On the occasion of observance of Catholicate day, I consider it is beneficial to share some thoughts emanated from the heart. This is an assessment of a subservient layman rather than an authoritative article about this special day and I would like to address few distinctive reflections to be appraised on this day.
Catholicate day is observed as ‘Day of the Church’ (Sabha Dinam) to reaffirm our loyalty and dedication to the Church, to the Throne of St. Thomas, to the Catholicate of the East and to the Catholicose and all the members of Holy Episcopal Synod. It is also a day to commemorate the re-establishment of ancient Catholicate of Seleucia in Malankara. Historical facts portrays that Catholicate in Malankara was not something newly formed whereas it was a reinstallation of intervallic ancient Catholicate. At this juncture, we have to remember all the forefathers who had suffered for the establishment of Catholicate in India. Undeniably, Vattasseril St. Dionysius Thirimeni’s vision, dedication and dynamism paved path for this great event.
In 1912 September, H. H. Mar Abdul Messaiah, the legitimate Patriarch of Antioch at that time, installed Murimattathu Paulose Mar Ivaniose Thirumeni as Cathilicose of the East and through his kalpana (bull) Mar Abdul Messaiah Bava affirmed that the Catholicose is authorized to ordain bishops, consecrate the Holy Chrism and carry out all the ecclesiastical functions that a Patriarch can perform. This was a major milestone in the history of the church.
Why do we observe Catholicate day?
Catholicate day is a day for prayer and dedication for the Church, the Catholicose, Bishops, Priests and for all activities of the Church. It is the duty of each faithful to pray for the church and to serve the church the way God desires. Renewing our membership every year or giving annual arrears are some natural requisites but we have greater responsibilities beyond those. Being a member of the church we have to serve the church the way the Lord wants and the spiritual progress of the church is one of the major objectives one can target on.
Significance beyond the collection agenda
The majority of the members of the church believe that Catholicate day is mainly for collecting average one day’s income to meet expenses of Catholicate office and various Church activities. We cannot blame those who feel it from their innocence because that is what they have experienced from the past. They hear only about some financial targets and few physical aspects. Certainly this is one of the objectives, but not limited to it only. This is the time we have to think about enlightening the faithful on all subjects related to the Church and the authorities have essential responsibility to act on these subjects. As long as it is not accomplished, we cannot blame any layman for being ignorant on Church matters.
What are the major challenges?
Most crucial Challenge in front of the Church is flawed messages and advices propagated through some fractional groups and through some media. Those who can memorize half a dozen verses pretend themselves as masters and start interpreting the way they want. During past few years, there were several new groups formed commonly, claiming very lighter means for salvation through minimal adherence of faith. Their only aim is to attract more people and collect maximum tithes in a short period of time since they know that they cannot outlive more than a decade. Several of our people were attracted by their misinterpretations and delusions. This is mainly due to inadequate perception on teachings of the Bible and the faith of the church. Their final aspire is to cart off a number of faithful from the church and contribute to these new groups.
Another major issue before the Church is lack of appropriate guidance. We expect blissful guidance from the ecclesiastical authorities and must have good shepherds who protect the sheep when they are in danger. Church authorities have a momentous responsibility to enlighten the faithful on subjects related to the faith and practices of the church.
Growth of the Church
There are two aspects for the growth of our church, first one is Spiritual and the second one is Corporal. In my experience, our church had a lot better spiritual vibrancy in earlier years when we had only
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