[Diocesan Metropolitan of Madras Diocese, Malankara Orthodox Church]

A consistent prayer life is one of the most important agenda of planning the family. The family who pray together stay together. Whatsoever you would like that men should do to you, do you even so to them. Our Lord's words were of great comfort, solace and great hope of consolation. Choosing the good part is the luck of our life. The consolation word of Jesus will be accomplished in us when we have a master-in-charge of life.


When we hear the phrase 'Planning the Family', the immediate thought that comes to our mind is the planning for less number of children in the family as a measure of population control. But planning of family have a very wider perspective especially in case of Christian families. Planning of a family is the process of setting up the roadmap to find resources for godly living, to equip the members to better serve God and the society and to establish physical, mental and spiritual intimacy in a modern world. A good planning for the family pave the way for values and principles that promote the integrity of Christian family life.

In English we use two words to refer our dwelling place - House or Home. Home is more near to heart. There should be a special relationship at home. Our dwelling places should not be debased as a holding place for the members or a base camp for night sleep and quick food. It is not storage of our cloths, books and other personal belongings. It should be a place to learn, apply, and teach Christian values to live in and to know Christ more intimately.

In the modern world raising a family may be the most exciting and fulfilling adventure of our life providing security for our loved ones. As a matter of fact, Family Financial Planning is a very important aspect of the family for a contented life centered in Christ and to avoid potential crisis and conflicts. A honest and open communication is an essential need in the family planning for the integrity of the family.

A consistent prayer life is one of the most important agenda of planning the family. The family who pray together stay together. Moments of family prayer are wonderful faith-sharing opportunities. Christian home is the central institution of society and it needs a great planning and schedule for prayer life. A life focused by prayer is a life that will be tuned in to God's love and care. In the same way, a family who eat together also live together. Eating together and keeping an open dialog in a family is also right at the top of the priorities of family planning for a sense of security and intimacy and it keeps every member to grow closer and understand one another better and better.

Our Lord talked on the shore of Galilee, in very simple language about very common family and various matters concerning the family. Speaker neither had any pulpit to raise Him nor any microphone to amplify His voice. The listeners did not have any shelter to sit and hear Him. The people sat down on the hot sand shore and speaker spoke from a boat or a mountain. As His talk was deeply concerned with their own day-to-day life, they heeded and listened Him very keenly and attentively. His words were of consolation and He healed their sicks.

It is an innate desire of every human that others should love him or her. Whatsoever you would like that men should do to you, do you even so to them. This was the great rule of justice laid down to achieve our own desire. The golden rule of equity is, to do to others as we would like they should do to us. Many people grumble that they are not being loved or cared by others. As we must bear the same affection to our neighbor we will be returned with fulfillment of our desire to be loved by others.

Today, counseling is very common everywhere through which we look for professional advices to find the way out from the bottleneck in the course of our life. But Lord consoles us to have no thought of our worldly life. Living is our greatest concern for this world; all that a man will give for his life. Think neither about continuance nor about comforts of life. We must not be solicitous for food and raiment or any thought for the morrow, as fowls of the air sow not; neither do they reap but the heavenly Father feeds them. These all were words of great comfort, solace and great hope of consolation. Our Lord's promise is that the consolation which He give is real and true and not like that given by the world. It is a great hope which cannot be attained by any radical or fundamental circumstances.

What is the real blessing or luck in our life? Getting the good part is the luck of our life. There is no need but of one thing and Mary had chosen this good part, nobody can never take it away from her. There is great need of one heart to attend upon the word of God than being concerned and troubled about many worldly things. Mary made her right choice for sitting at Christ’s feet, to hear His words. Jesus exhorts us to take His yoke upon us, and learn of Him; for He is meek and lowly in heart: and we shall find rest unto our souls.

The contemporary society is facing a great crisis about family matters. The divorce cases are tremendously growing. Many people suicide for flimsy reasons. It is a mere cowardliness to run away from life. The Church has a great mission to work for the society at this juncture. The anointed ones should be prepared to shed tears in prayer for people. They should have a consoling and healing touch. Earth is a symbol of endurance as the mother is also totally enduring. In the same terms, Church also should be enduring. It should be as holy as earth. It is very painful that our purity and culture are being lost. "Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach." [Joel 2:17]

The forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist had come to this word to reconcile between the families. This ministry is very important in our age, as the families have been breaking away. He was the prophet came to this world to enjoin the generations. Hearing his voice in the wilderness, many people from Jerusalem, and all Judea and the entire region round about Jordan came to him and asked him; 'What shall we do?' A similar question Saul asked Jesus when He appeared to him in brightness of the day light; 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' We should originate a culture of worship. Everybody got ample opportunities in their life. One should make use of these opportunities. Psalmist talks of it; 'For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.' [Psalms 32:6] In the parable of the talents, Jesus talk of two type of people, one who well made use of their talents and the other who neglected their talents. In the Old Testament we see a man who had misused his opportunity - Samson. He lost his freedom, eyesight, dignity and everything in life; eventually he pleaded to God; "Lord, give me one more a chance".

