Strict Discipline Is Not For Discipline’s Sake: Fr. Dr. Bijesh Philip, Principal, STOTS

Written By: on Jul 7th, 2010 and filed under Columns, Opinions.

The Opening Address delivered at STOTS for the Academic Year 2010 by the Principal, STOTS Nagapur, Fr. Dr. Bijesh Philip

Wish you all a blessed feast day of our Patron Saint. As usual we begin the academic year of the Seminary this year also on St. Thomas Day. There are people who question the relevance of celebrating the feast of St. Thomas on July 3rd. For the Persian Church it might have been a celebration of reception of the relics of St. Thomas from India and its dedication in Edessa. However, the Indian Church shall not need to lose any opportunity to remember the apostle, who was instrumental in laying the foundation of our Church. On July 3rd we can proclaim the indisputable fact, namely the founding of our Church through the most venturing Apostle of Jesus Christ in spite of any strong mortal remains in India, we cherish a powerful memory of St. Thomas.

Our Seminary has been named after St. Thomas. H.G. Dr. Sthephanos Mar Theodosius who had a remarkable devotion to St. Thomas, used to remind the Seminary community about the sacrificial missionary commitment of St. Thomas. He exhorted us to emulate the deep commitment of St. Thomas to our Lord and the consequent missionary zeal of him. Once Theodosius Thirumeni highlighted a positive reasoning for the absence of St. Thomas when our Lord appeared to the disciples: While other apostles were frightened to go out, St. Thomas was able to move around boldly without fearing persecution for being a disciple of Christ. May the intercession and example of St. Thomas be an inspiration and support to our Seminary.

Special priestly formation in the context of Outer Kerala Region(OKR) for some of the future leaders of our church was the dream of many laymen, priests and a couple of bishops. H.G. Dr. Sthephanos Mar Theodosius was an ardent supporter of this dream. Specially catering to the needs of the Diaspora and also a deep concern for the poor and marginalized of the society were the basic ingredients of the original vision of Seminary and the Seminary has been trying to uphold the vision from its inception onwards. However honestly speaking, the seminary cannot claim that it is completely successful in imparting such training. It is also doubtful whether some of the students who pass out from here uphold this dream in their ministry.

The Seminary, which started in Bhilai in 1995, was shifted to Nagpur, the Centre of India in 1999. From 99 onwards our beloved and respected Dr. Reji Mathew Achan was serving as the Principal of the Seminary. As per his request the Holy Episcopal Synod permitted him to be relieved from STOTS and serve at OTS Kottayam. Achan`s dedicated service to the Seminary contributed to the manifold developments and progress in the Seminary. We can further remember with gratitude his services when we arrange a farewell meeting to him on 30th of this month.

It is a matter of great joy that our bursar Fr. Dr. George Pulikkottil has been consecrated as Metropolitan with the name Geevarghese Mar Yulios. When H.G. Mar Yulios comes to the seminary on July 5th, seminary community as a whole can communicate directly our greetings and congratulations to him. Our former Bursar also has become a bishop. As you know H.G. Alexios Mar Eusebius is imparting effective leadership to the Diocese of South West America. His greeting has been posted on the notice board. We do not know what will happen to our next Bursar.

Rev. Fr. Dr. Reji K Geevarghese, NT Professor of our seminary has been appointed as the new Director of Sunday School, Outer Kerala Region of which the office is in the seminary. Let us extend our

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