[Diocesan Metropolitan of Chengannoor Diocese and Synod Secretary, Malankara Orthodox Church]

Mary sung the song of praise when she had the meeting with her cousin Elizabeth. They were both with child of those pregnant births, and the prophecies and praises they both uttered upon that occasion. It is very beneficial and comfortable to consult those who are in the same case, that they may communicate experiences one to another. Prayer can change a child, especially by the pregnant mothers for their conceived child. All the providences we receive in our day to day life are the great work of mighty one.


For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His name. [Luke 1:49]

The background of the praise song from Mary, Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is the interview between Mary and Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist. The meeting of these two, took place when they were both with child of those pregnant births, and the prophecies and praises they both uttered upon that occasion. Conception of John Baptist transpired six months before Mary conceived Jesus by Holy Spirit.

The angel Gabriel carried his message as cheerfully to Mary at Nazareth in Galilee as to Zachariah in the temple at Jerusalem. The angel of Lord surprised her with his esteem form of salutation, Hail Mary, thou art highly favored. She has the blessing of God upon her: Blessed are you among women; not only you shall be accounted so by men, but you be so. You are so highly favored in this instance that may expect all other things to be blessed. With the consternation she was in, upon this address, she explains this herself: All generations shall call me blessed.

Mary lived in Nazareth, a city of Galilee, a remote corner of the country. As soon as Mary received the intimation of the Lord's favor bestowed on her cousin Elizabeth, she acknowledges her condescension to go all the way to Judea to visit the house of Elizabeth and priest Zachariah. While all we put together, it make a great harmony of all the incidents. Sometimes it may prove a better piece of service that we organize to bring similar people of analogous situations together, to freely converse to compare notes and to share the spiritual experiences. The various organizations in the Church, for the children, youth, students, elders etc. do a great mission with this vision. It is very beneficial and comfortable to consult those who are in the same case, that they may communicate experiences one to another; and they will find that, as in water face answers to face, so does the heart of human to human.

We have here an interview between the two happy child-carrying mothers, Elizabeth and Mary. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, may be as per the word of the angel to Zachariah that he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. Elizabeth too, prophesized as an echo to the Virgin Mary’s salutation. Here we hear the song of praise of Mary. Her soul magnified the Lord, put the focus on God and praised Him. Her spirit rejoiced in God, her Savior. She acknowledged the God’s blessing upon her and her unworthiness. She was humble. She accepted that the recognition from people may come from God’s blessing. She honored the Lord for His character and mighty acts. She comprehended His strength in the miracle working power He possessed. She recognized His strength in bringing down those who oppose Him. She admitted His glory for those who are humble. She experienced His care and provision for those who are in need. She observed the Lord’s help for His chosen people. She knew the Lord remembers His mercy and promise to the people who now belong to him.

Another very important point to be noticed in this context is the question aroused by the people about the infant John. Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her. All those who heard the wonderful acts of God kept them in mind, saying, "What then will this child turn out to be?" The children are the future of the Church and of the society, the upcoming and imminent builders of the kingdom of God. We do not know what they will turn out to be. It is a great mission of the church to pray for the children for their upbringing in the instruction of God. It will be great grace if we separate out a day for the infants, a Children's Day, to dedicate them to Lord.

Mothers are God‘s wonderful gift to mankind and it is through mothers that God manifests His love more deeply. Prayer can change a child especially during the pregnant period, which is even physchologically proved. Prayer lets our child change completely from the heart because our God knows the depths of man’s heart. Only prayer can result in spiritual accomplishment. Prayer can turn around adverse situations. Prayer not only can convert man‘s heart but also change adversities into blessings in disguise.

In keeping this particular thought, we focus our attention on the fullness of God's grace displayed in the life of Mary and her acceptance of it as the great work of the mighty Lord. Holy is His name. We receive much providence as individual, church, society, country and the whole mankind. But these all are the great work of the mighty one. This acceptance and submission will lead us into the understanding of the mystery of godliness.

[Extract from Message delivered at St. Gregorios Church Philadelphia
Original in Malayalam : Translated by Editor Dr. Rajan Mathew Philadelphia, USA]
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The birth of Jesus is the greatest Good News to all the people ever since the fall of man which was substantiated, coupled and completed by the proclamation that the 'Lord is risen'. Birth and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ have to go together always. The door to eternal life was widely burst opened when the Lord said emphatically and boldly that 'I am the way, the truth and eternal life for everybody who wants them.' This great Good News has changed the world irreversibly forever.

During the month of December the whole world is reminded about the birth of the living and true savior of the entire mankind, (Jesus Christ) and faithful Christians in every country celebrate this great occasion in various ways and styles, emphasizing the central truth that a “Savior is born unto you” as the angels proclaimed to the shepards about two thousand years back. This is the greatest “Good News” to all the people ever since the fall of man which was substantiated, coupled and completed by the proclamation that the “Lord is risen”. One without the other is imperfect like the two sides of a coin. In other words the birth and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ have to go together always.

The “Good News” was prophesized and proclaimed through the writings of several prophets, patriarchs and the saints of the Old Testament and fulfilled in the birth, death and resurrection of our lord Jesus Christ. This great “Good News” has changed the world irreversibly forever. The calendar was divided into B.C and A.D. Powerful and mighty kingdoms were destroyed and new ones were built. Liberty from sin, death and the powers of darkness were proclaimed to those who want to enjoy it. The door to eternal life was widely burst opened when the Lord said emphatically and boldly that “I am the way, the truth and eternal life for everybody who wants them.” Invitation to repentance and forgiveness was preached everywhere around Israel and the Lord commanded his followers to spread the “Good News” all around the world.

The “Good News” bought drastic changes in the lives of people in every nation since the birth of Jesus. Burst and growth of knowledge began with the birth of our Lord at a higher accelerated rate. Our civilization is not the same since the “Good News” from heaven clothed with human flesh and bones was born as a baby in Bethlehem. Whether we want or not, our Lord became the sacrificial lamb carrying every man’s sins and burdens, paid a price for all human beings since the creation of Adam and Eve and purchased the entire mankind from the slavery of sin, death and Satan. In other words, the birth of Christ Jesus is the birth of Kingdom of God on earth and the “Good News” is all about it.

During Christmas season, let us not forget the fact and the eternal truth that the greatest celebration for every follower of Jesus Christ will be the day when our eternal king come back in his father’s glory to take and make the permanent citizens of His kingdom. Until He comes, we are called to be the true witnesses of the power of his salvation through our lives and let the others know about it. Merry Christmas to all our readers and glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to those who want it.

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God chose a woman as partner to inaugurate His redemptive engagement with our species. It is not because they are weak that wives are to submit to their husbands, but precisely because they are strong. The hallmark of a spiritually empowered person is that she empowers. Submission is the medium through which a wife ministers to, and empowers, her husband. It is through holy submission that Mary became the mother of the Lord, the most blessed among all women.

It is significant that Paul addresses wives first. This is not a clever strategy to appease husbands; nor should it be misunderstood as yet another instance of Paul’s male chauvinism! It is, instead, an acknowledgement of the crucial importance of the role of the wife, and by extension also of the mother, in safeguarding the health and wholeness of the family. This also corresponds to a practical truth. For all the self-importance men arrogate to themselves, wives and mothers are, comparatively, far more important in shaping and sustaining the culture and health of their families. This crucial truth was obvious to Satan. So he targeted Eve first. For God and for Satan, woman is the priority! There is no suggestion at all in the Bible that Eve was weaker than Adam mentally, morally or physically. Nor was Satan looking necessarily for the line of least resistance. He was making a strategic and decisive move and was keen, hence, to penetrate the pivotal point. This pattern is paralleled by the salvation story. God chose a woman as partner to inaugurate His redemptive engagement with our species. Mary was a far more sustained and substantial presence in the life and ministry of Jesus than Joseph. So it makes good spiritual sense that Paul addresses wives first, in recognition of the key role they can play in healing families both by ministering to their husbands and by nurturing their children in a spiritually sound manner.

Why is it desirable, let us ask, that wives submit to, or obey, their husbands? Wouldn’t it have been more polite, instead, to instruct them to 'love' their husbands? The spiritual paradox is that it is the strong who need to submit and can do so without feeling humiliated. The submission of the weak is involuntary and smacks of helplessness. The submission of the strong is safe from submissiveness and has an empowering value. It was at the point of submitting himself to his heavenly Father to the point of submitting himself to the will of God, to die on the Cross, that Jesus attained the zenith of power. To the world, however, submission suggests defeat and humiliation. Two things are difficult for the weak. The first is to resist the mighty. The second is to be meek towards the weak. It is not because they are weak that wives are to submit to their husbands, but precisely because they are strong. And it is not just to purchase domestic peace that they need to so submit. Submission that is spiritually valid is not a strategy but a sacrament. Its purpose is sanctification, redemption and healing, all of which result in empowerment.

The hallmark of a spiritually empowered person is that she empowers. Submission is the medium through which a wife ministers to, and empowers, her husband. Submission, with any other intent, has no spiritual merit or validity. Submission of the spiritual kind does not come naturally to anyone, male or female. This has to be learned from Jesus who perfected obedience (Phil. 2: 5-8). A husband who coerces his wife into submission, presuming male superiority, excludes himself from the empowering scope of his wife’s submission. This means, among other things, that only one who has, first, submitted himself to God can understand and honour the scope of spiritual submission. Submitting to those who do not could be like casting pearls before the swine (Mtt. 7: 6). A husband has to earn the spiritual submission of his wife by submitting himself, first, to Jesus Christ. Coerced submission is a sin and an insult to human dignity.

