CHRISTIAN NEWS MAGAZINE FOR KERALA MALAYALEE CHRISTIANS FROM INDIA AROUND THE WORLD
April 2005 ARCHIVE
VOL:4ISSUE 04
DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE


ARISE, STAND ERECT AND ACT

By MATHEWS MAR EPIPHANIOS METROPOLITAN
[Diocesian Metropolitan of Quilon Diocese - Malankara Orthodox Church]

It is the divine enticement of the Spirit of God to the multitude of His believers who are the chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and His own people to arise and stand in His great might with all His strength endued. Holy Scripture exhorts us to arise from the sleep of sin, get nourished with the heavenly food, pray, shine and to go along with Jesus to embrace him and to suffer along with Him in order to show great diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope.



H.G. MATHEWS
MAR
EPIPHANIOS
METROPOLITAN

Holy Scripture provides many citations from the Old and New Testament that explain and exhort to arise and stand-up to do some acts. These are the commandments of God to His people who are His servants and to those who stand with Him. These are the divine enticement of the Spirit of God to the multitude of His believers who are the chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and His own people. Arise; stand erect in His great might with all His strength endued.

Which are the fields from which we should be arisen? Let us peep through a few of these scripture references and background for the precepts bearing on the fundamental obligations to subdue to the commandments of God Almighty to raise oneself or to rise up.

  1. Arise from the Sleep of the Sin:
    Arise out of thy sleep of trespasses and sins. "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." [Eph. 5:14]. Samson, the man chosen by the God, yielded to the entreaties of his wife Dalila and confessed the source of his strength to her. The paramour treacherously causes his locks to be shorn and he falls helpless into the hands of the Philistines who gouged out his eyes and cast him into prison. At this helpless condition of being blind and in chain, the lady tells Samson, 'Arise Samson from the sleep, The Philistines are upon you!' But Samson could not arise as the Spirit of God departed him and he grew weak. This status is true for many people in this world. They lost their vigour in Spirit, grew weak and became blind so that they cannot arise even at the exhortation to arise. Adversary had made many eyes blind so that they cannot see the light or arise and stand to act. The Spirit of God entices us to arise from this treacherous scenario. Arise from the sleep of trespasses and sins.

  2. Arise, eat and be strengthened:
    Prophet Elijah who had very successfully accomplished his mission at the brook Cherith, in the city of the widow of Zarephath and on mount Carmel, hereupon fled in a great fright for his life into the wilderness for fear of the wicked Queen Jezebel who threatened to kill Elijah with an oath and imprecation. He sat down under the shadow of a juniper tree and requested for himself that he might die, and said, "It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers." While he laid down and slept under a juniper tree, an angel of God touched him and told Elijah, 'Arise and eat'. He was awakened out of his sleep, and well provided for him with bread and water.

    In order to arise out of the sleep of our iniquities, a sinner needs the nourishment and strength from God. Jesus Christ is continuously working through His anointed ones to bring out many out of the bondage of their sins. Due to desperation or for any other reason, many of the spiritual fathers who are appointed to the mission of God are now sleeping and found sluggish. Spirit of God who talked with Elijah is talking to us also to arise, eat and be strengthened to show great diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope. God urge us of the need to be stimulated to preserve in the same diligence.

  3. Arise and Pray:
    The ship in which prophet Jonah was tossed was in danger of wreckage and was about to break up in the strong rage of a mighty tempest. The mariners, every man, cried to his god of their country, city or their personal deity for deliverance from the great danger. But, Jonah, the servant of the True God of Heaven who created the sea and the land and who received commission from God to go and prophesy against Nineveh had gone below into the hold of the ship and fell sound asleep, unconcerned of the scenario. The captain of the ship approached him and said, 'Arise and pray to your God.' While the entire creation who is summoned to the knee of the creator, pray in great distress and despair, The God of heaven and Earth is commanding His own people in an unspoken tongue to arise and pray lest we should be perished.

  4. Arise and shine:
    In the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 60 it says; 'Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.' God is the father and fountain of lights, and it is in his light that we shall see light. Christ had promised us that He will not leave us as orphans or comfortless and He will come to us and would continue His care of us. The long continuance of the church to be enlightened and shone upon, even unto the utmost ages of time, was there promised. It was the promise of the fruits of the Word and Spirit to enjoy a profound peace and tranquility. The leaders of the Society in every walk of life, both spiritual and secular, should entice their followers to arise and shine in their fields being all righteous so that they know the Lord and rejoice in His great goodness; and upon the accounts their light came.

  5. Arise, Let us go:
    Jesus told His disciples that He will be held by the hands of the Jews, persecuted, crucified and will be arisen from the dead. He called them 'Arise, Let us go'. Normally at this type of moments we fall into a dilemma without knowing what to do. Call of Jesus was to go to Gethsemane to embrace and share the sufferings awaited for Him. Many people can not act at this type of moments except that they may be capable only for crying or retreating to prayer for the deliberation of the depth and breadth of the saying. But Jesus was not at all confused; very daringly He went forward to face all hardships as per the will of His Father. This type of an invitation was offered to His disciples after making them the partakers of the holy and divine mystery during the last supper session in the Upper Room. Jesus also revealed them there, about all the hardships and persecutions they had to suffer.

Whatever may be our field of action in the mission of our Lord or whatever may be the commission we are called for, one or more of above calls, to arise and act, is applicable to all of us. To arise and act, is the greatest need of the time for the Holy Church of God. This is the time, for those who became slave of sin and engaged in evil doings, to arise from their deadly sleep of sin. This is the time, for those who are desperate and whose souls languish and grow weak, to arise and get nourished with the bread from heaven. This is the time, for those who migrated from the presence of God and deviated from the true path, to arise and pray to avoid devastation. As Jesus was the light of the world, we are exhorted to become the light of this world. If we are confined to the darkness of this world, this is the time to arise and shine and to become the light in the society around us. Apostle St. Paul instructed the Philippians to prove themselves to be blameless and innocent children of God, above reproach, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom they appear as lights in the world which is applicable to us also. [Philippians 2:15] If so, our efforts will not go vain and we will have the reason to glory holding in the day of Christ. We are urged to arise and go to crucify the members of our earthly body as dead, so as to resurrect with Jesus with a new body and new experiences with Christ.

Let God bless you all.

[Extract from Address delivered at Mid-Travancore Orthodox Convention 2005 : Original in Malayalam]
Reported by: E.S. George Prakkanam. Translation for LOL by: Dr. Rajan Mathew, Philadelphia, USA.
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COVER MESSAGE

CHRIST-CENTERED LIFE
By Dr. K.C.NAINAN, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, U.S.A

The Son of God conquered death, sin, Satan, hell and the world and the door to eternal life is widely opened to all human beings who seek. Every believer’s life needs to be centered only on Jesus Christ. We need to be founded on the rock of Christ Jesus. We are called to live and die for Him and in Him. Every follower of our Master, is asked to try to become perfect like the Heavenly Father.

Our Lord is raised, indeed. The Son of God conquered death, sin, Satan, hell and the world and the door to eternal life is widely opened to all human beings who seek. In His sacrificial sufferings and death, an eternal price for our sins was paid once for all, and no more sacrifice of any kind from anybody or anywhere is required. We are all invited to enter into the Kingdom of God and a free citizenship to this everlasting kingdom is offered through repentance and acceptance. People from all nations are invited to the feast to the kingdom of Lamb of God who shed His own precious blood to wash off our sins and clothe us with His life. The guarantee is the best gift from heaven that is the gift of Holy Spirit who is God Himself. Nobody can go to the Heavenly Father except Through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Every believer’s life needs to be centered only on Jesus Christ. The Son of God became Son of Man so that He could identify with us; he could carry our sins, sickness and curses and put them away through His crucifixion on Calvary. Today the risen Christ is the center of every believer, just as a branch is grafted, centered and made one to live on the main stem of the divine Vine. We are asked to depend totally on the Savior who gave Himself for us without any reservation. He emptied all the glory and privileges of the heaven, and clothed Himself with our own flesh and blood without loosing His full divine nature, and died for us. Today he wants us to center our lives on Him alone. We need to be founded on the rock of Christ Jesus. He poured out His own blessed Spirit over the believers and this Spirit is pleased to dwell within all followers of Jesus. He promised that His Father and Himself would come and dwell with us to the end of time if we carry out His commandments and teachings.

All our life-activities should be centered on Jesus Christ. We are called to live and die for Him and in Him. Our prayers, petitions, praises and thanks should be sent to heavenly Father in Jesus’ name with the power and presence of Holy Spirit. Christ is the only mediator we have. He is constantly pleading for our sins and mistakes before the Father in Heaven and on earth we have the Holy Spirit to plead for us too! Spirit-filled and Spirit-led life is what is expected from every Christian believer. Man-made rules, regulations, legalisms, rituals, traditions and pagan-like ceremonies need to be warded off because they come from Satan, world and our own fallen-flesh.

Freedom in Christ is always followed with many privileges, restrictions and responsibilities. Through Jesus, we are God’s children, brothers and sisters of Son of God, servants of Kingdom of God, ambassadors of Christ, a royal kingdom of priests and saints. We are declared forgiven and not guilty, not by our merits and good works, but by His infinite mercy, love, compassion and grace which were revealed and executed on the Cross. We are restricted from committing sins and mistakes any more; we are prevented from following the desires and temptations of the flesh, world and Satan. In addition to leading a spirit-filled life, every follower of our Master, is asked to try to become perfect like the Heavenly Father. Christ-centered Christians are called to share, to proclaim and witness the good news of salvation and freedom in Jesus Christ. He is the center and periphery of the life of a believer. He is the way and door to the Kingdom of God. He is the resurrection, Judge and the eternal life of all people. Amen

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WATER TURNED INTO WINE

By Fr. K.K. JOHN PHILADELPHIA

Faithful is on a spiritual pilgrimage with Jesus Christ knowing Him as Creator, Divine healer, Lord of Sabbath, Light of the world, Life-giver, Triumphant ruler and the one and only atoning sacrifice for the redemption of humanity. The pilgrimage culminates in the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, hope of eternal life. By this first sign of public mission Jesus proved His deity and glory and disciples believed in Him.

