[Diocesan Bishop of Pala Diocese, Syro-Malabar Catholic Church]

Ecumenism was the lifeline of early Church. The Church is the body of Christ and a divided Church is against the very tenets of Christianity and teachings of Jesus Christ. The division in the Church does not converge to the truth, but it cause man to go astray from God. Ecumenism is a great vision and it is the call of God. We need a great spiritual rejuvenation for meeting our aim of unity in Christ.


The word ecumenism is derived from the Greek word 'oikoumene', which means 'the inhabited world'. In its root meaning, ecumenism is neither theological nor spiritual oriented. The earliest ecumenical society is traditionally correlated with an ancient king, a just and a wise, during whose benevolent reign, everyone lived equally happy and there was no divisions, falsehood, fraud or untruth. When the word ecumenism entered into the theological arena, it became a spiritual society under an ecumenical Patriarch. These early century Christian societies professed the same doctrine, same faith and same sacramental observation.

In the contemporary world, the term ecumenism is usually used with regard to movements toward religious unity. In its most broad meaning, ecumenism is the religious initiative towards worldwide unity. At the rock bottom, ecumenism is the promotion of unity, co-operation, or improved understanding between distinct Christian religious groups or denominations, more or less broadly defined.

Ecumenism was the lifeline of early Church. The Church is the body of Christ and a divided Church is against the very tenets of Christianity and teachings of Jesus Christ. The division in the Church does not converge to the truth, but it cause man to go astray from God. In our living world, the single Church of Messiah is standing divided and we are the desperate witness for the same. None of these divisions, standing apart, can claim of one being with full truth or another without any truth in it. Such type of false claim is neither ecumenical, ecclesiastical, biblical nor from the Holy Spirit.

In the Revelation of St. John, we read the letters written by Apostle to the seven Churches. These are the letters written as per the revelations from dead and risen Jesus Christ to vivid Churches geographically located at various places. In the letter written to the Church of Smyrna, Jesus says; 'I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, but you are rich.’ Here the Author refers to the comment of Jesus Christ about a Church, which is spiritually rich while being in materialistic poverty. Further, Jesus comment about the Church in Sardis with a severe reproof; 'I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.' A lamentable decay in their faith was charged upon the Church of Sardis in spite of all her honorable reputation, embellishment, ornamentation, doctrinal excellence and all, which may look great under a human observation or under a worldview. Here we see the splendid distinctions between two Churches in the first century seen by the eyes of Jesus. All these seven revelational letters written to the seven Churches of Asia are also applicable to the vivid contemporary Churches of our time and of our land, which are to be well reviewed and analyzed in all contexts.

Today, ecumenism is not a union of people with same doctrine and same faith, but it is a commixture of all those who are supposed to enter into a same faith and doctrine. In spite of this sad truth, hopefully, the divinity of the word is still being maintained. All believers of Christ in the entire world are supposed to come to same faith and same spiritual observation of the solemn united Church of Messiah. Getting together with same idea of ecumenism is of great pleasure, happiness and expectations. By being divided, we loose the great happiness of the feel of being in a great-united world family. With the individualism of Church groups, though we may perpetuate a small part of our self-interest, we miss a greater part of its bliss in oneness.

The word ecumenism is a conglomeration of many thoughts. Ecumenism had emerged out as a great institution. The current trend of ecumenism is grown to the level that any church cannot be singled out of herself to form an ecumenical movement of her own. Being away or defiant to the mainstream ecumenical fellowship, we are isolating ourself which cause us to loose many things.

Ecumenism is a great vision. It is the energy involved out of the internal of all the Churches in awareness of the sanctity of its faith attributed with its oneness, catholic and apostolic nature. When we stand divided, we are running away from the Grace of God. While we are away from God, He is searching for us calling us; 'Adam Where are you? Why are you hidden?' This call should be echoing in our ears.

Ecumenism is grown up through centuries. The emergence of the World Council of Churches [WCC], other international and continental ecumenical organizations, the importance given at Second Vatican Council etc. are the milestones of the ecumenical growth among Churches. To involve and grow along in the growth of ecumenism, each of its constituent Churches should be well aware of the history of their root and it should go to the real essence of the worshipping traditions of the Church. WCC and Second Vatican Synod also teach the same essence. It should be a widespread thought among Churches.

Though we are trying to approach our ecumenical goal through dialogue, research and theological exercises, Ecumenism become really practical only through individuals. Any theologian or any leaders of the Church cannot implement the ideas, which cannot be convinced by the individuals. The ecumenical unity cannot be consummated unless it is taken well granted by the mass believers. So the idea should be well spread with out any reservations among the minute area of believers.

We became blind in our eyes and mind by the divisions. This blindness is internal as well as external. Lord Jesus called a blind man near Him and asked Him what you see? He told, I see men but they look like trees. When we become blind with the divisive and sectarian feeling, we cannot see them as true men but we see them like trees. This is a wrong vision. Jesus again touched his eyes. Then he told, now I see the men as men. We should be able to see through spiritual lenses to see the men as men. When we see man as a man, we are seeing the image of God hidden in him. We are the breath of God. When we can see other Sect or Church as a Church of God, then only our eyes became clear. Blind eyes cannot see another Church as that of Jesus.

The ecumenism is not an expression of external bodily unity. Ecumenism is oneness in spirit. Holy Spirit of God is pervading on the one, catholic and apostolic unified Church. We should manifest and experience the depth of this spiritual unity. It is not in a mixture form but it should be a bonded form in the love and truth of Holy Spirit It is both unity of leadership and unity of bottom ness, which unites the body of Christ in its entirety in truth and spirit. It shall be the outcome of repentance and transfiguration.

Unfortunately, the ecumenism of today is found to have been constrained to mere written documents and literatures. It should turn out from the intellectual level to the real experience. We should respect what we cannot accept. Ecumenism can spread and grow only under an atmosphere of mutual respect. It is the Holy Spirit of God who stimulates the desire for unity and ecumenism. Only through the fruits of repentance and humility, the basic desire will be originated. It is high time the message of ecumenism to be taken to the faithful and practiced in its real spirit.

Philip invited Nathanael to Christ, and much is said concerning him. While seeing Nathanael coming to Him, Jesus commented about him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!" To the man who claimed that he kept all the commandments from his childhood, Jesus tells to him, "One thing you still lack". Jesus said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s." But the comment made about Nathanael was a unique one, which Jesus had ever told. It is the great pious zeal of Nathanael, which each Christian should inherit by getting awakened and knowing the secrets of faith.

Ecumenism is a call of God. It shelves all the self-motivation and look forward for the unified Christ's Church. Through the voice of ecumenism, we involve ourself to a united faith in Christ through the vivid faith doctrines. We all are brothers and sisters in Christ. All the Churches of Jesus Christ are sister Churches. Antiochian Church is a sister Church of Roman Church. Byzantine Church is the sister Church of these two Churches. Armenian Church is the sister Church of all these three Churches. Universal Church is the fellowship of all these sister Churches. Vatican II Synod had specially mentioned this fact. We were living in that fraternity and experience of being united in diversity of these sister Churches during the early centuries. However, all doctrinal differences we involved and accepted too. Once we go forward towards these first century experience, we are moving towards the unity in Christ. Within this journey towards unity in Christ, we should be able to well appreciate to understand our paternity and tradition, worshipping patterns and respecting our religious fathers. Church is a great ocean, it is a great fellowship and it is the world family.

Our land Kerala is a storage of Churches. It is the original source of most of the world Christian Churches. The greatness and nobility of all these Churches in our land are the God given providences. The great glory of these churches is being well kept by the noble fathers of all these Churches. All our Gospel conventions should be a school of Christian fraternity and unity. This great loving fellowship is the university of Gospel.

Pope John Paul II had written a circular Article 'All towards one'. All are traveling together on the same road to same destination. In His High priestly prayer Jesus prayed to His father; 'As we are one they also should become one...' It is the same message Mar Papa gave through his circular. It is a great vision where we all should ascend. This is a Himalayan task to be achieved walking through a narrow and hard road. Love is the basis of ecumenism. This love is the first and last message given by Jesus and His disciples. All the Churches are the conglomeration of sweet memories. In the books of Acts we read; 'And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things, which he possessed, was his own; but they had all things common.' [Acts 4:32]

It was really a great experience which the Church in Smyrna had experienced, 'the richness in poverty'. The physical richness of Church is not the greatness of Church. Once a sage asked Thomas Aquinas that the present day Churches does not have to say that 'We do not possess silver and gold', as all the Churches have enough worldly wealth! Thomas Aquinas replied him that however, the current world Churches lack the strength too, to say, 'rise up and walk'. Because of the weight of the Gold and Silver, it is crippled and lost its fortitude to command to rise up and walk. A Golden Calf is hidden in our mind always. When Moses delayed on the mountain, the Israelites took out the Golden calf and started worshipping it. Today it is applicable to us also. We also occasionally bring out our hidden Golden calf and start worshipping it. These Golden calves are great hindrance for us to walk towards the unity.

