Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 2 –Nineveh Lent

What is a Lent? Do we have any guidelines in Holy Book about Lent? We are not able to figure out the origin of Lent. When it was practiced first? Early on, Lent was a time of preparation for those about to be baptized at Easter. Or Lent is a time of soul-searching and repentance in preparation for the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection on Good Friday and Easter. Lent has been observed in different ways at different times, so it is hard to say when it started.

There are so many characters and situations in “The Holy Bible” which observes lent.

  1. Moses - Deuteronomy 9:8
  2. King David - 2 Samuel 12:16
  3. Ester - Ester 4:14-16
  4. Nehemiah - Nehemiah1:4
  5. Daniel - Daniel 10:1-13
  6. Nineveh - Jonah 3:5

Moses took a lent of 40 Days and Night for the Tables of the Covenant. David besought God for the child; and David fasted and lay all night upon the earth. Ester before going to King, asked Mordecai to gather all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for her, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: She and her maidens fasted in like manner. Nehemiah sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and prayed before the God of heaven “we have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.” After ten days of fasting Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah appeared fairer, and they were fatter in flesh, than all the youths that did eat of the king's dainties.

Some took Lent to examine heart and confess sins. Some others observed it as time of spiritual cleansing and renewal. What ever reasons they observed the Lent, and in whatever ways they observed, God showered his blessings unto them finding their Lent was divine and holy.

Let us observe this Lent keeping 3 major points in mind.

1. Fasting - Give up something for God. Fasting is not a means to “earn” something from God, but rather a way to learn to curb your appetites and focus more completely on God.

2. Prayer and Meditation - Read over the Gospel accounts of our Christ, his suffering. Reflect on His suffering, and the tremendous love that it represents. Reflect on your own sin and what it cost Him. Take out some time for prayers of confession and repentance. Do some spiritual “house cleaning.”

3. Giving to the poor - Use the money that you save by not eating to help the poor.

May God bless us! Forgive our sins and give us a heart to love each other, and work for thy kingdom.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 1 - Nineveh Lent

Day 1 of the 3-Day Lent.

"Jonah prayed unto Jehovah his God out of the fish's belly. And he said, I called by reason of mine affliction unto Jehovah, And he answered me; Out of the belly of Sheol cried I, [And] thou heardest my voice. "

Church asks us to analyze and learn the verses from 31 to 41 of Chapter 12, from St. Mathew. There are three major points underlying in these verses

1. Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.
2. Manner of spirit they are of.
3. Sign or Miracle to unfaithful?

1. Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.
And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in that which is to come.

Manner of spirit they are of.
Men's language discovers what country they are of, likewise what manner of spirit they are of. The heart is the fountain, words are the streams. A troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring, must send forth muddy and unpleasant streams. Nothing but the salt of grace, cast into the spring, will heal the waters, season the speech, and purify the corrupt communication. An evil man has an evil treasure in his heart, and out of it brings forth evil things. Lusts and corruptions, dwelling and reigning in the heart, are an evil treasure, out of which the sinner brings forth bad words and actions, to dishonour God, and hurt others.

3. Sign or Miracle to unfaithful?
Signs were granted to those who desired them to confirm their faith, as Abraham and Gideon; but denied to those who demanded them to excuse their unbelief. The resurrection of Christ from the dead by his own power, called here the sign of the prophet Jonah, was the great proof of Christ's being the Messiah. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale, and then came out again alive, thus Christ would be so long in the grave, and then rise again.

Let us sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving;
Let this Day 1 of this Nineveh Lent a change to us.
May God bless us!

St. Athanasious Paulose - January 26

Church celebrates the memory of Mor Athanasious Paulose on January 26. It is a great blessing for Syrian Orthodox Church in the year 2010, that we got the opportunity to conduct prayers at Our Fathers' resting place this year. After the long 32 years the gates of Thrikunath Seminary opened for us. Many Thanks to our Lord.

St. Athanasious Paulose popularly known as 'Valiya Thirumeni', is one of the luminous stars of the Syriac Orthodox Church, who as the head of the Church in India, successfully guided its destiny for nearly four decades. It was his firm faith, persistent efforts and ardent prayers that helped the Malankara Syrian community to maintain their ancient links with the Holy See of Antioch. Valiya Thirumeni is the founder father of many of the spiritual organizations like Sunday School Association, Mor Gregorios Youth Association etc.. Consecrated as Metropolitan for the Angamali diocese in 1910 by Patriarch Mor Ignatius Abded `Aloho (Abdulla II), he became the Malankara Metropolitan of the Jacobite Syrian Church in 1918. After serving the Church in Malankara for more than four decades, he passed away on 25th January 1953 at the age of 84.

Its is a blessing to read and learn more about Our Holy father in this day. Let his Intercessions and prayers be with us.

To read more about him

Fast of Nineveh

Fast of Nineveh, the 3 Day Lent is starting from tomorrow (January 25th). Even the kid in our church knows very well about the reason behind this Lent. It commemorates the three days that Prophet Jonah spent inside the fish. This fast is unique to the Syriac Orthodox Church. It is observed for three days from the tenth Monday before Easter Sunday. Even though this is a three day Lent, it is one of the most rigorous and most stringent lent in Syrian Jacobite Church.

Why Jehovah asked Jonah to go to Nineveh? The wickedness of the people in Nineveh went up before him. Our Lord is a kind one. He never wants his child to be destroyed (Prodigal Son - Luke 15:11-32, Abraham & Lot - Genesis 18:23). We can see so many examples from Bible.

In this Century, will he send some messenger? He want to tell something to us! But We will believe him?