“Describe the miracle at Cana,” the teacher asked her 3rd grade pupils in a class contest. Children expressed how they understood it. Lord Byron, later famed romantic poet wrote, “Water saw it’s Creator and blushed.” That startled the teacher and students. Needless to say, he got first prize. How a third grade boy could make such profound statement is still unfathomable. The whole theology of the sign, as John put it, is succinct in these few words. By this first of the seven signs he proved his deity, glory and disciples believed in him.

On the first day of Great Lent the Holy Church introduces Jesus as the Creator of Universe. Faithful is on a spiritual pilgrimage with Jesus Christ knowing Him as Creator, Divine healer, Lord of Sabbath, Light of the world, Life-giver, Triumphant ruler and the one and only atoning sacrifice for the redemption of humanity. The pilgrimage culminates in the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, hope of eternal life. Water is the basic element (water, fire, air and earth) necessary for existence of universe and sustenance of life. Changing tasteless, colorless and odorless water into sparkling, fragrant, colorful and tasty wine is precursor of changing the dry bread made of wheat and barley and ordinary wine into His life-giving flesh and blood. Disciples who saw the virtual change of water into wine had no disbelief at all when Jesus said, “This is my body, eat it and this is my blood, drink it.” They ate and drank without an iota of doubt, not as mere symbols nor for mere memory but as real life-giving flesh and blood of Jesus Christ.

Tradition says; the bridegroom was Cleopas, cousin of Jesus. He was one of the two who on the way to Emmaus talked about the tragedy of Crucifixion. Jesus, after resurrection confronted them on the way, taught from the scriptures how Christ ought to suffer and die and then revealed to them, Lk 24:13-31. He became second bishop of Jerusalem. Another tradition says that Simon the Zealot was the bridegroom. It is significant that the first miracle took place in the context of marriage, the basic institution of life. The history of humanity and Holy Bible begins with a wedding in the Garden of Eden and ends with the wedding of Bride (Church) to the Lamb, Rev 19:7-9. By performing the first miracle in the context of a wedding Jesus extolled the sanctity of marriage in no uncertain terms. He blessed the union of one male and one female as marriage as it was in the beginning again so that we should keep marriage undefiled. But unfortunately today the very concept of marriage is challenged and the sanctity imperiled. Man for his own destruction defiles it with dreadful definitions and immoral ways. Exigency of the hour is, those who believe in the existence and sanctity of human life ought to resist all satanic tendencies that defile the holy institution of marriage. Marriage has symbolic dimension, it is the mystical union of God with the Bride, New-Israel, Church. St Paul restated what Jesus declared that marriage was honorable and holy, Heb 13:4.

Jesus approved and blessed all good socio-economic customs then existed. What he criticized, relentlessly fought and purged out was the decadent and unworthy burdens the affluent hypocrites imposed on the ignorant and innocent in the society.

Best of all is the presence of Jesus and His Mother at the wedding. A conspicuous point, which many people deliberately ignore, yet William Barclay mentions in his commentary that Mary had sufficient authority to order the servants to “Do whatever Jesus said.” This advise is not only to those servants for that particular moment but relevant for all Christians at all times. She bore Him and knew Him better than others and so it was most fitting and genuine also to instruct others to obey Him. The fact that the servants obeyed without doubts or questions what Jesus said could be attributed solely to the honor Mary enjoyed in the society. She was worthy model for all to emulate. Unfailing confidence Mary had in Jesus’ divinity, which till then none except Mary knew is amplified here. But for the presence of Jesus and Mary, Mother of God, the situation would have been shameful due to shortage of wine. Mary’s presence averted a great humiliation the hosts would have otherwise suffered. They were invited guests and in present human terms they had no necessity to involve in the affairs of the hosts, that too without asking for it. But this is Mother of God, who is so humble and ever ready to incessantly supplicate to her Son for all those who are in need and especially who seek help. It was not just a simple co-incident that the first miracle, which proved His Deity was at the instance of His mother but according to the divine plan set forth even before the foundation of the world. When it pleased God the Father, in the fullness of time, to send His only begotten Son to this world He chose Mary, the meek and humble, to bear His Son to carry out His plan of redemption. So it was natural and most fitting that God the Father wanted the world to know that Mary, Theotokos, has a right to be heard in the presence of her son. In other words, God the Father exalted Mary. God the Son publicly honored her motherhood before His first miracle. Through Mary all mothers are blessed and honored.

Let us soberly ponder if there is Christ in our weddings and family life thereafter. The real reason for the unprecedented family breakup in these days is the absence of Jesus and His love in the spouses. Feasts/gatherings for birthday, anniversary, house blessing, betrothal, wedding, etc are considered dull and below status without liquor. Common complaint is, ‘duration of Service is too long and irksome’. Photo/video, dance, music and other celebrations accompanied by liquor are more important than the service. According to a study, bride and groom spend average 500 hrs for various arrangements to make marriage grand. Time spent on how to make marriage meaningful and worthwhile is less than negligible few hours! What we lost is spiritual dimension, which our forefathers held dear, to marriage. Even funeral gatherings are not exempt from show of opulence! Liquor has become an integral part of celebrations, not anymore limited to business and sales promotion meetings. Liquor plays important role in our most Carol, Perunal, Rasa, Pothuyogam, etc! Not long ago, a Malayalee girl brought up in USA attended a party. She observed how parents conducted in the gathering. She told, “These uncle-guys have no sense of proportion or decency when they see liquor. They gulp instead of sipping, no manners, no etiquette or limits whatsoever. They get drunk fast, forget the surroundings and outpour profanity. It is embarrassing to sit near these uncles in parties.” As the saying goes, ‘man first drinks alcohol then alcohol drinks man.’

There are more fallacy than true knowledge about wine and its use. There are many names and variety of liquors/wines. Generally, wine means grape essence. Fermentation begins right from the time juice is formed by crushing grapes. Liquor is distilled spirit, physicians in the middle ages originally developed for medicinal use. Most elixirs contain it. This is only an overview, not an expert opinion but mostly authentic for, I had been there, not a chronic but occasional drinker. Merciful Lord drew me out of it long before He chose me for His service, to be blameless in the service.

Liquor addicts, known as alcoholics for their uncontrolled passion for liquor, are familiar and often quote Bible to justify their addiction; miracle at Cana and St Paul’s advise to Timothy, “Use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments,” 1Tim 5:23, mostly ignoring, ‘little.’ Hebrew word, yayin, means wine and sekar means hot drink and tiros means new wine (unfermented). But these can be used in bad sense also as in Ho 4:11, says Talmud. It is mentioned for both honor and shame. For Noah it was shame but for Melchizedek it was honor, Gen 14:18. Jesus compared Gospel to new wine, Mk 2:22. Wine is compared with Holy Spirit in Eph 5:18 but with fornication in Rev 17:2. Shortly, moderate use of wine is not malice in itself but excess is danger.

Being moderate is a good principle. Human body itself is conditioned to accommodate moderation. While both too cold and too hot are intolerable cool and warm are pleasant. Similarly being too extreme is not conducive to growth or harmony. Both extremes are harmful. Fanatics, fundamentalists and revolutionaries have wrought more afflictions than good to humanity. Equally so, too polite, neutral and silent people are useless having nothing to contribute for the progress of humanity. Nature itself attests; that which is essential for the survival becomes the very agent, which causes affliction and extinction when misused, example lifesaving drugs, water, fire, etc.

“The invention of wine is attributed to Noah, Gen 9:20” says JL McKenzie, page 928, Dictionary of the Bible. Surely, secular perspective might be different. Noah made wine and got drunk and he did not know his nakedness was exposed. Ham saw it and informed his brothers who took cloth, facing backward not to see and covered Noah’s nakedness, Gen 9:18-29. How Noah knew what happened when he was drunk? Ham is second son of Noah according to the order of names mentioned in Genesis 5:32 and 9:18. But verse 9:24 says Ham is youngest son of Noah who saw nakedness. This must be a memory error of compilers. Scholars are of the opinion that the story is mixing up of two traditions, v18 to 27 from ‘J’ tradition and verse 28-29 from ‘P’ tradition. Yet another discrepancy is that while blessing went directly to Shem and Japheth, sons, v26, 27 Ham was not cursed. Canaan, son of Ham got curse instead. Was Canaan the only son to Ham? If he had other sons, quite possibly he had, why only Canaan was cursed? Normally, one fails to find rationale in the whole episode. Scholars suggest that this portion was added to the Genesis story after Israelites subdued the land of Canaan and they believed that failure of Canaanites was the result of ancestral curse. Popular belief was that children inherit the curse from the sins of parents, Ex 20:5. What is more interesting is, Noah does not feel remorse about his own folly of getting drunk and vulnerability of Ham in seeing it. What was the actual sin, seeing the nakedness or not covering the nakedness or telling brothers? The answer seems evasive. Whole matter acquires different dimension in the light of Good Friday song, “Nohin na-dhan than nagnatha ka-nai-van shemum/ yaphethum pol raviyum mathiyum vadanam muudi” Bovooso d’Mor Yacoob, 6th hour. Noah, the righteous, is portrayed as antitype of Christ hung naked on the cross. The covering that Shem and Japheth did without seeing father’s nakedness is equated to the darkness that befell the land in the sixth hour at the Crucifixion as willful act of Sun (nature) to cover Christ’s nakedness so that the world should not put to shame.