Mar Aprem, a third century Eastern Orthodox Church father, told that the divided church is like a wounded body. It is a bruised body, a weeping mother or a raped virgin. We should come forward to heal these wounds and to wipe out the tears of the body of Christ so that the prayer of Jesus to His father will be fulfilled. Unlimited national spirit and unlimited communality cause a great hindrance and danger for the ecumenical unity. Basically Church is neither national nor communal. It is a spiritual community. That is a great ocean, field; oicumene, which is a magnet network, knitting every body together. Church involves always truth and maintains truth.

When we say Church at Corinth, it is not the Corinthian division of Church, but it is the one unit of Church of Christ as it is manifested at province of Corinth. Church is the original 'Word' in the beginning. All other definitions are augmented at a later stage. These definitions should not limit the 'Word' of the beginning. We need a great spiritual rejuvenation for meeting our aim. I earnestly pray for the same.

[Extract from Address delivered at Maramon Convention 2005 : Original in Malayalam]
Translation for LOL by: Dr. Rajan Mathew, Philadelphia, USA.
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Our Lord wants all believers to pray continually at all times under all conditions or occupations of life-activities and Apostle Paul also instructs us to pray without ceasing. Once all our thoughts, words and deeds are dedicated to God, our prayer life will have a different dimension in growth and nature. Just like a baby is in constant relationship and communion with its mother with or without any verbal communication, a simple believer will be in constant contact with our God.

All believers pray for various reasons. Many of the prayers involve reading, saying and recitations and we may have a definite time and location for the act of prayer. It may be solitary or in a group of two or more. Prayers that may not use any set of words or only a few words are called mental, or meditative or contemplative. Ejaculatory or verbal prayers use only few words such as “My Lord and My God” or “Lord have mercy upon me” for an instant frequently rather than a long period of time while we are in the midst of daily occupations of life. Meditation involves the use of images, feelings, emotions and thoughts regarding or related to God so that our mind and heart centered upon God. According to St. Francis de Sales, contemplation is “ a simple, constant, loving attention of the mind to divine things” or “ a simple loving gaze, regard or attention to some divine object”(Bossuet).

Our Lord wants all believers to pray continually at all times under all conditions or occupations of life-activities (Luke 18:1) and Apostle Paul also instructs us to pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17). Many Christians may think that continual prayers are only for religious professionals and it is an impossibility for ordinary layman. But it is not true at all. Continual prayer just like breathing is within the reach of anybody who wants to practice the presence of the Lord in life at all times. Remember that the Lord Jesus taught us to get into our inner room, close the door and pray to the Father in heaven. That room is our heart where the true prayer is done without anybody’s knowledge or disturbance. Once all our thoughts, words and deeds are dedicated to God, our prayer life will have a different dimension in growth and nature. In other words when born-again Christians are Christ-centered, the Holy Spirit who dwells within them will teach and help them to pray and practice the presence of the Lord in most ordinary and simple circumstances as well as in complex and extraordinary situations and experiences of life-activities.

We, the believers, have to realize and recognize that nothing in our lives happens without the knowledge of the living God. Just as gravity is always present around every form of matter, we must have the conviction that our God’s presence is with us always whether we like it or not. Not even a tiny fly falls or a far-off galaxy is born without His knowledge! Once we surrender our lives to the most loving and caring Lord the God who is also the most mighty and benevolent Maker, it will be very easy to pray or commune with Him continually. Every moment in believer’s life is a very precious gift from our Creator and therefore let us use it for His glory and praise. Let us dedicate all our spiritual, mental and physical activities to be centered and directed to Him and for His kingdom. Then the prayer readily becomes the way of life. We will always be in communion with our Lord God.

Just like a baby is in constant relationship and communion with its mother with or without any verbal communication, a simple believer will be in constant contact with our God, whether he/she is cooking or doing executive work in a large corporation or searching the mysteries of the distant stars. It is possible for everybody to “practice the presence of God” as Brother Lawrence wrote or the Apostle Paul asked us to do or our Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray at all times. In the Parable of Vine and Branches (John 15) the Lord pointed us that the branches must always live in the main stem so that they can produce many good fruits. Christian believers are called to live in Christ through continual prayer, faith and surrender so that we will be one with our true living God. Amen.

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Anybody can be Pope, even a layman or in theory at least even a non-Christian. In the first 800 years of Christianity it was the deacons of Rome who became Popes. It was only after that period a bishop became Pope. However in the last 700 years only Cardinals have been elected to the position, except Gregory the XVI in 1831 who was not yet a bishop when elected. From1523 to October 1978 papacy was the monopoly of Italians, so to say.

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

[This Article is continued from the Previous Issue]


In the year 1978 when this writer had an opportunity to examine the secret arrangements of the Conclave the floors of the Sistine and environs had already been paved with timber to level the floor. Thrones for the Cardinals and utensils for the conduct of the election were already in place. Touching all those paraphernalia brought to mind some special features of that most secret of election processes.

Anybody can be Pope, even a layman or in theory at least even a non-Christian. In the first 800 years of Christianity it was the deacons of Rome who became Popes. It was only after that period that a bishop became Pope. However in the last 700 years only Cardinals have been elected to the position, except Gregory the XVI in 1831 who was not yet a bishop when elected. From1523 to October 1978 papacy was the monopoly of Italians, so to say.

True, Peter was from outside Italy. But of his 264 successors to-date only 59 have come from outside Italy. 15 Greeks, 15 Frenchmen, 6 Germans, 6 Syrians, 3 North Africans, 3 Spaniards, 2 Dalmatians, 2 Goths, 1 Thracian, 1 Englishman, 1 Portuguese, and 1 of Dutch origin - the nationality of another one is not clear - and finally John Paul II, a Pole. Sylvester I the first French Pope (999 - 1003) was a great scholar and is thought to have been the model for Dr. Faustus. Nicolas Breakspeare was the only Englishman to occupy Peter’s throne and he took the name Adrian IV (1154 - 59). Though a second Englishman has also been elected he refused to become Pope.

In 1305 the ongoing conflicts between the imperialists and the republicans split the city states of Italy so that the seat of the Pope had to be shifted outside Italy to Avignon in France. For well nigh three quarters of a century Avignon remained the seat of corruption and greed until Pope Gregory XI restored the seat of papacy to Rome.

Both the foreign Popes of the 15th century were members of the notorious Borgia family of Spain. They, Calistus III and his nephew Alexander VI, made the papacy a family affair. Pope Alexander the Sixth made four of his nephews and an illegitimate son Cardinals. The Borgias made poisoning into a fine art. The attempt of the Borgia father and son to poison a rival misfired when Pope Alexander drank the poisoned drink by mistake and died within a week When one enters the Borgia rooms in the Vatican Palaceone trembles with fear in spite of the Raphael paintings. The person elected from outside Italy before John Paul II was the Dutch Adrian. He had to face the consequences of Martin Luther’s revolt. When Adrian, who had confessed the errors of the Church and had tried to correct them, died there was no one to mourn his death. A floral crown appeared at the door of the Palace Doctor who had failed to save the Pope. Because of that Dutch Curse no one had been elected Pope from outside Italy for 455 years, until 1978 when a Pole was elected. And now after almost a millennium another German is elected.

Although Indian Catholics form only a small portion of the Catholic population of the world some three percent of the electoral college came from India: Cardinal Vithayathil of Ernakulam, Cardinal Dias of Bombay, and Cardinal Toppo the chairman of the CBCI. Cardinal Lourdsamy and Cardinal Pimenta had no votes as they had crossed 80. The former Nuncio to India and the USA Cardinal Caciavillan was another voter.

The Commencement of the Conclave:

Why is it that the election begins only after 15 to 20 days (in Pope Paul’s regulations 15 to 18 days) after the death of the Pope? Blessed Gregory X had ordered the Conclave to start ten days after the death of a Pope. Gregory’s rule was followed without interruption for 648 years. But the rule had to be changed in 1922. American Cardinal O’Connel of Boston boarded ship to attend the August 1914 Conclave. But when he arrived Benedict XV had already been elected Pope. The depressed Cardinal returned to Boston. In 1922 he again started by ship for the next Conclave. But by the time the Cardinal entered the Conclave white smoke had begun to appear from the thin Sistine pipe.

