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Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Nelson Mandela

A memorable moment in front of Manela's House with Mrs Wilhel Hewitt and HG Yuhanon Meletius on 3rd October 2010

A memorable moment in front of Manela’s House with Mrs Wilhel Hewitt and HG Yuhanon Meletius on 3rd October 2010

Go in peace our Global Leader!

We thank God for you on earth

We thank God for your birth

The legcy you’ve left behind

Should bind the humankind

You practised forgiveness

You taught true kindness

This great moral authority

Will have impact on humanity!

Go in peace, Go in peace

You have lived well

Go in peace, go in peace

Is all we  can now tell!

EJ

A very memorable moment - being in  Nelson Mandela's House in Soweto with HG Yuhanon Meletius

A very memorable moment – being in Nelson Mandela’s House in Soweto with HG Yuhanon Meletius on 3rd October 2010


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1st December 2013 – MOSC Entering ADVENT focusing on becoming non-violent…..

Penmayude-NanmaLet us be in solidarity with our Church’s decision to observe tomorrow, 1st December the beginning of the Advent Lent focusing on elimination of violence against women and children.  We are called to raise awareness about the positive role and importance of women and children in order to promote the wellbeing of women and children. It is indeed a very meaningful manner of entering the Adevnt Lent as we prepare to receive Christ – the prince of peace, Immanuel – God with us, a feeble child who was born to enhance life in all its fullness bringing salvation to the whole world.

The text for tomorrow Luke 1:39-56  can be well understood with the following three words:

GREETING, MEETING and ELIMINATING

Importance of Mary’s visit and Greeting

It brings joy, happiness and recognition of life even while in the womb. Baby Jesus in Mary’s womb is recognised by  baby John from Elizabeth’s womb.  It directly informs us and invites us to protect life and thus eliminate violence against children right from the time they are in their mothers’ wombs.  So we called to respond to eliminate all forms of violence against foetuses.  It reiterates the need for us not to violate their existence through foeticide or abortions especially in communities where female children are not wanted or desired.

Impact of Mary’s and  Elizabeth’s Meeting

The meeting of these two women bring about ‘Mutual Empowerment’ by affirming each other and enabling one another to recognise God’s love. mercy and grace.  It makes the baby in Elizabeth’s womb to leap with joy and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit.  Elizabeth proclaims to Mary, ‘Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb’.  These words are recited each time when we pray ‘Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. We pray with these words even to this day She provides us with very important words for our very important prayer that begins with the words of Angel Gabriel’s wordsMary as the Mother of God ‘Theotokos’ instantly giving birth to a very important aspect of the Orthodox Theology!

Mary then sings of God’s grace and mercy toward her and all those who will be delivered by God through God’s intervention to bring about justice and peace through re-ordering and re-structuring communities socially, economically, politically, culturally, spiritually brining about justice in all aspects of life.

Our response to God’s Call today for individually and collectively Eliminating VIOLENCE

It is a very relevant text and an important call for us as we begin to prepare ourselves during this Advent Lent to think and act in ways that we can visibly bring changes eliminating violence against women and children.  No justice and peace can be achieved if women and children are left out of it as they are to be the main target groups.  We can eliminate violence against women and children only if we address it unitedly as men and women, lay and clergy, families and parishes, communities and nations. We can defeat all forms of unjust plans, programmes and promises that perpetuate violence against women whever they exist or emerge.

We are called today to eliminate all forms of violence against women and children.  How can we as Indian Orthodox Christians in different parts of the world engage in acts of elimination of violence against women and children as indvidual parishes as well as networking as communities across the world to bring about a change in ourselves and beyond?

Perspective building that emerges from our faith in God will definitely go a very long way in rooting us in God’s justice that cares for all people irrespective of age, gender, caste, class, region and religion.  God calls us today for a change in our attitude to join hands with men and women, youth and children to build a Church that will witness to God’s Love beyond all divisive structures to bring Glory, Honour, Praise and Thanks to our Triune God.  May we join Elizabeth and Mary, John and Jesus – to begin to eliminate violence against WOMEN and CHILDREN in the varied forms that it exists in our families, churches and communities.  May God empower us to fulfill God’s call in and through the head of our Church – our beloved Bawa Thirumeni as he challenges and inspires us to move forward with active engagements in our day to day lives both as individuals and as members of MOSC.