This spiritual model of submission has nothing to do with humouring one's husband, or aiding and abetting his aberrations. The shaping goal for the discipline of family life, as we have seen already, is “fullness of life,” which all members of the family are entitled to, equally; for in Christ there is neither male nor female (Gal. 3:28). The wife is, therefore, required to submit to her husband 'as to the Lord'. This does not mean, “as unconditionally as you would submit to the Lord”. It means, “submit to your husband as gladly and wholehearted as you would to the Lord, provided that the substance and goal of your submission are Christ-oriented.“ Through this redemptive and self-emptying submission, the wife ministers to her husband in his need to be more and more like Jesus. A rebellious wife is a spiritual stumbling block in the life of her husband.

Emotional insecurity, as we have seen, nags the most confident-looking male in the world, because of the power-orientation inherent in the nature of man. The rebelliousness of the wife aggravates this disease and mortally infects the relationship between them. Power cannot be detoxified by power. The crucial revelation in the Garden of Gethsemane is that submission is the only antidote to the paroxysm of power. It is this saving truth that shines through the prayer of Jesus, “Not my will, but thine be done”. The characteristic symptom of the male sickness of power-induced insecurity is the inability to love. The wife has a duty to enable her husband to shift from the foundation of power to that of love not only because that way alone lies the prospect of her being loved by her husband, but also because it is the will of God for her in her vocation as a wife. Submission is the godly investment she makes into enabling her man to be Christ-like in his vocation as a husband. Just as no man can become a husband without a woman, so also no husband can become an ideal husband, or do justice to his vocation as a husband, without the help of his wife.

As against this, the usual temptation is to fight and frustrate the male will-to-dominate through a prolonged war of attrition. Power confronts power. Sparks fly. Wounds and pains multiply. Families, not less than individuals, need salvation. But it is not easy to submit. The exaltation of power, and the consequent cultural allergy to meekness, stigmatize this option. In such a context, the people of God have to rise above the 'patterns of the world' and to be transformed after the culture of the Kingdom (Rom. 12:2).

The need to submit, not less than the will to power, is basic to human nature. As a matter of fact, lusting after power is itself a form of submission, the capitulation to the lust of power, and the neurosis that results from it. Submission of this kind is innate in human nature. That being the case, the choice is between submitting to true authority and submitting to its false counterparts. Teenagers who defy their parents, for example, deify their peer-group. Women who slight the authority of their husbands submit meekly to alternative forms of authority or influence, often irrespective of their merit. The cultural allergy to submission amounts in practice to the willingness to be enslaved by illicit embodiments of authority. Rebelliousness is much more than mere disobedience. The problem with Eve was not only that she disobeyed God. Her disobedience resulted from an alternate 'obedience': capitulation to the insinuation of the Evil One.

Obedience or submission is, thus, not a simplistic issue. And it does not come spontaneously to human nature, located as we are in a tradition of radical rebelliousness inaugurated by the Fall. One of the major factors involved in such rebelliousness is ignorance, or rejection, of the basic purpose of a relationship. The wife's duty to submit to her husband must be seen as integral to her calling to be a “proper help,” as God envisaged her to be. What is “proper” in this context needs to be understood in relation to the nature of man as husband. Given the dynamics of family life as well as male nature, the quality of being 'proper' has to include wifely submission in order to help the husband to become a 'proper' husband, which nobody is at the beginning. It is important to remember that the wife's submission is to be received as “help,” not as a ‘right,’ by the husband or offered as a domestic tax by the wife. Both wife and husband have a shared and sacred duty to ensure that this remains “proper” help. Especially the husband must have the maturity to know that if improperly received and exploited, the submission that his wife offers will cease to be 'proper' help, for which he will have only himself to blame.

What is proper about this submission needs to be also understood in relation to the shared mission that underlies the husband-wife relationship. God constitutes relationships not just as the means for private privilege or pleasure, but also as resources for His purposes. It is in this sense that marriages are made in heaven and lived upon this earth. Outside of this purpose, or in indifference to it, the discipline of man-woman relationship stands on unstable grounds. The proper submission of the wife to the husband 'as to the Lord' calls for spiritual strength and wisdom. The might that creates misery is a cheap one. The strength to hurt and humiliate is only another form of weakness. True or godly strength is that which empowers the weak to be strong (1 Cor. 1: 27-28). God takes the weak of the world to make them strong; the foolish, to make them wise. A 'prudent' wife, says the writer of the Proverbs, is a gift from God. Wifely prudence involves not only shrewd resource-management; it also includes constructive, even redemptive, human resource management, especially in respect of “the one talent” that God entrusts to every wife: her husband.

It is through holy submission that Mary became the mother of the Lord, the most blessed among all women. She submitted herself to the will of God saying, “I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said.” (Lk. 1: 38). It is this spirit of purposive submission that we see in her again in the context of the miracle at Cana of Galilee. Despite the rough response from Jesus, she goes and instructs the servants: “Do whatever he tells you.” (Jn. 2: 5). She exemplifies the same strength all through the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus. We do not see her protest or rebel against the plan of God, according to which a sword had to piece her heart also (Lk. 2:35).

Rather than feel aggrieved that Paul, in a spirit of accommodation to the prevailing culture, constrained them to obey their husbands, wives should welcome this practical guideline for making their homes a haven of peace, harmony and fulfillment. Surely, there is something worse than godly and pro-active submission. No one should have to live in a home built on sand, assailed daily by the rain and storm of inter-personal squabbles that make the roof leak, allowing insecurity and exasperation to rain on the children.


[Serialized from recently published book]

Sign-posts to Fullness of Life
By : Rev. Dr. Valsan Thampu

[Faith and Family: Signposts to Fullness of Life addresses the foundational issue of our times: wasting of the family. Tragedies arise, often, out of trivial things. Fortunately, the remedy too is simple. We do not have to move mountains to heal our homes. But we do have to turn a new leaf. Sadly, moving a mountain rather than turning a new leaf appeals to most men and women. Those who refuse to make even minor adjustments move inexorably to desperate remedies like divorce or suicide. Millions of men and women live in avoidable domestic purgatories. That should not happen to you. Healing and happiness can come to your home. This book tells you how. ]


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Conflicts do occur in all spheres of life but how we should engage the conflict has remained to be a serious subject of study for ages. The Bible provides specific Godly wisdom on the rules of engaging conflicts within the church community. The joy of finding the little one is greater than the joy he receives from the ninety-nine who did not stray. This points to the love of our Lord and rule for us to reach to our brothers and sisters in Christ who have fallen or strayed.

Conflicts do occur in all spheres of life but how we should engage the conflict has remained to be a serious subject of study for ages. There are various psychological and sociological books that address solutions with worldly wisdom.

In my years of commitment to study the Bible, I was pleasantly surprised on many occasions on the Godly wisdom communicated to us. I feel reassured of its authoritative position as an instruction manual for God’s children that provides timeless guidance in spite of our technical and socio-economic developments.

The Bible provides specific Godly wisdom on the rules of engaging conflicts within the church community. The Biblical procedure given is specific and requires us to follow its steps in exact order to preserve the harmony and mission of the faith community. Let us examine the scripture and gain wisdom.

First Step: Personal & Private Encounter
“If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” [Mat. 18:15] The directive is to meet privately for a “heart to heart” talk. “My friend, why are you avoiding me? Did I do something that hurt you? What can I do to resume our friendship?” When the conflict is handled in privacy, people talk without reservation and such conversations are generally sincere and yield better understanding. When we meet like this, it is an expression of commitment to solve the problem. Even if the confrontation is awkward, there is no new shame because the conversation is limited to the only two who stand to gain from it. This is how we eliminate a potential problem area by nipping it in the bud.

God knows that some of us are not so easily persuaded; therefore, He provided another contingency plan.

Second Step: Peer Mediation
“But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that `every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (Mat. 18:16) One we are in conflict we make passionate actions that are not well supported with rational bases. That is when we need to find two people who are recognized for their objectivity, impartial nature and has the respect of the concerned parties. The involvement of such people facilitates a rational assessment and rational solution after weighing evidence and honoring the higher call of truth. The influence of these people is to persuade the right and wrong by adding independent opinions by duly weighing the facts.

Third Step: Judgment of the Faith Community
“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church,...” [Mathew 18:17]

A duly constituted body of believers, acting in accord with God’s Word has the authority to declare if someone is forgiven or unforgiven. God honors this action when the decision is based on Biblical principles. This action is not to be seen lightly as a popularity contest, but to faithfully and delicately consider adequate basis to declare judgment. The hope is that the influence of many members of the faith community agreeing to a Biblical reasoning will become a persuasive force to convert the hard-hearted. There hope of a victorious end even at this point.

Final Step: Extrication
“...and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” [Mathew 18:17] The last option is also given. These words have to be carefully understood. The decision of the faith community is to declare a hard-hearted impenitence.

Past failures of this process were that (1) Jesus was condemned for death through a majority decision of the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:64) and was crucified through majority consent of the Jerusalem church membership; (2) Joan of Arc was burned at stake by the condemnation of a Christian Council.

The process can work when the Biblical principles are closely adhered to without prejudice or malice. However, this does not mean such people are rejected forever. Quite the contrary, such people are removed only from influencing the operational process of the church. They are to be reached out as an evangelistic prospect than rejected completely by the church.

In the parable of the shepherd, Jesus mentions the shepherd who leaves ninety-nine sheep just to find the one who is lost. The joy of finding the little one is greater than the joy he receives from the ninety-nine who did not stray. This points to the love that our LORD has for us. We have the task of reaching our brothers and sisters in Christ who have fallen or strayed. He died for us. We must treat others with this same unconditional, redemptive love. How many conflicts can be avoided if we treat others with love? "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins" [1 Peter 4:8,].When there is repentance, the church should be ever ready to receive anyone.

Violated Steps
When the aforementioned. steps are violated, the faith community should take a careful look at the motive. When complaints are brought directly to the membership body, it usually driven by personnel agenda to disgrace someone before giving a fair chance through the due process prescribed in the Bible for the church. When the church entertains such motions, the actions of the faith community gradually loses its Biblical bases.