The consolation word of Jesus will be accomplished in us when we have a master-in-charge of life. The kingdom of heaven is the realm where God live as the King. We read in the Old Testament that in those days as there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. It was the lack of a leadership. We need a president for our family too. Jesus should be the head of our family. Having a master is not lack of freedom. Freedom is not that we enjoy everything available. True freedom is the courage to say 'No' to certain things. Freedom has its own responsibilities too. Freedom should have boundaries. God is the only one to have a boundless freedom. Good choices lead to the victory of our life.

Another face of the consolation is hope and expectations. The hope of the righteous is gladness and the desire of the devout is always for good. Favorable and confident expectation is one of the main elements of Christian character. Hope is an essential and fundamental promise of Christian life and Christ is the actual object of the believer's hope.

[Extract from Message delivered at Kallooppara Convention 2005 - Reported By Cherian John and Alex Pothen]
Original in Malayalam : Translated by Editor Dr. Rajan Mathew Philadelphia, USA
Back HomeTop
EmailEmail this Link to a Friend FeedbackSend Your Feedback


Death is a healing which most of us normally do not wish to happen in our earthly lives even though it is one thing certain in all forms of life. When our Lord was praying “let Thy will be done” and “in your hands I deliver my spirit”, he was welcoming death to his physical being. For a Christian believer, the angel of death is a healer. It is better to be with our Lord rather than suffering in this world. External life is our destiny, promised and purchased by the blood of our Lord.

For the last two months I could not write my usual cover- page editorial, because I was intensively involved with the breast cancer of my spouse who passed away about a month back after twelve years of constant battle with this treacherous and insurgent disease. Being a Christ-centered Christian who believed in divine healing with or without medicine, prayers were offered by hundreds of people from various denominations over in USA as well as in India for a total physical healing. But in the end instead of the expected kind of healing, death of the body took place which I think that it was a healing of a different nature; freedom from the suffering and struggle due to cancer!

Death is a healing which most of us normally do not wish to happen in our earthly lives even though it is one thing certain in all forms of life. In other words, the only certainty in our human life is physical death! When my mother was terribly suffering from bone cancer, completely bed ridden for a long time, I prayed for a total physical healing or for the death and the good Lord answered by death. I did the same thing when my wife was intensively and exhaustively suffering, and the Lord was pleased to call her to eternal home. Recently a friend of mine told me that she too was praying hard to take her old bed-ridden mother (who was wired with tubes and other life-prolonging attachments) who has terribly suffering for a long time and she said that her prayers was answered through death.

When our Lord was praying “let Thy will be done” and “in your hands I deliver my spirit”, he was welcoming death to his physical being. Jesus Christ during his earthly life, he was very sure of his suffering and painful death, and welcomed it without any fear. He even instructed about his death to the disciples even though they could not comprehend while he was alive on earth. Apostle Paul in one of his letters said that he would like to be with the Lord on the other side of this life if possible, but he desired to live in this world to continue and complete his mission of helping the young churches. He never feared death and welcomed it in its due course.

Death brings an end when the body and mind are suffering excruciating pain and agony, when the patient is a burden to himself or herself, and to the people who take care of the sick. When there is no possible healing, death is a great and meaningful healing. When the existence on this planet becomes meaningless and purposeless, death is a liberator. Once we finish our goals and purpose in life, death is a welcoming guest. It brings an end to the misery of life. For a Christian believer, the angel of death is a healer. It is better to be with our Lord rather than suffering in this world.

External life is our destiny, promised and purchased by the blood of our Lord. Death is the door through which we exit from this world to the promised mansion prepared for us by our blessed redeemer in our heavenly father’s kingdom. The spirit of that living Lord, who dwells within a Christian, counsels and helps the believer to go through this gate of death. Death heals and strips us from all the miseries, worries, sickness, and problems of earthly life. On the other side we will not become sick nor suffer. On the day of resurrection, we the believers in Christ Jesus, will be clothed with a new spiritual body which will never be subjected to death, disease or decay. Oh, Christian believer, how blessed are you in Jesus Christ? Do not wait for death, but when it comes, welcome it with thanks and praise. Oh, Death you have no victory over a redeemed Christian. Amen

Back HomeTop
EmailEmail this Link to a Friend FeedbackSend Your Feedback



The best recipe at an younger stage of a child for gathering wisdom is to teach him how to worship the Lord our Creator. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Correcting others by speaking to him has been a Christian value so far, but it becomes slander and mud slinging in the latest culture of false prestige. Great people never betray their conscience because such souls carve out the destiny of theirs as well as those who depend on them.

