[Diocesan Bishop and President of Diocese of North America & Europe, Marthoma Syrian Church ]


"And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance." (St.Luke 8:1-3)

Modern day Church had gone weak, anemic, depleted and emaciated. An Artist had portrayed the contemporary church as a tree with all its leaves are shed off. A group of people, may be comprised of bishops, priests, nuns, pastors, teachers, preachers, evangelists, missionaries etc. are carefully engaged, in vain, on and down the tree, to graft the fallen leaves to its stem. This may be a very painful portrait of the church but there are some truths in it. The Church tree which is supposed to be grown with thick leaves, flowers and fruits so that the birds could lodge on it, people could benefit from the shade of it, and many could make living out of it, had gone to it's remains only with its stalk. The Church which is supposed to be in the mission of giving the shade, solace, refuge, salvation, healing for all and to comfort all in their afflictions, had became devoid of it.

What is Church? What should be its mission? What should be its essential disposition? Church is called for the glorification of the kingdom of God. It is a special community chosen and separated by the Christ. We see crowd every where, in the streets, in the market places, in the festivals or where ever we look. But these crowds come out from a multitude which has no bondage to any and without any interrelation. There is no affection or love emerged out of fellowship. The evangelization is the process of making crowd into a congregation. Once the crowd is turned out to be a community, it is the Church. Here there are no rich, no poor, no wise, no illiterate, no complaint, no disrespect, no ill-disposal, no offence, and absolutely no ownership. But there is love, unity, fellowship, mutual understanding and a distinct identity for all. In this congregational society there is inter-relation, there is understanding, there is compassion and there is a distinct aim of it. All are encouraged together and comforted together with mutual faith and with great dignity. It emerges out as a community rejoiced in the expressions of one another’s love and communicating their faith one to another with great spiritual concern. They are affectionate one to another with brotherly love, in honor, preferring one another. We see such a small group revolved around Jesus as described in our biblical reference above. Christ had created relationship, affiliation, rapport and association where there was no interaction.

Church in which we are also involved is the body of Christ. It is the community sanctified with the blood of God and entrusted to propagate light to the world in all goodness, righteousness and truth. We are called to walk as children of Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. The referred biblical portion makes it evident, what is the mission of the church. It is a congregation to share, to worship together and to heal each other. What we have received with us to be proud of right now is only the long-gone nobility of the Church. Many times we live in our past grandeur. How is the current Church in this world in which we are also involved is faring in its mission? The church is called to edify and enlighten the world. Church should continue its original mission.

  1. Church is an inclusive Community.
    Church is a community which contains everything non-discriminative. Church is all things to all, and is formed for the transformation of the society. World is a Mosaic community. Church is also a multiracial congregation of Christians seeking to grow in Christ through worship, discipleship and service. Diversity should be the means for the augmentation. In the Body of Christ, the variety of members helps to build up the unity of the whole, while that unity preserves the multiplicity of the members. Christ is the peace, he made everything one and he had broken down the middle wall of partition between us and the state of enmity is reconciled. He made everything one by reconciling all factions. Church should stand-fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. All are co-travelers in this world. All are equal in the Church in front of God. Can the current Church ascertain that there is no malign, hate, or reproach each other? Do we have the courage to claim that all are equal inside the church? Can church see Syrian, Dalith, downtrodden, oppressed, laborer, officer...all as one? For all those who traveled along with Jesus during His earthly mission, their disposition remained same. Whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Instead of despising any, or reproaching any, for their infirmities, they should endeavor to cover and conceal them. What is the status of woman? Women are still kept secluded to a corner even in the reformed Church. We see an early Church around Christ which was called for a mission with evident objective.

  2. Church is an Eucharistic Community. As Eucharistic society, Church realizes its true nature when it celebrates the Supper of the Lord, receiving His Body and Blood in the sacrament. Church is a thanksgiving community. Afflictions put one upon prayer, and prosperity make one abound in praise. In a day of mirth and prosperity, those are comforted praise the Lord. Those who realize the providence of God, praise Lord for the benevolence. Worshipping is the expressions of sincere hearts in adoration of the God and reverent devotion in front of the Lord's Table. Lord had come to this world to minister. Lord Jesus sets himself as a pattern of humility, and usefulness. Those who followed Christ in the early church had the attributes of this adoration. It is easy to praise by mouth, but we need to express our gratitude by walking with Lord and ministering the world. In the life experience of Apostle Paul, he counted every thing negligent for the sake of Lord. Whatever things which were gain to him, he considered loss for Christ. He was willing to do any thing, or suffer any extent, for the glory of God. What ever insufficient to enrich him or what he believed to be in opposition to Christ and would certainly impoverish and ruin him, he counted as loss for the sake of Lord.

  3. Church is an offering and sharing community.
    In the early church when the heart filled with thanks, they shared everything with the needy. Do we share our talents? But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. We are only the stewards of our wealth and abilities. Ownership of everything goes to God. We should expense our abilities as per the disposal of the owner of it. That is the responsibility of the steward. We should share according to that we received. All we received,  belong to others. Church should be for others and then only the pertinence of it is affirmed.

  4. Church is a healed community.
    It is a loss if things are not appropriated. It will be a great comfort to appropriate the things. Healing is to get revealed. Are we revealed? A great door and effectual is opened to us. Those who healed are liable to give healing. Do we stand as a hindrance for the healing to others? But take care that our liberty does not somehow become a stumbling block to others which may cause the weak to ruin. So endure everything so that we will cause no hindrance to the Gospel of Christ. Due to our selfishness, others should not loose the benevolence from God. (blind Bartimaeus, the palsy who was carried by four men) We should not be turned as trouble makers for the society than giving healing to them. The sores can happen in our life also. The history is reminding us the same. Church can not give healing unless it is broken in its heart. What we sow if quickened, except it die. We are called to give healing to the world.