EJ


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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against WOMEN

STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Anglicans and the 16 Days  begins today – The international day for the elimination of violence against women and ends on 10th December – The International Human Rights Day.  It is not a question of what we must do and what we must not do but a change in our perspective – how do we honour life – life of every woman, girl, girl child and the female foetus too? We need to build the right perspective very consciously in our families, communities and Churches too.  We can do that – just in a minute or take ages… but START this process and do it in ways that are very visible in our day to day lives.  This change needs to happen everywhere around us, within us and beyond us.  There comes another opportunity to think this through with the Anglicans.

Please follow this link for more information and action that you can take as an individual and as communities:

http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2013/10/anglican-communion-offered-resources-to-address-gender-violence.aspx


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Catholicos of the East Baselios Marthoma Paulose II to Meet Pope Francis in Rome

Catholicos of the East -Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II

Catholicos of the East -Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II

We pray and hope that the meeting between the two Spiritual leaders and heads of the two Churches will deepen the Ecumenical Relations to reaffirm mutual solidarity and working together at all levels to extend God’s reign on earth.  May their meeting sow seeds of peace and joy in every part of the world working in and through people belonging to these two Churches.

Our beloved Bawa Thirumeni’s Visit has indeed spurred many of us into actions to ensure that our parishes have a better look in all sense. We here in UK have been preparing for the visit of HH Baselios Marthoma Paulose II.  This is what the spiritual leaders do – jus by their coming and being with us, they ensure that we become more aware of what needs to done to present our Parishes to receive them with due respect and honour.  This needs to include our inner spiritual renewal too, preparing ourselves and opening ourhearts and minds to go higher in our spiritual journey.

For more information on Bawa Thirumeni’s visit to Rome please see the following link:

http://marthoman.tv/?p=8243


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Happy UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous People!

We need to be heard!

We need to be heard!

The United Nations (UN) observes 9th August every year as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People to mark the contributions that these communities make to humanity and the environment. This day is also used to bring awareness to the gross injustice these communities face so that we will join hands to protect and promote the rights of the World’s Indidenous communities. I am sure, all of us can participate in this event in the smalest way possible wherever we may be today.

The NCCI has produced Worship resources which can be used at different occassions even if not during  a regular Sunday Worship where we have only the Eucharist.  Youth groups , women’s fellowship groupd as well as Sunday School Children can be made aware of the issues that indigenous people encounter in different parts of the world.  Please find a few links and resources here for your reference as well as further engagement which include an article on Indigenous people from UN, a liturgy for Tribal & Adivasis Sunday from NCCI and a Bible Study by Rev Fr KM George related:

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/international-day-indigenous-people

http://www.nccindia.in/ncci/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=220:liturgy-for-ncci-tribal-adivasi-sunday-2013&catid=80:news&Itemid=477

http://marthoman.tv/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Opening-Bible-Study-Crete-2012-1.pdf

Have a very happy International Day of the World’s Indigenous People!

EJ

Combat violence against Indigenous people..

Combat violence against Indigenous people..


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Indian Orthodox Family Conference 2013

Theme : My God My God why hast thou forsaken me  (Mathew 27:46)

Venue: Whitemoor Lakes, Lichfield in Staffordshire 

Date:  23-25th August 2013 

 

Thomas P John Achen speaks on the importance of our Family Conference 2013

Thomas P John Achen speaks on the importance of our Family Conference 2013

Fr Thomas P John, the secretary of the UK, Europe & Africa Diocese calls our attention to our family Conference here in UK….

 

Why we need an Indian Orthodox Diocesan Family Conference? 