The word ‘adulation’ means to flatter basely for benefiting something from others. Even God invites praise and glory from His creations, then what to speak of human beings who are bundled with the magnetism of flesh and blood. Every person is ingrained with the overweening ambition of excelling or overtaking others in honour, victory and achievements. The commandment of ‘Honour your mother and father’ given by God to the Israelites is a reminder for the glorification that is to be raised every minute as incense sent to the Creator. Man who is created in the image and likeness of God also expects that his children, dependants and friends adore him without criticizing and rebelling against. This is what we call ‘respect’ that is to be expressed at every vista of life, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, ethnicity, young or old. “ Pujya pujjayathi vathikramam shreyassukalle thaddangidum” (Unless giving honour to whom it is due, it will obstruct our growth and maturity in every field of life). Giving respect to others is a sign of self-respect in every respect. We have to honour the parents, respect woman for being the mother of mankind and love and help the young ones, for they are to be the ideal parents and citizens of tomorrow.

Life is a process of growing up gradually. During the different stages to maturity requires various nutrition and fertile soils for nurture and care. If one has to grow to maturity, he has to be conditioned in tune with every stage of development. I remember to have written somewhere about the Indian prescription of treating a child up to the age of 5 like a prince, then to the age of 16 like a servant, a friend thereafter. These are the stages of character development.

Cajoling, care and nurture is needed while during infancy, but praise and flattery in the next stage is a bribery for one’s destruction. One becomes an unripe fruit when character injection is not given when it is due in the second stage of one’s existence. “ Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” -Pro.22: 6; 29: 17. The best recipe at this stage is for gathering wisdom is to teach him how to worship the Lord our Creator. “ The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” Pro.1: 7. The friendly status is a psychological injection for confidence and attachment in the next chapter of one’s life. “ Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you” -Pro.4: 24. In all stages of one’s life, to give etiquette, decorum, honour and respect to others are a sign of human dignity shown to others who are the creations of our Father in Heaven. When one accepts the Fatherhood of God, automatically he entails the spirit for the brotherhood of man.

Attaining of assumed physical maturity for a man at the age of 16 means only the budding stage of mental development. Life is a book that has to be studied chapter-by-chapter and line-by-line at every stage or moments of one’s life. ‘Don’t say lie’ is one of the Mosaic commandments. One must have clear-cut understanding that flattery has so many cumbersome repercussions and negativities both for the flatterer and the flattered, as in the case of Jesus who was betrayed by Judas. “ Judas, will you betray the son of man with a kiss” -Lk.22: 48. Kissing one for death has been the tool used to be the destruction of the assumed enemies. This sort of slaughter by flattery is used in politicking in national and international treacherous politics, even in the holy church politics of today. Any institution is a marketing venue where treachery and lechery is the commodity that are transacted because correcting others is unethical in the present climate of individualism and personal privacy act.

Correcting others by speaking to him has been a Christian value so far, but it becomes slander and mud slinging in the latest culture of false prestige. The judiciary is the only tongue that can determine the truthfulness of an issue, only if it is reported by the police or similar bodies. We are living in a new culture of deceptive and artificial freedom; nobody has the right to correct another person. When this currency of correcting an individual by Christian ethics has vanished, gossips, sarcasm, intrigues and all such irrational and unethical methods that multiply tensions and sense of independence have become the lingua-franca of an intellectual culture that sabotages the real personality of an individual. The modern man thus has become a slave of his own suppressed passions and agonies that converted him to be synonym of multiplicities and duplicities of personalities.

As the modern man has become a product of stifled personalities that make him a walking grave, his behaviour and reactions become unpredictable and easily mutable. In one phrase, the modern ape-man is a psychological abortion. Blandishment is an art for some who want to fish in troubled waters. Many great men have become unripe fruits because of this art prescribed at the wrong time, meaning at one’s growing up stage. Many others have fallen from the pinnacle of their glory; king Solomon is a classical example. Life is a competitive racecourse; success comes only at the last moment of the race. The best recipe for the destruction of a man is praise and flattery.

Rebuking a person for one’s faults requires strong nerves. John the Baptist had the courage to reprove king Herod who cultivated amorous relationship with his brother’s wife. This cannot be an everyday life prescription because the Baptist was the forerunner of the Messiah whose aim in life was to be a sacrifice for the redemption of man. Prophet Nathan talked face to face to King David who committed serious crimes and repented; the proof is Psalm 51. Either the chastiser can save a person from debauchery or he can lose his own head. Persons who have made history are brave souls who wade through adverse circumstances by the convictions that they received by their sufferings or good discipleship. Flattery is the coward’s art of adulating others for immediate gains.

