[Diocesan Metropolitan of Kochin Diocese, Jacobite Syrian Church]


Maramon Convention is not a mere evangelical Congregation of the Marthoma Church alone, but it is turned out as a heavenly feast, spiritual fellowship and a prayer tabernacle as a symbol of divine spiritual spring of all Christian community and of the entire people of India at large. This is apt to be considered as one of the biggest contribution of Marthoma Church towards the ecumenical advancement in the world. In the history of Marthoma Church for the past more than a century this congregation stands as the icon of growth of the church, advancement, spirituality and proselytism efforts. The ecumenical nature of this fellowship distinct the Marthoma Church as very respectful among the entire global Christian community.

It is a very pleasant memory that our Spiritual father Patriarch Ignatius Zacha had attended blessed Maramon Convention during 1982 during his apostolic visit to India. Though it was scheduled that the Holy Father visits this year’s convention, however, it could not be materialized due to the ill-health of Holy Father. But he had conveyed the apostolic blessings for this year’s convention and I am happy to declare the same with my due humility.

The ecumenical movements have a wider perspective in our contemporary era than it had at the time of its origin. I hope nobody can defy this truth. It is well known to all that the aim of the manifestation of ecumenical movement was to create an inhabitable world. The label of this united movement itself was given out of the meaning of the word 'Ecumenism'. Because of this width and depth of the word, it is not merely meant as an attempt for the unity of Christian denominations, but it got the global extension of unity and reconciliation of the entire creation of God. This is a widely accepted and proclaimed fact by all involved in this movement.

The Christian motivation of the ecumenical movement is the basic words of our Lord Jesus Christ in His High Priestly prayer to His father. “They may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me." [John 17:21] This Verse itself is the canonical caption of the modern ecumenical movement. But it is a painful fact that the contemporary churches, religions and the worldly order are highly distanced from the very cause of its intention. War, terrorism, religious fundamentalism, bad effects of globalization etc., which are seen in the world, points towards this failure of establishment of an inhabitable word. The prevailing social fascism, caste systems, poverty, atrocities against women, environmental deteriorations, divisive mentality, these all are the new challenges for the ecumenical growth. Whether, The Church, which is the body of Christ, equipped to take over these challenges? The divisive denominations of the Christian Churches are the wounds of the body of Christ. Every Christians and Christian denominations have the responsibility to heal the wounds of Christ.

As per the current religious and Christian atmosphere of the world, the first aim of ecumenism should be targeted for a mutual respect and co-operation among the denominations, than any Himalayan task of uniting the churches. In this context, we may need to define the terms of organic unity and mission unity. As the organic divisions are deep rooted, it may be at big distance to achieve. However, the churches should intensively put their efforts for a mission unity. The ultimate motive of all denominations is same, as the central point of all churches is Jesus Christ. Here we need a great cooperative effort to show and witness Jesus Christ to the world as the way of entire humanity. Accept whatever is acceptable and respect whatever is not acceptable. This should be the basis for a mission cooperation and unity.

While the atrocities are increasing in the society, there is a great mission for the Church to react with them positively with the wisdom of God to oppose the evils and to spread the goodness in the world. These intervention efforts should be solely with the back strength of the values of the Kingdom of God. Churches should stand united to battle for the justice and peace in the world. The core of the ecumenism is also the same. In an atmosphere of great pluralism of religions in India, it is very essential to have religious tolerances and healthy, matured exposure of respect and cooperation between different ideologies. This is a very serious issue which is to be handled with prayers and guidance of the Holy Spirit. This type of ecumenical congregation with great attendance of other denominations and other religions is highly encouraging factor and we should be thankful to God for the same. Let this be a great start and example towards a major cause in the global ecumenical movement. It is quiet welcome and noticeable that all ecumenical organizations like WCC, NCC, KCC are giving great importance for the spiritual secularity. We are not aiming for abolition of anybody's faith, but for the respect for the faith and worship practices of others.

When there was communal riot in India, Gandhiji had sent a message to the rioters, O' my beloved Hindu brothers, please show a Christian attitude towards your Muslim brothers. If Gandhiji was living today, what would have been his opinion about Current Christian brothers? The great aspiration of the first parents, to become like God, had caused them to be driven out of Paradise. The same scenario is being continued in our time. Covetousness for the misfired fortunes is causing the man for his frustration and lack of peace. Modern men and women are living inside the fort of selfishness. It is a highly appreciable action plan that Marthoma Church decided to give 1500 houses for the needy during the Navathy [90 th birthday] of Marthoma Valiya Metropolitan Most. Rev. Philipose Mar Chrysostum. Self security and self comfort is the trade mark of modern man. But this is a very distinguished attitude which all should imitate and follow.

It is the great mission of the Christian society to reveal a horizon of love, care, compassion, sharing etc. to the world beyond the wall of self-centralism. Mind of contemporary men is bound for selfish passion. The same hatred which Cain had demonstrated to his brother is still prevailing in the society. Our land of Kerala which is the God's own country is getting polluted by the violence and atrocities. The Christian communities cannot wash off their hands playing innocence in the state of affairs. There are many accusations against Christian Community for the alleged business mindedness in education sector. It is not a Christian way to revolt blindly against accusations. At the time of trials like this, it is the responsibility of the Community to self asses the situation to search for any hurtful way in us. If found, decide promptly for a re-sanctification of our ways. Is our attitude causing a polarization of the rich and poor? If found so, we need a deviation for our ways. In all our assessment Holy Spirit of God should be our counselor and advisor. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ should be the bottom line of our actions. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." [St. Mathew 5:6]

Ecumenism should not be shortened for the organizational activities. It should be the moving spirit of the mass. Let us repeat the key word of the last WCC. "Lord, in Your Grace, transform the world." Let this intended transformation be commenced in our own personal life.

[Extract from Inaugural Address delivered at Ecumenical Session of Maramon Convention 2007
Original in Malayalam : Translated for LOL by Editor Dr. Rajan Mathew Philadelphia, USA]

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