  5. Church is a moving community
    Church needs a moving tendency. Church is 'still' today and hence it is similar to the Dead Sea. There is no throb of life. We should redeem the radical image of its inherent nature of the Church. Where there is healing service for the society, there only we establish the pertinence of the Church. The early church searched and served the needy. It had reinstated the depleted Samaritan woman. They went searching in the tomb. They searched for Palsy man, bent woman, dry skin man. Church should travel to the needy and downtrodden. The Church is currently facing two types of challenges.

    • Evangelization
    • Re-evangelization

Church should not turn its face aside to these challenges, but it should show its readiness to respond to it. The nature of the early church should originate in us. Why we are not able to melt down to our surroundings? Why we are not able to involve the pulses of the needy? Church should travel towards the society. The nature of the early church should originate in us. This New Year, when the church earmarked the year as that of repentance and dedication, we should sense the pulses of the heart of Christ and move forward in the right way of our mission. Like Jesus had exhorted to the Church at Ephesus, ‘Do not leave the first love’. So it is time that we should repent for all our lapses.

[Maramon Convention - 2004  Original: Vocal Malayalam]
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According to the scripture, God had already set the plan of salvation of mankind before the creation and the fall of man to sin and spiritual death. In the Garden of Eden when the Lord God proclaimed, “Her offspring will crush your head and you will bite their heel” Genesis 3:15, our Lord’s sacrificial death and sufferings was already prophesized. There are more than 300 prophesies about our Lord in the Bible and all are being fulfilled according to God’s own timetable. Prophet Isaiah’s book, chapters 9,11,42,50,53, several psalms, very specially psalm 22 and several other books of the Old Testament proclaim about the birth, life, mission, sufferings and resurrection of the Messiah. Actually the people of Israel was chosen among other nations and prepared for the arrival of the Savior for the entire mankind.

Our Lord Himself told the woman of Samaria, “it is from Jews that salvation comes” John 4:22. In Hindu Vedas the sufferings and death of “Praja Pathi” described in detail is said to be a shadow of the passion of God-Man of Jesus Christ! The writers of Hebrews, Romans clearly show the need and details of the process of sacrificial death and victory of the Messiah over sin and death, the hope and salvation of believers. Sins are forgiven only if blood is poured out Hebrews 9:22. During the passion our Lord’s blood was poured out profusely and painfully for our sins. When the Lord declared on the cross “it is finished”, it meant that the work for salvation was completed forever. “With one sacrifice, then He has made perfect forever those who are purified from sin. I will not remember their sins and evil deeds any longer. So when these have been forgiven, any offering to take away sins is no longer needed” Hebrews 10:14-18. Our Lord’s sacrifice can never be repeated, should not be imitated, but we can thankfully remember always and praise the Lord for the freedom from the sin and death He has set for every repenting sinner.

When the Lord cried out from the cross “I am thirsty”, He was revealing God’s everlasting thirst for every sinner and giving an invitation to all of us to come to Him and drink redemption freely from the Savior. When the Lord prayed, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34, Isaiah 53:12, it was our eternal High Priest’s mediatory prayer for the forgiveness of all mankind. When one of the criminals repented the Lord unconditionally gave entrance to paradise that was lost to Adam and Eve because of their sins.

As human beings we can never know of the depth of the physical, mental and spiritual sufferings the Lord experienced when he was marked out for bearing our sins and curses. “This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29. “Because of our sins He was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did.” Isaiah 53:5. “He was put to death for the sins of our people.” Isaiah 53:8. When the Lord cried out on Calvary “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me” Psalm 22:1, Mark 15:34, He was revealing a glimpse of the unbearable and excruciating pain He experienced when the Father turned His face from the Son of Man who became the sinner and curse for every one of us. In one of the Psalms it is written, “You turned your face away from me, then I was frightened.” The sinless Lamb of God bore our sins, curses and sickness and paid a price through the suffering and death.

Let us not forget the great truth that our Lord arose from the grave after three days. The Lord's sufferings without resurrection are just the sufferings of another martyr. Resurrection is the victory over death and hope for our own resurrection. Our Lord is risen, He is alive, He is with us to the end of time. It is the resurrection that makes and marks Christianity distinctly and uniquely different form other religions and religious teachers and prophets. It is the presence of the empty tomb that fills and strengthens our hope for the future eternal life. His sufferings on the cross for us become meaningful and fruitful because of His glorious resurrection and triumph over death. Because of His sacrificial suffering and death we are freed from sin. Because of His resurrection, we can hope for our own resurrection at the time of His second coming and eternal life with Him. Let us learn to identify our own trials and troubles with our Savior’s Pain and Passion and surrender our lives to abide within Him to produce fruits for glorifying the blessed Trinity, the true One and the Only Living God. Amen

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27. Blessed are those who see others as members of the same body; for they can work together enthausiastically for common good.

The main work of God is to fill us with love without interfering with our freedom. The Holy Trinity created man in His image and likeness with the potential to grow in love. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity, fills us with love. "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."(Rom. 5:5) Our Lord, the second person of Holy Trinity, fills people with love. The story of Zacchaeus is noteworthy. This greedy man offered to give half of his properties to the poor. (St. Luke 19:8)

It is not enough that we help people. We have to inspire them. The greatest good that we give to others and our children is to inspire them with love. This can be done only through selfless love.

Prayer:O Lord fill us with your love so that we may fill others with your love.

28. Blessed are those who give hope to those in despair; for they rejoice in their salvation.

Those who give hope to anyone in despair can have sweet memories. Those who receive help in times of need, will pray for the benefactors.

Prayer: Help us O Lord, to fill others with hope.

29. Blessed are those who help and encourage one another to do their best, without caring who gets the first place; for they all can rise up to the maximum.

In a certain college, the post-graduate students were competing for the rank. They did not help one another; for the fear that they will lose the first rank. Then one of the students told his classmates that if only they helped one another, all can have maximum success and that it did not matter who gets the first rank. As a result, three of them got first class and all the rest passed with second class.

Prayer:Help us to do our best O Lord, and make others do their best.

30. Blessed are those who take care to note even the small improvements in others and compliment them; for they can therby encourage them to do better and win their love.