Misapplied Forgiveness and Its Price
In our eagerness to forgive, we have allowed negative influences to prevail in faith community. Selfishness and other personal agenda based decisions and activities have become common in the leadership and the membership of the faith community. When such conditions prevail, the faith community loses its Godly honor and purpose.

Adultery, fraud, and embezzlement are tolerated and becoming Christian leadership norms in several faith communities because such influences were not cleaned up from the faith community in its beginning. Many church majorities in this country agree on same sex marriage and ordain Bishops who are promoting and practicing gay and lesbian relationships. As mentioned in Phillipians 3:19, we are observing a generation that find glory in what is shameful and labeled as an abomination in the sight of God.

When the corrective actions are not carried out in timely fasion, the delayed decisions could be based on revenue, membership and popular views to sustain the institution and serving the will of God loses its priority. The church of Christ was never intended to operate in that manner.

Let us pray that the children of God will have a renewal to bring Christian Discipline back to the Church and reaffirm the priority to serve the will of God.

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There are many similarities in the attitudes of Jews, Brahmins and St.Thomas Christians with regard to clean and unclean animals, uncleanness as a result of death, corpse, and funeral, dirt like mildew, cleaning of pots and vessels, skin diseases, bodily discharges including wet dreams and bowel movement and urination, sexual practices, and so on and so forth. Medical reports show that these three communities have the same DNA components.

[Paper presented by Prof. George Menachery at the 13th Triennial Conference of the Church History Association of India, CHAI, Old Goa, 2005 with Title 'Aspects of the Idea of “Clean and Unclean” among the Brahmins, the Jews, and the St. Thomas Christians of Kerala']



As has been shown here again and again the overriding concern for “Cleanliness” dominates, or used to dominate, the ritual and daily life of the three communities of Thomas Christians, Kerala Brahmins, and Jews from the earliest times. Many more examples could be given from the Holy Scripture (for the Jews), from works by Hindu scholars (for the Brahmins) and from tradition and practices (for the Christians). But I suppose enough is enough. There is much to be said about the similarity in the attitudes of these communities with regard to clean and unclean animals, uncleanness as a result of death, corpse, and funeral, dirt like mildew, cleaning of pots and vessels, skin diseases, bodily discharges including wet dreams and bowel movement and urination, sexual practices, and so on and so forth. But now let us look into some implications of these findings.


There is a young niece of mine, a medical doctor, working at the Jubilee Mission Medical College of Thrissur, who has been doing research on the DNA of various communities on the West Coast and Middle East, testing the blood at Hydarabad and abroad. She tells me that the Nampoothiries, the Jews, and the Thomas Christians all have the same DNA components. I merely suggest that this thought might be investigated.


It has been often suggested that the West Coast Brahmins were the result of conversion from Dravidian Stock or Semitic Stock. The deep-rooted common customs about Clean and Unclean found in these three communities surely indicate something more than meets the naked eye, especially when we remember that Brahmins are found in Kerala much later than the Christians, and they attain predominance in Kerala only around the 9th-10th Century CE, after decline of the power of the Christians. (Cf. My essay, “Christianity Older than Hinduism in Kerala”, in Glimpses of Nazraney Heritage and elsewhere.


The theory that the caste Hindus of Kerala separate themselves from Christians only at the time of the Syrian Christian Copper Plate Grants of Tharisappalli (849 CE) put forward by my dear departed friend M. J. Morris of Quilon deserves a little more attention.


There are a number of other matters connected with this topic that one would like to mention but there is neither space nor time for that. In any case the intention of the author of this paper has been to solicit the valuable opinions of the learned participants assembled here. It would be highly rewarding for the writer if some meaningful discussion could take place on this matter here or hereafter.


  1. Vide Vellian, Jacob, “A Jewish Christian Community”, The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Vol. II, Trichur, 1973, Ed. George Menachery, p.73 ff.; Mathew, E. P., “The Knanaya Community of Kerala”, id., ibid.; id.,”The Malankara Syrian Knanaya Christian Community”, Jacob Stephen; Koder, S., “History of the Jews of Kerala”, id., pp.183 - 185. All the above articles have been reproduced in the Thomapedia, Ed. Prof. George Menachery, Ollur, 2000. Also cf. the many related papers in St. Thomas Christians and Nambudiris, Jews, and Sangam Literature: A Historical Appraisal, Ed. Bosco Puthur, LRC Publications, Mt. St. Thomas, Kochi, 2003.

  2. Cf.: Placid Podipara, “Hindu in Culture, Christian in Religion, Oriental in Worship”, in The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Vol. II, Trichur, 1973, Ed. George Menachery, pp. 107 - 112; “Malabar Christian Customs and Manners”, reproduced in The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Vol. II, Trichur, 1973, Ed. George Menachery, pp.126 -127 from D. Ferroli, The Jesuits in Malabar, Vol.I, Bangalore, 1939; STCEI, II, “Culture and Traditions of the Thomas Christians”, Joseph Kolengaden, pp.127 - 131; STCEI, II, “Character and Life Style of Thomas Christians” by Alexander Cherukarakkunnel, pp. 131 - 133. [The writings mentioned in notes 1 & 2 contain much bibliographical information for the topics dealt with, q.v..]

  3. Listed below are, e.g. the 64 practices and customs (“Anaachaarams”) believed to have been established by Sankaraachaaryar (788 - 820 AD) especially for the Malayaala Braahmanans or the Namboothiries of Kerala. Since these are not followed anywhere else, they are called “Anaachaarams” or non-conventions. The following list has been chiefly copied from the Nampoothiri website for convenience, the # sign and the ~~~ signs have been added by the present writer, as also a few English words in parenthesis inside square brackets in order to make the meaning a little clearer perhaps. Also cf. the list appearing in the three volume Travancore State Manual edited by V. Nagam Aiya, Trivandrum, 1906, at pp. 267 - 271, Vol. III, Ch. IX, where under “Caste” Keralaacharams as distinct from East Coast customs of Brahmins are listed with annotations and discussed. Recently Dr. M. G. S. Narayanan has observed that these Anaacharams and caste observances could have been prescribed by some later Sankaraacharyar (“Introduction”, Menachery, George, Glimpses of Nazraney Heritage, Ollur, 2005):
    # Do not use twigs (a common practice elsewhere) for brushing teeth.
    # During the daily bath, do not bathe with the clothes worn till then.
    # Do not use the clothes worn till bath for wiping the body after bath (as a towel).
    # Do not bathe before sunrise.
    # Do not cook before bathing.
    # Do not use water stored (drawn from well) on the previous day for the next day’s use.
    While performing daily rites, do not seek any results, be detached.
    # Excess water after “Soucham” [washing after using the latrine], “Aachamanam” (“Kaalukazhukal”) [washing the feet], etc. shall not be used for other purposes.
    # Braahmanans, desirous of purity (“Suddhi”)[“Cleanliness”] shall bathe if they touch “Soodran”, etc.
    # Bathe if lower caste persons come close.
    # Bathe (in a different pond), if the water in a pond is touched, if the same has been touched earlier by a lower caste person.
    # Bathe upon stepping on the ground which has been swept with broom, but has not been sprinkled with water. “Bhasmam” (ash), etc. are to be smeared first vertically once and then horizontally in three lines.
    # Braahmanans while performing rituals, shall chant “Manthrams” themselves.
    # Do not use previous day’s food.
    # “Echil”(leftover food) of even children shall not be eaten by pious Braahmanans.
    Food items (“Nivedyam”) offered to Lord Sivan are not to be consumed. # Food served with hand shall not be eaten.
    # Buffalo milk and ghee prepared from it shall not be used for religious rituals.
    # Rice shall be eaten only in the form of balls (“urula”), but such balls shall not be kept in the leaf as leftover.
    # If one is polluted in any form (“Asudhham”) [defiled, polluted], even betel-chewing is prohibited.
    A “Brahmachaari” (boy during the period between Upanayanam and Samaavarthanam) shall observe “Nishthha” and “Vratham”. “Gurudakshina” (appropriate offerings to the teacher) must be given after completing the study of Vedam.
    # Vedam shall not be recited on the streets.
    # “Shodasakarmams” shall be performed during the prescribed periods. Girls shall not be sold.
    “Vrathams” shall not be observed with the expectation of any results in mind. # Women who touch another woman in period, shall have to bathe before eating.
    Braahmanans shall not spin thread.
    Braahmanans shall not do the work of washermen.
    Only Braahmanans are permitted to perform Siva Pooja on “Rudraaksham” (seed of the plant Eloeocarpus ganitrus), etc.
    Braahmanans shall not receive “Sraadhha Dakshina” (ritual offer on the death anniversary) from a “Soodran”.
    Braahmanans shall perform “Sraadhham” of their father’s and mother’s parents.
    Sraadhham shall be performed on every “Amaavaasi” (new moon) day.
    Upon the father’s or mother’s death, one shall observe “Deeksha” for one year.
    At the end of Deeksha on the 12th month, “Sapindi” shall be performed.
    If “Pula” or Asoucham comes during the Sapindi period, wait till Pula is over.
    Sraadhham day is reckoned based on the star of the month (“Nakshathram”).
    Children after being given for adoption to another family, shall perform Sraadhham of their own parents. Cremation shall be in own land.
    “Samnyaasi” (Saint) shall not look at women.
    “Samnyaasi” shall not perform Pindam or Sraadhham.
    No ritual is performed when a Samnyaasi dies.
    A Braahmana woman shall not look at any man other than her husband, father, grandfather or their brothers on either side.
    Antharjanams (Namboothiri women) shall not move out of the house without a maid.
    ~~~They shall wear only white dress.
    ~~~They shall not pierce the nose.
    “Bhrashtu” (excommunication) is imposed on a Braahmanan who consumes alcohol.
    “Bhrashtu” is imposed also if he sleeps with any other Braahmana woman.
    “Pretham” (spirit) [ghost] shall not be consecrated in temples.
    # The idols in temples (“Deva Prathishthha”) shall not be touched by “Soodrans”, etc.
    # Offerings made to one god shall not again be proffered to another god.
    Marriages and other “Karmams” shall not be performed without “Homam”.
    Braahmanans shall not bless each other, for, they are equals.
    They shall also not prostrate before each other.
    Do not sacrifice cows.
    Saiva, Vaishnava and other such distinctions shall not exist.
    Only one “Poonool” (Yajnopaveetham, sacred thread) should be worn by Braahmanans even after marriage.
    Only the eldest son in the family shall marry an Antharjanam.
    # Sraadhham shall be performed only using rice.
    Non-Braahmanans are not eligible to enter into Samnyaasam.
    “Kshathriyans” and others shall perform Sraadhham for maternal uncles, since they follow matrilineal system.
    A woman, whose husband is dead, shall enter into Samnyaasam.
    Braahmana women shall follow “Paathivrathyam” (chastity) strictly, but are prohibited from performing “Sathi” (immolation on husband’s funeral pyre).
    These are the primary customs prescribed by Bhaargavan. But Bhaargava Smruthi contains a large number of less important practices (“Aachaarams”). ”