To meet each other

Isolation has been a horrible problem for the human race in the modern and post-modern era. Church offers ground to have fellowship and sharing. Family Conference brings families from all over the UK to come together and to establish a loving and caring friendship and relationship. Every family in this country has its struggles, problems, anxieties and tensions. Once we come together and start talking to each other, we might realise the fact that we all are going through the same situation and there will be every chance to encourage and empower each other. We will find a new strength in that fellowship. We will be assured the prayer and spiritual support from others and we assure the same to them as well.


To share agonies and revive strength
Sharing can reduce the intensity of agonies and pain.  We are the people of God who are trustworthy and responsible. It is our assigned role to heal the sick, raise the dead, expel the demons and give sight to the blind. We, as the apostolic community, baptised in Christ by water, fire and Spirit are potential enough to act and react for the Gospel. Gospel is power. When we come together and realise the duty and responsibility, we will be able to revive the Spirit and act for the Divine Will. We are His disciples entrusted with authority and spiritual power. We have to explore the tremendous power and energy already hidden there within us. We can do wonders for Christ’s sake!!!

To learn and practice Orthodoxy

We are the Orthodox people, but know very little about Orthodoxy!! There has been a feeling even among our members that orthodoxy is arrogance, narrow-mindedness, strictness and exclusivism. We have witnessed many things in the church as orthodox but in reality they are not. Whatever unappealing occurred have termed as orthodox and real orthodoxy hasn’t given chance to grow and spread. Orthodoxy is something essential to the life of church and it has something to do with the origin of the church. Orthodoxy holds fast to the roots and it never has denounced the umbilical cord of the Church. If we observe well, we will see Orthodoxy taking it’s original spirit and power everywhere in the world. Millions of people have joined the orthodox faith worldwide in the recent years. We, the Indian Orthodox Church and her beloved members haven’t realised the significance and relevance yet. Orthodoxy is the ancient, original way of glorifying God. In short it is the “Alphabets” of Christian life and worship. Don’t we need to learn it? To learn, we need to unlearn also. We have learnt many things unorthodox and we need to unlearn. Unlearning needs courage and brevity. In the present life situation, we have been given little space to learn the Bible, faith, theology and the elements of worship. This conference shall provide us with the space for learning what is essential to our faith and practice. It will only add to our dignity, confidence and vitality. Why can’t we find ourselves more dignified and victorious?!!

To save our future generations

Everyone in this country has the fear and horror of getting disintegrated. It is a fact that faith and worship sustained communities in history. Wherever faith and practice compromised, there were scatterings of communities, families and individuals. Such scatterings left people isolated. Isolation brought fear, anxiety, stress, psychic disorders and diseases to life. We have no say about the choices our children make. Individual freedom has to be acknowledged and approved. Many children have gone with their will and might be they are happy. Many have left our faith and tradition. We witness the changes and keep silence. But have we ever thought how our children handle unfavourable situations in life? They will cry out, but who will hear? Is there anything left to bring all the young generation together? Church has been the best uniting factor in history. But how far we could be confident about this? Without the true faith in God what goal can motivate our children? For whom and what they could dedicate their life? Without a Focal Point how can they find meaning in life? Gospel made great men and women on earth in the past. Still it can do that. Do we wish our children to live a meaningful life? Do we wish our children to have a life in Christ? Our parents brought us up in faith that kept us strong in life. Are we offering that to our children? Do we wish our children to win or fail? This conference will equip them to live a life in Christ. The decision is ours.
To sing and pray together

Singing together can heal and rejuvenate. It can reduce tension and pressure. It can make us flexible. Church or church gatherings could be the only place for us to sing loud together as we have not many other activities. Praying together can raise confidence and hope. Prayer brings power and praying as a community can multiply the result. Meeting of people who have faith in God can inspire and empower each other. Intercession is a great role and in a community of the faithful every individual will be assigned with the role of interceding and praying for others. This can do miracles in life. Early church always experienced miracles through intercession. That is why it has kept saints for intercession. Can’t we develop the habit of praying for others? It will change the life of everyone. Power of prayer could be the solution for any issues in life. There is nothing to lose; but to gain, a lot!!!
To have some games, activities and fun
Life is not fun. But we can make fun out of life. It will be good to have some group exercise, games and activities. There will be group activities everyone could enjoy. It can give us relaxation. It can burn out unused fat. We will feel refreshed and rejuvenated after the conference than any of the holiday packages. There will be games and activities for all age groups including small children and vulnerable adults.