Just for a "Second" imagine the Holy picture of Mother Mary and her Tears at Kattachira Church. Was it trying to convey some message?

After hearing Jonah, the people proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. The king of Nineveh arose from his throne, and laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

Rise up from where you are now! Take this lent as the most rigorous one. Let he forgive us and bless us.

Mor Yulius Yacoub - January 24

Church is celebrating Mor Yulius Yacoub's memory on January 24th.
Attaching a brief biography of Our Father.

Mor Yulius Yacoub - January 24

Mor Yulius Yacoub was born as the second son of Madapattu Chacko and Annamma at Pampady, near Kottayam, on December 27, 1912. He completed his school education at Vazhoor St. Peter's school and education for priesthood at Thrikkothamangalam, Muvattupuzha, and Manjinikkara. He was ordained full deacon on May 24, 1942, at the Manarcaud St. Mary's Church and Qasheesho in 1945. He was tonsured monk by Mor Yulius Elias Qoro in 1955 and served as a malphono at the monasteries at Manjinikkara and Malekurishu.

Mor Yulius was consecrated by H.H. Patriarch Mor Ignatius Yacqub III as the delegate of the Patriarch of Antioch to Malankara and the metropolitan of Patriarchal churches at Damascus, Syria on 12 June 1975. His consecration was necessitated by the turbulent events in the Malankara Church leading to the departure of the then delegate metropolitan Mor Timotheos Aphrem Aboodi upon cancellation of his visa by the Indian government leading to an escalation of the faction wars in the church. In the long succession of delegates of the holy throne to Malankara, he became the first native bishop to decorate that position. He was well versed in Syriac and undertook the translation of Syriac texts into Malayalam, the most notable of which is the translation of the Hudoye canon. In recognition of his scholarship, he was decorated with the title Mshablono Tobo by Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I in 1990. Many bishops and priests received their theological education from the malphono, whose memory is cherished by many.

Mor Yulius was called to eternal rest on January 24, 1992, at the age
of 79. His mortal remains are interred in a tomb at the Manjinikkara
Mor Ignatius Dayro, at the entrance to the tomb of the Patriarch St.
Ignatius Elias III.

Source: http://www.manjinik karadayara. org/

Mor Dionysius Mikhayel - January 18

January 18th – Church conducts the memory of Mor Dionysius Mikhayel, Mor Samuel of Karthamen Dayara, Mor Shemavun, 150 Holy Fathers of Ephesos

But I could find only brief biography of Mor Dionysius. Attaching the same below. If anyone knows any details about the other Holy fathers, please send it across.

Mor Dionysius Mikhayel -- January 18th

Mor Dionysius was one of the fearless Metropolitans who lead the Malankara church through a time of great crisis. He was born in 1880 (Edavam 15), as the son of Alummoottil John Upadeshi of Kayankulam. When Mikhayel was 18 years old, while playing in a tennis court, he was summoned by Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius, the Malankara Metropolitan, who had arrived at the Kadisha church at Kayankulam and was ordained a deacon on Christmas day. Mikhayel accompanied Mor Dionysius to Kottayam where he continued his education at M.D. Seminary and Old Seminary. He was ordained shamshono by Parumala Mor Gregorius and on Chingam 15, 1910 was ordained priest by Vattasseril Mar Dionysius.

Qasheesho Mikhayel served as member on the Kayamkulam town improvement committee and later in the Sree Moolam Praja Sabha. When schism rent apart the Malankara Syrian Church , Qasheesho Mikhail stood steadfast in his loyalty to the Patriarchate of Antioch parting ways with Vattasseril Mar Dionysius. In September 1927, Qasheesho Mikhayel was ordained Metropolitan Mor Dionysius by Patriarch Elias III. Mor Dionysius led a very simple life, giving away much of his possessions to the poor and needy. Until his death on January 18, 1956, Mor Dionysius was considered a pillar of strength for the church. His mortal remains are interred at Panampady church.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

First Dayaroyuso – St. Anthonios (Januray 17th)

Anthonios born in a rich family at City of Kaman on 251. His parents were firm believers of church. At the age of 20 his father passed away. He has to take the whole responsibility of his father’s wealth and his only sister. One day at church he heard the verses from Holy Bible about the rich man. That verses touched him so deeply. He sold his wealth distributed to poor. He send his only sister to a Monastery and himself went to desert, found a calm place for his prayers. He has to face so many experiments in that time. He overcame everything by the grace of God. He made a tomb for himself, and started to live in that small place. After sometime, he found out a demolished palace and stayed there.

Anthonios led a very strong spiritual life, with Lent and fasting. Hearing about this Saint, many people from neighboring villages came to meet him and got blessings from him. Many sick people got cured. Some of them followed his path, and started living with him. Thus he came to know the “First Dayaroyuso”.

Twice he came out to village from his lonely life. In 313 many people were killed by Maskyamin. Anthonios came to the villagers, made them strong in faith. He also wanted to be a martyr of Christianity. He travelled around the streets, thinking that he will also be killed. But he didn’t. He went to Minister, had an argument with him about the religious cultures and traditions of Christians. But unfortunately with some unknown reasons minister asked him to leave, without having imprisoned. Anthonios left to desert again.

Thousands of people used to gather around him, to hear the blessed words from him. Second time Anthonios left desert and went to village to help Athanasious. It was in 351 when war broke out against Ariyos. The same Athanasious wrote the biography of this saint.

It was in 356 Anthonios passed away. He was 105 years of age. Before his death, he told his assistants to keep his body in a secret tomb which he found in the desert.