  4. Vide, e.g., the lengthy and detailed study by K. P. Padbanabha Menon, History of Kerala, Vol. I, Ernakulam, 1924, Ed. T. K. K. Menon, Notes on Letter 1, (5) “Descent of Namburi Brahmins”, pp.20 -22; (8) “Advent of Brahmins”, pp.76 -83. Also cf. entries in the two editions of the Travancore State Manual, one edited by Nagam Aiya in three Volumes (Trivandrum, 1906), and the other by T. K. Velu Pillai in four Volumes (Trivandrum, 1940).

  5. Such as the works mentioned in note 3 supra.

  6. The writer is not forgetting the few theses that already exist on related topics.

  7. Reference may be made to the doctoral thesis of Dr. Veluthatt Kesavan and his recent paper for a seminar at Mt. St. Thomas, Kakkanad, “The Nambudiri Community: A History” , reproduced in St. Thomas Christians and Nambudiris, Jews, and Sangam Literature: A Historical Appraisal, Ed. Bosco Puthur, LRC Publications, Kochi, 2003. Another paper, by Dr. M. G. S. Narayanan , on the Nambudiri migrations also is printed in the same volume. Both papers refer to the special relationship that existed and exists between the Konkan Brahmins and the Kerala Brahmins, i.e. the Nambuthiries.

  8. Vide, e.g., the lengthy and detailed study by Dr. L. A. Ravi Varma, “Castes of Malabar” in the Kerala Society Papers, [General Editor: T. K. Joseph] Series 9, 1932, alias Vol. II, 1997 reprint, Thiruvananthapuram, Gazateers Dept., Govt. of Kerala, pp.171 - 204.

  9. Syrian Christians of Malabar or Kerala are Christians who use East Syriac as the language of their liturgy (the Syro Malabarians), or later on commencing with the arrival of Mar Gregorios of Jerusalem (1665?) West Syriac also (the Orhodox, the Jacobites, and now the Syro-Malankarites). The term does not carry any biological connotation except perhaps for the Knanaya Christians.

  10. For a detailed discussion cf. Essay One: “Christianity Older than Hinduism in Kerala”, in George Menachery, Glimpses of Nazraney Heritage, Ollur, 2005. This essay may be read with slight variations in the Satna Diocesan Jubilee Seminar Papers, 1999; in the World Syriac Conference 2001 papers, reproduced by SEERI in the HARP, Kottayam; in the Journal of St. Thomas Christians, Rajkot, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2004, pp.33 - 42; in the Light of Life, New York, N. Y.; and now in the Souvenir of the Seminar Conference on the History of Early Christianity in India, Concordia University, New York, 13th - 16th Aug., 2005.

  11. “Thomas Christian Architecture”, Menachery James (Dr. E. J.) in STCEI, II, Ed. G. Menachery, 1973, see section Domestic Architecture pp. 148 - 149; Menachery, George, Pallikkalakalum Mattum, Trichur, 1984; Menachery, George, Pallikalile Kala, Mathrubhoomi Weekly, March 28, [with forty illustrations], Kozhikode, 1978; for plans of Thomas Christian Naalukettu (Ollur) and Ettukettu (Kattur) see Thanima, September, 2005, Alwaye.

  12. Joseph Pascal Neelankavil, “Feasts of the Thomas Christians,” article in STCEI II, Ed. George Menachery, Trichur, 1973, p.113, rt. col.; alias The Thomapedia, Ollur, 2000, 113 >g.

  13. Id., ibid.

  14. Id., ibid.

  15. Id., ibid.

  16. “The feast of the Passover is celebrated by Jews in memory of their deliverance from Egypt in the time of Pharaoh Rameses II. It is a feast lasting a week in the spring, and during that time the only bread Jews can eat is Matzah, or unleavened bread. Matzah was the bread baked by the Hebrews in the Sinai desert during the Exodus. Wheat flour is mixed with water but without the addition of yeast. When the mixture is baked the loaf is flat, or unleavened.

    The Passover celebration begins with a meal, which is called the Seder. This is an important meal, and Jews bring out the best silver, china and glass. Care is also taken with the choice of wine.

    During the meal the family reads from a special book, the Haggadah, or Passover book. This is a kind of play in which members of the family take parts, and the story is the story of the original Passover.” The Wonderful Story of the Jews, Plantagenet Somerset Fry, Purnell, London, 1970, p.15.

  17. Jacob Vellian, “A ‘Jewish Christian’ Community”, article in STCEI II, Ed. George Menachery, Trichur, 1973, p.74, rt. col.; alias The Thomapedia, Ollur, 2000, 74

  18. Id., ibid.

  19. Ludovico di Varthema, quoted by G. T. Mackenzie, Christianity in Travancore, reproduced in ICHC, I, The Nazranies, Ed. Prof. George Menachery, Ollur, 1998, p.130 cited in Hakluit Society’s Publication, 1863.

  20. The Christian name most common today among Thomas Christians is George, i.e. its variations like Gevarghese, Varghese, Varu, Vareed, Varunny...Coincidently George happens to be the name of the patron saint of England. Paradoxically the Christian name most popular in England is Thomas, as this writer discovered in 1975 while examining the English census reports in the British Museum (British) Library as in Thomas Becket, Thomas More, Thomas Carlyle, Thomas Cromwell...Thomas being the benefactor of King Alfred the Great of England, the only king designated as great in that country. It will be interesting to study how two names popular in the east became names in the greatest demand in England. That by way of digression.

  21. Kaanippaiyoor Shankaran Nampoothirippadu, Ente Smaranakal (My Recollections), Malayalam, Panchangam Book Stall, Kunnamkulam, 1963: Chapter 15, “Vattum Echilum” (Dirtiness of Boiled Rice and the Dirtiness of Left-Overs); Chapter 18, “Shuddhashuddham” (Clean-Unclean).

  22. Id., Chapter 21, “Aiyitham” (Untouchability, Unseeability, &c.).

  23. See for example articles by Ferroli, Podipara, Kolengaden, Cherukarakkunnel &c. in the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Vol. II, Trichur, 1973, Ed. George Menachery referred to in note 2 supra.

  24. Sambandham became an indispensable part of the Kerala way of life as a result of the custom among the Namputhiri community permitting only the eldest son to marry from one’s own community. While this custom preserved all Brahmin property in the same family - and all land in Kerala either belonged to the Brahmin (Brahmaswam) or to the temple (Devaswam) -from generation to generation, the younger members of the family could not marry Antharjanams or Brahmin women and had to be accommodated otherwise to satisfy their natural urges. The importance of a Nair woman often depended upon the number and quality of her nightly visitors. Often this Sambandham, emotionally though perhaps not legally, attained the status or attributes of a regular marriage.

  25. For dozens of customs and rules regarding “Clean and Unclean” among the Nampoothiries no better authority could be cited than Kanippayyoor Shankaran Nampoothirippadu whose books like Ente Smaranakal (autobiographical work with much information on castes, laws and practices of pollution and ablutions), Naayanmaarude Poorvacharithram (Early History of Nairs) I and II, Elamkulathinte NambooriShshakaram (A critique of Prof. Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai’s criticism of Brahmin customs) are recommended (all published by Panchangam Book Stall, Kunnamkulam). To understand the real social and religious place and position of each community like Nampoothiries, Nairs, Pisharotis, Variers, Marars, Menons, Ezhavas, Thiyyas, Pulayas, Paraiahs, &c. the autobiography (Jeevithappatha) of the late Communist leader Cherukadu will be very useful. It is very difficult to understand the status of a community vis-à-vis other communities without the help of these or similar frank autobiographies because most communities from Ambalavaasis to Nairs to Ezhavas to Ezhuthachans to Pulayas to Mulayas to Paraiahs generally try to keep these caste distinctions and customs hidden from others, especially in these modern times.

  26. Michael Geddes, A Short History of the Church of Malabar together with the Synod of Diamper, London, 1694, p.96 in the SARAS edition in The Indian Church History Classics, Vol.I, The Nazranies, Ed. Prof. George Menachery, Ollur, 1998. This first book on the Malabar Christians in the English language may also be read in Vol.II of Hough.

  27. Cf. Works by Kanippayyoor Sankaran Nampoothirippadu and Cherukaadu, vide note 25 supra. The Nairs appear in Kerala history only after the 11th century CE, and from the time of their appearance they are Sudras serving the other three castes, and as the Christians were equal to or only just next to the Brahmins the Nairs were their Dasas or a sort of glorified servant class. But as time went on, with the attainment of Marthanda Varma to sovereignty in Travancore, and with the custom of the kings of Cochin accepting Nair women as their “wives” (“concubines” in Dutch records), and with the increase in the clout of the Zamorins, and the decline of the Nampoothiries, the Nair classes began to assume the cultural legacy of the Nampoothiries. And as the Christians became more and more westernized they lost their say in matters of Kerala culture and aristocracy. More than the harm brought about by the so-called Latinising efforts of the Portuguese it was this de-culturation of the Nazranies that led to the decline of Christians in all spheres of Kerala life.