Great people never betray their conscience because such souls carve out the destiny of theirs as well as those who depend on them. This world is not a sanctuary either for the noble or for the wicked because they are likely to meet untimely and unnatural death. This world is a paradise for the mediocre because they know how to oscillate between the extremes. Hitler and Mussolini were butchers of mankind, whereas Buddha, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Mandela are the saviours or liberators of the storm -tossed from the gluttony of servitude. Jesus and his apostles were the ones who liberated billons from the sloth of multiple kinds of sins. These are the fruits of chastisements and adulations. Flattery is murder, whereas reproof is creation. I remembered to have been chastised by my friend for signing a petition against my college principal; group therapy of bringing down people to our foot is not a congenial weapon, talk to them directly that sometimes may cost our position and honour. The next day I cancelled my name from the petition.

To support a corrupt system or individual is suicidal, whereas to object the evil practice that needs steel nerves is beneficial to many in the long run. God sends such people for the deliverance of the oppressed from time to time. We should emulate their footprints, not the people who organize political or union group therapies for temporary financial gains. People are ashamed of malefactors adoring others in the religious venues, whereas they bite them at their backs and making intrigues against them. It is a pity that the local and international politics has denigrated to the level of wiping out entirely the integrity of man who was adorned with God’s honour and glory. The treachery and lechery of politics and the sex slavery imposed upon the vulnerable are all signals of the absence of dignity of man that only can build a healthy and moral society. When our eyes are on wealth and the glamour of high- life, the art of adulation is the best panacea.

Christian Religious Venues And Institutions:
I write this not to irritate anybody but to convey a principle, which I believe that everyone may agree with. Priesthood is a vocation and its field of activity is beyond the horizons. People who are called for this vocation should work to their maximum in tune with the talents that they received. “ Petty done and undone vast” is the actual reality of this field; otherwise we would have produced numberless saints in our land. As this is not a reality of our everyday life, our praise and glory of individuals only end up in flattery that become a naked sin at the end of the day. Wherever we congregate together, whether in parish or church level, we are bombarded with adulations, praise and sycophancy, particularly targeted at the clergy.

No priest of today is immune from criticism, accusations and complaints by a section of people. If I give a good opinion about a priest, another 5 persons are there with gnashing of teeth to refute my claim. It has become a parish culture to adore a priest by the section of our laity, while another section writes complaints and demand for the transfer of the vicar. This happens because holy politics in one form or another polarizes our parishes. As one person puts it, ‘ the ghost of a transferred priest remains there for haunting it on the incoming vicar/s” because the quality of politics is the one that makes or break a parish.

Even if the vicar is transferred, he won’t be left alone because he will be invited, consulted for unwanted gossips, like celebrations, baptism, matrimony as if the transferred priest were having no flock or such celebrations in his own present parish. Thus our parish life has become the stronghold of money gambling that brings the peril of our spirituality. As our clergy has become a product of such unholy alliances, everything that relates to religiosity has disappeared. If one wants to shower the flowers of adulations, do it after one’s death, otherwise it turns out to be the death of one’s soul- unripe fruits- before the death of his body frame. Instead of corrupting a person by adulation, make constructive criticisms so that one gets more room for correcting his approach and attitude. Before giving constructive opinions subjective criticism is a pre-requisite.

Internet religion and spirituality are also the nurseries of these detrimental politics. It is a channel by which our birthday wishes that are abominable in real spirituality are exchanged, even to the bishops, just as the cart is put in front of the horse. The clerical hierarchy is the one who is commissioned to bless us in our worship and outside. But a new infertile spirituality has budded in where the laity is wishing or blessing the clergy. What a contradiction that germinates only ‘ in end of days’. Leave them alone because it is otherwise a spiritual murder. Ordinary people who become shepherd in their early 20s without having any hard experience or noble sufferings or meditative life become a prey of predating flattery. Just a fortnight ago I read the message of a priest praising and adulating his diocesan bishop to an unduly extent. If our priests and lay people were of this extemporary status, our church and parish culture would have been the synonym of Paradise. I genuinely believe that such glorification of individuals is only either for some gains already received from those people or waiting to be received from them.