Our Lord appreciated the apostles even in small things, though they had the weakness of ordinary people. On the eve of his death, He said, "You are those who have continued with me in my trials" (St. Luke 22:28). Generally speaking, we appreciate and encourage people who have achieved great things. But we fail to note the small improvements people make through their hard work. If only someone appreciates and encourages them, they will work harder and achieve greater success. If there is real love, we will try to encourage people even in small things. Also it is better to tell people and make them aware of their own high potential and do their best, instead of comparing them with others who are on a higher level.

Prayer:O Lord, help us to take interest in the lives of others and encourage them to do their best.


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Hope is the poor man’s bread, likewise is Heaven, the Abode of Eternal peace and tranquility, where “he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away”(Rev.21: 4). Therefore, “lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Mt.6: 20). There is no entry fee to that magnificent place, but the efforts to enter through the narrow gate are the qualifications. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Mt.7: 14). Likewise a camel that cannot enter through an eye of a needle, it is impossible to reach at the Infinite Heights for one who is bundled with the adiposity of all types of worldly wealth and comforts, unless the Comforter gives a helping hand. “ If you would enter life, keep the commandments” and “ if you would be perfect, go sell what you possess and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Mt.19: 17-22). St. Peter who also spent the passions of his life for a high position was also asked simply to follow the footprints of the Master (Jn.21: 22; 1Pet.2: 13-24), without trying to claim lordship over others. Unless one puts his heart and soul to become perfect in all his inner and religious life, it is impossible to survive in Heaven against the high voltage luminosity of the Father who is perfect (Mt.5: 48).

Despite such warnings over the ages, mankind has been addicted to a life of pleasures of this plane that impedes the entry into that land of peace and serenity. As the clutches of materialism and the definition of banalities are loosened day-by-day and year-by-year, we are eclipsed out far and far away from the Heavenly light. God has been an enigma for the majority from the beginning of history. Making a comparative study between the times of His first and second comings, we don’t find many discrepancies in approach and attitude of people, except the present time having multifarious avenues for swimming in an ocean of iniquities on account of scientific and technological innovations that turned everything upside down, inviting the Iron Age of devastation as foretold by the sages of past.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me” (Jn.13: 21). His own apostle who was girded with miraculous powers betrayed Jesus for money to the Spiritual authorities that grabbed the rare chance of getting rid of Him from the face of the earth, in collaboration with the Roman Governor. The Holy Spirit, the third Person in the H.Trinity and the one who broods over the Bride, the Church, also faces the same scenario at the culmination of the time. Of the same proportion of apostles as in the beginning, less than ten percent of today’s clergy, the ambassadors of God on earth go astray in the betrayal of the church and Jesus for their own personal gains. Just as the trinity of perpetrators, Judas from the inner sanctum, the Jewish spiritual hierarchy together with king Herod, and Pilate the Roman Governor, maliciously made the unholy alliance in the crucifixion of Christ; at the end of the time, an implicit association of a venomous trinity consisting of mentally derailed theologians, church hierarchy and secular rulers collude together (Eph.6: 12) for the devastation of the church which is brooded over by the H.Spirit.

Despite schisms and heresies made the church to be multiplied till now, the craving for power and money is another dimension for the strangling death of the Bride at the arse-end of the time by one who is supposed to guarantee Heaven for us. The theologians who write theses for their higher degrees or otherwise deviate from their normal spiritual path in presenting the dogma in vivid ways so as to twisting and stirring up the accepted norms and dogma of the church that maintained sacrosanct truths. Adding venom to Christology and Triune God, an alien and pedestrian way of life is a mortal sin. Many who are in the church hierarchy question the mystery of the Holy Trinity, virgin birth, resurrection and many other inexplicable truths and mysteries by grieving the Holy Spirit. Some of them teach vociferously that there is no Devil, hell or Heaven. Heaven, in their opinion is neither a place nor an ideal haven in a particular location, but only a symbolic expression of a beautiful life after death in comparison to the earthly life. Psychiatrists and psychologists, after an ongoing series of studies for a couple of centuries, vindicate their conclusion that life after death is a free and fanciful life as the spirit is not confined with in a bonded frame as in the case of our existence here. Is it then only a wind that soothes our whole being? If so, where does the wind come from? In their opinion, it is a free and happy existence for any body after death; it has nothing to do with religion, and salvation and Heaven is only a fairytale, a cheap tool for the religious hierarchy to exploit the weaklings and simple hearted for the benefits of their own frivolous life.

The kingdom of God is in the midst of you (Lk.17: 21). A different translation reads like this: “The Kingdom of God is within you”. This interpretation, heaven ‘within us’ has made a devastating storm that uprooted all our dogmas and values that we have been teaching and propagating from the beginning of mankind. What Jesus meant was that His Kingdom is where He is, there in their midst at that point of time. I have heard people say that leading a good life is heaven which is a continuing process after the death of a person, irrespective of one’ religion, creed, ethnicity or caste. This teaching is the firework for the death of the church as well as the soul. People left the religious vicinities and started a licentious and voluptuous life of the flesh that rooted out the families, religions, league of nations and moral values. An irreligious life of the flesh that leads a carnal life of notoriety created an infernal anarchy in our midst.

A minority of theologians and cultists who don’t know the abc or xyz of chaste religion also embraced such concepts, and their influence conquered the religious institutions and theological colleges, the healthy breeding grounds for sowing the seeds of apostasies and fermented theology, where the teenagers come together for their learning. To question and challenge anything is the religion of the day. The Jewish mobs that thronged around Jesus wanted always signs from the heavens or miracles because God delivered them from all hurdles and obstacles in the past by miraculous ways. The present generations of today also demand medical or scientific results or critical analysis for everything as their birth, nurture and care are meticulously chartered under the umbrella of scientific and genetic engineering, such as family planning, artificial insemination, invitro fertilization, cloning, stem cell research, and pathological experiments like X-rays, MRI, Echogram, CT scan.... Jesus employs the medium of parables and mysteries, the technology surrounding Jona who was in the belly of a whale for three days and three nights (Mt.12: 38-41). The technology of Jesus and the technology of modernity can meet only in the Infinity because both travel in parallel lines. “Our reach should exceed our grasp or what is Heaven for” (R.Browning).