However, one cannot ignore but feel the shameful aftereffects of drunkenness. Lot is another notorious example how sin destroys morality and brings disgrace to generations, Gen 19:30-38. Lot did not know what happened because of the extreme state of drunkenness, v33-35. Seeing others’ nakedness was very shameful thing in that society. Hudaya canon of much later origin forbid to look at one’s own nakedness or show others one’s nakedness except to doctors, for medical reason. This is totally irrelevant in today’s perverse culture! Looking at the way attorneys and courts handle insanity defense in criminal cases committed under influence of liquor it seems as though intoxication has become acceptable standard of behavior, which approach itself induces crimes.

Wine was an important feast item of Jewish marriage. Wine has certain good benefits when used in moderation. It gladdens the heart, Ps 104:15. Wine makes merry, Eccl: 10:19. It has medicinal value, Lk 10:34, 1Tim 5:24. Bible declares that drunkenness is both a sin and a sickness and need be routed out. Sickness in Orthodox concept is effect of sin. That is why Jesus said to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” and he became whole. When Jesus saw the man whom he healed at the side of Bethesda pond, cautioned not to sin lest worse things would happen. When the blind man reached Jesus the disciples asked, ‘whose sin is the reason for his blindness’ because the society then believed that sin be it of self or of parents caused sickness. Rationale behind confession and absolution is, remitting sins would heal sickness. Medical science considers it alcoholism a state of sickness.

Misuse, indiscrete use and overuse, is dangerous. Priests, Aaron and his sons, were forbidden to drink wine and liquor when they go to tabernacle (altar), lest they die, Lev 10:9. Some people, rarely priests also I heard, drink the night before and go to church with hangovers. This defiles the holy place and invites wrath of God. Think well before, how to go and conduct in Churches. Certain people go on drinking without distinction of day or night. “Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink that continue until night, till wine inflame them,” Is 5:11. It shortens the life, Jer 35:7. “Do not keep company with anyone named brother who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner- not even to eat with such a person,” 1Co 5:11. It is mocker, brawler and diminishes wisdom, Pr 20:11. Drunkenness is an evil that should be purged from the land by stoning the drunkard to death, Deut 21:20-21. Jesus compared the drunkards to infidels because they forget their duties. They will be cut off from the faithful servants, Mat 24:49-51. Drunkenness is the work of the flesh and one who practices it will not inherit the Kingdom of God, Gal 5:19:21. It is termed the work of the darkness, Rom 13:12-13. St Peter says, lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties and abominable idolatries are flood of dissipation, speaking evil, and these will be judged, 1Pe 4:3-5. It makes men quarrel. Drunkards willfully bring in woe and sorrow, impure and insolent, tongue will turn boisterous, talking vile about everything, heart and mind disoriented, loose virtue and honor. Solomon warns, “Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind utter perverse things,” Pr 23:31-33.

Alcohol is Arabic word, originally meant fine powder used to enhance beauty of eyelids. Wine/liquor came to be known as alcohol from 16th century. Alcohol is a chemical compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and known (C2H5OH) as ethyl alcohol. Manipulation of carbon atom is the factor deciding the variety. Alcohol content, as we know, varies from 5% to 53% by volume in liquors. Deadly chemicals are employed in various stages/degrees in the manufacture of wine/liquor to increase alcoholic content. There were no distilleries, as we now have, in Biblical times. Wine was produced by natural fermentation mostly of grapes and by manual distillation. Maximum alcohol content in a naturally brewed wine shall not exceed 6% by volume and shall be comparatively less harmful to health. I am not saying that other forms of strong liquors were unavailable.

The damaging effects of wine far outweigh its benefits when used in excess and the best advice is to completely avoid drinking any form of alcohol. As already hinted, the first effect of wine is placing the drunkard in a false state of mind to assume abilities he never has or to undertake risks he would otherwise hesitate. Alcohol rapidly enters into the blood system and weakens the nerve system. Debilitation of nerve system is what we call ‘high’ or intoxication. It alters the nature of blood, damaging essential enzymes. Alcohol damages the WBC resulting in loss of immune power exposing the host susceptible to various diseases. RBC carries oxygen to the cells. Its damage would greatly diminish oxygen transport. Insufficient oxygen in the cells disables insulin that leads to diabetics. Many complications associated with pulmonary system are other effects. Thickness of vein and artery walls dilates causing internal bleeding. Muscle looses control. Loss of vitamin in the blood causes loss of appetite, loss of vision, malfunction, ulcer and even cancer. Brain would cease normal function that leads to hallucination and wrongful decisions resulting in fatalities. Alcohol makes heart overwork. Continuous use of alcohol would result in blood pressure/hipper tension. Liver is the chief organ that cuts down digested food into useful enzymes for the growth and maintenance of cells. It takes 3 to 4 hours to cut down 1ounce alcohol and 18 hours to clear off the system. When excess quantity reaches, liver struggles very hard to keep pace with normal activities. Continuous intake of alcohol weakens the liver function, over production of bile juice, which enters the blood causing jaundice. Kidney is another vital organ that filters blood impurities and effluents. Alcohol damages kidney resulting in death. Despite sexual ravenous desire, impotency and diminished libido disappoints the alcoholic. This creates doubts, misunderstanding and quarrels with spouse. Spousal harmony is surely at stake. Pregnant and nursing mothers invite greater risk if they consume alcohol resulting in various health problems, abortion, stillbirth, physical and mental retardation of newborn. For this reason and many others, one estimate shows about 37% of US population suffer some kind of retardation. Most medications fail or abet malfunction when alcohol is present in the system. They will be prone to sensuousness and indulge in all sorts of sexual immorality and wickedness.

Financial loss and disrespect are other aspects. “Drunkard and glutton will come to poverty,” Pr 23:21. There are too many drunkards who lost jobs, sold wealth, became bankrupt, forced wife/children to prostitution, begged and slept in streets. Even the most talented and skillful turn lazy, inactive, irritable and violent. Having lost consciousness they are selfish, neglect family. Drunkard is under emotional stress, desperate and angry. Common symptoms are inferiority complex, false pride, self-justification, finding fault with others, doubting, alleging false, depression, feeling insecure, tendency to suicide, etc. Neither alcoholic nor their spouse nor children enjoy self-esteem. Others look down on them scornfully. Alcoholic’s children usually withdraw from active life for fear of contempt, and yet develop a tendency to become alcoholic, following the footsteps of the father. Drunkard brings dishonor to all his near and dear. Alcoholic is a social refuse. Drunkard loses relationship not only with people around but also with God. They lead wretched not spiritual life. Cruelty, recklessness, hatred, fear, anxiety etc will be their face mark. By all standards alcohol is greatest enemy of mankind. Families lost harmony and many endured violence. There are too many divorces, orphans and widows because of the dastardly onslaught of alcoholism. It is more a death symbol than a status symbol. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,” Deut 30:19.

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A LOVING OR A PUNISHING GOD?

By E.S. JOHN AUSTRALIA

God is love and God’s love is perfected in us if we love one another. Anything that is glorious is a gift from God; it proceeds from the Father. We reciprocate the love of God by obeying His commandments. Sending His Beloved Son for redeeming us by His sacrifice and the Spirit of God for nursing us are the transparent signs of the Father’s love of His creations. The divine love has no barriers.

In my younger days, it was a venerating sign for believers in placing the photos of Jesus or a cross in the drawing room, with the inscription ‘ God is love’ and a beautiful scenery of flowers or vine branches as its back ground. In the Holy Scripture it is explicitly written that ‘God Is love’ (1.Jn.4: 7-12). Here St. John says that God’s love is perfected in us if we love one another. Just as a radiator radiates heat, love is the heat or light that emanates from God, the Prime Mover. A candle that emits light and heat make us see and feel one another and help mutually in every theatre of life. Neither light nor heat can be called as candle, where candle is an entity and heat or light is a force that emanates from the candle, which brings many benefits to us. People can’t see one another if there is no light comes from the cosmos. Similarly, if Paul wants to love Peter, the origin of their love must come from the Prime Mover, in other words the love that originates from God only can bind us together- 1.Jn.2: 7-17; 1.4: 20; Jn.3: 27. “ The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world” Jn.1: 9. “ He who loves his brother abides in the light” 1. Jn.2: 10. Anything that is glorious is a gift from God; it proceeds from the Father. We reciprocate the love of God by obeying His commandments- 1.Jn.5: 3- 4- in absolute faith.

God is an entity whereas love is a force, not an entity by itself. The Trinitarian God of 3 personae is an entity, and love is only one of the manifestations of that God. Love is an abstract feeling, whereas God is an ever-existing entity. We can compare food with food and taste with taste, but cannot do food with taste, as one is concrete and the other is abstract. St.Paul writes, “ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy spirit be with you” -2.cor.13: 14. It doesn’t emphasize strictly that Jesus is only the grace, nor the Father and the H.Spirit the embodiment of love and fellowship exclusively; it manifests that the love of God who exists in the Triune God of 3 personae has different manifestations in one inseparable Godhead. The Triune God transmits love, grace, unique togetherness and light like the Sun that emits heat, light and warmth. Sending His Beloved Son for redeeming us by His sacrifice and the Spirit of God for nursing us are the transparent signs of the Father’s love of His creations. If there is a trinity in the Godhead, there ought to be a trinity in their manifestations, too. The roles of creation, preservation and protection of the Godhead is translucent in the Old Testament, N.T and possibly in the post- Judgement epochs, too.