There are many parishes that are juggling with some intractable problems of ‘hosanna on Sunday’ and ‘crucify on Friday’ of few clerics. An experienced priest has put it this way. “The modern clergy is a curse to the church”. A couple of social elites see that the parish is their notorious stronghold of making their name and power and for their families. Thinking that such opportunities are favorable to these young priests, they dance to the tune of these miscreants. Thus the real estate politics and commercialized spirituality are the brainpower of parishes and churches. For getting some favour from the clergy, these miscreants double Achan’s salary and make some innovations with the help of youngsters who are dragged into it. When they taste the sweetness of power, they cling together to the tune of their ‘ masters’. Despite such vicars make some enemies, they thrive by diplomatic moves and underhand methods.

Some people use these vicars for personal benefits and power, and the vicars rape the parish for their personal benefits. It is a shame to attend such meetings where the clergy and the committee members are portrayed as role models who are exhibited as walking angels on earth. The more they raise them to the horizon; they pull them down to the gutter when their aims are achieved. It becomes imperative ultimately for the bishop to intervene. In some cases Achens get transfer, some priests obey the bishop, but some others go to other denominations for attending the Sunday mass in different churches, together with some of their flock, without honouring the transfer given by the metropolitan. Which will be such clerics’ tomorrow’s church, parish, hierarchy and flock? This is how the clergy and the flock fleeing away from one church to the other. Who is responsible? Our social elites who wants to play football in our parishes drive them away to other folds. Such handful of so-called ‘ believers’ perverts and hijacks everything to their personal glory. When religion becomes the nerve center of a handful of social lunatics, the fallout is upon the majority believers and the parish. Remember that how many monks or saints have fallen from their grace at the flick of a moment by fictitious praise that ends in various maladies. No wonder how Judas dug his own grave. “ This man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and his bowels gushed out”- Acts.1: 18.

The moral of the lesson is that don’t flatter people, particularly the church hierarchies because our piety solely depend on the religiousness of our clergy who has the authority in praying for the forgiveness of our sins. Leave the clergy alone for doing their assigned job entrusted upon by the Spirit of God.

Back HomeTop
EmailEmail this Link to a Friend FeedbackSend Your Feedback



When Lord speaks to us, do not defend by our self. Though we look to be religious and spiritual, there may be some disguise in us. Only Lord knows us fully our in and out. Judas was always with company of Jesus and His disciples for His entire public mission, but nobody except Jesus knew that he is the one going to betray Jesus. Our sin will find discover our self.

What was the sin of Judas Iscariot? The basic cause under-lied in the life of Judas to commit this sin was same thing very common in many of us. We will draw our attention to mainly three important aspects of this.

  1. Disguise
  2. Defense
  3. Indifference

Judas thought himself that he was doing all right things. He had attended all the Prayer Meetings. He was involved in the Mission Outreach. He witnessed all the Miracle Crusades of Jesus Christ. He was with Jesus when He traveled with His disciples. But, nobody thought that Judas Iscariot will betray Jesus. Not only he did good things, but also he was in fellowship with good people. He was singing and praying along with the other disciples.

We see in the Gospel according to St. John Chapter 12, 3-6 verses, that Mary took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. But Judas Iscariot said, 'Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred Denari and given to poor people?'. It is also mentioned here that it was not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief. Here it reveals that Judas was in disguise. Jesus was not impressed with Judas’ suggestion. The Holy Scripture teaches us that God look to our inner heart.

There was a fancy-dress competition for adults. One of the participants dressed like Satan. He was wearing a black gown and his hair was made to stand erect. He put a lot of make-up. He was driving from his home to the auditorium. On the way his vehicle broke down. He stopped the vehicle on the side of the road. All on a sudden it started it started to rain heavily. He was embarrassed wit his dress and wanted to hide himself from the crowd. He entered into the nearest building, but it was a Church. That time a Bible Study Class was going on in that Church. When the people in the Church saw this satanic figure they started to run away in panic. He did not know why the people are running. In the midst, an old lady had fallen down entangling on her dress. When he approached her to help her she started shivering. He told her, 'I am coming to this Church for past 25 years. All the time I was standing very near to you.' But in his disguise she could not recognize him.

In all Churches there may be Judas Iscariots. But we cannot recognize him in his disguise. Jesus only can recognize them. We may be participating in the worship, we may be listening to the sermons, we many be doing many good things, but Jesus tells us that we are pretending and in disguise.

This is not only disguise but also an act of defense. Judas had many opportunities to correct his ways. At every stage Jesus had warned Judas about his lifestyle. However other disciples did not know, what was happening. If they knew about it Judas could not have stand with them. We all may have many things which God only know and not known publicly. Compassionate God gives us chances to repair ourself. He always long for our repentance and come back.