The disappointed Cardinal got wild with the Cardinal Camerlengo. It was felt by many that the election was being held on the tenth day of the demise of the Pope only to exclude Americans from it and to insult American Catholics. However the newly elected Pope Pius XI decided that thereafter the Conclave should start only 15 days after the death of a Pope, and if necessary the commencement could be postponed by two or three days to enable all Cardinals to arrive. O’Connel who was Cardinal for a long time once again started from Boston for the 1939 Conclave. By this time his hasty departures had become the subject of many jokes and cartoons. But on this occasion he did reach the Vatican in time, and attended the Conclave from beginning to end. The Pope elected at this Conclave was Pius XII. But by 1939 it was possible for American Cardinals to reach Rome by plane, reaching Rome often much before many other Cardinals.

John Paul II has declared in his regulations for the 2005 Conclave:
“When the funeral rites for the deceased Pope have been celebrated according to the prescribed ritual, and everything necessary for the regular functioning of the election has been prepared, on the appointed day - and thus on the fifteenth day after the death of the Pope or, in conformity with the provisions of No. 37 of the present Constitution, not later than the twentieth - the Cardinal electors shall meet in the Basilica of Saint Peter's in the Vatican, or elsewhere, should circumstances warrant it, in order to take part in a solemn Eucharistic celebration with the Votive Mass Pro Eligendo Papa. This celebration should preferably take place at a suitable hour in the morning.”

During the occasion of the last Conclave this writer was fortunate enough to be included in the fourteen journalists officially admitted to cover this Votive Mass Pro Eligendo Papa or Mass for the Election of the Pope, when I was able to take a rare photo of Cardinal Woityla who at the end of that Conclave became Pope John Paul II.

“From the Pauline Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where they will assemble at a suitable hour in the afternoon, the Cardinal electors, in choir dress, and invoking the assistance of the Holy Spirit with the chant of the Veni Creator, will solemnly proceed to the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace, where the election will be held.”

There is also this provision: “However, should any Cardinal electors arrive re integra, that is, before the new Pastor of the Church has been elected, they shall be allowed to take part in the election at the stage which it has reached.” So much for the wailings of the Cardinal from Boston.

[This Article is to be continued in the Next Issue]

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Everything is shrouded in a mystery of darkness that gulps our inconceivable dilemma of being in between the dark sea and the devil. Everything is a dark mystery in a gigantic ocean of mysteries. God the Final Arbiter is the only entity that needn’t to have to give any answer to any one. We are accountable to God now and hereafter. One’s ignorance about the life beyond the grave makes him think that all our worries and concerns are buried in the grave, and the life after the grave is free from all one’s grave problems.

The Christianity of Kerala is fuming and fretting over the triggering exponentials of suicidal death that has enhanced by the boom of oil wealth of the recent time. “ Japan has the highest rate of suicide in the developed world, according to the W.H.O. Last year an average of 98 people a day killed themselves. The growing influence of Internet and the increasing incidence of group suicides are causing the most alarm. There are at least 100 sites for people considering suicide, according to the Webmaster of The suicide circle”. Plucking the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden is a synonym to the inferno that conflagrates everything good and bad indiscriminately. All other animals fear death, whereas man created in the image of God become a victim of his adversary, the incarnation of abysmal dark empire that consumes one’s life all of a sudden.

Man is an unknown continent that cannot be explored by any of the latest technological instrument, although the guinea pig experiments by which the medical professionals can spend millions in doing their research work. The animal make up in the trinity of man of body, mid and soul is a labyrinth of multiple numbers of jigsaw puzzles that cannot be translated in black and white. “ Yet you have made him little less than God, and does crown him with glory and honour- Ps.8: 5, but on the contrary after the fall from grace, “ They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that do good, no, not one- Ps.14: 3. The preying of the devil upon God’s creation in multifarious forms that has no depths and heights is a tragic irony of our terrestrial existence, the keynote and sum and substance of our mundane reality. ‘Naked shall I come, naked shall I go’; came from where or go to where is also a perennial problem that hovers over our fate ruthlessly and relentlessly.

Everything is shrouded in a mystery of darkness that gulps our inconceivable dilemma of being in between the dark sea and the devil. Everything is a dark mystery in a gigantic ocean of mysteries. “ Where shall I go from thy Spirit? Or where shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there”. This is a frightening predicament of helplessness and nothingness of man. Is man a puppet of God, bridled from a remote corner that has no trace for man to reach? This cliff-hanging dilemma again augments our woes and vexations. We are all crying in the night, crying for the light that is beyond our grasp and reach. The appropriate answer for all our anguish and worries is there in the next verse. “ If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me”. Ps.139.

The above cited verses vindicate the reasons for suicides, but the verse in apposite elucidates the eternal futilities of our despair and desperation. The black despair is likely the most heinous type of sin in the sea of commissions and omissions, for which one may have to give meticulous accounts in the final judgement. God the Final Arbiter is the only entity that needn’t to have to give any answer to any one. We are accountable to God now and hereafter. One’s ignorance about the life beyond the grave makes him think that all our worries and concerns are buried in the grave, and the life after the grave is free from all one’s grave problems. In fact death is a great comforter in this world for our onward journey into the land of the living, whereas a deathless suffering in the land of the dead is beyond any description. There is ample room for our improvement for divine and moral growth in this planet while wading through sufferings, making death as a reliever of all our miseries that export us to a world of flaming happiness. Hence sufferings in life are a precursor for the land of the living. The Unripe one embraces only the deathless worms and blazing fire that invite nothing but the gnashing of teeth. The scorching fire of the boiling tears is the herald that ripens us in acclimatizing with the celestial fire. It is not a joke, believers. Despite one person was taken to the Heavenly realm, he couldn’t open his eyes because of the intensity of the radiant light that forced him to retreat to our sojourn life again.


  1. Financial Excesses or Financial Debts or Poverty
    This ignorance can be wiped out only by religious education and the subtleties of moral inevitabilities. The reason for the spiraling exponentials of suicide lies in the cradle of spiritual lethargy and neglect that throws us into a cauldron of diabolic doldrums of financial affluence and high profile life of social backwaters of technological boom. A half starving economy never have contributed such a high number of suicidal death, particularly in Kerala, the so-called ‘God’s country’ that has been inhabited by St.Thomas Christians since the beginning of Christianity. There is a limit for our body to put up with the banal pleasures of a superficial life. If that is the facet of a carnal life, the other side is bleak with the epitome of financial burdens that afflict the soul to oscillate in between the crudities of pecuniary inadequacies and social status. One who borrows or having high level of financial debts cannot either steal or beg on the basis of one’s false prestige.

    Where there is no dignity of labour, the haunting of such problems may skyrocket, especially in this age that is labeled by polished behavior and intellectual culture. The incarnation of Mammon is the saviour of this infernal culture that is imported by the pumping of oil money from the dark region of earth. This affluence that made a natural divide in the society has deported the natural life style and culture, throwing the most dear and near ones to an oblivious life style of total segregation and neglect that was not even dreamt in any bygone civilization. Man, the unknown is alone in this sophisticated life style of stereotyped existence. ‘ Your need is greater than that of mine’ is totally under an eclipse of greed and treachery. The sub-cultural life that makes a poisoned chalice of family and social life molested and raped the religiosity of this existing species of God’s handiwork. This sort of voluptuous and promiscuous life style of modern affluence is the breeding grounds for all mortal sins that give birth lethal sicknesses and suicidal tendencies.

  2. Congenital Maladjustments
    The unseen man that gears up the seen one is the engine and motor for its safe running. If the engine at the time of its making is fiddled with intractable materials and parts, sure that the vehicle has to break down without completing its journey. What we eat is contaminated with all chemical and crossbreed food, together with the alcohol drinking and other drug problems, tell upon our system in a detrimental way that cannot be explained or proved in black and white. The life style that devotes on partying and celebrating can procreate only genetically disordered children, so also the sexually profligate life in thought, word and deed cannot produce children of high moral or religious or intellectual calibre. Our children are the duplicates of all that we think and do. Unless we accept and do everything for the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man, the adverse effect of the same is upon our children. “ The Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the 3rd and 4th generation” (Exo.34: 6-7). This is that we call is ‘ genetics’. The genetics of the half starving generation was not so much polluted like that one of today’s, which is perpetrated by treachery, lechery and irreligiousness.