The Creator could save Adam and Eve from the peril by explaining the irretrievable consequences by eating the forbidden fruit, instead of giving a commandment not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge. The same mysterious circumstance also shrouds as in the case of Heaven, its existence, location, the way of life there, and so on. Adam was constrained by a single commandment; we are restricted by the same yardstick; “If you would enter life, keep the commandments” (Mt.19: 17). What commandments, the commandments of Moses and prophets (Lk.16: 29; Mt.22: 37-41) welded with the fire of a new commandment of love prescribed by the Lord (Jn.15: 12)? Blind obedience to the Creator is better than even life itself.

The boundary of Heaven stretches from our heart to the gigantic ocean of the universe; yet the Throne of the King of kings is in Heaven, allegedly the uppermost plane of the seven celestial planes (Mt.5: 34-35; Is.66; 1; Rev.4: 2;Eze.1: 26-28). Seven is a magical number that is the most repeated number in the Bible: 7 churches, 7 stars, 7 lamp stands, 7 spirits of God, 7 torches of fire, 7 seals as portrayed in Revelations, 7 ages (Dan.4: 23-25) and so on. Seven ages are seemingly pertaining to the seven millennia, symbolically represented as 7 days, 6 days for the creation and the seventh day for the solemn rest (Heb.4; 9) for the people of God. Could it be the reason for Jesus to compare Heaven by narrating 7 parables in Mt.13, (Eph.4: 10; 1Kins.8: 27)? These 7 planes of Heaven are combined into 3 main divisions. Thus we sing during the rite of the adoration of the cross like this. “He Whom the fiery hosts praise, He Whom the spiritual beings magnify (He Whom those between exalt) and He Whom the mortals worship (He Whom the earthly beings below glorify)...have mercy upon us”. God didn’t set a limit of creating us in His own likeness and image only’ but also in the model and the shape of the universe that He created: the Upper Heaven, middle heaven and the lower heaven, so that the power and Glory of God emanating from all these planes. The Lord of hosts in the uppermost heaven, in the middle ones with a myriad hosts of God and the aerial forces and earthlings, together with the angels of light, in the lower most plane constitute the created universe of the Lord of all. Therefore, the Lord’s Prayer starting with ‘sorgasthanaya Pithave’ is wrong; it should be ‘Akashathilulla Pithave’.

Man is also formed in this form and model of the cosmos. The head of a person, the seat of intelligence and all forms of reasoning and emotions (mind), represents the throne of God, the uppermost heaven, the middle section guarding the heart, lungs, lever, pancreas and many other vital organs stands for the middle cosmic world inhabited by saints and a myriad of middle order angels, and the waste and the lower part symbolize the lower heavens haunted by the aerial forces and human frailties. The luminous presence of the inner man (soul) stretches from the head up to the waste, keeping the sex organs out of its boundary. Thus, the aerial or astral powers are the guardians of the main sex organs and below. The same principle is also applied in modeling the church as a copy and shadow that was shown to Moses at the time of building the Tabernacle (Heb.8: 5-8; 9:23). The sanctuary (Madhubaha or the Holy of the Holies in the Old Testament language), together with the altar declares the seat of Heavenly Throne, the middle heaven portraying as Aykala (Holy place) where the worshipping deacons and selected altar helpers throng together and the rest for the laity representing the earthlings and aerials (powers) of the lower universe.

The neck is the bridge that connects the body and head, the seat of God’s Glory or holiness, the halo. Is it irrelevant to say that the narrow, flimsy neck is the delicate way meant to go to the Father, and there is no one except the Son of God who only could travel along that path so far? This neck is the bottleneck that hinders in our progress to reach the Father, after scraping through the twenty toll- houses in the aerial realm of the devil, followed by the seventh day solemn rest that begins with the judgement by the Son of Man, together with the 12 apostles sitting on the thrones (Jn.5: 24-29; Mt.25; Rev.20: 4) or the Judgement by the apostles in the beginning of the solemn rest and Jesus at the end of the rest. Is there any judgement by the Father thereafter (Rev.19: 2; 15: 4)? No, it doesn’t sound that way. A veil of darkness that hovers over life after death is horrendously a scary one (1.Cor.13: 12).

The legs, representing the devil and man, are the pathway that bridges the body and the waste. “He bowed the heavens, and came down; thick darkness was under his feet....He made darkness his covering around him, his canopy thick clouds dark with water” (Ps.18: 9-11). Moses also testifies this truth. The lowest part (waste downwards) covers the astral plane (oyar) and aerial realms shared by demons and man. Blood that represents the H.Spirit is immanent in every cell of the body and sanctifies the entire body. In this way, the fallen man is a conglomerate, subtle product of the elements and forces of the cosmic and astral planes of the entire universal oceans. We give more significance to the north of the parish building always, while we are inside of it, despite the building facing to the east. Thus, both man and the church are the miniature editions of a gigantic universal ocean in sum and substance as the Spirit of God broods over them everywhere.

In the light of scientific evidence, the more one goes far away from the earth the revolutions of the planets slow down, resulting in shortening the time in a relative term just as the length of the lunar and solar year varies each other. Time apparently is a relative concept depending on the rotation of the planets; hence there are cosmic, psychological and terrestrial times. The point or place where time comes to a standstill is called Heaven; there is no revolution of planets there. Where there is no revolution of planets, there is no night, only perpetual day, since the Lamb is the lamp of Eternity (Rev.21: 23). “ And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for Lord God will be their light” (Rev.22: 5).