The one essence of the H.Trinity is love. The divine love has no barriers. The love of the Trinitarian God flows continually and everlastingly. As we cannot respond to His love due to the multitude of our sins around, we feel as deserted, just as Jesus felt as if the inseparable Father had abandoned Him on the cross. “ I had said in my alarm, ‘ I am driven far from thy sight. But thou didst hear my supplications, when I cried you for help” (Ps.31; 22). When we love the Father and our brethren, we get an excitement of celestial bliss that brings us within the magnetic field of God’s unblemished love. This feeling of inner ecstasy or the delusions of feigned angels’ tricks make us feel that love is God. This is only a subjective experience, not an objective reality. In this respect, Leo Tolstoy’s statement, ‘ where love is, there God is’ is replete with meaning. Love is an emanation from the emendator. The river only runs in the downward direction, so also is love from the Almighty. If God is only love, he has no other discretionary powers of dealing with his enemies, like punishing and chastising. ‘’... and the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the neither gloom until the judgement of the great day”-Jude.6. Just as God chained the dark monsters in the neither world gloom, He will throw the evil men also into the eternal fire -Rev.20: 15. The God or parents who love their children also punish them for correction simultaneously in order to avoid the hard and last severe punishment.

Sunlight, warmth and heat rays are the emanations of the sun; hence we can’t prove that heat is the sun or light is God, just similar to proving that God is love. This thinking is the root cause for the polytheism or pantheism that is still governing some of the major religions of the world. It is sure, therefore, that the spirits of the other faiths are ravaging the Body of Christ, particularly at these apocalyptic times. God is light- Jn.1: 8; He is the Truth. He is the Bread of life that came down from Heaven; He is Holy, also mercy. How many more superlatives of God one solicit for declaring the greatness of God? Love is only one of the manifestations of God; He is jealous, revengeful and zealous, too. If God created man in His own image and likeness, there is a form or image for God, just as man a trinity of body, mind and soul has a visible image. Our passions, like love and fear, are only the manifestations of our thinking in accordance with our moods, so also the Triune God’s manifestations are different in tune with the changing situations. In spite of all the 7 virtues come from God, none of them is God, so also none of the 7 deadly vices is the Devil. While the Jews trembled to utter the name of ‘Yahweh’, we are trying to peel off the H. Trinity like that of peeling off an onion. We do this without many repercussions now because it is the age of mercy. While peace, harmony, love...are abstract nouns, the word God doesn’t come under the same category because He has a form and image.

HISTORY OF GOD'S LOVE:
God created the Heavenly hosts and assigned with them perpetual jobs, for one legion of Lucifer’s hosts in singing and glorifying the Creator. For aeons and aeons they might have done their allotted work by inhabiting on our planet earth. When Lucifer and his legion fell out of grace due to their pride, they had to be driven out from here and substitute with another species for doing the same job of Lucifer. He pleaded for his continuation here on the right that he was the ‘son of this soil’; hence God created man in their place and allowed to stay together here with some of the Lucifer’s hosts. The likely condition might have been that Lucifer would have a chance to stay in this planet if he could totally destroy God’s 2nd species, Adam and Eve. Hence Adam and Eve became meat in between the sandwich, the fight of God and Lucifer. If Adam would be vanquished by the Devil, it would be a total defeat for God. Adam’s fall was a defeat for God; hence He came down and rescued him from his road to peril. Despite he is rescued, he has to prove it again his worth in regaining the Paradise He lost by exhibiting his dedication and love towards his Creator. He doesn’t punish us to the severity of our sins; He gives allowance to us because He wants to replenish the lost Paradise with as many angels (men) God lost by Lucifer’s fall. His love forced Him to create us and reinstate us back into Paradise by His sacrifice on the cross. In the final harvest, He will sift between the grain and the sand before refilling the mansions of Paradise with His chosen ones.

God’s fury against Satan’s victory is still burning. “O death, where is thy victory? O Death, where is thy sting?” (1.Cor.15: 55.) “ For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy is to be destroyed is Death” (1.Cor.15: 25-26). Satan is the last enemy because God throws the 1st and 3rd person of the evil trinity beforehand into the ever-burning sulphrous lake (Rev.19: 20; 20: 14). Therefore God has enmity against the devil and men who become the evil trinity’s accomplices. God expects us to fight against the common enemy of man and God together. Unless we fight against the common enemy with the weapons of God and defeat the foe, there is no more love left for us from God. “ When the perishable put.....Death is swallowed up in victory” -1.Cor.15: 54. God is patiently fighting for this final ‘victory’ against Death.

This is a declared war, beware that a war is not fought with the weapons of love, but with wrath and chivalrous vengeance. We lost Paradise as we sided with His enemy to defeat our Father. He wreaked His fury against mankind by killing the whole race except Noah and family. His blazing fury against mankind was quelled partially by the Son’s sacrifice and in order to avoid further vengeance upon mankind by God He continues His plea for us by seating at the right side of the Father. Were the World wars and Crusades exhibit His fury or His love? He loved martyrs who sacrificed their lives mainly for the first 3 centuries and later, as He shed the Innocent blood on the cross. His indignation against us will be kindled in multifold times during the Last Judgment that decides where the flock of sheep and goats will end up.

GOD'S FIRST MANIFESTATION - LOVE:
God is love, the very reason for Him to come down from the celestial heights to the menial slum, the place only meant for the fallen race of Adam and Lucifer and his hosts. In this respect it is to be acknowledged, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn.15: 13). Not only that He created us in His own image and likeness, but also came down to redeem us when His creations were cornered and bundled up with infernal Death. I ask my readers to judge the reason for God in stoning to death of His creations? Is it wrath or love that compelled God to ask Moses to do such brutal killings? Surely it is wrath. If such penalties were not imposed, there wouldn’t have been a single soul from the terrestrials left in the army of God because the weaknesses of the flesh is so deeply ingrained in us. How many types of curses God kept in abeyance when they went astray (Deu.27). Read the first 5 books of the Bible and brood over the severity of the punishments. The first 4 commandments are given for keeping His name holy. You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples who are round about you; for the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; lest the anger of the lord be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth (Deu.6: 14-15; 4: 24; Exo.20: 4-6). God also gave a list of His blessings showered upon them during their sojourn life (Deu.8), despite rebellious, reminding that he is a jealous and zealous God who wants His creations to obey Him. Despite He annihilated thousands of them; He left the majority of the transgressors by the pleading of Moses (Deu.17-21). If love is God, He cannot punish us because punishments involve pain and hurt.

I have explained in my books that there are 3 epochs in the redemptive scheme of man, firstly the epoch of 4000 years for God the Father, secondly the epoch of Christ the mediator who scarified His life for the advent of the H.Spirit and His work in the church and the third epoch of Jewish sufferings that impel them to look at the pierced One. The H.Spirit who nurses like a mother won’t punish us harshly now as in the previous epoch.

THE SECOND MANIFESTATION OF GOD-A GOD SLOW TO ANGER:
And the fierce anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel (Num.25: 4). “ So He poured upon him the heat of His anger” Is.42: 25. “I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger,...” Jonah .4: 2; Jer.4: 8; Zeph.2: 2-3. The second and third person in the H. Trinity came down to reveal that the Father waits for the reconciliation with His creations with the blazing fire of love. A zealous and loving Father, the consuming fire, showed His anger in the first epoch, but showed the willingness to accept them by the continuing pleading of the Son. For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgement, and a fury of fire, which will consume the adversaries (Heb.10: 26-27). Jesus also says that the sin against the Spirit of God will not be forgiven (Mt.12: 31-32; Eph.4: 30). Sinning against any personae of the H.Trinity is sure to be inviting the wrath. How on earth we can mislead the ignorant ones by stating that love is God. Love is one of the natures of God. Despite there are many other corollaries to be discussed, I leave them for want of room. Jesus taught us to ‘ practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice’ (Mt.23: 2-3). Now they don’t preach right things, what should we do? Reject what they preach and also what they do! One who wants to know in details about this, read the message ‘The Last Judgement’ posted in this site for the month of 12/04.

THE THIRD MANIFESTATION OF GOD - A GOD OF VENGEANCE:
“Your God will come with vengeance....” Is.35: 4; 34: 8; Jud. 11: 36; Rom: 12: 19; 2.Thess.1: 8. Lucifer, the older brother hijacked his younger brother Adam and wooed him to sin against God. God made a gesture of reconciliation by the sacrifice of His Son, yet His flaming fury against Lucifer, the architect of the whole havoc, will be quelled only by the conquest of Death that seduced everything into a total devastation 1.Cor.15: 54-55; Rom.5, 6,7.

THE FOURTH MANIFESTATION OF GOD - A GOD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS:
“Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins -Is.11: 5; Job.8: 3. If God is not just, he cannot judge the world. “That God is unjust to inflict wrath on us. By no means. For then how could God just the World” -Rom.3: 5-7. God is a righteous judge, and a God who has indignation every day- Ps.7: 11

CONSEQUENCES OF NEW TEACHINGS:
This topic is one of the weapons of the modern psychologists/psychiatrists, humanists and libertarians who strive for the destruction of God’s hierarchies of this planet. They aspire to blind the believers by stating that there is nothing good or bad; whatever we do, sins or virtues, an ever-loving God cannot punish us because God is love. This is not the Christian teaching; this is an alien theology of humanists that has been cocooned by one or two materialistic theologians of the decadent times. It may sound appealing to logic on the surface level; but it is not the business of the church to be aligned with such derailed teachings. By virtue of their position as the agent of God, they don’t have any right to mislead the spiritual illiterates of this age of technological cannibalism. For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves and you hindered those who were entering (Lk.11: 52)

Even if God punishes us, He repents and continues helping us to grow up in His ways Gen.8: 21-9: 7; Is.43. For our minor mistakes that result in sins, He has set remedies for them. There are corrective remedies that He has set aside in our own bodies- natural healing and Nature’s medicinal herbs and other things. He is the God of love in the sense that He may not like to punish His creations. The punishment is executed by the Devil, while God’s army retreats from aiding us. We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents...and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 1.Cor.10; 9-10; Ps.78: 49. Hence the angel of Death is the one who punishes us when God’s angels flee away from us.