Meet to unfold the mysteries of struggles and sufferings

Our theme is extraordinary. It sounds very negative. But we always have some negatives in life. Many a times we had to cry out, “Why you have forsaken me?” Who will be there when we cry? If here is no one to hear, there will be no point of crying. Is there any purpose for sufferings in life? There could be cross, but we may ask, why me has to bear it? There are people around, but why I have been chosen to sacrifice my likes and to take up the cross of struggles? We have choices: to kill ourselves, to run away, to stay and resist, to admit our weakness and mourn, or to take up. Why can’t we let our life situations under a microscope or mega scope to analyse and to take decisions? We will have spiritual and theological experts to guide us. We could talk to them individually. We can learn spiritual formule for application in various situations in life
Come, join, find revived!!!
The Spirit of Christ is calling us!!!
Hear the voice and respond!
God Bless

Thomas Achan

 
Fr. Thomas P. John
Vicar, St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church
Cranfield Road
Brockley, London
SE4 1UF
0044-7957440736
PS For more information please see the following link:


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As we pray for the Iconic Leader Mandela

Let us join with people across the world especially South Africa in Prayer for our Beloved and Iconic Leader – Nelson Mandela…

 

Mandela, an Iconic Leader!

Mandela, an Iconic Leader!

 

To our Dearest World Leader Mandela

I pray for you as you struggle in bed

In your body, Spirit, mind and soul

I pray with the millions you have led

As a MODEL for both role and goal!

I knew your struggles as a teenager

Wrote while you were in prison

Sent card on your Birthday one year

All this with many a reason…

I grew up with a sense of awe

To see how much you cared

To wipe out racism and outlaw

With Love, very well you fared!

As I grew up and work took me

To Cape Town, as part of Mission

Went to Robben Island, Prison to see

Went to your room, saw your Vision

It was an experience that still rules

My heart, my life, and my vision

Things I heard and saw formed tools

To guide me in God’s Mission

Later on I saw your simple house

And a billion thoughts did arouse

Shaking me, with emotions so deep

Making me to take a giant leap!

So from the time I was young and now

Your life – suffering and commitment

Your passion for justice and Love

Bring inspiration, instil sentiment

You fought for justice and forgiveness

You wanted One Nation and One People

You suffered but forgave with kindness

We’ll proclaim this from every steeple!

-EJ, 24th June 2013

It was indeed a privilege to visit at Manela’s House (a National Museum) in Soweto, Johannesburg in 2010.

DSC05661

DSC05658


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Hearty Congratulations to our very dear Joy Achen!

Hearty Congratulations!

Hearty Congratulations!

(With gratitude and deep appreciation to St Thomas Orthodox Church, London especially Mrs Viji Syra Verghese, Head Teacher of the Sunday School for getting this done so creatively!)

Rev Fr George Joy’s Priesthood Silver Jubilee!

We thank God with great joy and happiness for all the blessings showered upon our very dear Achen Fr George Joy as he completes 25 years as a Priest in the Indian Orthodox Church on 5th June 2013.  31st May 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of his Deacon Ordination as he recollects humbly the God’s amazing grace in calling him into the ordained ministry both within and beyond our Church at National and International levels.

Joy Achen completed his BD at Kottayam Theological Seminary in 1972 served the Seminary as a Librarian for a year.  He was the Ekarist during his student days at the Seminary. He was ordained as a Deacon on 31st May 1973 by Late Lamented HG Daniel Mar Philexinos and stayed at his Aramana (Thumpamon Diocese) for a year as His Grace’s secretary. He then pursued his studies in New Testament at the United Theological College (1974-76) and secured his Maters in Theology (MTh) degree from the Senate of Serampore University. He joined Bishop’s College in Calcutta as a Professor at a young age of twenty Five on 6th August 1976.  He taught New Testament both at Bishop’s College Calcutta as well as Serampore College for about eight years.  During his time in Calcutta as a Professor and Deacon, he was very actively engaged in the life of the Indian Orthodox Church there. He served The Bible Society of India at its central office in Bangalore as Translations Adviser from 1984-1988. He married Elizabeth T Anderson in 1987 and was ordained as a PRIEST of the IOC by Late Lamented HG Zachariah  Mar Dionysius  on 5th June 1988 for the Madras Diocese.