The earthly Jerusalem is symbolically the city of the great King (Mt.5: 35;Rev.3: 12; 21: 2), in parallel to the Heavenly Throne, and a New Jerusalem, with innumerable mansions (Jn.14), is built to accommodate all the redeemed ones from the tormented earth. The dimensions of the city are equal. Try to grasp the dimensions; sterling materials and foundation stones by which it is built that are delineated in Rev.21&22. God’s glory shines there like a crystal jewel. It has a great high wall, with i2 gates, and at the gates 12 angels, and on the gates the names of the 12 tribes of Israel are inscribed on it. And the wall of the city has 12 foundations, and on them the 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb are imprinted. The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every priceless jewels....The street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass. There is river of the water of life, and on either side of the river there is the tree of life, yielding 12 kinds of fruits every month. Seemingly it is another planet like ours, like the garden of Eden, but not molested by the nakedness that drove away the first parents from there. Just as the garden was planted in Eden (Gen.2; 8), God planted New Jerusalem in the mammoth ocean of cosmic universe only for those who are redeemed from the sordid earth. Heaven is neither symbolic nor is the brainchild of hallucinations. Despite it is/will be planted for us, we are not told of the exact location or its explicit geographical conditions, locations and nature, just as Adam was not revealed the real nature of his sufferings prior to eating the contagious and infected fruit.

As the measurements of New Jerusalem are given in celestial units (Rev.21: 16-17), it is impossible to work out the size and area in earthly units and dimensions. Hundreds of verses are there in the Bible to prove that Heaven is up above us. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven (Jn.6: 51), hence Heaven is up, and the earth down. You are from below, I am from above (Jn.8: 23; 11: 41; 20: 17; Rom.10: 6). Knowing the fact that the earth is rotating around the sun, scientists laugh it off as a joke, proving that there is no north or south for the revolving universe. We can put the monkey on their back and argue that it is not a ludicrous conclusion as there are east, west, north and south for New Jerusalem (Rev.21: 13). Taking into account to deflection, refractions, deviations, and weightlessness and similar other unaccountable variations, human imaginations cannot comprehend the intricacies of God’s mysterious creations (Jn.3: 12).

This parable directly finger point at the Apostles or ecclesiastical hierarchy who fish in troubled waters of today’s spiritual anarchy. “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me; for he who is least among you all is the one who is great” (Lk.9; 48, 23-24; 18: 14-17; 22; 24-34). “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give life as a ransom for many” (Mt.20: 28). Grasping the evil intentions of Judas, He hinted at him indirectly, “one of you is a devil” (Jn.6: 70; Mt.26: 24). It is transparently clear from the lamentation of the Lord, “see that you do not despise one of these little ones” (Mt.18: 10-14) portraying that their inner conflicts had sidelined one of the disciples, either St. Thomas for his sacrificing mentality for the Lord or Judas for his adulterous lineage and greed, to the gutter. The use of the word ‘these’ may refer to one of the sheep referred to in figurative sense of the ensuing parable. While St.Matthew chapter 23 is a kind of an explicit bomb against the Jewish spiritual hierarchy, an undercurrent of this kind of reproof sways all along in the gospels against His own chosen ones. At the zenith of their dispute over the leadership issue during the last supper, St.Peter’s proclamation of laying down his life for the Master (Lk.22: 24-38) was proved to be futile and shallow by the time the cock crew. For want of space and time this section is cut short, refer to the 6th and 7th volumes of “ The Abomination of Desolation” series for more details.

Living in a fool’s paradise by believing that Heaven is with in our mind can be proved to be fallacious and ridiculous from various angles. How could Jesus come from the east if His Abode is with in our minds? If He can abide in 6 billion minds at the same time, His power of jurisdiction is unlimited and unbounded by human perception; this is called God’s power of Omnipresence. Just as man is also a spirit in invincible form, God also is Spirit (2.Cor.3: 17). The Omnipresent God who sits on the Throne of Heaven knows and controls everything and everybody. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men; to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after God (Ps.14: 2). Though we claim that the throne of God is within us, we are incapable of doing the miracles done by God or prevent ourselves from dangers. There is no need of a universal Last Jugement provided He has been within everybody’s minds all throughout our lives.

Despite He is on His Throne in Heaven, everyone of His creation is linked to Him by conditional reflex or sensor system. This remote control grip helps to strengthen our purity of heart, mind and soul. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruits (Jn.15: 5; 14: 23). He who enjoys such celestial bliss (inner peace) now can only be projected to that Infinite plane of Eternal salvation. “ I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me. He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne (Rev.3: 19-21). Yes, there is a Heaven waiting for us to be conquered by our blind faith and righteousness.

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In 1948 Metropolitan Juhanon led the Mar Thoma delegation to the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Amsterdam. The writer of this Chapter had the privilege of receiving the Metropolitan at London at London airport as he traveled to Amsterdam via London. This innate simplicity of the Metropolitan is revealed through a small but significant event that the writer recalls. The Metropolitan's accommodation was arranged, befitting his status, in the prestigious Hyde Park Hotel. After the first night's stay Thirumeni said: 'Mathaichen, this hotel is too luxurious and over-comfortable for a sanyasi like me'. Thirumeni was happy to be shifted to the parsonage of the vicar of the Churchof England in St. John's Wood. He was please to celebrate the Holy Qurbana (Communion) although there were only six communicants including the Anglican vicar. That was the first Holy Communion of the Marthoma Church in Europe. The Indian High Commissioner, Mr. V.K. Krishna Menon, who had heard of his presence in the city, was anxious to meet him, which meeting helped him to be brought to the notice of the Indian Government.

His thoughtful statements expressed quietly and his impressive personality was appreciated at the WCC and so in the 1954 Evanston Assembly he was elected as one of the Presidents of the WCC. At the third Assembly of WCC in New Delhi in 1961 he was the Chairman and guided the deliberations with distinction. The President of India, Dr. Radakrishnan, welcomed the WCC delegates. They were met by the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who had by then heard of Thirumeni and his eminence among the Christian Churches in India. His leadership of WCC and related international church bodies gave him a wider and deeper sense of ecumenical grouping and church unity for which he labored all his life.