Whenever Jesus told him that he is going to betray the Son of Man, Judas tried to defend himself saying that it is not he. When God speaks to us about our life, do not defend ourself. Bible tells us, 'Your sin will find you out'. While opening a new Highway for the public use, the city police announced that the driver of hundredth car, which enter into the highway, would receive a special prize. The High was opened and when the hundredth car entered, the police stopped the driver and told him; 'Congratulations, you won the prize.' They handed over the prize to him. Press people assembled there asked him, what is he going to do with the prize money. The driver immediately retorted that with that money he would arrange for his driver's license. His wife who was sitting at the side got angry and told the Police Officer that her husband is drunk and he does not know what he is talking. His father who was behind him, with knowing what is happening there told his son; 'I told you that you cannot escape with the stolen car.' When all the truths came out, the Police took back the Prize and fined the driver.

We might be well appreciated for our good works, but when the truth is known where we will stand. Jesus Christ is coming soon. How long we can pretend and be in disguise? How long we can defend ourself? If not today, tomorrow our sin will find us out.

In St. John's Gospel Chapter 13, Verse 21 we see what happened to Judas next. 'When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.' Jesus was troubled in while he disclose the betrayal of Judas. But Judas was not at all concerned about it. This indifference of Judas was the third cause for his sin.

God goes on giving chances to us. Judas had not an overnight decision. Jesus knew it very well and He warned in him many times. But Judas had chosen from the very beginning the way of pretension, defense and indifference. God had chosen Judas also to be with Him like all the other disciples. The scripture tells the word of our Lord; "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?' [St. John 6:70].

It was not only the night; it was the last night of his life. This was just day after Lord told them that He is the light of this world. Those who live in Him live in light and there will not be any darkness in us. On the next day morning, Judas repented himself, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, went and hanged himself. We do not see a true repentance in Judas. True repentance is a mutual contract of not repeating the sin. Judas knew that his Lord loves still he died himself. He knew that his Lord is a forgiving Lord; he did not make use of His mercy.

Life is given to us not to end ourself but it is given for eternal living. In the Acts of Apostle it is mentioned that Judas went to the place where he belonged. Jesus promised us that He had gone to make place for us. Only those who give room for God when he lives in this world only can have a room in eternity.

[Speech delivered at Maramon Convention-2005]
Back HomeTop
EmailEmail this Link to a Friend FeedbackSend Your Feedback


Arch Bishop Most Rev. Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, who had committed himself for self-negation and total submission to Lord was a man of reverence for his distinctive personality, rare genius and prayer life. He had reformed the hermitage of the Indian Church on the footsteps of the rishis of ancient Indian culture. His life of sacrifice and prayer had been beacon for many souls.


Arch Bishop Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, who had committed himself for self-negation and total submission to Lord was a man of reverence for his distinctive personality, rare genius and prayer life. With his great conviction that an educated and cultured young generation might pave the way for contemplation of real mission work, he acted as a visionary of education in Kerala. Inspired by ancient Indian traditions of Sanyas, he could succeed to establish an ascetic order based on Christian faith. He accepted women into sisterhood and ordained them for a life of dedication. He had reformed the hermitage of the Indian Church on the footsteps of the rishis of ancient Indian culture. He attired Christian worship with a new spiritual aura true to Indian tradition. His life of sacrifice and prayer had been beacon for many souls.

Arch Bishop Mar Ivanios was born into the reputed Panickar family in Mavelikkara as son of Thomas Panickar and Annamma, daughter of Areeppurathu Mathai Asan of Pallickal near Kayamkulam on September 21, 1882 which happened to be the Feast of St. Mary. The child was named as George. Baby George was baptized at the Puthiyakavu Jacobite Church given with a baptismal name as Geevarghese. He was known in the family and in his village by a pet name 'Kochukeevarchan'. Skariah Kathanar, brother of Thomas Panickar, a devoted priest who embraced celibacy was a great inspiration for Kochukeevarchan to grow in the Grace of God with a prayerful, fasting life style and to make up his mind for the full dedication of his life in service of God.

There were many instances in the life of young Kochukeevarchan for the experience of miraculous providential escape from dangers. As narrated by his autobiographers, one of the stories goes like this: Kochukeevarchan was of age less than four years. His home servant of Panickar house put the boy on the front beam of the bullock cart and started riding out. On the way, something frightened the oxen which turned out to be agitated and infuriated. With the violence of the oxen, the boy fell down on the road below the cart. The boy was lying just in front of the wheel few inches away to be stamped on. All on a sudden as a divine protection, the oxen suddenly stopped and stood still, so that the wheel of the cart did not run over Kochukeevarchan.

