VISAKHAPATNAM:The culmination of the yearlong Golden Jubilee Celebrations of St. Stephens Orthodox Church (Located Behind Apollo Hospital) in Visakhapatnam is on Sept, 24 2009.” informed Sam Cherian Karuvely, the Sabha managing Committee member and a member of St. Stephens
The celebrations start with Holy triune high mass on Thursday Sept. 24 at 8.00 a.m. Metropolitans Dr. Yakoob Mar Ireanios (Kochi), Abraham Mar Ephiphanios (Bangalore) and Dr. Yuhanon Mar Diascoros (Chennai) will be the chief celebrants for Holy Qurbana.
Thereafter a public meeting will be conducted at 10.30 AM. The Metropolitans and other dignitaries from other walks of life will also join in the public meeting. The Church will honor the founder members that are currently staying at Visakhapatnam in the public meeting. A souvenir will also be released at the function to commemorate the Golden Jubilee. The Jubilee celebrations will be concluded with Lunch.
The Church completes the 50 years of its existence in Visakhapatnam. The few Malayalam speaking Orthodox Christians migrated to the city of destiny in early 1950’s initiated to establish a parish which was named after the first Christian Martyr Saint Stephen in the year 1959.
Now the Church has a membership of about 125 families. St. Stephens Orthodox Church is now under the Bangalore diocese administered by His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Didymos I, the Malankara Metropolitan and Catholicose of the East. Metropolitan Abraham Mar Ephiphanios is the Asst. Metropolitan of Bangalore diocese. Fr.Thomas Moothedom, Fr. P. V. Paulose, Fr. Koshy Chacko, Fr.K. V. Thomas, Fr.George Kalleckal, Fr. P. M. Philipose, Fr. C. M. Philipose, Fr. P. O. Jacob, Fr. Philip Chempothara, Fr. Daniel Thottamattom, Fr. Thomas Thalackal, Fr. P. T. Cherian, Fr. T. M. George, Fr. K. P. Philip, Fr. John Thachenperil Fr. P. M. Kuriakose, Fr. Mathew Varghese (Shebaly) , Fr. Mani. V. C. Chemmanam, Fr. M. P. Jacob and Fr. Slomo Issac George served the parish as vicars since its inception. Fr.Lijo Joseph Modiyil is the current vicar of the parish.
Fr. Pathrose Mookancheril (His Lamented- His Grace Pathrose Mar Osthathios Metropolitan) conducted Orthodox Holy Qurbana in the year 1948 for the first time in Visakhapatnam city at St. Johns CSI Church. The first church was consecrated on Sunday, 28th January 1968 by the then Catholicose of the East and Malankara Metropolitan His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews-I.