SOCIAL IMPACT OF SUCH CONSEQUENCES:
FEAR OF GOD:

Making God only as a toy of love has immeasurable lethal fallouts. “ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. The fear of God means that reverence for God which leads to obedience because of one’s realization of His power, as well as of His love to man. There is no fear of God before their eyes- Rom.3: 18; 1.Pet.2: 17; 2.Cor.7: 1. Men fear him-Job.37: 24; Rev.19: 5. ..You shall fear your God: I am the Lord- Lev.19; 14; Mt.4: 10. The Bible is full of such verses, yet the modern wise argue that we don’t have to fear the Lord because He doesn’t generate any fear; the excuse is that love is God. One who doesn’t fear the Lord won’t fear man or any other celestial being. The fearlessness that wipes out love is the most dangerous rulers of modern society; it caters carnivorousness and omnivorousness of the lethal pleasures of the flesh. Such people argue that cultivation of fear eliminates love that severs friendship with God. For them, God is a friend, not a punisher. The Fatherhood of God that emanates holiness, glory and respect only can foster brotherhood of man. Man eats man, as diamond cuts down diamond itself, on account of the disappearance of the Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man. This new world order precipitated by the new definition of liberty and freedom that legalize all profligacy is the foundation of the destruction of God’s species from the face of this planet. This new order, the driving force of today’s theology, as well of religious cults, is the main ingredient of every religion and its denominations. Man devoid of love and fear, the only 2 creative passions, is a brute. If one wants to establish that love is God, I would try to weld the theory that fear is God, despite both are fallacious and meaningless. The anarchy that concocted out of the concept that ‘ love is God’, rooted out the fear of God from our minds and our worshipping places, the best recipe for the conflagration of man and this planet. “..For He is a holy God, He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins- Josh.24: 19; Ps.99: 9; Exo.20: 5-6. Who knows how long God’s this ‘Animal Farm’ continue existing in this plane.

FEARLESSNESS OF GOD:
The scenario of fearlessness of God and man has ravaged today’s church hierarchy that commercialized religion and spirituality as in the days of Jesus. While giving about the warning signs of Jesus’ 2nd coming, Jesus clearly stated the symptoms of the age. “ In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor regarded man (Lk.18: 1-8). Jesus cannot find true faith while He comes to collect the earth’s remnants of the faithful due to the disappearance of fear of God and regard to others. The alluded judge is the clerical hierarchy, the ambassadors of the Righteous Judge (Ps.7: 11). The church hierarchy that runs in the likeness of the H.Trinity, the head of the church, bishops and presbyters including deacons, symbolizing Father, Son and the H. Spirit, lost its credibility and magnetic power due to the fact that the members of each strata seeks mutual help of the other for financial and power games. This business relationship between the different orders of the clergy erased the mutual love and fear that is immanent in the celestial planes. As God is just, the whole creation works silently to exhibit the inexplicable Glory of God (Ps.19). Losing the magnetic field that used to control the church hierarchy together in an atmosphere of creative fear that transmits love, we feel that the H.Trinity also shouldn’t expect ‘ awe and trembling’ from us. This is a kind of ‘ spiritual proletarianism or Marxism’, a state of anarchy where everybody is supposed to be equal.

Just as the multitude of humanity’s sins that seemingly eclipsed the Father for Jesus on the cross, we also feel that God is love and that love is God in the absence of fear of the Lord. The absence of the fear of the Lord eclipses the vivid and subtle manifestations of the real and creative love that languishes everything into a paradise of beauty. Although fear evaporates by love in remote exceptional situations in this plane -1.Jn.4: 18, the fear of the Lord that harmonizes everything is the brotherhood of man - Pro.19: 23; Is.33: 6. The root cause of the modern anarchy is the absence of the celestial fear that only can cement our relationship between God and man. In this respect, the celestial awe is the progenitor of love. Despite we have been making laws for everything by the secular systems; the problems that infest man are only multiplied, whereas the catalytic agent for the social harmony was the moral fear. Substituting the ethical fear, the source of which is the fear of the Lord and the religious/moral values, with legal fear that lacks Godly fear finds loopholes everywhere to prey upon man by another man. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding, instruction, treasure and what not.

The love of God forced Him to descend to this continent of Death, the weaving place of the tentacles of Doom, for the salvage of man. A zealous God wants us to be within His dominion by observing all the commandments in letter and spirit. If not, the wrath of God will consume us even before the Last Judgement. The Book of Judgement that He keeps for each individual will testify one’s code of conduct that either may stand against or in favour of him. The Father is a consuming, jealous and zealous God, including the Son who does the Last Jugement that dumps the rebels into the blazing fire (Jn.5: 25-29). Throwing the sinners and Death into the eternal sulpherous lake is not the sign of love (Mt. 13: 41&49; 25: 46: Rev.20: 14-15); the statement ‘ love is God’ cannot become true thereafter also because that may pave way for another chance for a similar Lucifer in the next aeon.

As God has 2 explicit manifestations, love and wrath that ends in punishments, of His nature, man also has 2 creative passions, one is love and the other is fear. Man also can show his anger, but can’t sin (Ps.4: 4). “ With the loyal thou doest show loyal; with the blameless man thou doest show thyself blameless; with the pure thou doest show thyself pure; and with the crooked thou doest show thyself perverse” -Ps.18: 25-26. Mediocrity is an ominous sign-Rev.3: 15. Unless the love of God that flows for man is not reciprocated by the fear of the Lord, we live in a vacuum of confusion- whether God is love or love is God and multitudes of similar other enigmas- that neither reveals the love nor the Glory of God. “ The One on whom fiery angels trembling gaze, That One as Bread and Wine upon the altar see”. Whenever there was a visitation of God, the first salutation was the phrase, ‘ fear not’ because the love that invokes fear is unfathomable. While the angels and Satan tremble with awe by the very name of the Lord, man is befooling Him as a graven toy of our selfish love. “ For the Lord your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God” (Deut. 4: 24).

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ARTICLE


HISTORY AND GROWTH OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
IN EARLY CENTURIES-SERIES 5


By DR. RAJAN MATHEW B.E., M.E., Ph.D., Th.D



BACK GROUND SETTING FOR CHRISTIANITY AND CHRISTIAN EDUCATION [CONTINUED]

Most of the Ancient Religions were polytheistic which is belief in or worship of multiple gods or divinities. Persia is identified as an ancient source of important new religious ideas. Judaism is one of the oldest religious traditions in the world, which is still practiced. It is the first recorded Monotheistic faith in which only one God is worshipped and totally rejects idolatry. The tenets and history of Judaism constitute the historical foundation of Christianity.

[CONTINUED FROM THE LAST ISSUE]

Ancient Greek Religions:
The Ancient Greek Religion was polytheistic in nature, exactly like most other ancient religions. Polytheism is belief in or worship of multiple gods or divinities. Greeks believed that the gods give protection to their country and safeguard them from the enemies. Ancient Greek religion had no creeds and no code of system of morality attached with it to be accepted by the devotees. They tried to please the gods in order to live a life free of oppression and hardship. The essence of most ancient religions was the perseverance of rites, which was considered as the process by which a balanced relation is maintained with the uncharted forces of this world. Although common shrines were located at holy places, most of the houses had a family shrine at home. There was no priestly class in the ancient Greek religion and common people performed the sacrifices. Only the special category in the society was the Sooth-Sayers who pretended to prognosticate future events and what was expedient to the inquirer. Sacrifices were offered for the self-purification and petitions. It was not proper to make a petition to the deity without bringing a sacrifice.

Religious thoughts in the Hellenistic and Roman periods were built over the epics of Homer. Though the Homeric thoughts were more secular which had great permeating influence in the development of the Greek education, culture and religion, it had also great bias in setting up the religiosity of the Greek people. Some of the Greek heroes won entrance to Olympus were turned out to the status of Greek gods. These hero-turned gods like Castor, Pollux, Dioscuri etc. were very popular among mariners as their protectors during the sea journey. [Acts 28:11]

Greek gods were described as of human in appearance with the exception that they were believed as ageless, immortal, capable to take any shape, capable to penetrate in any media and without any physical entity. Some of the deities were believed to abide on the earth and others abide in the sky. [1 Cor. 8:5] Very popular deities of ancient Greek were Athena or Zeus. Athena was the goddess of wisdom and she was the daughter of Zeus.

Majority of the Greek religious festivals were based on the agrarian cycle. Celebrations were in honor of the deities who gave fertility to the crops and herds. Apollo was one of the most important Olympian gods, concerned especially with prophecy, medicine, music and poetry, archery, and various bucolic arts, particularly the care of flocks and herds. Majority of the Greek population were religious and committed to religious observances.

Ancient Roman Religions:
Ancient Romans believed that their gods had great influence on the human in their day-to-day life. Unlike the Greek mythological gods, Romans had gods in spiritual form. They believed in many spirits, which had their own dominion over their materialistic wealth and over their efforts. In spite of their own spiritual gods, Romans imported foreign gods especially from Greece and linked them with their indigenous deities. As the empire expanded, they imported more and more gods from Egypt, Britain, Germany and Persia.

Unlike the Greek religion, Roman religion was more organized and appointed-priests performed the rituals and rites. The sacrifices were offered for the accomplishment of the wished-for and to avoid unpleasant things and happenings. The wordings of the rituals were recited from pre-prepared holy books. It was very particular that the ceremonies should be legally accurate and right with exact minute prescription from the beginning to end. If anything went wrong in between, the full ceremonial process was repeated for its entirety with utmost accuracy. As Romans had great faith in omen, the priests used to cover their heads with a veil during the performance so that they do not see anything inauspicious during the process. Another important aspect of religion in Roman times was the divinity of the Emperor.