At the age of five, P.T. George was put in David Asan's local nursery school which was run at Asan's house itself. George learned the basic alphabets and minor mathematics there. Most of the village children of the school dropped out for helping their fathers in farming. Thomas Panickar, father of P.T. George also was wishing that his son being the elder in his house, to start helping him in the farming. But his mother earnestly desired that George should get higher education and he should be sent in priestly service. Skariah Kathanar earnestly supported the mother to fulfill her dreams. She had already dedicated her son in her prayers for the service of God especially as he was born on the nativity of St. Mary. Accordingly, P.T. George was enrolled in the Puthiakavu CMS English School for further preliminary education. George used to kneel down and pray at the Puthiakavu Jacobite Church on his way up and down from the school every day. With his brilliancy in studies, extraordinary courage and humble behavior, P.T. George became the apple of the eye of the teachers, schoolmates and all his villagers.

There is a strange incident reported by which the boy became well acquainted with then Malankara Metropolitan. One day Malankara Metropolitan Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dianasius had arrived at Puthiakvu Jacobite Church after sunset. Many people gathered in the Church to meet and to seek blessings from the Metropolitan. Metropolitan had come to the Church on a special mission and in this regard he wanted to meet the Veettinal Semmassan very urgently. Semmassan was living in a remote Vazhukattil village which was one mile away from Puthiakavu. Thirumeni had instructed that somebody may go to the house of Semmassan and bring him to the Church very urgently. It was undaring pitch-dark and raining heavily. Nobody of the crowd dared or ventured to go to Vazhukkattil during that odd hour of the night. All on a sudden a young boy of fourteen years old came forward and kissed Thirumeni's hand and confidently told that he will go and bring the Semmassan in the night itself. The boy went with a lantern to Vazhukkattil and brought Semmasan to Thirumeni. The boy was none other than P.T. George who became the Arch Bishop later.

Though P.T. George was first put to the local C.M.S. School in Mavelikara, later as per the instruction of Parumala Mar Gregorios, the first canonized saint of Malankara, he was transferred to the Government School, Kottackakom, Mavelikkara, when Thirumeni visited the Puthiakavu Jacobite Church. George completed fourth Form from that school with distinction having been a model student with merit in studies and with esteem cultured behavior.

Further higher studies in High School level remained a hurdle for George for many reasons. High school education, that time, was possible only at Kottayam which was 30 miles away from Puthiayakvu and there were no transportation facilities available between these two places except the slow unpowered boats. Living at Kottayam was too expensive that Panickar family was not able to afford. It was at that time, Pulikkottil Thirumeni visited Puthiakavu Church. Thomas Panicker presented Thirumeni of his desire to send his meritorious son for higher studies at Kottayam. Thirumeni was too glad to do something for that courageous boy whom he marked in his mind while he had very courageously brought the Veettinal Semmassan in the witching hours of the night during Thirumeni's earlier visit to the Church.

Pulikkottil Thirumeni had done all the arrangement for the higher studies of P.T. George at Kottayam. George joined M.D. Seminary High School at Kottayam in fifth Form in 1897. His accommodation was arranged by Thirumeni at the Old Seminary, Kottayam. At the instance of Pulikkottil Thirumeni, George's school name was changed in the school record to his baptismal name, P.T. Geevarghese. K.C. Mammen Mappilai was the Head Master of the school that time. P.T. Geevarghese turned out to be the best and most brilliant student of the M.D. Seminary High School and became the most admired of the Head Master K.C. Mammen Mappilai.

Immediately on passing Matriculation, Pulikkottil Thirumeni desired to ordain Geevarghese as a deacon. With consent of his parents and the home Parish at Puthiakavu, Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dianasius ordained P.T. Geevarghese to the order of deacon on January 9, 1900 in the presence of many priests and a big crowd of laity. Dn. Geevarghese continued his higher education at C.M.S College Kottayam. His accommodation was arranged in the Old Seminary in a room adjacent to that of Vattasseril Geevarghese Malpan [Later Malankara Metropolitan Vattasseril St. Geevarghese Mar Dianasius].

After finishing his FA [First examination in Arts] from the C.M.S. College with distinction Dn. Geevarghese joined Madras Christian College for B.A. with Economics and Indian History as electives. Geevarghese Semmasan was the first clergyman from Orthodox Jacobite Church to pursue his graduate education in Madras Christian College. Initially he started living in Sullivan Hall and later he was forced to move to YMCA Hostel as clergies were not allowed to live in that Hall.


[Compiled for LOL by: Editor Dr. Rajan Mathew, Philadelphia, USA.]
Back HomeTop
EmailEmail this Link to a Friend FeedbackSend Your Feedback



Metropolitan Mathews Mar Athanasios worked unceasingly for the upliftment of the Christian community in Kerala. He ordered the abolition of the practice of forced labour imposed by Hindu Temple authorities on Christian women of pounding and cleaning rice for temples, inflicting degrading punishment for non-compliance. He enhanced the prestige and status of the Christian community without fear and favour.



