The Holy Malankara Orthodox Church celebrates the 36th day, the sixth Sunday, of the Holy great Lent as the day of the Holy Church (Sabha Dinam) with the affectionate name “Catholicate Day”.
What is the significance of the day of the Holy Church?
Now the Catholicate day celebrations are meant by the official hoisting of the Church flag prior to the day’s worship, declaration of the Oath, resolutions declaring our allegiance, loyalty and respects to the Church and Church dignitaries, and by arranging a public meeting.
Are these the only activities of the observance of the day of the Holy Church? I believe that one and all will not agree to such a practice.
The day of the Church means the day on which we will have to examine our own relation with our Lord God and His Church – ultimately the body of our Savior. Our Lord compares the life in Church as that of a branch of a vine plant which remains in the main stem and brings out fruits.
In St. John 15: 1-2 we read about this in our Lord’s words. 15:1- “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman”. 15:2. “Every branch in me that bear not fruit he takes away: and every branch that bear fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit.’ Let us make sure that we do bear fruits in our lives, the fruits of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22 . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.) Let us make sure that we bear all these rather than the by products of selfishness like enmity, hatred, etc. Our Lord has established the sacraments as a means for our abideness with Him. Are we particular to make use of those sacraments meaningfully? During the Lenten season we all are supposed to repent more and to obtain forgiveness for our sins through the Holy Confession. Are we serious about the Holy Confession? Or do we consider as a bare necessity to attend the General Body meetings of the Parishes? Our Lord still wants to hear from each and everyone of us an answer to His frequent question “Who am I for you”. We are supposed to tell Him that He is our Lord and God. Let us all confirm that Lord Jesus is our Lord and God. We might be happy in shouting the slogan “We will transfer the light from generation to generation, which was originally granted to us by St. Thomas and maintain the same ever shining”. At the same time we ignore the faith confessed our father, St. Thomas.
We are supposed to make sure that our relation with the Holy Church is as desired by our Lord God. It is needless to say that the Church is the body of Christ, our savior and we all are small but significant parts of the Holy Body of Christ. We started the Lent with Subukono service, when and where we had reconciled (were supposed to reconcile) with our own brethren. Our relation with our own brothers and sisters, who remain co-cells or parts of the same body of Christ, must be strong and solid on the basis of the unselfish love of God, which connects us together. We all are interconnected with the love and faith in Lord Christ. Each one of the small part of the body must make sure that he or she is perfect in the Love, faith and Hope. Lord Christ wants us all to be linked each other as He and His father are united as one. Let us think of the oneness among ourselves. If we feel weakness or so, let us rectify it on the specific day of correction set apart as the day of the Holy Church.
This year’s Catholicate day is so significant. First of all the day is selected by Catholicate Centenary Celebrations Core Committee as the day of Prayer for the preparations of the celebrations. The special prayer book drafted in this context has been approved by H.H. The Catholicose, the spiritual head of our Church. The same book has been circulated to all Parishes across the globe along with the Kalpana in this regard and His Holiness has asked in the bull to make use of the prayer book during the prayer for the Holy church on coming Sunday. Let us pray for the blessings to celebrate the Centenary of the establishment of the Catholicate in Malankara so meaningfully and aptly.
Secondly five priests out of the seven Bishop Elects will accept monkshood from His Holiness and other Metropolitans of the Holy Church during Holy Eucharist at Parumala Seminary Church.
Let us earnestly pray for the Holy Church, her spiritual leaders, entire clergy and the entire faithful.