Joy Achen has served parishes both in India and outside.  His first parish was St Thomas’ Orthodox Church in Singapore (1988-1992), St Mary’s Orthodox Church in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1993-94), St George’s Orthodox Church in Bangalore for a year and then St Mary’s Orthodox Church, Jalahalli, Bangalore (1995-1997), St Thomas’ Orthodox Church in Bangalore East (1997-2000), St Baselios Orthodox Church (2000-2002) until he came to London, United Kingdom with family (Elizabeth Kochamma and children Sudarshan Thomas Joy  and Deepthi Rachel Joy) when Kochamma (Elizabeth Joy) came to serve the Council for World Mission as Executive Secretary for Mission Education. He rendered honorary services at St Gregorios’ Orthodox Church in Black Friars and Brockley until 2006 while Rev Fr Abraham Thomas was the vicar.

Joy Achen was appointed as the first vicar of St Thomas’ Orthodox Church in Hemel Hempstead, England in 2007 by Late Lamented HG Dr Thomas Mar Makarios.  When the new Diocese UK, Europe and Africa was formed with HG Dr Mathews Mar Thimothios as its first Metropolitan, Joy Achen became the first Secretary of this Diocese in 2009 until 2011.  He continues to serve St Thomas’ Orthodox Church as the Vicar and continues to be a great blessing.

So, we take this opportunity as the members of St Thomas Orthodox Church in Hemel Hempstead to wish Fr N George Joy a very happy and blessed Silver Anniversary of his Priesthood.  We pray that God will continue to bless him to be a channel of blessing here to all of us in UK.

Joy Achen in his first parish in Singapore!

Joy Achen in St Thomas’ Orthodox Church,  his first parish in Singapore !

Joy Achen inow n St Thomas Orthodox Church, Hemel Hempstead, London

Joy Achen now in St Thomas’ Orthodox Church, Hemel Hempstead, London

Our Dearest Joy Achen

We join you in thanking God

For gifting you to the World

We thank God for you now

For your tender care and love

You’ve indeed been so true

Very faithful to God’s call

God abundantly bless you

Guard you against any fall

Although you are so strict

And make people wonder

On things that you restrict

Still, your love is splendour!

Although we do many a time

Fail to understand you

Try our best in order to chime

Yet none of us get a clue!

Still, we know you mean well

For your Faith and understanding

Surpasses what we can ever tell

As we become too demanding.

25 years of your priesthood

Sets out a good demonstration

Of how a Priest could and should

Serve God with no frustration.

May God abundantly bless you

Your strength and health renew

That you will always continue

To nourish us with Faith that’s true.

We adore you for what you are

The values that you hold

We know you are a super star

More precious than any gold

Let your Silver Anniversary bring

Richest blessings on us and you

We thank, pray, praise and sing

For God’s blessings ever new!

Elizabeth Joy

5th June, 2013


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Very useful aid as we prepare for our OVBS across UK

As we have started our OVBS in UK and will continue that in the next few months, many of us as Sunday School Teachers will be engaged in OVBS teaching.  As we prepare ourselves for this great task that helps in the Spiritual formation and nurturing of  our children, the following videos from Fr Dr Regi Mathew’s will be of immense help.  Please do watch as time permits.  Even if you are not an OVBS or Sunday School teacher, not an Orthodox Christian, this will help you to have a better understanding of the Orthodox Church in the World which is the title of the first video while the second one, Objectives of the Sunday School Training is specifically aimed at the Sunday School Teachers within the Orthodox Church.  Our heartfeflt thanks to Fr Dr Regi Mathew with due acknowledgement to Marthoman TV for sharing it with a wider audience and benefitting people like us across the world.

Orthodox Church in the World

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