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The aim of creating man, together with the fauna and flora is to worship God in His Glory, and salvation is only a byproduct of that quality worship that was once done perpetually by the disgraced angels who fell to the abyss by their pride. Holiness is the product of purity worship, despite the Spirit of God is holy without our acclamation. The body becomes generally pure when the soul is untainted by the stains of sins. We make our body and soul unholy by our evil thought, word and deed.

I was flabbergasted at the sight of 12 bouquets of flowers once on the altar of a parish at the nerve center of a universal church. It is likely that a bouquet of plastic or natural flowers that was hitherto not a practice was dedicated at the feet of 12 apostles was to entice the apostles who pleased their God by their martyrdom. This trend of placing natural or plastic flowers and similar artifacts is a sign of westernization or Indianization of spirituality in all the religious venues of the so-called modern civilized man. “ As some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts….there shall not left one stone upon another, that shall not been thrown down” Lk.21: 5-6. Most of the decorations and huge structures of today are gifts donated to the parish by members who have money for insuring their salvation that make a glamorous name in the parish, community and the church. The Roman soldiers who devastated the Jerusalem temple in A.D.70 turned every brick for plundering gold plastered between each one of them.

The aim of creating man, together with the fauna and flora is to worship God in His Glory, and salvation is only a byproduct of that quality worship that was once done perpetually by the disgraced angels who fell to the abyss by their pride. Our body is the Temple of God, 1.Cor.3: 17; 6: 18-20, and is required to be kept holy for our private worship, so also the church is holy because of the indwelling of the H.Spirit, together with the ecclesia of holy people who worship God in His temple to proclaim the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. In short, holiness is the product of purity worship, despite the Spirit of God is holy without our acclamation.

God created man a little lower than the angels, and has crowned him with glory and honour, Ps.8: 5, so that he continues adoring the Glory of God. Our mind is the sensor that is remote-controlled with the mind of God. Our physical senses are only the peripheral of the inner senses that do all the parallel work for the nourishment of the inner man and outer mortal frame. The body becomes generally pure when the soul is untainted by the stains of sins. We make our body and soul unholy by our evil thought, word and deed. In order to cleanse both these entities penitential dedication is the only source of energy that can transform the mind to be in communion with the God of hosts, paving the way for the development of all extra sensory perceptions that are bundled within our system. God demands our mind, body and soul to travel in the celestial frequencies of worship, and that only can make man please his Creator. Holiness is the derivative of a deluxe mind, soul and body that radiates the celestial light of love all around, connecting all the visible and invisible chapters of life. All other offerings and works as a token are needed to exemplify the inherent factor of love that kindles everything into an ethereal bliss.

Pure Temple Worship:
The ambassadors of God consecrate the temple that is used for worship. Every Christian denomination uses bread, wine, water, oil or ointment for the Eucharist that is in remembrance of Jesus’ last supper and the institutionalization of providing His Body and blood till His 2nd coming. Symbolism is the language of Christian mysticism. The celebrants give the Eucharist to the devotees who are specially prepared previously by cleansing themselves during and before the worship. The ingredients that are used for the invocation of the Spirit of God are all set apart and are blessed and mystically purified by the celebrant. The raiment, vestments and all the utensils that are used for the worship are all handled with special prayers and honour. The altar that is used for worship is also blessed at the time of the consecration of the Temple. No alien goods are allowed to be placed on the altar. “ It shall be an altar most holy; whoever touches the altar shall be holy”, Exo.29: 37.The ointment prepared by special ceremonies for anointing and using for certain sacraments are made by special herbs and materials by the head of the church once in a while. “ And as for the perfume which you shall make, you shall not make yourselves according to the composition; it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord. Whosoever shall make like it to smell, shall be even cut off from his people”- Exo.30: 37-38. The smoke of incense used in the censer are meant for God, not for the believers but in the practical sense it cleanse the place of worship that keeps the temple clean and hygienic. Everybody and everything that is brought in the church, as a general rule, is to be blessed by the celebrant.

Flower Decorations:
The believers who go to the worshipping places don’t expect to suck the beauty of artistic culminations; they crowd around there with a heavy burden of their own routine infirmities that are to be emptied by contrition and penitence. Tasting of histrionic beauty in the worshipping place has no place in Christian spirituality, whereas it emphasizes the fact that suffering of various kinds that cleanse us is the way of Christian life; the pillar saints who suffered by self-inflicting injury also even can be justified to an extent. There are flowers all around our habitats; enjoy the beauty of them there, not in the worshipping places. It reminds a vital point that those who go to the church for enjoying the laminating beauty of ephemeral things definitely may avail of the opportunity of thrilling their outer senses by participating in the beauty of complementing genders. We are expected to adorn the Temple and the celebrants with precious metals that go in unison with the celestial set up -Rev.21-of the Lord’s Domain. Worshipping the Lord with our heart, mind and soul is the culture of spiritual places, as justified in the cases of the prayers of tax collectors and sex profligates of biblical references, so also find means of helping the suffering brethren. It doesn’t mean that the worshipping place is to be used to discuss all our problems, personal and inter-personal gymnastics.

We don’t hesitate in gossiping on any subject within the church soon after our prayers are over, whereas there are still churches where they don’t talk about any other issues other than that pertaining to the church matters, realizing that it is the holy place that we strictly use only for adoring the glory of God. Even the Basilica is not exempted for our rigmaroles. Even if there is parish halls within the church complex or not, some vicars and their cronies use the church for the parish meetings for avoiding criticisms and scuffling because the vicar think that it is their safe rampart where they can intimidate the faithful, taking the church as their refuge, not the laity’s. Their cunning explanations that the church as the best place for dealing with parish matters is only a hypocrisy that Jesus didn’t honour while he drove away traders from Jerusalem Temple. “ It is written, my house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves” -Mt.21: 13.

We have turned the worshipping place as a Sunday club, where every trading is usual as in the weekdays. Some faithful believers abstain from any parish meetings and other set agendas because it has, to some extent, become a place of holy politics, socialization and celebrations that embrace cultural programmes, sports and many other events that don’t come within the vicinity of spiritual or social normality. We pollute the spiritual arenas because of our inner pollutions and adulterations that go within the parameter of diabolical interactions. The modern pop culture that gives license to choir, music and operas are real menace to our religious sensibilities. The spirituality that mix with real estate and club culture cannot cope with the pulse rate of religious ethos. The administrative set of the parish or the church has become carnage of piety and fairness. The secularization of religious places with all its legalized and illegitimate profligacy has transported our age-old spiritual arenas to a plane of sterile ritual celebrations.

Electrical extravagances:
Using candles in religious places has certain vital religious significances, firstly it is used as a symbol of the presence of angels, God’s messengers, in the midst and around always to protect and redirect us from the net that is set around by Satan for fishing us into his fold. It also conveys us the ephemeral nature of our earthly life, just like melting of wax that make the last flickering light of the candle to come to an end. The light of life that is provided by the Creator of light should melt away the accumulated fat of our sins by the time this fleeting life of pleasures and sufferings come to a close. The latest decorations of extravaganzas, particularly of electrical decorations and making use of electrical apparatuses are like carrying coal to Newcastle, the previous storehouse of coals and such processing. Heaven or the Lamb is the source of light for the entire celestial universe, and the church is the 2nd heaven that reflects the light emitting by the Lamb. The electrical display of light that twinkles and flutters within and without the church and the shrine, Kurushinmude, and also around the saints’ photos are nothing but an insults, instead of the light that radiates from them evaporating our darkness, the light that we provide them obstruct their incense prayer of light that flows towards the Creator and us. Celebration Christianity is similar to certain snakes that shed seasonally their external skins, but they don’t undergo any metamorphosis like that of a full-fledged butterfly, which hibernates through hard stages for its full growth.

Electrical Apparatuses:
The worshipping ceremony is meant only for the believers and the receiving of the Mystical Body is only for the holy devotees. The place is holy because of the presence of the Lord on the altar. Using of microphones or loud speakers was treated as irreligious and unholy in its preliminary stages of their inventions, so also filming of the h. sacraments. Using of the different generations of cameras, mobile phones and microphones has converted the holy place as a bazaar that allows anything that we like. Despite there have been bans of such things in their beginning stages, they have become the necessary ingredients for our worship. Whether there is one or two persons present for the worship, the vicar sees them as objects of permeating their music and prayers within and without of the celebrating venues. The celebrations in some communities that misuse loud speakers and musical instruments late at nights and during wee hours, thundering with sound pollutions, is a nuisance causing sleeplessness to the local people. It looks as if the main intention of such musical paraphernalia were to convert the whole folks of the locality to their fermented yeast.

The holy places have become the entertainment areas that cater to our sensuousness and sensuality. The laity makes use of such occasions as their religious football. The shifting of microphones and the savage sound makes by the set during the prayer time is a real pain for the believers to concentrate in their worship. It has created an impression among some worshippers that God responds to our prayers that go only through the microphone system. Many such small, small things that have allowed in the beginning have become a cobweb of multiple syndromes that has rooted out the religiosity from individuals and society. It has become a reality that there is no role model now, other than pop cultural heroes and entertainers, for us to emulate a sane and sanctimonious life. Such negligence of minor things has created a celebration or charismatic Christianity of hysteria and paranoia that root out the salient elements of apostolic faith. These maladies of celebrations and charismatic fervor are the last knells of pure Christian world of worshippers and chaste faith. There is no way that we can stop these filths to be eliminated once when the Pandora’s box is already opened by force.