On the same day of his arrival the Patriarch asked Mathews Semmasan to accompany him to Dayara Chapel for evening prayers and invited Semmasan to say the prayers in Syriac, which His Holiness listened to attentively and noted his melodious voice, good accent in Syriac, and correct rhyme in chanting which evoked the spirit of worship. The Bava formed an affectionately positive impression about Semmasan and invited him to stay in his quarters. The news of arrival of the Semmasan to the Dayara spread quickly and Christians all over West Asia came to see him. Anyone who talked to him and attended the Services he conducted was pleased and impressed. His deep knowledge of Syriac, the correct church procedure and his ability to give excellent sermons impressed the laity, clergy, the Metropolitans of the various Sees [Dioceses] and the inmates of the Dayara. Within a few months he became fluent in Arabaic. He reorganized the library at the Dayara, where some of the books were collecting dust and mildew, and he read most of them. He instructed the Dayara inmates about the way to handle and care for the ancient books and records.

The Bava was very fond of hymns in Syriac and Arabaic and he was equally interested to hear hymns in Malayalam and Tamil. His Holiness asked the Semmasan to accompany him in his evening walks and he had plenty of opportunity to hear from the Semmasan and to instruct him. When the Bava found that the Semmasan had fully met all the requirements for priesthood he ordained him as Mathews Kassisa (Rev. Mathews) and he was asked to celebrate the first Qurbana [Holy Communion]. He was asked to continue to stay with the Bava as he was of great assistance to him. The Bava also gave him all the facilities and instructions to qualify for consecration as a Bishop. On his travels the Bava took Mathews Kassisa with him and often asked the Kassisa to give sermons. Thus the Bava illustrated to the various congregations and dioceses that the service of the Word was important in Church traditions, which was often overlooked in the Antiochan Church. The sermons of Mathews Kassisa proved beneficial to all who heard him.

Bava elevated Rev. Mathews to the position of Ramban and after a few days His Holiness the Patriarch Moran Mar Elias assisted by a number of Bishops consecrated Mathews Ramban under the Episcopal name of Mathews Mar Athanasios as a Metropolitan. His Holiness gifted the Metropolitan Mathews with a Crook [Episcopal staff], the Mitre [Episcopal headdress], and a copy of the Holy Gospel according to St. Mathew.

Although His Holiness the Patriarch of Antioch had blessed Metropolitan for his retuen journey to Kerala, he asked for a delay on his return journey for few months as the See of Mosul was without a Bishop and the Patriarch appointed Mathews to be in charge of the See of Mosul. His administration of the See of Mosul and the spiritual awakening created there was pleasing to the clergy and laity of the See. He had his residence with a prosperous Semmasan name Abdul Kader. It may be recalled that he was by this time as fluent in Arabaic as he was in Syriac, which helped him to endear himself to the people of Mosul who wanted him to stay on with them. While returning to Bombay, Abdul Kader Semmasan presented him with an Episcopal cross in gold.

Metropolitan Mathews worked unceasingly for the upliftment of the Christian community in Kerala. He ordered the abolition of the practice of forced labour imposed by Hindu Temple authorities on Christian women of pounding and cleaning rice for temples, inflicting degrading punishment for non-compliance. The temples also demanded compulsory participation of Christians in their festivals. The Metropolitan abolished all such practices. Where government officers exceeded their authority and penalized Christians, he initiated action and secured the dismissal of such officers. He also used his influence with chief officers like the Dewan to secure important government jobs for duly qualified Christians. Thus he enhanced the prestige and status of the Christian community without fear and favour.

It was customary for the Malankara Church to run primary schools in every parish, but some parishes could not afford it financially. Metropolitan Mathews took steps to render help to the weak parishes and enable them also to have schools. Further, the Metropolitan approached the Dewan, Sir T. Madhav Rao, and persuaded him to give a grant-in-aid to church-run schools, taking advantage of Dewans's keenness to spread literacy. He called on the leaders of the Church like Ittoop writer and Kurien Writer to organize a fund-raising scheme to enhance the educational functions in the Seminary.

Metropolitan Mathews, while staying in a southern parish church, was bitten on his leg by a rat at night and it became septic. He was a diabetic and the septic condition aggravated and he returned to Maramon where he had his residence. The illness of the Metropolitan took a turn for the worse but he was conscious till the last moment. The founder of Marthoma Syrian Church and the first Marthoma Metropolitan Mathews Mar Athanasios passed away on 15th July 1877


Back Home Top
EmailEmail this Link to a Friend FeedbackSend Your Feedback