Ancient Egyptian Religion:
Egyptian gods were very different from their Greek and Roman counter-parts, as most of the Egyptian deities were of human body and animal head or vice versa. Egyptian deities were the first of the eastern deities to become popular in the Hellenistic world. The deities varied considerably over ages and hence Egyptian tradition had a great variety of gods, known to be over 2000, spread over the entire land of Egypt. Some of the common deities who lived in Egyptian religion over many years were Isis, Osiris and Sarapis. Isis, which survived more than thousand years, was the goddess for love, magic, motherhood, children, medicine and peace. People used to worship her to make their marriage happy. Osiris was the god of nature and agriculture to whom the Isis got married. Sarapis was emerged later as a combination of Osiris and Apis.

Egyptians believed that many dead people may survive for an after-life and the soul could survive only if the body was preserved. The embalming and mummification were practiced on the dead body to preserve it intact. The Priests of Anubis conducted the mummification process under the vigil of Anubis. As the king was considered divine, the bodies of the Pharaoh were well preserved in Pyramids. A damaged body was believed not to be recognized by the soul and loose the chance for a rebirth.

Ancient Syrian Religion:
Baal, which was referred many times in the Bible, was the major deity in ancient Syria. Each city in Syria had Baal and his spouse. The worship of Baal extended from the Canaanites to the Phoenicians who were engaged in agriculture as he was considered the god of fertility and resided in the firmament. Baal was the master of their land and associated religiously to sun and moon. Worship of Baal was seen back even to fourteenth century. Baal is considered as the son of Dagon who referred in the Bible as the Philistine god, especially in the city of Ashdod. On Mount Carmel, it was the prophet Elijah who discredited King Ahab's belief in the power of Baal.

Atargatis was the cohort of Baal and was a very popular deity in ancient Syria. She was popularly described as the mermaid-goddess. From Syria, her worship extended to Greece and to the furthest west. She was the goddess of fertility represented as half woman and half fish. Those who go for the pilgrimage to the god or goddess used to shave his head and eyebrows and sacrificed a sheep.

Ancient Persian Religion:
Persia is identified as an ancient source of important new religious ideas. The main Persian god, who became popular in Roman Empire, was Mithra. The Aryans who worshipped Mithra carried this god to India and Iran. The Mithra sanctuaries were commonly located near rocks or springs of water. In the Indian Vedic culture, Mithra appeared in close relationship with Varuna and as one of the Adityas, a solar deity and the god of honesty, friendship, and contracts. In Iranian religious tradition, the name Mithra was maintained and distinguished by his close relationship with Ahura Mazda and he became very popular deity of Zoroastrianism. The Hellenistic and Roman god Mithras, worshipped by male initiates from the 1st century BC to the 5th century AD was combined with the Persian Mithra and with other Persian cult and eventually, Mithraism became a unofficial cult among the Roman army.

Ancient Judaism:
Judaism is one of the oldest religious traditions in the world, which is still practiced. It is the first recorded Monotheistic faith in which only one God is worshipped and which totally rejects idolatry. The tenets and history of Judaism constitute the historical foundation of Christianity. Torah, the first five books of Hebrew Bible, specifies a number of laws in Judaism to be followed by the Children of Israel. The subject of the Hebrew Bible is an account of their relationship with God as reflected in their history from the beginning of time until the building of the Second Temple [approx. 350 BCE]. According to religious History, Jews are the children of the Biblical Patriarch Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. God set aside the descendants of Aaron, Moses' brother, to be a priestly class within the Israelite community. Most of the Jews, especially from the Hellenic period, believed that their God is the only God and thus, the God of everyone, and that the universal truths are revealed through the Torah.

As per Judaism, God is omnipotent, as well as omniscient and the True Words of God were revealed to the mankind through His prophets, among which Moses was the chief prophet. Judaism believes that people can atone for sins through words and deeds, and without intermediaries.

Throughout Jewish history, Jews have repeatedly been displaced from both their original homeland, and the areas in which they have resided. Though the Jews spread around different countries spread over many periods, they maintained the Hebrew language and followed strict religious upbringing. So there was no much difference between Palestinian Judaism and Diaspora Judaism except for its geographical diversity. The Jewish background on which Christianity was born was already Hellenized.

There is no clear demarcation between the history of Jews and the history of the religion Judaism as the secular society and the religion was closely knit together over its entire known history of more than 4000 years. An Israelite kingdom was established by Saul and continued under King David and King Solomon. Jerusalem was made the Capital of the kingdom during the reign of King David. Solomon constructed the first Israeli Temple in the city of Jerusalem. After Solomon, the nation was divided into two parts: Kingdom of Israel on the north and Kingdom of Judah on the south. The Assyrian ruler Shalmaneser V conquered the Kingdom of Israel in the 8th century BC and Jews were assimilated into vivid cultures in the empire and became known as the Ten Lost Tribes. The kingdom of Judah survived as an independent state till the Babylonian Army conquered it in 6th century B.C. and destroyed the first temple built by Solomon. Many of the elite Judeans were forced to exile to Babylonia. After seventy years of this capture, Babylonia was conquered by the Persians and a part of the Judeans of Babylonian Captivity [2 Kings 24-25] and from Assyria [2 Kings 17] could return to their homeland during the reign of the Persian Emperor Cyrus. Thus, a new Second Temple was constructed, and old religious practices were resumed in Jerusalem.[2 Chron. 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4] However, many of the Jews decided to stay back in Babylonia and some migrated to Egypt. During the time of Ezra Nabi, the divine community of Jews learned to mediate Law under the leadership of Ezra and they became literarily unique to be the teachers of all nations of the ancient world. Scribes, a teaching class in the synagogues arose during the Diaspora.

Alexander The Great took the possession of Palestine in 332 B.C. Jewish historian Josephus recorded that Alexander was greeted by high priest Jaddua. With his arrival, Greek became the language for commerce, government and literature in place of Hebrew in Palestine. Alexandria, a new city in Egypt was emerged out with a lot of Jewish population. Syria became another significant commercial center, especially Antioch, as a trade center.

Flavius Josephus, in his works Jewish Antiquities and Jewish Wars, describes that there were three Jewish religious philosophical sects during the period of destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 A.D.: Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes. While the Pharisees primarily came from middle-class families and were zealous for the Mosaic Law, the Sadducees were generally wealthy members of the Jewish aristocracy who had very pleasantly embraced Hellenism. Faith-wise the major contention between the Pharisees and Sadducees was that Pharisees believed in the resurrection from the dead and the existence of spirit beings such as angels and demons while the latter disbelieved it. The third sect Essenes pretended to a severe discipline. The first two categories were referred in the New Testament, but none were referred in the Old Testament. Both, to some extent, opposed Christ during his ministry and received condemnation from him, especially John the Baptist used severe language to describe the Pharisees as the brood of vipers. Also The Pharisees were brain behind the plot to capture and to crucify Jesus.

[TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT ISSUE]

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FEATURE


BASELIOS MAR THOMA MATHEWS I
FIFTH CATHOLICOS [1975-1991]

Basaios Mar Thoma Mathews I, fifth Catholicose was attributed for his eminent leadership in the crisis situations of the Church. He was Bar Ebraya of the Malankara Orthodox Church considering his contributions towards literary works. He was the powerful architect of the modern Church. He was the prelate of the Church for sixteen years.

THOSE WHO LED US
H.H. BASELIOS MAR THOMA MATHEWS I
FIFTH CATHOLICOS

H.H. Basalios Mar Thoma Mathews I succeeded Moran Mar Basalios Augen I as the fifth Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan of the Malankara Orthodox Church. He was elected as the successor of Mar Augen Catholicos by the Malankara Association held at M.D.Seminary, Kottayam on 31 December 1970. Though it was not a tradition in Malankara that the prelate get retired from the position of Catholicos, it was the first time in the history of the Malanakara Orthodox Church that due to ill health, the fourth Catholicos, Basalios Mar Augen, had relinquished, with his full will, the position of Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan and his successor was consecrated during his life time.

Catholicos Basalios Mar Thoma Mathews-I was born as the ninth child out of ten children of Vattakkunnel Cheriyan Kurien Kathanar and Mariam who was the elder daughter of Ollassa Pulikkaparampil Itty Iype, on March 27, 1907 and the child was affectionately known by his pet-name, Kuttachen. Kuttachen was baptized at North Mannoor Church on May 27, 1907 with baptismal name Mathews. Famous Advocate V.K. Cheriyan, Bank Official V.K. Joseph, Sub Registrar V.K. Kurien were his brothers. His father, Fr. Cheriyan Kurien, was Vicar of three Parishes at a time with full acceptance and admiration of all members of all the three Parishes. V.K. Mathews joined M.D. Seminary School, Kottayam for his preliminary education and further studied Intermediate in C. M.S College, Kottayam. During his school days, Kuttachen was a very good sportsman especially in football and tennis. His family people, especially his brother V.K. Cheriyan, wished to send Mathews for medicine to become a doctor. However the circumstances made that hope to fail and eventually got graduated from the Science College, Trivandrum [B.A.] at the age of 21.

Further, Mathews learned Syriac at Manganam Ebenezer Dayara under discipleship of Cheriyamadthil Malpan. At that time B.D. Course was newly started at the Bishop's College in Calcutta. Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dianasius sponsored V.K. Mathews for B.D. Course in Bishop's College in Calcutta under the eminent discipleship of Bishop Herat Pakenham Walsh . Mathews acquired B.D. Degree in 1936 from there and returned to Kerala. His family people wished that Mathews should get married and then get ordained as a priest. However as per the divine call, Mathews decided himself to live an ascetic life doing the ministry of the Lord.