It is of importance to trace the formation of Diaspora dioceses and other Diaspora communities during Metropolitan's time. Metropolitan Titus II sent Rev. T.N. Koshy in 1936 as a roving vicar to Malaysia and Singapore region. Koshy Achen was there during the Second World War and he was able to give pastoral care to the Mar Thoma community there at that time. In 1947 Church sent Rev, V.E. Thomas to help Koshy Achen. Together they built parishes in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Klang, and many other places in Malaysia. During this time they also established the St. Thomas School in Singapore. Finally a Diaspora Diocese was established, Malaysia-Singapore Siocese, in 1982.

Even though the Metropolitan had conducted a Holy Communion service in London in 1948, as mentioned earlier, it was only several years later, in 1957, that the first Mar Thoma Congregation in London could be formed. A few Kerala Christian families resident in London came together, regardless of denominational differences, all the house of Mr. O.V. Alexander who was the general secretary of the London YMCA, for prayer and fellowship. Rev. V.V Alexander helped the congregation with a monthly service. From this humble beginning in 1957, this congregation grew in size and statue, and was able to celebrate its Silver Jubilee. Currently, this community has two parishes in London with over 400 families spread throughout the United Kingdom.

In recent times, a substantial expatriate Mar Thoma community has grown up in the Gulf regions with very large parishes in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Doha, Fujairah, Kuwait, Muscat, Sharjah, Sala and other places. This community has contributed enormously to the progress and prosperity of the Christian community in Kerala and supports the charitable mission work of the Church in various parts of India. There is an equally significant Mar Thoma Diaspora community in South Africa and Australia as well.

The first Mathoma Congregation in the United States was formed in Queens in 1972 and since then, and especially after the establishment of the Diocese of North America and Europe, the growth and expansion of this community has been phenomenal. Suffragan Metropolitan Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan Alexander Mar Thoma, Metropolitan Chrysostom Mar Thoma and Bishop Zacharias Mar Theophilus were mainly responsible for the rapid growth of this diocese from 1972 onwards. Bishop Euyakim Mar Coorilos is currently shepherding this diocese.

The Diaspora parishes have grown beyond expectations into two dioceses - one of them under the care of Zacharias Mar Theophilus and the other, under Euyakim Mar Coorilos. In addition, other bishops hav been giving Episcopal patronage to parishes in the Gulf regions and South Africa. It is worthwhile, in this context, to recall the thinking of the Episcopal Synod in 1973. In that year Metropolitan Juhanon Mar Thoma wrote to the Mar Thoma community and lay leaders in the United States about a decision taken by the Synod. The circular is given below:

"We appreciate your loyalty to the mother Church, and the desire to take part in our liturgy which only brings us much satisfaction. We felt that it would be a very undesirable thing to organize ourselves as a parish. To establish ourselves as a separate worshipping community in such centers where there are few parishes with who we are in contact, would be to develop divisive techniques. Where we are, we should identify ourselves with the local congregations, even if there could be difficulties because of racial differences. Yet we do not wish you to be victims of racial discrimination. Our decision, hence, is as follows:

  1. That all Mar Thoma members take membership in an Episcopal Church wherever possible. If this is found inconvenient for some reason or the other, membership in the Methodist or Presbyterian Church may be taken.

  2. That the Mar Thoma-CSI members join together and from a Mar Thoma-CSI Congregation where once a month Mar Thoma and CSI rite communion services will be celebrated. On other Sundays there should be evening cottage prayer groups.

  3. A committee should be formed for raising funds for the maintenance of the visiting achens, and for contributions to the mother church in Kerala.

Every year achens will be sent for postgraduate studies to American Theological Seminaries, and their services will be available. The congregation will be responsible for the passage and expenses of achens who are sent for studies. A monthly allowance and T.A of achens must be met by the congregation formed in each town."

This is an interesting document that merits our attention for various reasons. First, it was written by the Metropolitan because of his total involvement with the ecumenical movement, being one, its presidents. Second, the thinking in Tiruvalla really did not reflect the ground realities in the United States, there being no lay representation from the United States in the councils of the Church at that time. Third, it was persistent effort of a pioneering lay leadership that made it possible for the growth and establishment of a vast diocese in North America and Europe. Fourth, in 1973 the Metropolitan could not have foreseen that the Mar Thoma community was going to establish themselves as an immigrant community and take roots in that country. Fifth, this document urges us to consider the lesson we may learn from this experience. God certainly has a providential plan for this dispersion and therefore, it is wrong to think that the Diaspora communities are mere economic migrants. What we have at present is a colonial kind of pastoral care and we need to improve the centre-periphery relationship. What we have as of now is a 'hi-bye' ministry and, in course of time, it should become more of a 'halo-halo' ministry whereby the Diaspora community becomes a local community for all intents and purposes.


[Excerpt from the book 'Glimpses of Marthoma Church History' authored by Zac Vargese Kanisseril and Mathew Kallumpram.]

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[Late Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios is considered as one of the greatest philosopher, theologian, thinker and religious personaility of the past century after swami vivekananda. The text is based on the Profile of Late Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios and his speech in Chicago Nov, 1989 at the inaugural address of the centennial of the World Parliament of religions published by Delhi Orthodox Center.]

Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios was invited by Council for a Parliament of The World's Religions to deliver this address at the Inaugural Ceremonies for the Centennial, held at Rockefeller Chapel, Chicago, in November 1989. In this passage Dr.Paulos exhorts the world political, religious and scientific community to work for peace and development. A message which is relevant for all times to come and will stand the best of time.



H.G. Metropolitan Late Paulos Mar Gregorios


Three Concerns: A Supernational Spirit, Security and Science
Let me mention some of the areas where I think this Global Concourse of Religions will have to put some emphasis.

  • First of all, ailing and alienated humanity is desperately in need of transcending national loyalties. For the last 200 years, the nation has often been our identity, and our loyalties have been to one's own nation's interests over against the interests of other nations. We will have to move out of this kind of identity. History is pushing us to move out of national parochialism into a universal humanism. That global perspective is in very country just beginning to break out, but the governments are not able to embody that principle. Governments still give higher priority to national interests than to human interests. There is where religion has to play a major role, in changing the very attitude of governments so that they no longer think of national interests except in the context of universal human interests. Religion must help each nation and people to move beyond national, tribal, regional parochialisms, to give priority to their global humanity over nation region and race.