    Sex or social or intelligent I Q, apparently the ultimate success in life, finds it difficult to give birth children of spiritual IQ; the latter on the contrary is the prime mover of the former, though both are inextricably blended together with inexplicable harmony. The mental linguistics during the time of conception make an indelible imprint definitely on the embryo that grows continually by the cajoling of the language of the Spirit. Thus the congenital mental condition creates a predisposition in the course of one’s lifetime; despite it can be rectified by earnest endeavour and perpetual practice during one’s lifetime. The weak mental frame can breakdown at any point of one’s lifetime, unless it is supplemented with high moral and religious fibre and embankments.

As man is a social animal, the peer group interactions, not the peer group pressure, help him grow mentally and physically. To cultivate a balanced mind is a very difficult task that has to be addressed by parents, teachers and educators. The nuclear family perpetrations and bullying culture of educational institutions contribute a major part of driving the individual into a world of his own make up. The over protection by the parents due to the fear of drug abuses and sub-cultural trepidation doesn’t allow the child to grow mentally and environmentally fit. The young mind that is preyed by dysfunctional family culture, coupled with social anarchy and violence, has to disintegrate unless the lawmakers of the land and religious stalwarts create a conducive environment. Extended family that is archaic in this technological nightmare used to be a balanced guardian of the bygone days. The child that is born into the toy world of family affluence and childcare centre stereotypes are the added ingredients for the destruction of the human spirit. A dysfunctional family culture, even without any other outside contributing factors, can torpedo a young mind into pieces. Pornography and other perverted materials multiply at staggering proportions of apocalyptic dimensions that a teenager finds it difficult to cope with. Atheism and agnosticism versus religion blast their own winds that throw the growing person into a spiritual and ethical tornado.

The national and regional politics and international treacherous politics that claw into the fibre of the immature person is another woe that is to be reconciled with. Money is honey in a world of multiple social divides. Dating, romance, marriage breakdown of such nature cannot be ignored at any rate. Broken family that roots out all our aspirations and values is a curse of the intellectually cultured ocean of the global population of the present era. No religion or spirituality can give equilibrium to such an emotional pandemonium. The social stigma of divorce that it creates hurls the individual into a world proliferation of abysmal darkness. The world of euthanasia is a platform of derailed minds. Many more sub-human malpractices can be added on to the list. The religion or spirituality that caters solace, love and peace is the only source of divine light in such junctures of human helplessness and utter failures. Where can one go when that arena is also become an incarnation of money and power politics?

Accusing God for predestinating man takes him to the fringes of mortal sin. Life and universe is a mystery that declares the glory of Heaven. Accusing God by His glorious creation is an unpardonable sin that invites retribution and unimaginable consequences. “ 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.....No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure”-1.Cor.10: 8-13. The fallen state of man is automatically the terrain of multifold sufferings, the author of which is the Dark forces. In order to resuscitate man from his degradation our Lord bore our nature to be crucified by the diabolic forces -Rom.11: 20-23; 1>Pet.1: 17; 2: 5. He nailed him on the cross and bought salvation for us with a high price -Jn.16: 33, yet how ungrateful we are in blaming and accusing Him, despite He gave His Body and Blood to us for our continuing war against the prince of perdition. “ For God shows no partiality”- Rom.2: 11. Even if we accuse Him for showing seeming partiality, He has enough justifications for it- Rom.8: 29-30. “ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?”-Rom.9: 21-24. We have no other choice but only respect His decision because both are parts of life. He has also the right to give more rewards to the one that has been chosen for menial use. Instead of realizing the naked reality of our ephemeral existence we accuse and charge God for what He is not. “ Righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before thee” -Ps.89: 14. Ingratitude! Thy name is man.

  1. Casting out the Demons
    It has been the teachings of religions that the infection of the evil spirits are the causes of our mental and physical maladies, despite it has been categorically denied by atheists, agnostics and modern theologians, basing on the findings of the medical science researches. Casting out the demons and sure cure of the malady is an authentic proof offered by religious therapists (Mt.8: 28-34). As I have made prognosis of such problems elsewhere, I don’t like a probe into it here. Casting out demons means to lead a life of chastity by the contrition of heart. The stain of the sin that can cast scars on our spirit is likely to fester us for some generations, despite the individual who has a predisposition for suicide is not a grave sinner who is destined to the untimely grave. In order to avoid the preying of Satan to any family or individual, the religion teaches that one has to be meticulously careful in his daily private and social life. This is why a religious burial ceremony was so far denied to one who committed suicide. It is a clear signal to everybody not to play up with one’s body or soul at the flower or any stage in life. Any seen or unseen crime we do will be retributed by a just God who has imprinted these laws in our conscience. “ Glorify God in your body” -1.Cor.6: 20. Anything that we do against the will and laws of God is the bastion of the devil’s kingdom. There was no other congenial time in history than before for man to do bestial sins in soaring exponentials, even by excelling our own siblings, the apes. Man is the only sinning animal that has no covenants or statutes, but only propelled by animal instincts.

    The love that creates self-respect and self-confidence is the spiritual tonic, which all the religions have been catering to an emotional mind ever since the beginning of history. In order to imprison the believers in their own religious circumference, the religions or churches themselves are in a race now to legalize and offer religious last rites to those who have untimely plucked out their own life. This definitely is a suicidal attempt by protecting the ones who commit suicide. Our attempt to safeguard the family from the stigma itself is a suicide in the spiritual sense. Individuals can pray for the redemption of such souls, but when the church offers the last rites culminate in giving license to suicide. The State used to impose severe penalties and deterrents for such vicious crimes; all the world religions prohibited to bury such people in the cemetery Such people used to be buried in their own back yards or in a segregated part of the cemetery, denying the last rites to such lost souls. The religious arguments for condemning suicides are given in my article on ‘Mercy Killing’. As God is the author of life, no one else can take the life of any other human being or one’s own life. Denying religious rites is a deterrent to such abominable deaths. The Omnipotent God has a solution for any grave problems in this world; even He extends the lifespan of individuals as in the case of King Hezekiah who repented -Is.38. Even the first king, Saul of Israel, is the only case of reported suicide and cremation, so also his retinue that committed suicide- 1.Sam. 31. God is the first priority in life; obey all His commandments and lead a pure spiritual journey that traverses through the bi-culture of God and Satan’s earth.

  2. Fasting and prayer
    There is only clear-cut option, either be in the army of God or on His enemy’s side. Mediocrity is a forbidden fruit to the Lord (Rev.3: 14-21) because He invites only the unadulterated ones into His Kingdom (Rev.21: 27). Fasting and prayer is a way to solve problems. Suicide is an option of accepting the angel of Death as the Lord. Knowing the mortal nature of our earthly frame, God has set aside various probabilities in dealing with any conjuncture that try to gulp His creations. Knock at the right door; it will be opened at any time. But we are not ready to do that because of our head -weight that impels us to be run by bestial passions. ‘ It is better to reign in hell than serve in heaven’ is our motto that identifies with our uncle Lucifer, who is our father’s older brother.

  3. Positive Thinking
    Positive thinking to one who has utter faith in God is the only answer that can create confidence in us. Everything in this universe is ephemeral and transitory. Good name or bad name, wealthy or poor, educated or uneducated, the vicissitudes of life is only a split moment away from us. Death is within us; it can cut us short at any moment. Man is a product that is meant to be recycled. If death is only a fraction of a moment away from us, is it worthwhile to put an end to our life that is given as a lease by the author of life. Death is our sibling, together with go sufferings, is it not impetuous to kill our own sibling because murder is the violation of the 6th Mosaic commandments? The good weather friends may betray and scandalize you, the dear and near ones despise and condemn you, the religious hierarchy crucify you and secular hierarchy spy every moment and try to entangle you in their mischievous and ridiculous snare, yet the love of Jesus who passed through all such satanic puzzles and riddles protect you at every moment of life. St.paul also struggled through the demonic nets, and realized, “ we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. We are fool for Christ’s sake...”- 1. Cor.4: 8-133.

