The Family In Distress Would Be Helped

Written By: on Mar 22nd, 2010 and filed under Opinions.

St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Adimali, Ernakulam District, Kerala was in the news! The Mangalam Daily reported a couple of days back on the funeral of a 60 year old individual, who committed suicide because he couldn’t afford treatment for his diabetes / kidney trouble. He left his family in deep sorrow.

Death is the normal end of life, but suicide is a cry for help. From the news report its is clear that he belongs to an Orthodox parish. I have some puzzling questions. Did the parish know about his condition or request? Was there any effort from the Church to help this individual in any way? Did they explore possibilities to help this family out by getting the needed medical help? Why does the Church have a Medical College and other medical establishments?

As far as I know, there are several parishes outside Kerala, including the parish that I am serving, especially in the US and Gulf countries, who are willing to help deserving and legitimate cases. So, if the diocese or the said parish did not know about such services, please update your information. If the parish has done what they could, then it is beyond anyone’s guess or control.

Secondly, this issue is opening a major theological and ethical question to all members of the Church. What are our priorities? We spent millions of rupees to celebrate a silver jubilee or reception of a bishop elect or to celebrate a palli perunnal. I am not saying such celebrations are wrong but do we have a certain amount set apart to help people and prevent his untimely death? Mr. Joy has three children.

Our ministry needs to go beyond regular house visiting to more personal relationship with families. “Parson is the person of the community” with a responsibility to attend to the “total need” of the individual and family. Every parish or diocese should have an emergency trust to help those, who are in need. If they cannot get adequate help then they should contact other parishes or dioceses, who can help. Parishes shall collect funds to help the poor before they demolish and rebuilt new churches.

If Mr. Joy’s family needs financial assistance with the education of their children, St. Thomas Community Services, 805 Glenn Parkway, Hollywood, Florida USA can partially support them through their parish. I am sure more parishes from Kerala dioceses and outside Kerala dioceses will come forward to help this family.

St Thomas Church, Adimali is under ANKAMALI DIOCESE (Telephone 0484-2624339).
Achan used to visit Joy quite often and was very helpful.Let us all pray for the family. The 40th day of demise falls on Saturday.–This information was passed by Thomas David from Kottayam. Readers may contact the church for more details _ Editor

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10 Responses for “The Family In Distress Would Be Helped”

  1. Thank you all for your comments. However, please don’t read into things- there was no blame on anyone especially Bishop or the priest. It was a response to a news as indicated above.

    I spoke with the diocesan office and verified the facts. Having said that, I still think church needs to extend its health care help through our institutions. Suicide prevention may be an area of training our clergy and laity need to attend.

    Fr. JP

  2. Philip A. C says:

    Please contact the Diocesen Bishop H.G Yuhanon Mar Policarpos to know the facts on this issue. Please don’t blame the Bishop or the Priest without knowing the facts. HG can be contacted on 0091-9447475544.
    Malankara Orthodox TV has conducted an independent enquiry into this episode and did not find any thing wrong with the conduct of our clergy in this episode. Contact Joice Thottakkad to know more – 00919947120697

  3. Tom, Mr. Saju Daniel asks for information. No one is blaming anyone, but expressing our concerns over this unfortunate incident. I appreciate Achen, who visited the family. However, was there any initiatives to help them or explain to them the alternatives to suicide? Where/how is the family, is there any thing underway, as we approach his 40th day, to support the family financially?. Celbrating his 40th day and praying for his soul are all good gestures, but what about their living conditions-food, shelter and clothing? Will there be any help? Is it a worth effort? Are his children in school or vocational training centers?
    Achen, with appreciation to your pastoral care, please explore these things and see how you can mobilize some help- one family at a time.

  4. St Thomas Church, Adimali is under ANKAMALI DIOCESE (Telephone 0484-2624339).

    Achan used to visit Joy quite often and was very helpful.

    Let us all pray for the family. The 40th day of demise falls on Saturday.

    We cannot blame the Church entirely for these kinds of tragic incidents. While the Church should try the best to find needy pesons, they should also approach the Church for helps. members of teh parish can also take initiative to inform the Church. We all need help one time or other.

