MUSCAT: Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. “I have been given all authority in haven and on earth. Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples.”
These were the cornerstones of a short Easter message delivered by Abraham Mar Epiphanios, Metropolitan of Sultan Bathery Diocese and Assistant Metropolitan, Bangalore Diocese to a packed congregration on April 3, Saturday night Holy Easter service.
“Easter is the mother of all festivals which proclaims victory over evil. Let there be joy and peace and no fear,” said the Metropolitan who wished all the faithful to do good for the community at large.
In keeping with the joyful occasion, the Metropolitan urged all to divert a part of their income towards missionary related work.
In a short speech laced with humour, Mar Epiphanios Metropolitan thanked the Almighty for enabling him to visit Muscat Church after a gap of 21 years. He recalled the days of his leading the Good Friday services at the Parumala Seminary and the present service in Muscat where huge crowds thronged the church.
“In Parumala, rice kanji, kootu curry and tender mango pickle are mixed in the broth and it is kept in huge containers where every individual par takes it. He found it quite different here when everyone had kanji in different plastic bowls,” the metropolitan remarked.
Mar Epiphanios Metropolitan rightfully remembered and praised the efforts of the Omani government and the simplicity of its people who together with the expatriates have enabled to build the nation on a progressive path.
The Metropolitan also heaped praises on Fr James Geevarghese, Vicar, Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church, Muscat for being humble and loyal and for his successful leadership towards the overall conduct of the passion week services.
Reciprocating, Fr James in his speech remarked that it was easy to interact and learn from Mar Epiphanios, the young bishop, and both had a good spiritual mingling during the two-week stay in Muscat.
The Metropolitan recalled the maiden meeting with Fr James and the church committee members who had come down to Kerala in January to invite Mar Epiphanios for the Thanal Project where marriage of 3 less privileged couples from the Sultan Bathery diocese was held. An invitation was then extended to the metropolitan to lead the congregation during the Passion Week services which was accepted.
Mar Epiphanios left for Salalah to conduct the Holy Qurbana on April 9 (New Sunday) at the Salalah St Stephens Orthodox Church.
He will return by April 11 and emplane for Kerala.
Alternatively, Dr Mathews Mar Severius, Metropolitan of Kandanad West, who was the chief celebrant of this year’s Holy Week services at St Stephens Orthodox Church in Salalah will conduct the Holy Qurbana at the Muscat Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church on April 9 (New Sunday).