    This world is a sanctuary for the mediocre. O what a world! Just as a young lad is solely depending on his parents, only the earthly agents of God, we have nobody else other than God- Ps.27: 10, the Triune parents who moulded us for eternity, to cling on in happiness or sufferings, in life or death. Unless this philosophy is inculcated right from the very outset, everyone is likely to be a prey of the infernal scavengers. “ The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear...I afraid? Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident” -Ps. 27; 118.8. Why is King David is so confident? The answer is given in Ps.27. He gets this assurance by dwelling in the house of the Lord. If the death that is already has an imprint in us, why should we take the authorship of killing ourselves and lose the Eternity that is guaranteed for a spiritual and virtuous person. Go daringly as a lamb of God in executing a virtuous life, for which the reward of a crown is awaiting us beyond the citadel of death. “ O wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Hence religion, morality and a disciplined life by observing all the commandments of the Lord are the only answer to surpass all the evils of the society. Taking the yoke of sufferings in the outset of life is the best antidote for all our afflictions in this sojourn life. Chronic sufferings that make life so painful, starvation that leads to anemia and ailments, betrayal that sends one to solitary solicitude, infidelity that boils up the whole blood and flesh, fear of death that disintegrates body and spirit, ignominy and bad name that shakes our prestige and social status, best loved friends who slander, despise and jeer at us are all hard and bitter pills to swallow. In all such junctures of life, any help from any soul can give an emotional equilibrium to our mind. Only the Creator’s caring and loving hand bear us in safe solitude. “ I am never alone when alone”. An unknown multitude of white brotherhood that stretches their fiery hands is around to cajole us. Only in extraordinary and inescapable moments of life we this vision, just as Elisa’s servants witnessed the fiery hosts - 2.King.6: 15-22. One who doesn’t obey the commandment of God is likely to get punishments, as in the case of a person who was consumed by a lion- 1.King.20: 36. This is the bitter cup that the first anointed king of Israel had to drink. The disobedience that brought the haunting of the evil spirit upon forced him to commit suicide, eventuating in denying a proper burial for him and his followers. There is an option for sin to be get diluted and eventually obliterated by repenting tears. Taking away our own life is the herald that accompany us to the fiery furnace of various dark cells of worm eating hell.

Unless the Creator is our refuge and bastion at all times, His cruel enemy Death, automatically shepherds us all throughout an opaque eternity. “ Truly no man can ransom himself, or give God the price of his life, for the ransom of his life is costly, and can never suffice, that he should continue to live on for ever, and never see the Pit -Ps.49: 7-9.

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Prayer is the communication between man and God through which we can come to know God and His will for us. God is the only one whom we can trust, rely upon and depend, now and always. He is our most trustworthy friend, really a friend in need and a friend indeed. He is the only one to whom we can draw near and open our troubled heart, cast our concerns to Him and get relieved to peace. Our loving father is an answering God and He responds to the prayers of His beloved children.

What is Prayer? Prayer is the communication between man and God through which we can come to know God and His will for us. God is the only one whom we can trust, rely upon and depend, now and always. He is our most trustworthy friend, really a friend in need and a friend indeed. He is the only one to whom we can draw near and open our troubled heart, cast our concerns and get relieved to peace. Our loving father is an answering God and He responds to the prayers of His beloved children.

Prayer should be the most important part of our life. A family who prays together lives together. Many of the families breakup due to the lack of prayer. We should pray not only for our self but for others also as there are many in this world who really need our earnest prayers.

What is fasting? Fasting is part of the faith life during which, for a certain set period of time, to abstain from worldly needs specifically food and focus ourselves in prayer. Our fasting and abstinence should not be limited to food alone, but we should maintain our holiness in our words, actions and thoughts. Fasting and Praying is most effective in faith life as it brings forth self-discipline and our readiness to set right our soul with God and get focused towards God with sharp concentration. Traditionally all Wednesdays and Fridays are set apart for Fasting and Prayer in addition to lent periods.

In the Bible, we can find many people who fasted and prayed. God answered their earnest prayers. As a distinct example, I would like to point out story of Esther and her uncle Mordecai. As per order of Esther and Mordecai, all the Jews, putting on sackcloth and ashes, fasted and prayed to God with out eating or drinking for three nights and three days. Lord heard their earnest prayers and saved them from death and destruction.

Context Of the Story:

  • Esther is a short book of the Bible. 17th book in the Old Testament containing of only 10 chapters.
  • A fascinating story.
  • May be the most interesting fact about the book of Esther is that God is not mentioned anywhere in the entire book. Not even one to mention.
  • Only Canonical text not found among Dead Sea Scrolls.
  • And yet this book is considered somehow important enough and contains a message for the Church.
  • Most of our Home country, India is mentioned in Esther 1:1.

    So let us see what is there for us to gain from this little book that doesn’t even talk about God.

  • The book of Esther is named after the heroine, Esther. Esther means “Star”. The author of this book is unstated and stays unknown. The author could have been either Mordecai or Nehemiah. The reason for stating that it could have been Mordecai is because he was a resident of Persia. The reason for saying that it could be Nehemiah is because he served during the successor of King Ahasuerus.
  • This book was written probably during mid to Late 5 BC. (464 - 415 BC)
  • Purim - the day of Mordecai is celebrated by the Jewish Community today.
  • Purim means casting lots or throwing dice.
  • Purim is a wonderful celebration. Celebrated on the 14th or 15th day of Adar. (Adar is the last month of the year according to the Hebrew Calendar). The actual day of the celebration changes depending on the Sabbath.
  • One of the activities that are part of the Purim celebrations includes reading the book of Esther.
  • When Haman, advisor to King Ahasuerus was trying to decide which day to destroy Jews, he used a process similar to throwing dice. When God used Esther to save her people they celebrated Purim, a celebration which has continued throughout the Jewish history.

    The Story Of Esther:
    Long ago, in a country called Persia, present day Babylon, there was a King called Ahasuerus and a Queen named Vashti. During a banquet at the palace, the King ordered his wife Queen Vashti to appear before him and all his friends at the banquet to show everyone how pretty she was. But the Queen refused. The king was furious. To make matters worse, the King’s advisor Memucan told him that the queen's conduct will become known to all the women causing them to look with contempt on their husbands. Accordingly a royal unrepealing edict was issued by the King that Vashti may no longer come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to another who is more worthy than her. King Ahasuerus wasn’t happy too long without a queen, so he ordered to search throughout the kingdom for a beautiful girl to be his bride. And thus Esther was found. Esther was beautiful, gracious and kind - just what the King was looking for. In no time Esther was married to the King.

    Esther was a Jew. The Jews had been driven out of Israel, their home town, about 70 years before and they exiled in Persia. Esther was an orphan. Her uncle Mordecai brought her up. Mordecai was the leader of Jews. Mordecai had encouraged Esther to hide her faith and religion from the King and his advisors, which she obeyed.

    Haman, the minister of the King became a powerful man in the King’s Court. He became the Prime Ministrer of Persia, Second in command to the King. Haman loved the position and power he possessed and wished that all the subjects in the country should bow to him. Everyone bowed to Haman except Mordecai, as he was a true Jew who bowed to nobody except God [The Ten commandments given by Moses teach ‘You shall have no other gods beside Me. You shall neither make for yourself any graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them.’] Even though he was far from his homeland, he wanted to obey and serve God.

    Haman wanted to take revenge to this act of Mordecai. He plotted destruction not only of Mordecai but for every Jew of the entire kingdom. The King signed a decree giving Haman permission to destroy the Jews. Mordecai was overwhelmed when he saw the document. Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth as a sign of deep sadness. He began to pray. No one could enter the Palace wearing sack clothes. One of Esther’s servant girls brought her this sad news - “Something’s wrong with your uncle. He is in deep mourning.” Esther sent him a new set of clothes and asked him to Cheer Up”. But Morcedai refused the clothes. Esther knew something was really wrong. She sent her personal servant to Mordecai. Mordecai explained to Esther’s personal servant, about Haman’s wicked plan to kill the Jews. He sent copy of the King’s decree to Esther so that she could see it herself. Morcedai pleaded her “Please ask Esther to ask the king to save our people”. But that was a difficult task as she couldn’t go to the king unless King requested her presence. Without permission means it could lead to her death too. The king had not requested her presence for more 30 days.

    But Mordecai insisted, “Don’t think just because you are in a palace you will escape. If you don’t say something, God will use someone else to rescue his people. But may be just, my God has allowed you to be in the palace for such a time as this. Was this part of God’s plan?"

    Esther had a big decision to make. Esther sent her servant to Mordecai asking him to tell that Esther and her Maidens will fast for three days and all the Jews should join them in the fasting and prayer. This was against the law of the country. Esther was ready even to die for breaking the law, but she said that she will go, even if she has to die. After 3 days Esther put on her finest royal clothes and made her way to the inner court of King’s house.