With an immense erudition accumulated in Mathews, he had mastered Canon Laws of the Church and religion. With his in-depth knowledge in language and religious faith matters, V.K. Mathews was instructed to teach Syriac, Worship Service Procedures, Church History, canon law etc. in Old Seminary, Kottayam. Even as a laity, he could achieve a unique distinction as a Scholar of faith matters and he continued to teach in the Seminary from 1937-1940. With his hard working lifestyle and with his intense fervency to the Church, he became a favorite of Catholicos Basalios Geevarghese II. In appreciation of his brilliance in the Canon Laws, Geevarghese II Catholicos had gifted a golden ring to Mathews.

While V.K. Mathews was teaching in the Theological Seminary, the Seminary was housed in a temporary shed attached to a thatched old house. The two permanent teachers of that time V. K. Mathews and Deacon Philipose [Later Philpose Mar Theophilus Metropolitan] saved money renouncing their salary from the Seminary and they were used to go for collection house to house in the evening after the evening prayer. With the fund they could raise this way, a new building was constructed for the Seminary.

In 1942, as per the recommendations of Geevarghese Mar Philaxenos [Puthenkavu], Diocesian Metropolitan of Thumpamon Diocese and A. M. Varkey, Principal of U.C. College, Catholicos Geevarghese II had nominated V.K.Mathews as a member of the Church Working Committee and was given charge of Church buildings and worship.

On August 18, 1945 Mathews was ordained to first order of Deacon at the age of 39 and as full deacon on the next day by Geevarghese II Catholicos at Old Seminary Chapel. On October 27,1946 Mar Geevarghese II ordained Dn. Mathews as priest in the presence of Augen Mar Timotheos at his home Parish, Manarkadu Marthamarium Church. As a token of the affection with the newly ordained Fr. V.K.Mathew, the chief celebrant of the ordination, Bava had gifted him a set of Chalice and Paten, which are the Holy Mass Utensils. Fr. Mathews was the 28th clergy in the Vattakkunnel family.

On June 27, 1948 Fr. V.K. Mathews was appointed as Vicar of Karappuzha Mar Gregorios Chapel by Mar Gregorios Metropolitan of Kottayam Diocese. On April 15, 1948 he was appointed as Vicar of Kottayam Cheriyapally, Puthen Pally and Kurissupally. Also Fr. Mathews was appointed in-charge of the spiritual revival programs in the Church. He became member of the Church Publications, Malankara Sabha Magazine and Church Weekly.

In 1951, Fr. Mathews was nominated to be ordained as a Bishop along with Fr. P.E. Daniel and on September 21, 1951 both were elevated as Rambans. Many times, during the crisis situations, Mathews Rambachen's timely actions rejuvenated the spirit of the Church. His courage and faith had strengthened morale of his followers and the entire Church. These timely actions enlightened and awakened the entire Church during her difficult scenarios. On May 15, 1953 Ramban Mathews was consecrated as a Bishop with title Mathews Mar Athanasius by Catholicos Geevarghese II, at Elia Cathredral, along with Mookancheril M.P.Pathros Ramban [Pathrose Mar Osthathios], M.P. Mathew Ramban [Mathews Mar Ivanios], Fr. V.K.Mathew [Mathews Mar Coorilos - Later Basalios Mar Thoma Mathews II, Sixth Catholicos] and Fr. P.E. Daniel [Daniel Mar Philoxenos].

In 1951, Metropolitan Mathews Mar Athanasius was appointed as the Principal of the Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam. He was involved with the Seminary as a teacher, administrator, Principal etc. at his various order of Laity, Deacon, Priest, Ramban and Metropolitan from 1935 to 1966, for a long span of 32 years. In addition to the responsibilities of the Seminary, he was holding the charge of Catholicate Office, Vice Presidentship of the Church Action committe, Presidentship of Management Board of all Corporate Schools of the Church, Presidentship of the Special Committe appointed for Catholicate College Pathanamthitta etc.

In 1958, Mar Athanasius visited Singapore and Malaysia and consecrated the Church in Kola Lumpur. In 1959, he was given the charge of Diocesan Metropolitan of the Outside-Kerala Diocese. The period, over which Mar Athanasius was in charge of this diocese, it was an age of a big growth of the horizon of the Church extended outside Malankara with 150 Churches around the globe. In 1973, Mathews Mar Athanasius along with Daniel Mar Philaxenos of Thumpamon Diocese visited Russian Orthodox Church, as delegates from Malankara Orthodox Church, during the consecration ceremony of Russian Patriarch, Mar Alexios.

The Malankara Association held on Dec. 30, 1970 nominated Mathews Mar Athanasius as the Catholicate designate to succeed Mar Augen Catholicos. Due to ill health, Mar Basalios Augen Catholicos expressed his desire to retire from the position of the prelate of the Church and wished to see his Successor being consecrated while he is alive. As per his desire and with his full willingness, Mar Augen was allowed by the Church to relinquish his position as Catholicos on October 26, 1975. Subsequently Dr. Mathews Mar Athanasius was consecrated as the fifth Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Church with title as Basalios Mar Thoma Mathews I. The consecration ceremony was held at Old Seminary Premises, Kottayam on October 27, 1975. Chief celebrant of the ceremony was Daniel Mar Philaxenos of Thumpamon Diocese assisted by Mathews Mar Coorilos, Philipose Mar Theophilus, Yuhanon Mar Savarios, Thomas Mar Thimotheos, Geevarghese Mar Osthatheos and Paulose Mar Gregorios. The consecration ceremony was blessed by the presence of Bishops from the Sister-Churches in Malankara; Tiruvalla Bishop Zacharias Mar Athanasius, Paulose Mar Philaxenos of Thozhiyur Edavaka, CSI Bishops T.S. Joseph and M.M. John etc., dignitaries of the state and society and a huge crowd of Church believers and public. After the consecration, the new Catholicos visited retired Catholicos Mar Augen and took over the Charge.

Mar Basalios Augen expired on December 8, 1975 and Mar Basalios Mar Thoma Mathews I took over the full responsibility of the Church as Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan. Mar Basalios Mathews I shepherded the Church for 16 years till he retired in 1991. The tenure of the fifth Catholicos was a golden age for the Church specifically for its administrative reforms. There was tremendous progress for the Student's movement in the Church and for the Spiritual nourishment and educational enlightenment, a study program for elders in the Church by name Divyabhodhanam was introduced and patronaged by eminent theological academicians of the Theological Seminary.

The fifth Catholicos maintained a healthy and cordial ecumenical relationship with other Churches and with the secular society. As the Catholicos of the East, he had visited Europe and received the Order of Vladimir award of the Russian Orthodx Church. In turn, Russian Patriarch Mar Pamman visited Malankara in February 1977. During 1983, Catholicos visited Pope Mar John Paul II at Vatican and invited Pope to Malankara. Subsequently Pope visited Malankara and met the Catholicos at Elia Chapel, Kottayam on February 8, 1985. In 1982, Zail Singh, then President of India visited Kottayam to inaugurate the Sapthathi [70th Birthday] of the Catholicos. Many other Church dignitaries from many countries participated the functions. Georgian Church honored Catholicos with Order of St. George. Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios was appointed as the President of the World Council of Churches during this period, which led to an active participation of the Malankara Church in ecumenical relations with other world Churches. Catholicos was very keen to keep the good relationships and spiritual sharing with other churches in the homeland. Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Osthathios was appointed as the Kerala Christian Council, which coordinate the ecumenical relations with Catholic, Marthoma and CSI Churches.

Malankara Church had extended its hands of Charity whenever needs arose in the country. Special mention needed for the timely help sent to the victims of the cyclone in Andra Pradesh where thousands of people lost their houses in the calamity in 1978.

During the tenure of the fifth Catholicos, many new dioceses were introduced for better administration of the Church. Two Mooron Consecration were held on April 1, 1977 at Kottayam Old Seminary and on March 25, 1988 at Devalokam Aramana Chapel. Two Bishop Consecration ceremonies were held in 1978 and 1985 and ordained ten Bishops By Mar Mathews I. The new Bishops ordained by him are:

Ordination Ceremony on May 15, 1978 at Pazhanji St.Mary's Church:

  1. Yakob Mar Polycarpose

  2. Zachariah Mar Divanasios

  3. Geevarghese Mar Diascoros

  4. Mathews Mar Barnabas

  5. Yuhanon Mar Athanasius.

Ordination Ceremony on May 15, 1985 at Mavelikkara Puthiyakavu Church:

  1. Mathews mar Epippaneos

  2. Philipose Mar Eusabius

  3. Thomas Mar Athanasius

  4. Geevarghese Mar Ivanios

  5. Poulose Mar Milithios

The contributions of Basalios Mar Thoma Mathews I at his different ordained stages in the literary Liturgical publications were tremendous. As exemplified by Church History auther and his biographer Shri. K.V. Mammen, fifth Catholicos was a Bar Ebraya [A Jacobite Syrian bishop, philosopher, poet, grammarian, physician, Biblical commentator, historian, and theologian] of the Malankara Church for his great encyclopedic works in the Liturgy of the Eucharist and Prayer Lyrics. Wednesday Prayers, Second Part of the Qurbanakramam, Good Friday Worship Service, etc. were compiled with the help of the Church poet Vennikkulam C. P. Chandy. In 1966, Kurbanakramam and Daily Prayers for the Children were published in English language for those who live outside Kerala. He had the unique distinction as the the first metropolitan who consecrated Holy Qurbana in English. The full year sermons, which he had written according to the Church Calender, so far, have not been published.

Due to ill health, Mar Mathews I relinquished the position of Catholicos on April 27, 1991. On November 8, 1996 Mar Basalios Mar Thoma Mathews I expired and joined His flock for the heavenly abode at the age of 90. His body was laid to rest in Develokam Aramana.