    Please get the facts. Do not blame the church or bishop without getting facts. We have a general tendency to put every problem as financial. There spirtual and emotional problems. some people are unable cope up with the pain they undergo.

    So first get the fatcs right.

    Thank you everyone your interest in helping a family in distress


  5. Saju Daniel says:


    Can we get some details about the beraving family. Also something about their financial and other burdens

  6. Saju Daniel says:

    Census 2010 has just begun in Inia. Our Church should make a serious effort this year to find all the poor and needy members in all the parishes. This kind of incidents should never happen again. Those who need assistance should be classified and be given special pastoral care including financial.

    Saju Kochi

  7. Vilson, my point is not to blame any one but to highlight the need for individualized pastoral ministry, in our church. If there was a personal touch with the family in discussion, we could have the opportunity to give him the alternatives to suicide. ( I don’t mean to say that we could have prevented it, because misfortunes happens)
    Yes, I do feel that we could avoid lengthy litigations (even if the other party brought all of them against us) by means of negotiations, mediations and reconciliation. The amount of money we save from such creative efforts may well be utilized for charitable projects.

  8. Vilson says:

    I think Fr. Joy does not know the thing what happening around. Who told that our church (most of the religious) started the Medical college to help the poor but dreaming of Big donations from students and run hospital attached to medical college because it is a basic criteria for the college, Starting Engineering College not for helping at least some poor students but of donations from students, or even Normal college for the sale of teacher post as like in Bull Market.

    So, achen should come to reality all what you written in the article can be god for some preachers for getting claps. But the above person (he died), if some ozone instead of approaching our church or any institutions run by churches directly approach Amrita Medical college, may be there u can have some thing but nowhere else.

    If the church or our various organization come through such cases, if there is some room for publishing in various types of periodicals we have, the good Samaritans if they come across such posts may help in future (even chance for bogus requests).

  9. John Mathew, Toronto says:

    “We spent millions of rupees to celebrate a silver jubilee or reception of a bishop elect or to celebrate a palli perunnal. I am not saying such celebrations are wrong … ”

    I am saying that such celebrations are wrong. Absolutely wrong. And it is a disgrace to the straight, orthodox faith, that such utterly meaningless celebrations and useless evaporation of money occurs.

    The bishops of the Church do not deserve any celebration as they — all of them — manifestly lack the saintly qualities that would warrant any celebration. Ironically, a saintly bishop would likely reject such celebration as well. So, celebrating a bishop is always a useless endeavor. What did the Saints (e.g., Mor Gregorios (Parumala and Pampady) do? They helped people. What do our bishops do? Fight meaningless and evil court cases, ordain pseudo-monks to the episcopate, eat healthy meals, and stamp their names on profit-making schools and colleges. Horrible, our bishops are. Unorthodox, false leaders, leading us away from the implementation of Christianity.

    Money should not be wasted on profitless ventures, e.g., court cases, and celebration of worldly politician-bishops. Rather, we should use this money for further the goals of Christianity — helping those who need it.

    Too bad none of our leaders — *none* of them — have any thing useful to provide in the latter respect.

  10. it is indeed sad to read the story of an orthodox christian belonging to a parish in EKM committed suicide due to lack of money to take care of his illness.The orthodox community has grown tremendously over several decades with lots of hospitals, schools and organizations that provides help for the needy.Now a days all these institutions are there and the people who runs these have only one motive,JUST TO MAKE MORE MONEY.They are ignoring the fellowbeings and the needy of their own community.Now a days majority of Bishops and Priests forget about the individual(JESUS) on whom the Christianity is built and his service to the community is irrelevent to these hierarchy.When a common man/woman goes to any of these institution, first they ask them for DONATION for the CAPITATION FUND ,if they fail they wont get any admission in any colleges or any medical help from any hospitals.Members of any parishes knows this and that is why they dont approach the priests for help.There were incidents when DEAD BODIES on hold till clearing the Church dues. Some people know this is the only time that they can collect all the dues.ONLY SERMON IS THERE AND ONLY DOCTRINES ARE THERE,to make it practise the orthodox hierarchy is behind, WAY BEHIND

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