The celebration Christianity that depleted the vitality of the virgin faith is a megaton bomb, scattering the flock to various directions of green pasture version of modern spiritual anarchy. The pompous celebration of rituals that the spiritual hierarchy upholds is not Christian piety; the symbolic meanings that vibrate in the rituals should enlighten the quality of our daily life that only can please God. Our thinking, behavior, devotion and lifestyle have become superficialities of peripheral Christian showcase spirituality, embracing the omnivorousness of what we see and touch. The modern life is only a conglomeration of miscellaneous scum that obliterates all that is spiritual and sacrosanct as there are enough biblical verses for any derailed person to quote. “ All is good in war and love’, so also is in modern religious pandemonium. Money that is found from underground explorations and excavation tilted everything upside down for a total conflagration -2.Pet.3. The true religiousness is the causality that destroys our expected way of life, affecting the pure worshipping style of glorifying God, which only can bring salvation to each individual. There is nothing that is not mixed and adulterated by the avalanche of material affluence that triggered the head weight of every individual who is sedated in a fool’s paradise, barring us to peep into the serene paradise of celestial mould. Despite there are agonies, frustrations and sufferings of multifold nature, we have 6 billion gods now because they are all electrified by an evil spirit of pride and man-made freedom that kindles to imaginary rights and false prestige, the ripe similar recipe of Lucifer’s fall.

The clergy and their cronies try to electrify the common mass by inventing from time to time some programmes that help them to fish in troubled waters. The latest one seems to be carrying the flames from the saints’ resting places and traversing along certain countryside churches before reaching their allotted destinations where they have arranged some expensive programmes for days or weeks, just as carrying the Olympic flames all over the world before it reaches the set Olympic stadium. That which is not normal life or normal spirituality is either abnormal or sub normal life or spirituality; too far east is west. The intermediary saints may ask this question to the greedy and disobedient one of us who celebrate all these pagan rituals, just like the departed soul of Samuel asked Saul, “ Why did you disquiet me to bring me up? - 1.Sam.28: 15. The money that we spent for these celebrations are from the common believers that include single wage earners, pensioners, unemployed people and family people who are to bear the burden of raising a family during these tempestuous periods of economic terrorisms and other terrorisms of social upheavals.

The whole world that is devoid of sincerity, love, honesty, character, magnanimity, and such sterling qualities is a furnace of this fire of doom that engulfs each individual- “ For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth”- Lk. 21: 35. Keeping the odorless flowers in the worshipping places is only a small instance of westernization or Indianization that derails the approach to the very meaning of life. If glorifying God is the aim of our life that fulfills the necessity of creation man in place of the fallen monarch, salvation is only a byproduct of the main purpose of our existence. “ Hallowed be thy name” that invites the total dedication of glorifying our Creator by the whole body is the breathing reality of life that is ephemeral and transitory. The cosmetic sub-culture that encroached in every vista of our life laminates all our viciousness inviting the destruction of life beyond the grave. Our position before the explosion of this earthly inferno is this. “ I will speak yet this once. Provided if ten shall be found there, God said to Abraham: I will not destroy for ten’s sake” -Gen.18: 32. This is the part of the dialogue between God and Abraham that finger points to the present inferno that is going to root out the future. Any cosmetic culture that leads to the green pastures of Lot’s land and his drunkenness that led to the carnivorous incest and similar profligacy is a complementing passion of Capernaum’s destructive lust of pride and arrogance -Mt.11: 23, the last nail on the coffin of our hypocritical spirituality of self- righteousness and self-complacency.

As man pinnacles the highest order of creations, he is infinitely worth more than the lilies of the field, mt.6: 26-30. No other creation of God other than man has a future after this vanishing world. Don’t try to please God by offering flowers, rather man is totally obliged to throw himself and all his households to the Creator, not flowers or money as briberies, at the altar of our worship of the Lord of all things. “ You desire not sacrifice; else would I give it: you don’t delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart. Ps.51; Mt.12: 7.

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Despite the crumbling relations, chaotic social situation and frightfully escalating divorce rate people still attach great importance to the institution of marriage at least in principle. Children are the most hapless victims of divorce. Children need the love and care of mother and father both, grandparents and close relatives to develop positive attitude about life, toward family and society. Man and woman were created to live in perfect unity and harmony, respecting and mutually complementing one another.

“I hate divorce,” [Mal 2:16]

“Is it lawful for man to divorce for any reason? What God has joined together, let no man separate,” [Matt. 19:6]

“Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so,” [Matt 19:9]

“Divorce” is a legal word meaning full and final separation so that each one is free to remarry or live alone at will. Ray E Baber defines divorce as, “Divorce is merely a process of un-marrying people who have been married. It is an official recognition that their marriage is a failure and therefore has more cause for terminating than for continuing. Divorce indicates the failure of a given marriage,” Marriage and Family, page 443. He notes; from 1867 to 1950 while the population increased fourfold, divorces increased thirty-nine-fold that is ten times faster than the population growth. He cites nine major causes:

  1. Adultery
  2. Desertion
  3. Cruelty
  4. Conviction for crime
  5. Alcoholism
  6. Impotence
  7. Nonsupport
  8. Insanity
  9. Living apart

Drug habit, ante-nuptial un-chastity by wife, joining cults that disbelieves in cohabitation of spouses, vagrancy of husband, crime against nature, violent temper, leprosy, venereal disease, public defamation of spouse, gross misbehavior and wickedness are some of the thirty-nine minor reasons for which divorces were granted in various states as of 1950. According to one study, quoted in Bhoomiyil Parudeesa (Paradise on Earth) by Fr. Dr O Thomas, page192, there were 650 divorces in England in 1911. The number rose in 1951 to 28767, in 1971 to 74400 and in 1980 to 148200. According to United Nations, Demographic yearbook 1954, divorce is peculiar problem of America because each year America grants more divorces than the rest of the world combined. In 1951 America reported 381000 divorces while all other nations combined granted 235000 divorces. In this third millennium, needless to search numbers for, one out of every two marriages ends in divorce and it is on fast climbing trend. As in many aspects in the case of divorce also, “America is the world leader.” Despite the crumbling relations, chaotic social situation and frightfully escalating divorce rate people still attach great importance to the institution of marriage at least in principle, according to a columnist. This being true, peoples’ understanding of marriage and family life is distorted and a source of great distress.

I do not presuppose by a flight of fancy that just because most couples live together without divorce they all are leading virtuous family life. There are couples disdainfully pulling together for various constraints. Looking at divorce by any standard there can be no greater tragedy in the life of individuals and society. Relationships are shattered, children stranded, finance crumbled, violence induced and hopes and aspirations devastated. The anxiety, fear, hate and feeling of insecurity which it creates carry for the rest of the life and pass it on a bad legacy to next generation. No one can ever replenish the void created. It is a dereliction from the basic duties as an individual and an affront to moral standards and God. Divorce itself is no sin but the result of sin.

Children are the most hapless victims. Children need the love and care of mother and father both, grandparents and close relatives to develop positive attitude about life, toward family and society. Children living with parents who constantly argue and fight, single parent, foster parent, etc are more susceptible to all sorts of wild feelings than those who live in lovable family atmosphere. Children, who are isolated from the love of parents live in seclusion, and suffer low esteem. Wantonness induces abuses, addiction to drug, alcohol and sex which in turn incites violence, psychological disorders and ultimately become threat to themselves and society. Words fail to express the havoc that divorce brings into the lives of spouses and children but the staggering question is; who cares? I am yet to come across one single opinion supporting divorce, addiction and violence and yet there is no end in sight; rather addiction, violence and divorce increase unabated. We can point fingers and write volumes on the many reasons and aspects that lead to divorce and all the chaos that it creates. All of them could be condensed in one sentence and that is; humanity driven by outlandish ego first divorced God from life; thus lost the standard point of reference as to what is right and wrong or good and evil. In this case Satan is the victor.

My humble attempt is to search the biblical perspective on divorce. Divorce discussed in Mathew 19:3-9 is the basis of my discussion. Marriage and divorce are two separate subjects meriting detailed discussions because both are closely intertwined and touching on both subjects is inevitable to discuss either one. Chief point of discourse here is divorce; not marriage.

However it is essential to consider Mark’s version on the same subject, Mk 10:1-12, without which discussion on divorce will be inconclusive. A remarkable difference in the two passages is the condition that Mathew says, “except for sexual immorality,”v9, to divorce. Scholars also say that the conditional clause in Mathew 19:9, “except for sexual immorality,” is not found in the oldest manuscripts of Mathew’s Gospel. Similar to the portion in Mark 16:9-20 this was added later by someone more liberal. Liberal thinkers like Baber and Jay Adams think that Jesus justified divorce. This interpretation serves a guide to ‘tidal increase in divorce.’ This condition induces immorality; to commit adultery and divorce; thus rendered more damage than good to the all-time burning issue of divorce. Mark does not mention it at all as a condition to divorce. We need to analytically view both passages. Mark’s presentation is more a natural dialogue than that of Mathew. Most scholars, especially ancient Churches, Orthodox and Roman Catholic, agree that Mark is the first evangelist who wrote a Gospel of our Lord. Mark as the faithful disciple of St Peter wrote his Gospel as per St Peter’s advice and it is undoubtedly the Gospel of Peter himself. Both Mathew and Luke considered the Gospel of Mark as their base. Gospel of Mark is thus more accurate rendering of events. Luke deserves distinction too; he does not mention this lengthy discussion at all. He says, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery,” Luke 16:18. This is a précis statement banning all kinds of divorce. Surely, Jesus did not conceive a conditional divorce in opposition to the original intent of creator because Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me,” John 4:34.