  • A second thing to which humanity is aspiring is called "comprehensive global common security - C.G.C.S." This is a concept which the religions have to pick up and develop in the world. What does this mean? This means, first, security without weapons, security based on trust. We must move in that direction. We cannot go on arming ourselves to the teeth and destroying and wasting our resources in a blinding and senseless militarism, which pervades all nations in the world, including my own country, India. We must move out of the concept that it is behind the guns and rockets that one finds national security. We must move internationally towards that same kind of mutual trust by which people within one nation today trust each other and do not have to be pointing guns at each other in order to live in security. We must learn to trust each other, and to live in a global community as responsible citizens. Again this means a fundamental shift in the way human beings think. I believe religion has a responsibility in moving the human race out of national patriotism to patriotism of the globe - the love of humanity, planetary patriotism.

  • Let me say a third fundamental thing and then I shall stop. The hardest job that religions have is in liberating science and technology from being inhibiting factors and destructive factors. You know, in the medieval times, we black-robed clergymen had the final authority, at least in Europe. When there was a dispute, it was the clergy who gave the final verdic. That's gone, those days when one could say, "Roma locuta est, causa finita est," "Rome has spoken, the cause is finished." Today it seems that the role of the black-robed clergy is assumed by the white-robed scientist at his computer or in his laboratory, so that today the phrase is, "Scientia locuta est, causa finita est"; "Science has said the last word, nothing further can be discussed." I think just as the clergical dictatorship of the medieval ages was overthrown, science's doctrinaire authoritarianism will have to be overthrown.

  • But science itself cannot be abandoned. Science itself is the best tool that has come the way of man. Unfortunately, science and technology are now prisoners - prisoners of either profit-minded large corporations or destruction-minded defense establishments. They are the ones who finance science today, and they control research, and research is oriented either towards making a fast buck in business or the most effective way of exterminating people. Those are the two directions in which scientific research is now moving: making money for the corporations, or killing people. That is where the urban/technological culture we celebrated once has now led us. We must emancipate science, both from its authoritarianism and from its orientation toward profit and war. And there, again, I believe religions have a major role to play. But religions shall not attack science, only show science its limitations and its enslavement and try to emancipate it from its limitations, so that the same science and technology can now be applied to finding bread for the hungry, shelter for homeless, clothing for the naked, transportation, communication - the basic needs of humanity. And in that process, science itself will become an ally of religion, not the hostile enemy of religion. And religion also will not have to regard science as an enemy, but as an ally.

    That is the kind of orientation that I would like to see for a Global Concourse of Religions. But it shall not abandon its primary role, which the Upanishad spoke about: "Tamaso ma jyotirgamaya, asato ma sadgamaya, mrityormamritam gamaya." That is, From darkness to light, from untruth to truth, from death to life. That is our primary orientation, but along with that, these three other orientations would have to be kept, and to that kind of vision, I beseech you, my beloved brothers and sisters, to give your commitment to act and your committed prayer.

    May God bless you!


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    Registrar & Professor of Religion, Orthodox Theological Seminary Kottayam

    There is a common question very frequently asked in Christian life, what is the call of God for His mission. Is it the only mission to work as a priest or evangelist who works in a church or at a place where one is employed for mission work? What are the styles of life to be considered as the call of God? Many people think of missionaries, Bishops, Priests, preachers etc., who do the prima facie preaching and ministry work, are the only called people of God. Many times, we fail to grasp that every Christian is called of God. The preacher or priest is not more called of God than a church member. The main difference is that the call of the clergy may be more visible to others than that of laity, but both are called.

    All the vocation in which we are engaged should be upholding the values of the kingdom of God and effective for the formation of a good society, and in each field of action we need to consider it as the call of God. All the profession are mission fields, provided we are able to exhibit the glory of God. God do not call us all to be preachers or prophets, or evangelistic. Some may be called as doctors, some as merchants, some as farmers, some may be as family men. Each vocation is to be considered as service and ministry of God and we are called to witness God though our entrusted work. We should revere and consider all vocation that way with dignity in our field of action. God met Moses, and manifested himself to him, in a remote obscure place in the wilderness of Sinai. What may be the field of action in which we are called, we are called in one hope of our calling. We are urged to give diligence to make our calling and election sure. Our unfaithfulness to the call of God in our life will not only affect us but also it will affect others. Moses saw more of God in a desert than ever he had seen in Pharaoh’s court and his call was while he was doing work of a shepherd. God chose to have a very unique, personal and real relationship and assignment with everyone whom he had called.

    This type of a mission should be the emphasis for our country in this new millennium. We are supposed to witness the love of God in our environments. What ever we are, where ever we are or what ever we do, to emit the love of God and to enlighten His presence is the greatest mission entrusted to us. We are all responsible to God for the stewardship in our engagements, to fulfill our call in most deserving, to show our willingness, readiness, preparedness in what Lord is calling from us. God's name should be glorified and the presence of God should be made felt by others, through our mission in our field of action. God calls us because His primary means to deal with His creation is through man. As His dealing with man is varied, the callings are also varied.

    The biggest knowledge a man can have in this world is the knowledge he can attain about his neighborhood so that he will be convinced of his mission with his co-human. This is the wisdom by which recognition and interpretation of our neighborhood are effected. The hymns of the Rig Veda which are considered the oldest and most important of the Vedas, define the deliberation in three layers. The lowest layer is the state of being erudite or learned [Jnana]: the acquisitions gained by deep extensive reading or study, through instruction, from teachers, experiences etc. which lead to a profound scholarly knowledge. Second layer is the discernment [Vijnana] which constitutes the perception of that transcendent principle which is the perfect knowledge. This leads to the knowledge about God, spirituality and salvation. But the most superior knowledge is the insight or intuition [Sajnana] which gives awareness of the elements of his environment. It is wisdom or faculty of perceiving and it is the capacity to discern the true nature of a situation. It is the act or outcome of grasping the inward or hidden nature of things or of perceiving in an intuitive manner. It gives us the keenness of insight and judgment. Your brother and neighbor are greater than you. Jesus exhorts us to love thy neighbor as thyself.