    When king saw Esther, he extended his golden scepter towards her, meaning she could approach the king. The king asked Esther what you want. I will give you anything even up to half of my kingdom. Esther requested the King along with Haman to come for a banquet arranged by her. The King heeded to her request. Again the King asked Esther what do you want Esther? I know you want something. She said “Oh king please spare my life and the life of my people. So the king asked who is the man that would dare try to kill you. So Esther said it’s none other than the wicked man Haman..

    Esther’s plan and prayers worked. The King executed Haman and the Jews were saved. There was a huge celebration called Purim. Esther’s prayer made her to achieve her goal. Esther turned out to be a real star. She realized that she could do something that would make a difference to others even if it costed her life. She planned, prepared and prayed. She petitioned the king and the nation was saved. She was a light in a dark time of Jewish history.

    Lessons we learn from this story:

    1. Prayer, fasting, love and devotion can save lives.
    2. The Lord could use anyone to do wonders in His name.
    3. We should fast and pray to realize and wait for His call.
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    Pampadi Kuriakose Mar Gregorios was effectively an uncanonised saint of Malankara Church who had been a simple and humble priest of the Most High Lord of Heaven and a man of great faith who possessed the spiritual gift of love. He shared his spiritual gifts of love and kindness to countless numbers of people around him from all religious and social sects.


    Pampadi Kuriakose Mar Gregorios was effectively an un-canonized saint of Malankara Church who had been a simple and humble priest of the Most High Lord of Heaven and a man of great faith who possessed the spiritual gift of love. He shared his spiritual gifts of love and kindness to countless numbers of people around him from all religious and social sects. Though he was not attributed or claimed for building big churches, instituting any significant organizations, acquiring great worldly knowledge and academic distinctions or for exposition of great administrative excellence, his life was a true testament of his faith, humility and charity. Beyond the Church administration, he was a bishop concentrated more in celibacy, holy life and compassion to poor. He was a man revered by not only his community people but also by all with out any caste or class for which a befitting evidence is that the land for the Tabor Dayara was offered him by a Hindu leader. His blameless life, ascetic vigor and compassion to poor had attracted people of all religion.

    Very explicitly, the power of prayer is needed for the Church above all her excellences in its organization and governance in order to lay all the plans before God and to seek for a proper guidance and choices especially in the period of crisis as the prophet Samuel did behind the Kingdom of Israel. The tearful prayers of this saint, while sitting at a corner of the Pothenpara Dayara off Pampadi Town, was a great source of inspiration, courage and for providences from God for the Church and to all its layers of administration and leadership. He was a minister who considered hardship and suffering of this world as blessings from God. He had the vision of spirituality not to alleviate the hardships but to glitter in the hardships by Grace of God.

    This great sage of Tabor was born in the traditional Karingamattom family in Pezhamattam near Pampadi to Chacko of Moolakkara house and Ilichi of Veloor Vellikkottil house. The child was baptized and given the baptismal name as Kuriakose. He grew up in a very pious family, which had to undergo a lot of financial hardships. The family atmosphere and special prayer and worshipping practices at home had greatly strengthened young Kuriakose in his faith. As a child, Kuriakose was the apple of the eye to all in his village.

    At the age of five, as per the custom of that time, Kuriakose started his alphabetic education under the discipleship of Madathil Asan. That was an age in which it prevailed racial and occupational untouchabilty. Young Kuriakose was very compassionate with low caste people and he made very thick friendship with low caste and downtrodden co-students. It was his great fervency to carry coconut, sugar-candy, molasses etc. to the school and distribute it among his untouchable friends.

    Though his father desired Kuriakose to be a priest, he had great doubts whether he could afford even the dress-code and a decent living for his son as a priest. Nevertheless, Kuriakose humbled himself, accepting the call from God and obliged to the desire of Mar Dionysius, to get ordained to the order of a priest. At the age of fourteen, Kuriakose was ordained to the first order of deaconate in February 1989 at Pampadi Church. Subsequently Dn. Kuriakose joined Old Seminary, Kottayam, for theological studies under the discipleship of Vattasseril Geevarghese Malpan and Madathil Alexander Malpan. He had learned Syriac language, preliminary theological lessons and sacramental procedures from this Seminary. As per the instruction of Malankara Metropolitan, the deacon had proceeded to Parumala Seminary for further theological studies. During that time, his father expired and the family plunged into an aggravated financial crisis.

    On July 8, 1906 Dn. Kuriakose was ordained as priest and on the very next day as a Ramban by Murimattom Paulose Mar Gregorios [Later raised as the First Catholicos] and consecrated the first holy Qurbana at Pampadi Church. Kuriakose Ramban started living at the Pampadi Church. During this time he initiated to renovate the Church building and annexed a small room to it. His modus of operandi for the construction work was that he first announces his desire and civil plan of construction after Sunday Parish service. On the very next day onward, a battalion of volunteers come to the site and starts collectively to do the work. Ramban will provide sufficient food to all for the full day. He was getting a lot of food item from the villagers as gift and all the food was distributed to them. His primary teacher Madathil Asan conducted a preliminary elementary school in the annexed room of the Church building. Ramban had great pleasure to provide sweets and noon food to all the children studied in that school.

    Further, Ramban Kuriakose was appointed by Mar Dionysius to assist the Manager Kallasseril Punnose Ramban [later consecrated as the Third Catholicos] at Parumala Seminary. His stay at Parumala with St. Gregorios had a great influence in his life to follow the footsteps of this saint to mature in his ascetic and prayerful life. Rambachen was assigned also to teach Syriac to the Deacons in the Seminary. In addition, he was engaged for drafting reply letters on behalf of Malankara Metropolitan. Ramban Kuriakose was blessed with a neat and beautiful curved italic handwriting in Syriac and Malayalam. He always used to write with a special feather pen dipping in ink. As a personal quality of Ramban, he was very prompt in writing his daily diary, which exposed his grandeur and discipline of his life.

    Ramban Kuriakose had the rare opportunity to consecrate holy Qurbana in Syriac as per the instruction of Mar Abdulla Patriarch and in his presence while the Patriarch was living in Old Seminary at Kottayam on a visit to Malankara. Also Ramban had the fortune to minister the ailing Catholicos Mar Basalios Paulose during his last days.

    As the Ramban wanted to detach himself from any worldly desire and wished to submit himself to God's will through prayer and contemplation, it was his great desire to build a small Dayara to seclude himself from the worldly personal attachments and to live a prayerful ascetic life of humility and devotion in the continuous presence of the Lord. However, finance was a great hindrance for fulfilling his dream. Understanding the desire of his disciple, his teacher Madathil Asan offered him a piece of land at the Pothenpara forest which was abode of even wild animals that time. With this offered land and with support of Cheriyamadthil Jacob Kathanar, with a great dedication in Lord, Ramban dug a well and constructed a small thatched cottage at this place as a Dayara. During the dawn, Ramban started the day's work without any money in his hand for paying the workers except his great confidence in Lord that there will be some way God will show before the day end. Very astonishingly on every day, some how or the other, Ramban received sufficient money to pay the workers for the day, out of the magnanimity of villagers who loved him and he loved them. Before moving to Dayara, Ramban took three days fasting prayer. He himself consecrated Dayara with the help of Cheriyamadam Jacob Kathanar. He moved to this unprovided and unfurnished Pothenpara Dayara and started living there.

    Ramban had many visitors to this remote Dayara. It was a practice of Ramban that he will not sent anybody from the Dayara without giving sufficient food irrespective of cast or creed of the visitor. Vattasseril Mar Dionysius visited the Dayara and he was the one who suggested the name of Dayara as Tabor.

    Ramban's faithful servant and steward was a deaf man who lived with him and attended him for more than 65 years. He was of extraordinary grasping power and of great devotion to his master. He was very normal except his deafness. This incapability was never a hindrance for communication as they fluently convened each other through sign language and gesture. This deaf man loved his master so much and considered the Dayara and its promises as his own. He had a great contribution for the horticultural uplifting of the Dayara premises, gardening and planting coconut trees and mango trees. He brought water from a distant pond for irrigating the trees. He was very bold to express his innocent views to his master and reciprocally Thirumeni was so affectionate to this deaf and granted him the full freedom in the Dayara. With the contact of this prayerful ascetic sage the deaf also was very pious with prayer, fasting and other sacred observances. Also this faithful servant had self-assumed faithfully and honestly the stewardship of the Dayara, especially to feed and satisfy all class and creed visitors, which was habit of Ramban from childhood.