Roman Catholics consider marriage a sacrament. There is no uniform approach among Protestants, but most consider it a civil union. Orthodox considers marriage not only a sacrament but also a mystery (Roso) beyond human understanding. God in His unfathomable love for humanity makes the impossible, possible that is, unites and makes one male and one female repeating after what He did to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

Mathew says that Pharisees brought up the question of divorce to test Jesus. It was a clearly devised snare against Jesus. Divorce was a nagging question for all people of all the time and continues without solution until today. But it was never before as rampant and uncontrollable as of today. Rabbis could not find a common solution for the ravaging problem. Three rabbinical schools were prominent in the days of Jesus totally opposed to one another. (1) Shammai taught that it was legal to divorce wife for reason of infidelity. (2) Hillel taught any reason, as silly as a spoiled dish, would be sufficient reason to divorce. (3) Rabbi Akiba taught an extremely liberal view, ‘if you see a prettier woman divorce the first wife.’ They claimed basis of their teaching in Mosaic Law regarding divorce, Deut 24:1-4. In the light of conflicting rabbinical positions the question to Jesus in itself was not malicious. But the intent was malicious merely because they wanted to drag him in the rabbinical brawl. The group of questioners would have comprised of followers from all disciplines. Depending upon the reply they could easily brand him in one or the other side of Rabbis; conservative, liberal or ultraliberal which would prove detrimental to his authority. Such a situation would cause dissention among his own following. They failed to trap him because Jesus very cautiously handled the situation. He went all the way back to Genesis to clarify the question. He called their attention to the original intent of creation asserting the fact that humanity in His days drifted too far off the original purpose of creation.

In the beginning God created them male and female (in Syriac: Dkar v nekbo bro enoon), Jesus said. Hebrew word for male is tsakar, which means prick or pierce. This imports masculine sense to convey that which is powerful, sturdy, upright, etc. The word for female is neqbah, means perforation, tunnel, etc which imports feminine sense; soft, delicate, etc. Scholars suggest evidence of sexual union and that ‘become one (sarx) flesh’ directly points to sexual union. St Paul agrees to this explanation, “He who is joined to a harlot is one body with her,” 1C6:16. God is the one who designed sex and procreation through sexual union. This happened before the fall and therefore not incidental to fall. What the fall brought upon the humanity is loss of control, desire and misuse of sex through such perverted desire. Sex is the gift of God; not an evil in itself. Proper use of sex is exercising Will of God and a function that fulfills God’s purpose. Biological scientists now think reproduction is possible without sex and man can conceive child!

Man and woman were created to live in perfect unity and harmony, respecting and mutually complementing one another. God expected them to live together forever without parting or death constantly enjoying the company of God and each other on daily basis. Desire, sickness, death and decay came in later as a result of sin. God’s care for their continued welfare was evident from the fact that He made a place where there was no lacking before He placed them there. God did not assign them hard toil. Simple gardening and up-keeping was only expected of them. They were free to move around and do what they liked with a light limitation not to eat fruit of the forbidden tree. Comparing the magnitude of amenities and freedom that were granted the restriction was tenuous. This was to make them know that they ought to acknowledge God, their creator and they were subject to Him. Until then Adam had only two-tier relationship; with God and with other creations. Between Adam and God it was a worshipping relationship for he was subordinate to God. Between him and other creations the relationship was of nurturing and maintaining for he was above them. God introduced a third kind of relationship by creating Eve that was special and equal which until then did not exist so that Adam could relate to it himself in a meaningful way. God wanted man to sustain the whole order of creations.

“Fill the earth and subdue it,” Genesis 1:28. God, by the words, “fill the earth” authorized them to procreate and multiply without which it is impossible to fill the earth. By the word “subdue” God placed humanity above all creations so that he could command and guide them as a duty, not a right. “Subdue” has created certain confusion. Some secular thinkers feel that anchoring on this word “subdue” Christians desecrated the ecological balance by overexploitation and environmental pollution and that other religions are ecologically friendlier than Christianity. While we find solace attributing the causes of ecological imbalances to advancement of science and technology one cannot be passive onlooker to the devastation we have brought upon ourselves. Man, puffed up in his knowledge and self-comfort often forgets that, he has no right to endanger existence of his own kind and other living beings. “Subdue” means, (1) “to bring under control” which certainly requires some kind of force but not to destroy and (2) “to soften, make gentler.” Very thought of exploitation of earth is the aftereffect of man’s fall. Considering the next verse, that is, God commanded that all “vegetables, herbs and fruits that grow in earth shall be their food,” it could be imagined that God was telling them to use sufficient force to till, plow and cultivate, to maximize the fecundity of earth to bear fruits for his sustenance, according to Jerome. There can be no ambiguity that man has no right to exploit earth or other creations so as to cause ecological imbalance. “Subdue” should not be taken as a license for man to treat the earth as he pleases. This is against the very intent of creation.

In the beginning, monogamy: God made one female to one male. God originally intended monogamy as the universal standard for all generations. Anatomical proof I have explained in my article, “Fidelity and Marriage.” Church fathers did not justify polygamy. However, Theodoret of Cyrus, Nestorian heretic is an exception; “Indeed for this reason (to be fruitful and multiply) He did not forbid the ancients to have many wives: so that the race of men might be increased,” The Faith of the Early Fathers, Vol III, page 245. I do not find the arguments tenable. Some say, polygamy is the natural order and monogamy is a social triumph (of Christianity?). “Monogamy is a social triumph, always more or less precarious and not a natural state,” says George Crespy, “Marriage and Christian Tradition” page 21. This view is in outright opposition to what Jesus said. By pointing to the order in the beginning Jesus in unequivocal terms declared that what God expects from human beings is to disown the evil that has crept in as the result of fall and adopt the principle of monogamy. Christianity ever-since is known to be the champion of monogamy. If we relate the words of Jesus, “No servant can serve two masters,” Luke 16:13, it is practically proven fact that where there was more than one wife, there was turmoil.

Human mind is not wired to romantically associate with and harmoniously cherish two individuals at once with equal honesty. Sarah compelled Abraham to go to Hagar. When Hagar conceived she despised Sarah. Sarah on the other hand resorted to hard treatment, so severe that Hagar had to flee to desert. The struggle was passed on to Ishmael and Isaac. Then Sarah compelled Abraham to forsake Hagar and the child and he obliged, may be unwillingly. Jacob loved Rachael more than Leah. This attracted jealousy and sibling rivalry. However, polygamy was practiced and tolerated in olden times. Islam and Mormons practice it even today. The reason I suppose; God’s grace to fully distinguish right and wrong was not manifested until it was fully and finally revealed in Jesus Christ. “The word of God says, Man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife, not wives.” Singular number affirms the practice of monogamy, says Hudaya Canon 8: 1.

The basic purpose of creating Eve was companionship, not procreation; some scholars say. Had procreation not the basic intent by partaking in the creative faculty of God to keep up human generation there was no need for companionship. God felt, “It is not good that man be alone,” Gen 2:14. This is because man alone is unable to be happy or procreate. God did not feel ‘it is not good than woman be alone’ because she was not alone at any point; Adam was already there to offer companionship to Eve. Happiness must precede the act of procreation. Here God is realizing that He infused in human the natural instinct to love and to be loved without which life and procreation become monotonous and meaningless. So both companionship and procreation are equally valid and proper. One does not destroy or takes over the other. If the spouse fails to fill the void of loneliness in the other spouse by offering constant companionship and actively participate in the process of procreation, that spouse is living in opposition to God’s will. In the same vein, looking down on a barren couple, especially women, with contempt even if they live in disharmony is opposed to God’s purpose of creation. Even today most of us attach such a cultural taboo to women without knowing that husband or wife could be the cause of infertility. King Henry VIII divorced Catherine saying that she did not bear him male children from which sprouted the Anglican Church. Science has now come to the aid of hapless women proving that men, not women, (xy, x factor) are responsible in such cases.

Roman Catholics for a long time defined the basic purpose of marriage as, procreation mitigating importance of companionship. It seems they understood the folly; later they named it sacrament as a retort to Luther’s reformation and included companionship. They further expanded it saying, spouses ought to mutually accept, live lifelong without separation and in harmony according to the will of God. Giving first place to sexual relationship in marriage is against the original purpose. Sacrificial love, intimacy, companionship, lifelong commitment and unity of mind and higher purpose should precede sexual relationship to make it meaningful, enjoyable and lasting. Sexual relationship without sacrificial, self-humbling love, feeling of oneness and mutual caring between spouses is carnal and hence immoral. Adam when saw Eve for the first time was first elevated to such an ecstatic state that he said, “At last” (some versions), “Ishah” in Hebrew, which is the pinnacle of exultation and identified himself one with Eve saying, “Flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones,” before he had physical contact with Eve. World literature as a whole fails to replace a better expression of the inexorable joy and oneness a spouse experiences from the companionship of the spouse as one’s own flesh and blood. God expects every husband to feel the same way as Adam felt. Whenever he sees her he should look at as if seeing first-time. True love and commitment should first commence before the first contact and steadily grow into maturity as years of life progress together. The wealth of experience, sense of togetherness and oneness progressively climb the ladder to reach celestial heights with increased interdependence. I have heard many older husbands/wives say, “Who will take care of her/him after I had gone.” In physical infirmities, they nurse each other with respect and pleasure. If that does not happen as years go by, in a couple’s life, there is something wrong. On the contrary, one who gives first priority to physical appearance and sex is merely cohabiting for the sake of lust, cannot say married, would surely regret and wean when the brightness of the youth fades away and the body becomes weak. It is not enough saying “honey, darling” when spouse is near and lusting after other men/women when the spouse is away. Such people are sure to wreck the marriage.


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Jesus is asking us directly to do something from our own resources, from our own potentials. It is about our own direct involvement, not just cheque book or arm chair charity from a safe distance that is required. Many of us try to hide under our professional privileges and labels, wealth and intellectual security; often try to have an experience of Jesus from a lofty height of our transitory existence. It is an amazing blessing to come under Jesus’ gaze even with our unworthy arrogance and pride.