[Compiled for LOL by: Editor Dr. Rajan Mathew, Philadelphia, USA.]
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FEATURE


METROPOLITAN TITUS II MARTHOMA [1866-1944]: PART 2

By PROF. DR. ZAC VARGHESE & MATHEW KALLUMPRAM

Titus II Mar Thoma, through an Episcopal letter, authorized Sadhu Kochukunju Upadesi, a lay evangelist to preach in the parishes of the Church. Sadhu Kochukunju Upadesi was an acknowledged poet and a literary figure and wrote hundreds of evocative hymns for the Comfort of the Soul which remain popular even today. In his messages he emphasized apocalyptic eschatology and fostered a fervent expectation among the people concerning the Second Coming of Christ.

THOSE WHO LED US
TITUS II MARTHOMA

[CONTINUED FROM THE LAST ISSUE]

The Metropolitan was deeply shaken at the death some of his very dear friends and close associates [Ullasserry Joseph Kathanar, Adangapurathu Jacob Kathanar, Kizhekethalackal Mathen Kathanar, and Aviote Joseph Kathanar] who worked with him over the difficult and turbulent early years. The death of the Vicar general Kovoor Iype Thoma Kathanar, on 25th February 1917, five moths before the consecration of Bishop Abraham, Suffragan Metropolitan, was a very big low to him. As some of these early clergy came from distinguished Syrian Christian families of Kerala they had both secular and religious standing in the land and they were all very accomplished personalities in their own right.

During this time, Sadhu Kochukunju Upadesi, a lay evangelist, started a spiritual revival in the Church. He had no formal theological education as such, but rose to prominence as a preacher by God's grace, devotion, and biblical understanding. Titus II, through an Episcopal letter, authorized him to preach in the parishes of the Church. Sadhu Kochukunju Upadesi was an acknowledged poet and a literary figure and wrote hundreds of hymns with great spiritual depth and power, eternally indebted to him, especially for the collection of evocative hymns known as 'Aswasa Geethangal' (Hymns for the comfort of the soul), which remain popular even today and are used regularly in the Church on all occasions. He traveled and preached in the Mar Thoma heartland and in South Travancore and the Tamil orphanage, Zion Hill, at Kalayapuram for the victims of a very severe cholera epidemic in South Travancore and Tamil Nadu in the forties of the last century. He was invited to join the Brethren (Baptist) Mission by his childhood friend and fellow youth worker in the Church, the great Malayalam poet Mahakavi K. V. Simon. But Upadesi made a firm decision to stay loyal to the Church of his forefathers and build the Church from within through evangelism and Christian mysticism. Sadhu Kochukunju Upadesi's evangelism was based on his concept of the worthlessness of human life in the absence of great sacrifices for spiritual concerns and the reconstruction of social life in the community. In his messages he emphasized apocalyptic eschatology and fostered a fervent expectation among the people concerning the Second Coming of Christ.

It was against this background that the third, and most brilliant, period of the Metropolitan's administration started. He was able to make one of his most far-sighted contributions to the Mar Thoma Church by encouraging the young Mr. N.M. Abraham to become a priest of the Mar Thoma Church and, consecrating him the Suffragan Metropolitan in 1917. They were a dynamic duo, Metropolitan Titus consecrating on building a stable base on the home front, and his Suffragan serving as an ambassador at large for the Church both at home and abroad. The dynamic Abraham Mar Thoma gave the church a new impetus with his vision and missionary zeal. It is sufficient for our purpose here to say that nurturing a successor of this caliber is an authentic proof of the Metropolitan's care and love for the Church. He appreciated the need to promote scholarship for the clergy and bishops and paid special attention for finding the right kind of people for these positions. In this context, we should remember with gratitude his identifying two more great bishops for the Church. In 1937 he consecrated Bishop Juhanon Mar Timotheos, who later became the Mar Thoma Metropolitan, and Bishop Mathews Mar Athanasius. Before the consecration of the two new bishops, the Church was divided into two zones of North and South. Rev. C.V. John and Rev. K.J. Philip took administrative responsibilities for these two divisions respectively and these two sectors later became North and south Diocese under the newly consecrated bishops.

Many of the educational institutions of the Mar Thoma Church expanded and others got started during the Metropolitan's stewardship. Notable among them were the M.T. Seminary School, Kottayam, S.C. seminary Schools at Tiruvalla, Nicholson School for Girls at Tiruvalla, English schools at Maramon and Kozhencherry, Keezhillam, Perumbavoor, Kuriyannoor, Vadasserikkara, Ayroor, Eraviperoor, Thalavady, Kottarakara and Chathanoor. These schools have made enormous contributions to the prosperity and progress of generations of people in Kerala since their inception. In order to coordinate educational activities, he established the Mar Thoma Education Board in 1932 and Mar Thoma Education Society in 1935. He even started planning for a college in Tiruvalla as early as 1919, which later became a blue print for establishing the Union Christian College at Alwaye: a product of inter-Church collaboration, and ecumenical enterprise.

The Mar Thoma Vaidika (Theological) Seminary was established in Kottayam in 1926, to provide theological education and pastoral training to its clergy. A Harward-trained lay theologian, Mr. K.K. Kuruvilla, was its first principal for twenty years. This seminary was raised to the B.D. level in 1974. Rev. C.V. John, under the guidance of Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan, gave effective leadership in upgrading this college and improving theological education for the clergy.

The centenary celebration of the reformation of the ancient Church in January 1937 was another milestone in the tenure of the Metropolitan. Special functions were held throughout Travancore, Cochin and in other cities of India. The Anglican Metropolitan of India, Most Rev. Dr. Westcott, and other Anglican bishops and leaders of various foreign missionary society members attended these functions. This helped them to understand the importance of this ancient indigenous and independent Church and its missionary zeal as well as its standing in the subsequent development of Christianity in the Indian soil. It was a celebration to which the people of Kerala as a whole responded with enthusiasm. Christians and Non-Christians participated, and some of the Hindu poets wrote special poems to honour the Church and its involvement in the social developments in Kerala.

The Metropolitan was keen to establish a printing press to meet the liturgical and literary needs of the Church such as prayer books, hymns, and order of worship, magazines and various documents. This press was finally established in 1928 as Thomas Mar Athanasius Memorial (T.A.M) Press at Tiruvalla. He knew that communication was the heartbeat of any community and a community without an effective communication network was at a serious handicap.

The people of Kerala transcending all religious distinctions happily celebrated the silver jubilee of the consecration of Titus II as bishop of Mar Thoma Church in 1923. Thozhiyur Metropolitan Mar Coorilos, Anglican Bishop Dr. Gill, poet laureate Vallathol Narayana Menon, K.C. Mammen Mappilai and other dignitaries paid handsome tributes to Metropolitan Titus II for his great leadership in raising educational, spiritual and social life of the Malayalee community as a whole. Maharajahs of both Travancore and Cochin appreciated Metropolitan's leadership and sent congratulatory messages.

It is incredible how much happened to the Mar Thoma Church during the tenure of Metropolitan Titus II. He built on the sound foundations laid by his predecessors brick by brick, meticulously and with attention to detail. This imbued the nurture of the Church with order, thought, beauty and philosophy. Incessant and hectic activities, however, took their toll on his health. Despite his aggravating diabetes, which affected his eyesight and resulted in total blindness by 1941, he pursued his mission earnestly with the help of his other bishops, distinguished members of the clergy and lay leaders. He prepared himself and his Church well for his final journey and he wrote an amazing goodbye letter to parishes. He was inwardly assured of the reward waiting for him at the end of his well-run race and his deep spirituality and faith sustained him in this pilgrimage.

The Titus II Mar Thoma took leave of his people from this world on 16th July 1944. He was indeed the leader that our Lord used to stabilize the Church in the turbulent sea of the twentieth century. He steadied the ship, remained calm amidst storms, and piloted the Church to her appointed destination. For his inspiring leadership at the crucial time in the history of the Mar Thoma Church, we remain eternally grateful to our Lord. It is difficult to assess what the Mar Thoma Church would have been without this anointed servant of God.

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POEM


Why HER?

By MRS. AJU THARIAN - NEW JERSY

I always wonder
Why was there a breakup?
When I saw them a year ago
They looked a perfect couple
Both were together, laughing and joking.
Only when I heard from that person
That they have spilt
Did I come to know of it
Still I wonder why?
They looked completely perfect.
Might be it was her lack of sacrifice
Or could have been his lack of comprise
His job could have been the reason
He might have had no time for her
She could have felt left out.
I knew her well, from when she was young
I feel sad, why this happened to her
Might be it’s - God will
Might be there was no love between them
Could be that they never agreed on anything.
Whatever the reason-
Now they live separate
Because none can comprise
Then what’s the point of living together
I still feel bad for a person, whom I knew.


BONDING JULIE

You were our first pup
We bought you home when you were just weeks
You grew up with us
We loved you very much
You were one amongst our family.
I think you were a good breed
A nice pomeranian pup
With lovely silky white hair
I used to bath you once a week
You grew up to be a lovely dog.
Neighboring children too knew you
You used to guard our home
Though you final days were bad
You become ill
And finally even got a bed sore.
I remember one day in the morning
While I went to pick the newspaper
I accidently stamped you
I know you felt hurt
But I did lift you and said sorry.
You lived for 14 long years
A good life span for a dog
It was on Friday, April 13th 1994
That you finally left us
You live in our memories for ever.


THAT TRAFFIC LIGHT

O Traffic light, O Traffic light
I can see you from my bed
You are always there day after day
You often make my day.
When you are green, it’s a steady go
When you are yellow, it’s a ready to stop
When you are red, it’s a compelete stop
All must obey the traffic light.
You do your duty, day after day
All the motorists obey you
Otherwise they know, they will pay
For not obeying you.
My day depends on you
If you are green, my day is good
If you are red, my day isn’t smooth
If you are yellow, it’s a mix.
O dear Traffic light!
You have a place in my heart
O dear Traffic light!
You have a place in my heart.
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