    1929 Feb 16, Kuriakose Ramban was consecrated as a Bishop with title of Gregorios by Basalios Geevarghese II. He was the first Bishop consecrated by the third Catholicos as he himself was consecrated as the Catholicos only one day before this. It is noteworthy that the Amshavadi given to Kuriakose Mar Gregorios during the consecration was that which belonged to Parumala Mar Gregorios, the first saint of Malankara. As the life of Pampadi Mar Gregorios was also mostly in the same footsteps of the Great saint at Parumala, this heredity of the Amshavadi is to be considered as shawl inherited by Elisha from his master Elijah.

    The newly consecrated Metropolitan was given the charge of Kottayam Diocese. Also he was designated as the Guidance Consultant for the general activity of the Church, being the Trustee of the Catholicate Trust initiated in 1934. Church administration was not a big concern for this Yogi. However to administer he did not have any hesitation even. All were alike to him without any partiality and he did not bother to achieve any worldly qualifications, as his wisdom was the faith in God.

    Pampadi Thirumeni was very particular to observe the traditional sequences and to use lyrical wordings of all worshipping services. If anything went wrong any time, he grieved about it and corrected it. He was very strict in his tri-hour prayers, lent and fasting. All those who came in contact with him, had the great experience of their burdens of worldly life fanned off by the wind of the presence of this Godly man. It was a very special experience for each who came in contact with Thirumeni as he shared everybody's concerns and worries; helping, praying and inspiring them. He put the needs of all whom he meets before his own. He had setup a model for the compassion to all his co-beings. He shined as the champion of the poor. He considered the compassion to the poor as equal and most required as the prayer. Virtually he hungered to feed the hungry, denounced the luxuries to cloth others, and lived in a poor state to uplift the downtrodden, lived in huts to house the houseless and thrown away everything for everybody, exactly as the good Samaritan spent everything what he had to the wounded man he came across. He was a man who had done all his charity work hidden from the mass. However many who experienced of his warmth and compassion had reported many experiences with Thirumeni.

    Though he had gone through utter poverty in his childhood and faced with day-to-day hardships for the maintenance of the Dayara, Thirumeni had a strong faith in the providence from God for 'daily bread'. He never bothered to store anything for the next day, as he believed in true sense of the essence of Lord’s Prayer ‘give us our daily bread.' One day a poor harijan old lady approached in the Dayara and requested him some help for her one-day meal. However there was nothing available in the Dayara to give her, money or material, except the rice for the dinner. Thirumeni ordered his deaf servant to give the remaining rice to the old lady. The deaf being very practical and innocent and concerned about Thirumeni was defiant and informed Thirumeni that the rice available will only be sufficient for the day's dinner and that cannot be shared with the visitor. The servant vehemently opposed Thirumeni and kept adamant to his views. Eventually he was forced to oblige to his master and the full rice was given to the poor visitor. No sooner the poor lady left the Gate of Dayara, few people entered the gate with rice, vegetables, coconuts etc. enough for more than a week, as a share of some function in the house of a rich man of the village and send same to Thirumeni. This was a great witness even to his deaf steward about the assurance of the confidence and dependency on Lord.

    Another incident of his compassion is revealed through an incident reported. A beggar who used to beg around Pampadi Township collapsed on the road. Somebody had informed Thirumeni about this incident. Immediately, Thirumeni rushed to the Pampadi town and had seen the fainted man in the shed near the road and made arrangement to treat him and give all the help. However, the man died after few days. Thirumeni took hold of the corpse and brought the dead body to the Pampadi Valiya Church and buried there with full honour as his own churchman.

    He was helping many poor students for the studies with out informing anybody. His charity pattern was without trumpeting it in any way. Once a college student of Tiruvalla wrote Thirumeni about his difficulty for paying his fees. Thirumeni replied the boy that he will help him to pay the fees. Somehow Thirumeni forgot to arrange the fees till the last date. On the last date he suddenly remembered about his promise to the boy and sent a man personally to Tiruvalla to pay the fees in time.

    Once a beggar inflicted with leprosy came to Dayara for begging and stood under a tree near the gate. While seeing the beggar standing off, Thirumeni beaconed him to come into the Dayara. The leper was afraid to move forward. As he was hesitant to come near, Thirumeni went to the gate and caught hold of his hand and brought him inside the Dayara, seated him, gave food and followed him to bid him at the gate.

    Once a young man approached Thirumeni for some job or some help to maintain his family as he lost his job. Thirumeni had nothing with him to offer that man. Thirumeni searched around and as he could find anything to help that man, he told him to take the milking cow in the Dayara. But the man hesitated to take the cow, as it was the source of milk for the Dayara inmates. Then Thirumeni ordered his deaf servant to untie and give the cow to the man. Even then, the man was not ready to accept the cow. Eventually Thirumeni himself untied the cow and gave it to the man. Very reluctantly the man was forced to carry away the cow and the family was maintained by selling the milk of that cow.

    Once there was an epidemic plague in the Kunnamkulam area. He had rushed to Kunnamkulam and started serving the affected people and desired to live with them and extended all possible services and shown his willingness even to die with them. He visited house by house, prayed and extended all the helps to them. Many people prevented Thirumeni to go to the epidemic area. But nobody could prevent this human lover as he ventured and continued his services saying, 'Let me die if God will so'.

    Sermons given by Pampadi Thirumeni were awe inspiring and simple in nature. His main theme was to utilize with all materialistic blessings and abilities to love each other with out any boundaries or limit to all human. His preaching was well manifested by his own life pattern. He always reminded the people to be aware and conscious of four things: death, judgment, salvation and hell.

    Through his Kalpana and sermons he strongly condemned liquor addiction and desired to relieve the families from this social evil. Through his ecclesiastical letters and through Parish administrations, he identified all infected with mortal diseases or insanity, orphans, handicapped, poor widows etc. in the whole diocese and extended personalized services to each. He gave special instructions to all parish priest to visit the families and inform him of the about the needy ones.

    Once the Aprem Patriarch enquired about Pampadi Mar Gregorios to the Third Catholicos Mar Basalios Geevarghese II. The Catholicos, with out any hesitation, opinioned about Pampadi Thirumeni and told to the Patriarch that Mar Gregorios is the second in holiness at Malankara after Parumala Mar Gregorios. The spiritual strength gained by prayer, fasting and charity was the sole investment of Pampadi Thirumeni. During the service of Holy Unction given to Pampadi Thirumeny, Augen Mar Timoteos talked about him as a man fully lived heavenward while he lived physically in this world. He lived a life totally unaware about this world, and virtually he was travelling to heaven throughout his life time.

    He exposed same personality to poor, wealthy, low class, high class and all type of people and all kind. He did not have any type of discrimination to anybody. This was the very approach of his personality. Thirumeni had many poor visitors both Christians, non-Christians and that too, young and old. If any habitual visitor is missed to meet him for a day, he was keen to personally enquire about him.

    Due to severe fasting and night prayers, Thirumeni became sick before ageing. 1965 March he became sick and bedridden and hospitalized. Augen Mar Themotheos gave Holy Unction to Thirumeni. April 5, 1965 this great sage of Tabor breathed his last and his tomb is at Tabor Dayara.

    [Compiled for LOL by: Editor Dr. Rajan Mathew, Philadelphia, USA.]
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    Metropolitan Titus was concerned about the spiritual growth and health of the Church as much as he cared for institutional development in the form of schools and Church buildings. He encouraged the work of the Evangelistic Association in starting the Maramon Convention in 1896 on the extensive and pleasant sands of the Pampa River near Maramon church. With the Metropolitan's encouragement, the Evangelistic Association decided to extend its work outside Kerala.



    Metropolitan Titus was concerned about the spiritual growth and health of the Church as much as he cared for institutional development in the form of schools and church buildings. He was a parish priest for a long time in early life and he knew the need for pastoral care to be given the people. He encouraged the work of the Evangelistic Association in starting the Maramon Convention in 1896 on the extensive and pleasant sands of the Pampa River near Maramon church. At his invitation the CMS missionary Rev. T. Walker from Tinnevelly was a regular speaker at the Convention for about 15 years from 1900. Rev. Walker was a revival. Metropolitan Titus was very regular in his attendance at the Convention seating himself with the clergy and eing in touch with the speakers.

    There was another spiritual revival in 1908, which was created by the revivalist preaching of a simple, devout and invigorating preacher from Maramon, Punchamannil Mammen Upadesi. Metropolitan gave all the encouragement to the Upadesi and gave him Episcopal authority to preach in the parishes of the Church, which he did energetically for many years as he had a long life span. Mammen Upadesi had an excellent memory and he mastered the Bible so thoroughly that he could remember any verse from the Bible and quote its context. Mr. K.N. Daniel was the editor of Church journal "Sabha Tharaka" and he gave favorable and encouraging reports of revivalism.