It is about 3 in the morning; I couldn't sleep because of the jet lag of a journey from Lubbock, Texas, to London. As I was very tired, I took the bible and found the text about the multiplication miracle (Luke 9: 10-15). Suddenly, the following sequence of events gave me a new insight, which I have not seen or realised before.

Jesus: "You yourselves give them something to eat."

Jesus is asking us directly to do something from our own resources, from our own potentials. It is about our own direct involvement, not just cheque book or arm chair charity from a safe distance that is required.

Disciples: "All we have are five loaves and two fish."

It is a negative response, a response of limitation, inability to transcend beyond the self and not being able to see enormous and the infinite possibility of the person with whom they have been doing the ministry.

Disciples: "Do you want us to go and buy food for this whole crowd?"

It is a cynical arrogant response. We should see the three dimensional sharpness of this arrogant response, which we sometimes may not see when we read it in two dimensional print. We should read it and say it to feel the arrogance.

They had the arrogance and a degree of pompous confidence in thinking that they could buy food for five thousand from the villages around Galilee. None of the villages in Galilee those days had a population more than few hundred. Did they have money? Why did they say this? It was an empty, unwanted, and thoughtless response, as most of our responses are to real needs around us.

The most important words in this response are the 'whole crowd.' Jesus saw individuals with need, women and children, old and young, people with hunger and thirst. Disciples only saw a 'whole crowd.' We need to see individuals in the crowd. Just like Jesus felt the touch of the woman with a bleeding disorder (Mark 5:25-32). There were so many people, touching and mobbing him; there was a crowd; but Jesus felt the touch of this poor woman; he did not see the crowd, he felt the special need of this woman in the crowd.

A good mother does not see just boys and girls in a big family. I knew a wonderful ‘Ammachi’ in Mavelikara, Kerala, with sixteen children, she cared for each child: Mary, Anne, Sara, John and Paul; she saw their needs separately. Jesus saw Zacchaeus hiding behind the thick, lush green, foliage of a sycommore tree (Luke 19: 1-10). Many of us try to hide under our professional privileges and labels, wealth and intellectual security; often try to have an experience of Jesus from a lofty height of our transitory existence. It is an amazing blessing to come under Jesus’ gaze even with our unworthy arrogance and pride. Climbing down the tree is a beginning of a transforming relationship, beginning of a miracle. At Maramon convention, a Christian gathering of over 100,000 people on the sandy bank of a river bed in Kerala everyday for a week, what do we see, a crowd or individuals?

Jesus: 'Make the people sit down in groups of about fifty each."

What an amazing pragmatic approach. It is in these small groups we find the individuals and the interaction and relatedness of individuals. Jesus knew that his disciples should meet persons in the crowd, and individuals in the crowd, individual with identity and names; therefore, he asked them to divide the crowd. They sliced them down to thin sections to feel the real needs of people in the crowd. It is in the family and in the small communities we encounter relationships and intimacy, it is in the intimacy that we get transformed to become a blessing for others.

When doctors take a biopsy specimen from an organ system for diagnosis of a disease process, they do not see details in the raw specimen. They need to slice it down to ultra thin 5 micron sections to see individual cells to see the pathology or the healthy nature of individual cells. We need to get near the people to feel what they feel, smell what they smell, and touch what they touch. When we walk into a crowded hospital ward, what do we see? Sam Kuntz was a great Afro-American transplant surgeon at the Down State University in New York, he would have been a senator or a future secretary of the State for Health, but he died, sadly, in the sixties at a very young age; he used to know each and every patient in intimate terms, how they responded and their individual needs; during his early morning ward rounds, he used to say if a patient is not smiling and saying “Hello Doc”, then he is rejecting his transplanted kidney. Hospital administrators see a ward full of patients and they are happy of the money they bring, but sensitive doctors see individual patients with different needs; they see them as individuals, as Sam did, with physical, medical, surgical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Some patients need a smile, some a touch, a hug, others needing a detailed consultation or intervention. This thinness and transparency is the essential ingredient of a miracle. It is in these everyday ordinary events we see miracles. To Jesus' mother, it was transparently clear at the wedding at Canna that there was no wine left (John 2: 1-11). She changed her role from the honoured position of a guest to a concerned host and this thinness and transformation gave her the confidence to say, "Do whatever he tells you.” Lord Byron wrote: “It was when water met its maker, it blushed became wine”, it was at that moment a miracle happened.

When a mother feeds her children, she is giving them 'more than something to eat.' This 'more than something to eat' is the missing ingredient in the mission today. The term ‘More’ is an expression used for explaining the indefinable nature of God. God is ‘More’ than anything that we could imagine. There was a touch of hostility towards the crowd in the response of the disciples, but that hostility was transformed to hospitality in grouping them into thinner groups of fifty. It is in such transparent situations we drop the mask and miracles happen, then we see the aloneness of the person and transform him or her into abundance of grace. This is the thinness of spirituality all about. We should remove pretensions and layers and layers of arrogance and pride to reveal our thinness for the miracle to occur.

I am glad that I did not sleep.

Let us feel the real beauty of this passage, 'You yourself give them something to eat."

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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.



Geevarghese Semmassan was a good orator, tactician, successful organizer and community visionary. With his great capability and popularity among the community people of his surroundings, he organized a group of Malayalees in Madras area and a Malayalee Samaj was formulated. This social organization further flourished and grew strong. Every second Saturday, the deacon's room was crowded with Malayalee students who came to hear his stirring speeches. He had read much, and now he started sharing his vast learning with those who attended the meeting. His speeches about History, theology and Bible enthralled the audience unaware of the hours that slipped by. Each session followed by a group discussion. The Malayalee Samaj and its organizer became well known in the College even to the Principal Dr. Miller. Deacon's aim was to create a society of students who would be conscious of their religious heritage and he started working towards it.

After meritorious accomplishment of the B.A. degree, Semmassan further set forth for his M.A. degree. He chose a very controversial topic for his M.A. dissertation; 'Were the Syrian Christians Nestorians?', in fulfillment of his M.A. requirements. This great effort was a powerful axe to the canard spread by Portuguese, after the Synod at Udayamperoor, which was an aberrant and strange perspective that the Syrian Christians in Kerala before sixteenth century were Nestorians in the matter of faith, and accordingly the literal works in all our libraries and personal collections were burned and destroyed by them, leaving us blank about the information of our history.

[Nestorius was the Patriarch in Constantinople in the forth century. Nestorius refused to attribute to the divine nature, the human acts and sufferings of Jesus. Nestorius promoted a form of dyophysitism, speaking of two natures in Christ, one divine and one human. This doctrine of Nestorius which was known as Nestorian faith, was challenged by Holy Church and condemned him as a heretic at the Council of Ephesus in 431. When the Synod met at Ephesus, the new teaching was discussed, as a result of which Nestorius was excommunicated as an enemy of the Church. Nestorios fled for safety to Persia, which was at war with Constantinople.]

Semmassan collected manuscripts and historical data about Eastern Syrian Christians from all possible libraries and other sources surrounding Madras. Through his comprehensive research work, he could very convincingly dismiss the Nestorian controversy linked with Syrian Christians in Kerala, with help of logical arguments based and supported by historical findings. The dissertation eventually turned out to be a very important historical work due to his innate historical sense adapted to the religious topic. By his deep insight presented in his thesis, he could also counter and hack down the contention of the tentative suggestion that St. Thomas had never come to Kerala coast and that the Christian community in Kerala had a history only dating back to the 6th century.

With controversial topics and with academic excellences, this dissertation turned out a hot topic of discussion. Very assuredly, he presented that St. Thomas came to Kerala and baptized people to Christianity. In Malankara, there was no bishop here to consecrate a new Metropolitan. At that time twelve priests had together undertaken the consecration of the Metropolitan. He then wrote to several Patriarchs to send a bishop to have his consecration ratified. Metropolitan of the Jerusalem Mor Gregorios Abdul’ Galeel volunteered to come to Malankara, ignoring the difficulties he may have to overcome. Before that Patriarch Ahathulla who had been a close confidence of the Babylonian Patriarch, had set out for India, but he never arrived here. His thesis was later published as book and further C.P. Tharakan translated the book to Malyalam.

Geevarghese Semmassan created history by passing his MA with distinction. After his post graduation, Semmassan returned from Madras to Malankara. He was accorded with warm welcome on his return and reception meetings were convened at various Parishes in Malankara.

M.D. Seminary School was the prime institution of the Orthodox Church during that time. E.M. Philipose was the Principal and K.C. Mammen Mappilai was the head master of the school. Considering the meritorious accomplishment of the postgraduate degree by the Semmassan, Malankara Metropolitan Pulikkottil Thirumeni and Vattasseril Malapn decided to appoint Geevarghese Semmassan as the HM of the School as Mamman Mappilai had gone on sick leave to Trivandrum. Once Mammam Mapilai returned Semmassan went to the Parumala Seminary. Later when E.M. Philipose retired voluntarily, Geevarghese Semmassan was appointed as the Principal of the Seminary school and further when Mamman Mappilai retired he assumed both post of Head Master and the Principal.

While Semmassan was in Parumala, there were many scheduled caste people living there. It was Parumala Thirumeni who brought them there and convinced them to faith and baptized them. The high caste society people lived in the surroundings wanted to chase away these dark-skinned people, like rabid dogs. But Semmassan used to visit their homes of these poor and hear their complaints and concerns. Very passionately he listened to their sad experiences from the rich people when they tried to visit the temples. He drew those weeping poor near to him and hugged them.

As Semmassan had already opted for ascetic life, newly Ordained Vattasseril Thirumeni was very eager to ordain Semmassan as a priest. Mar Dionasius Metropolitan ordained Geevarghese Semmasan as priest on 15 September 1908 at the Parumala Seminary. Geevarghese Achen was generally referred to as 'M.A. Achen' because he was the first among the ordained priest who took M.A. He became well known as an educationalist and a good orator.


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


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