    God uses the generic to describe what He has called us to do. Moses was called and separated at Midyan while he was keeping the flock near mount Horeb. He had his commission to bring Israel out of Egypt, while he was engaged in his vocation as a poor despicable shepherd in Midian. We see four great attributes in the nature of Moses:

    1. Philosophical earnestness.

    2. Intuition to view unusualness in common things.

    3. To accept holiness in the environment.

    4. To uphold the values of paternity.

    To his great surprise Moses saw a bush burning, when he perceived no fire either from earth or heaven to kindle it and it was stranger that it did not consume. It was an extraordinary manifestation of the divine presence and glory. He saw something special in this uncommon scenario. He did not run away from scene as a coward, but he prepared himself to confront it. The curiosity Moses had to enquire into this extraordinary sight: I will turn aside and see. He speaks as one inquisitive and bold in his enquiry; whatever it was, he would, if possible, know the meaning of it. Things revealed belong to us, and we ought diligently to enquire into them.

    God was pleased to make of his glory to Moses at the bush, to which Moses was forbidden to approach too near. He gives him a commission to act. God gave him a gracious call, to which he returned a ready answer. The invitation he had to draw near, yet with a caution not to come too near, or rashly. He must express his reverence, and his readiness to obey: Put off the sandal from your feet. The ground, for the present, is holy ground, made so by this special manifestation of the divine presence, during the continuance of which it must retain this character; therefore tread not on that ground with soiled shoes. As the ground is holy, God is instructing him what way he should respond to it. This great event made him to lead the Israeli folk from his regular job of leading the sheep. He was called in his field of action and he was prepared to accept the holiness of the field where shepherded his sheep.

    The biggest damage of the contemporary man is that he does not accept his field of action as holy. We consider Church, worshipping place or the site of religious ceremonies only as holy places. There is nothing great in accepting holiness in the church. Church is already holy due to the dwelling of God in it. We need to make our field of action holy. The office we work, factory we labor, school which we learn or teach, what ever may be our field of action, and we are called to keep it as holy in order to maintain its sanctification. There is a tendency now a days to exploit the situation of the chances we received to gain maximum out of it so far we are in that position. In the contemporary world there is no significance for the word ministry or service. All the fields of action are now turned out merely a professional field. Those who lead a family life should carefully consider whether any thing in us is causing the conflicts in the family. Try to do away with it as Lord is exhorting us to do so as family is holy and we are called to keep the sanctity of the family. Whether there is some thing on our foot which defiles the family atmosphere, throw it away. Each one in the family, husband, wife or children should rethink to this effect.

    Our conviction to keep our field of vocation holy, facilitate us to be disciplined to witness God to our co-workers. The instruction Moses received was that that the sandal he wears in his feet is not suitable to keep the holiness of the place. Many of us are ready to remove some of the ugliness from our field of action, but we refuse to submit fully to remove or do away everything which defiles our mind and place. This in turn it causes the ill-fame of name of our Lord and damage the value of His kingdom which is entrusted to us. If there is a small amount of defilement, it can cause the devastation of the full society and hence we should avoid our style of false reasoning for the accusation.

    Finally God reveals Moses regarding identification and His existence who is he? The solemn declaration God made of his name, by which he would be known to Moses was 'I am the God of thy fathers; God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob '. Abraham was dead and yet God is still his God, therefore Abraham is still alive and paternity is still in effect. Moses is reminded of his paternity and heritage. God called himself as the God of his father. Moses was not afraid of the burning bush till he perceived that God of his fathers was in it. This caused Moses to argument his zeal about the heritage of his paternity. God wanted a deliverer to lead Israel, from a paternity of faith and righteousness. God is our heritage through the friendship of patriarchs with God. God had chosen and called Moses in pursuant to the promises made to those patriarchs, that in their seed the families of the earth should be blessed, and the covenant made with them, that God would be a God to them, and their seed. This heritage becomes the storage of the spirituality of the society. This caused Moses for a strong desire to get inspired out of the values of his paternity. We are bound to uphold the values of our heritage. The heritage and its values are being rooted out from the society. Our forefathers had set up a pattern, that we should follow.

    Nehemiah was a man who lamented on the ruin of his paternity. Nehemiah heard of the state of Jerusalem from his brother Hanani. He was informed that the remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire. When Nehemiah heard these words, he sat down and wept, and mourned several days, fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. The Luxuries of the Palace, his office of the cup-bearer or the wine in his hand could not make his heart glad, while his paternity, God's Israel was in distress. No longer, Nehemiah could bear the luxuries of the Palace. Once the city of his parents are being destroyed, the values uphold by his fathers also are being destroyed. The kind notice which the king took of his sadness and the enquiry he made into the cause of it: Why is your countenance sad, though there is no affliction for your body? This gave Nehemiah to give the King an account of his sadness. He calls Jerusalem the place of his fathers’ sepulchers, the place where his ancestors were buried as he aptly thought upon their honors and titles, their houses and estates and their monuments out of a great respect owing to the memory of his fathers.

    [Kallooppara Orthodox Convention - 2004  Original: Vocal Malayalam]
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    She is an Old Lady
    She looks quite Old
    She might be in her seventy's.
    A grandma who loves birds
    Though she is Old
    She wakes up early,to feed the birds.
    She comes every morning
    She brings food for the birds
    She never misses a day.
    Grandma has no family
    Her family is the birds
    She treasures each one of them.
    Birds too love the grandma
    They wait on roof tops
    They are excited on her arrival.
    There are all kinds of birds
    There are colorful ones too
    As soon as grandma disperses food.
    Birds fly down to grab a piece
    As soon as they get their share
    Birds disappear in the wilderness.
    Birds will not come there,
    until the next morning.
    They come there solely for food.
    Grandma is a friend of mine
    One day i enquired about her love for birds
    Her Reply was simple - "I love the feathers"
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