    The administration of the Mar Thoma Church in the days of Metropolitans Mathews Mar Athanasios was in the total control of the Metropolitan and it was customary to have informal consultations with the senior clergy and laity before any major decision was taken by the Metropolitan. During the days of Thomas Mar Athanasios a clergy council was started and it marked the beginning of the democratization of the Church. Metropolitan Titus encouraged the idea of forming a Church Management Committee and a General Consultative Assembly [Samudaya Alochana Sabha]. The Assembly elected the Management Committee from the clergy and laity and the chairman was the Metropolitan. The first meeting of the Management Committee was held in 1896 and the members were:

    Vicar General Ipe Thomma Kathanar Punnathra Chadapilla Kathanar (Thazhath Achen), Pattamukkil Yakob Kasissa Palakunnathu Titus Kasissa (later Saffragan Metropolitan) Cherukara Philipose Kasissa, Mr. Pallipatt Kattilparampil Varghese, Mr. Kurichiath Puthenpurakal Iyttiyera, Mr. Thannikal Edavamvelil Mathai Mr. Polachirakal Kochummen, Mr. Pulimoottil Thomas.

    So it was a joint clergy and laity set-up and in discussions the contributions by the laity was as effective as that of the clergy. So the democratic process had started in 1896 and continued to develop unhindered. As mentioned in the previous chapter the Mar Thoma Evangelical Association was started by a group of 12 of which ten were lay people. In the sub-committees of the Management committee, laity and clergy were nearly equally represented. In spite of the democratization of the management there was no organized administrative set-up. There was no Church office. Metropolitan’s residence was the Church office and his secretaries were the only central Church employees. Still the process of democratization progressed and all the problems were discussed and decided y the Management Committee. The important decisions of the Management Committee were submitted to the General Assembly for approval. The Vicar General Kovoor Achen piloted the democratic process and sometimes he took the chair in the Metropolitan's absence.

    Similarly the General Assembly (Samudaya Alochana Sabha which later became the Sabha Mandalam) proceeded with its function as the parliament of the Church. The assembly was held in 1896. The second meeting of the Assembly was held in the same year and the Assembly approved the decision of the Management Committee to consecrate Palakkunnathu P. J. Titus Kasissa as Saffragan Metropolitan. The same meeting decided to appoint the Vicar of the Elanthoor Church, Puthenveettil Thomas Kasissa as the second Vicar General. The Assembly in 1990 delegated some of the decisions to Committee of 24.

    Metropolitan Titus was conscious of his indifferent health, which continued to decline in spite of the extra care he had been taking. He was called to lead the Church at a most difficult stage in its history. He had been coping with the heavy burden boldly. So he had been voicing the need to consecrate a Saffragan and a successor. All the Church leaders, laity and clergy council nominated P.T. Titus Kasissa, youngest son of Joseph, the younger brother of Metropolitan Mathews Mar Athanasios. At the meeting of the General Assembly in 1897, the nomination was accepted and the date of his consecration as Ramban at Maramon church and consecration as Bishop at Puthenkavu Church, which was a church shared with the Jacobites. It was decided to invite the Metropolitan of Thozhiyur Church to share in the consecration service with Metropolitan Titus. The holy liturgy of Consecration Service was led by Metropolitan Titus and shared with the Thozhiyur Metropolitan with all the sanctity and sobriety of the ceremony. The Mar Thoma parishes from Kunnamkulam to Kottarakara sent their representatives. The new Saffragan was given the Episcopal title of Titus II. The whole of Mar Thoma Church rejoiced as the fear was removed of being orphaned if the health of Metropolitan Titus I were to fail suddenly. The various parishes were anxious to have the visits from the two Bishops, the Metropolitan and Suffragan, Titus I and Titus II. During such visits to the churches the Metropolitan gave the sermon in his inimitable style.

    Reverting to M.T. Seminary at Kottayam, The Seminary was directly under the supervision of the Metropolitan. As it fell into debt, the stalwart Thazhath Achen, Chempakanallur Dr. Kochuthommen, Munsiff Palur M. Varkey and Chakkalayil Abraham formed into a support group and strengthened its finances. After the consecration of the Suffragan Metropolitan he was asked to take over the responsibility, which he did zealously. He decided to construct the school buildings as planned some years ago. Resources were limited and so he went to Mallappally and bought from the government trees for building. He had to have the trees cut, sawn into timberof the required sizes and transported to Kottayam by boat and bullock-carts. This was a Herculian task, which managed with youthful vigour and enthusiam, ably assisted y the veteran Kizhekkethalakal Mathen Achen. So in 1910 they were able to inaugurate the new uildings of the M.T. Seminary at a public meeting graced by Dr. Gill, the Anglican Bishop.

    In Tiruvalla the S.C Seminary School was under the management of the Evangelistic Association, with C.P. Philipose Kasissa as secretary. People with financial means came forward to help and a beautiful two-story school building was completed. The school got a government grant of four thousand rupees, a large sum in those days, which also helped. The local supporters included Kandathil Kocheepan Mappila, V. Varkey Vakil, Kovoor Iype Vakil, Pulimoottil A. Thomas, Thengummannil T.C. Oommen and they all made valuable contributions. The British Resident, R.C.C. Carr, inaugurated the new building in 1908. The Management Committee of the Church took the decision to start a Seminary at Kottarakara; but it did not come to fruition during the reign of Metropolitan Titus I.

    When Metropolitan Titus I began his reign there were two strands of theological thought in the Church. There was a section under the leadership of Vicar General Kovoor Achen which was of the opinion that there was no need for further reformation and who might be termed as the conservative wing of reformists. The older clergy like Thazhath Achen supported this school of thought. There was another wing under the leadership of Cherukara C.P. Philipose Kasissa. Most of younger clergy who studied at CNI Theological School under Archdeacon Palmer, who was an Anglican Low Church thinker, supported the latter group.

    The Church journal "Malankara Sabha Tharaka" was started during the days of Metropolitan Thomas Mar Athanasios I. "Tharaka" had a chequered history. Titus authorized Mr. K.N. Daniel as editor and publisher. Thereafter the "Tharaka" was published regularly in which leaders of the Church like Vicar General Kovoor Achen, Mr. C. P. Thomas, Mr. K.K. Kuruvilla and Mr. T.C. Varkey contributed scholarly articles affirming the faith of the Church and explaining it to the readers.

    With the Metropolitan's encouragement, the Evangelistic Association decided to extend its work outside Kerala. The Indian National Missionary Society (NMS) was formed in 1905 and the Evangelistic Association joined the Society and secured a seat in its central committee. The Association agreed to take over from the NMS the mission field in Karwar, Karnataka.

    There were two disastrous mishaps at the time of Metropolitan Titus I. He had his residence in the annexe of the Maramon Church. The then church building was constructed around 1441. It was considered safe and the Metropolitan used to walk around the annexe. One day in June 1907, the church building collapsed with a loud bang. The people in the neighborhood heard the noise and rushed to the church. To their amazement the Annexe where the Metropolitan was staying was intact and he was unharmed.

    Then he moved to S.C. Seminary and took up residence in the old wing, which was thatched. The new residential building accommodated the school boarders. One night the boarders saw that the old building was on fire, which could flare up as it was thatched and it was dry season. The students, teachers and neighbors rushed to the scene. They put out the fire and woke up the Metropolitan, and he rescued his books and other possessions. The pious Metropolitan said a prayer thanking God for his miraculous escape and the bravery of his rescuers, particularly the young boarders. He then moved to the large hall in the new buildings where he set up his permanent Episcopal residence. The authorities in Travancore, including the Maharajah, became very concerned about the incident as arson was surmised the likely cause. But the Metropolitan requested the authorities not to prosecute the suspected culprits. He said he would pray to God to forgive the culprits. This sort of compassion and evangelistic spirit was innate in him, and it had a big impact on the people.

    Metropolitan had been suffering from diabetes for many years. The treatment for diabetes had not been developed then. Insulin was unknown as also the need for diet control in arresting the progress of the disease. Bishop Gill of Anglican Church came to see him and remarked, "In spite of the excruciating pain he was having, his right face was a moving sermon in itself". Metropolitan used to tell his visitors that he was going to a beautiful home. "So I say good-bye to you. Please do not pray for my recovery but pray for the mitigation of my pain".

    There was a flare-up of the Metropolitan's illness in October 1909. On that day, when the Saffragan Metropolitan, all the senior clergy of the Church and his two elder brothers were by his bedside, he passed away peacefully.

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