience in Thomas Christian traditions and history organizes this Series.]

 


MALABAR CHRISTIANS OF ANCIENT DAYS

 

The very costumes and ornaments of the Thomas Christians indicate - at least used to indicate until very recent times - their deep Spirituality and commitment to the Gospel message. What the Bible speaks of the deportment of women is fully satisfied in the dress of Syrian Christian women of Kerala; it is a costume where beauty meets modesty. Allow me to quote (the late) Mrs. K. M. Matthew from the 1973 St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia: "The costumes they wear are worthy of special note which in many ways resemble those of the high caste Hindu women. A white cloth-length 51/2 yards by 12/2 yards [Mundu} is folded into a Pudava which is again folded into fan like pleats. This fan like arrangement, which is highly artistic completely, covers the back portion of the woman when she wears the cloth. ... The upper portion of the body including the belly and the arm is completely covered with the loose blouse-like Kuppayam or Chatta. Going to the church they cover themselves from head to foot with a nice white cloth, when only the face will be visible. This dress is fully in keeping with the modesty and nobility of the Syrian Christian women. Naturally this dress is not meant to kill, the whiteness representing purity and chastity."

Again this is what Dr. J. Kolengadan has to say in the same Encyclopedia: "...the fan like appendage behind render their dress highly modest as well as artistically elegant...As they went out to church they had a veil like outer garment, with gold brocade, reaching to the ground showing nothing but the face..." The costume of the Syrian Christian women of Kerala does what the Purdah does but without its ugliness, unhealthy anonymity and abuses. Unfortunately today one has to watch the obituary columns of Malayalam newspapers to come across this unique costume - cry, the beloved country. D. Ferroli has this on the costumes of the Syrian Christians: " The mundu [of men] is fastened round the waist and reaches down to the heels. A towel is thrown over the shoulders...". "Except those who kept celibacy and those who had gone on a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Thomas at Mylapore, all kept long hairs tied up in a bundle..."(Placid, Thomapedia, p.107>f,g.)

 


MALABAR CHRISTIAN COUPLE
 


 

 WCC News
Upcoming events

08.08.07 - 14.08.07

Intra-Christian consultations on conversion and Christian self-understanding

Toulouse, France

Photo : Jenny Bolliger, EAPPI, janvier 2007.

Christians
from various denominations and theological traditions - the WCC constituency, the Roman Catholic Church, Evangelical and Pentecostal churches - will be meeting in Toulouse from 8-12 August to discuss ways “Towards an ethical approach to conversion – Christian witness in a multi-religious world”. This includes a self-critical appraisal of Christian missionary activities to date. The consultation on conversion is directly followed by three days of reflection on “Religious plurality and Christian self-understanding”.


The first consultation is part of the 2006 to 2009 process towards a code of conduct on conversion, for which the WCC and the Vatican are jointly responsible. The process is both enriched by and contributing to the parallel efforts of a WCC-initiated multifaith expert group “Thinking Together”.

The second meeting is dedicated to the fundamental challenge of how to articulate the appropriate theological questions in relating to other religions. In so doing, it follows up on a document on Christian self-understanding prepared for a 2005 Conference on World Mission and Evangelism.

Previous News
22.06.07 - 01.07.07

Bangalore, India

Young adults from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka will be meeting at the Fireflies Ashram in Bangalore to reflect on the role of religion and religious identity in a context of tension and communalism.

Introduction to the M.E.C.C.:Middle East Council of Churches

[The Third International Conference Seminar on Early Christianity in India and the Middle East is being held in Amman, Jordan in September 2008, 13th to 20th. The Middle East Council of Churches is actively collaborating in this effort with  The International Centre for the Study of Christianity in India ( ICSCI ) along with the Ecuminical Studies Centre at Jordan Our readers and scholars may be interested in knowing something about the MECCwe hope.]

The Middle East Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches relating itself to the main stream of the modern ecumenical movement, the same which gave birth to the World Council and other regional ecumenical councils throughout the world.

The first and most remarkable feature of the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) is its setting. It was through the Middle East that Abraham, his children and grandchildren migrated. Here the ancient Hebrew tribes wandered; the judges, prophets, priests, kings, singers and sages who gave voice to scripture were nurtured here. And it was here that the Incarnation took place, and the redeeming ministry of Christ fulfilled. The Church was born in the Middle East, and here the early controversies played themselves out and the first divisions in the Church occurred. The people and churches which form the council are the direct heirs of all of that. And the vibrant ecumenical movement to which the council gives expression in this region is a profound healing process. A glimpse of the Tree of Life whose leaves are "for the healing of the nations" (Revelation 22:2) is somehow not so distant here.

The second feature is geo-political. Powerful forces swirl and eddy in this region. They break out from time to time in violence. Death, misery and exploitation are no strangers. Economic forces, ethnic movements, big power pressures, religious passions … they make for a heady mix of variables drawing in influences and interests from around the world, and predators abound. In the midst of this, for the past quarter century there has been the MECC, commited to witness and serve in Christ's name. The circumstances of human dysfunction place upon it an overwhelming burden. People in the Middle East have reason to be suspicious of those who say they want to do them good. Wolves in sheep's clothing have been plentiful. In a region overwhelmingly Muslim in complexion, it is remarkable that the council, an indigenous Christian agency, should retain the credibility rating it does. It has worked quietly and effectively as an agent of mercy and reconciliation in war-torn Lebanon; it has interceded in the delicate dialogue between the Palestinians and the world, preparing some of the more important pathways that led to the peace process; it was early on the scene in post-war Iraq; it initiated discussions within Arab society to engage both Muslims and Christians in the examination of what should go into building a just and peaceful civil society; and it has participated in some momentous initiatives of Christian reconciliation. There is a pivotal quality to the MECC, and that pivot has integrity. Having a legacy directly tied into the early days of the ecumenical movement, the Council has served in another remarkable way. Because of its long-standing partnerships with churches and Christian agencies both in the West and in the East, it depicts as no other body in this region that the love of Christ transcends barriers and makes of humanity one people. By the sheer fact of its existence it is a testimony to the fact that healing can happen.

Finally, there is the intimacy of the Council. The twelve to fourteen million souls who claim Christ's name in the Middle East are few in number when compared to the constituents of similar ecumenical associations elsewhere. But being small means that people know each other, and there is a bond of kinship that is rather special. It is no accident, therefore, that the Council chose to organize itself as a family of families—the Eastern Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox, the Catholic and Protestant families. Each makes its contribution to the witness of all. This, then, is the Middle East Council of Churches. We invite you to become better acquainted with it. More>>http://www.mec-churches.org/ -Prof. G. M. from the above site .


Pope Benedict XVI
gave the go-ahead Saturday for greater use of the old Latin mass,
signalling a bid to heal a decades-old split in the Roman Catholic Church.

But the move, which also applies to other religious rituals, is controversial and leading figures have already expressed misgivings.

A papal decree said priests should now meet requests by the faithful to hold mass in the traditional Church language, which had widely been dropped after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

"In parishes where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their request to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962...," said the decree.

"The pastor, having attentively examined all aspects, may also grant permission to use the earlier ritual for the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, Penance and the Anointing of the Sick, if the good of souls would seem to require it," it added.

The virtual abandonment of the Tridentine mass after the Second Vatican Council in 1965 was one of the causes of a breakaway led by French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1970.

The move was to encourage the greater use of the mass in local languages, one of a series of reforms made by the council in a bid to modernise the Church.

Traditionalists say the Tridentine mass, named after the town of Trento, now in northern Italy, is more spiritual and historically authentic than the modern version.

French bishops secretly approached the pope late last year to voice their concerns about his then apparent readiness to revive the Tridentine mass.

Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, chairman of the French bishops' conference, said in November that differences with followers of Lefebvre were not only liturgical, but also theological, dealing with religious freedom, ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue and politics.

He warned Saturday that the pope's "real motivations may not be well understood" by the public and the priests, but he did not expect many requests for traditional mass.

"I don't see a tsunami coming," he said.

Lefebvre's followers hailed the pope's decision, adding however that other difficulties remained.

The Priestly Society of Saint Pius X, in a statement from Lefebvre's successor Bernard Fellay, said it "rejoices to see the Church ... regain her liturgical Tradition, and give the possibility of a free access to the treasure of the Traditional Mass for the glory of God, the good of the Church and the salvation of souls, to the priests and faithful who had so far been deprived of it."

The favorable climate established by the decree should make it "possible -- after the decree of excommunication which still affects (the society's) bishops has been withdrawn -- to consider more serenely the disputed doctrinal issues," the association added in the statement posted on its website.

The pope opened a dialogue with Lefebvre's followers in August 2005, four months after he was elected as