DUBAI: Mar Baselios Marthoma Didymos I, the Catholicos Emeritus, arrived at Al Majlis International Airport, Dubai on Thursday, 27th January, 2011 and was accorded a gorgeous welcome by priests and a huge number of faithful from all over the UAE.
The Pontiff led evening prayers at the St. Thomas Cathedral, Dubai and blessed the congregation thereafter.
Later on the Holy Father inaugurated the OCYM activities of the parish for the year 2011 through lighting the lamp in Keralite traditional way.
While addressing the faithful the Catholicos observed and expressed his extreme concern over alcohol addiction, which is becoming widely and deeply rampant in Kerala’s society. He also asked the youth to emulate St. Thomas, St. Gregorios of Parumala and other holy fathers of the Church to lead a life that is pleasing to God. The Pontiff stressed that parents who attend Church regularly, offering daily prayers, observing lent and fasting are the highest gifts that the succeeding generation can inherit, emulate and imbibe.
Chor-Episcopos Philip Thomas, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia delivered a keynote address of touching magnitude, where he said that various arms of the Church like OCYM, MGOCSM, Sunday School and St. Mary’s Women’s League should all work in unison to fetch all sections of worshipping community into the main stream of the parish life.
Fr. Biju P. Thomas, Vicar, St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral, Duabi, exhorted the youth to look unto none other than the Holy Father for a life of prayer, dedication, exemplary life values and leadership. He also affirmed that the OCYM is fortunate to have the blessings of the Holy Father during its inauguration.
In their speeches Fr. Aju Abraham and Fr. Pathrose Joy touched on the importance of the role of youth in the overall spiritual growth of the parish and of the community.
The Holy Father will be in the United Arab Emirates until Friday, February 4th. The Catholicos Emeritus celebrated Holy Qurbana at the Saint Thomas Cathedral, Dubai, on Friday morning, when 91 children offered 91 flowers to welcome their Supreme Spiritual Shepherd at his 91st year of age. The Pontiff has also attended an evening service at the St. Gregorios Orthodox Church, Sharjah, on the same day. According to plans the Highest Bishop of the East is expected bless the Fujairah parish on Saturday and lead Holy Qurbana at Ras al-Khaymah parish on Sunday evening.
The Pontiff is to visit and bless the Al Ain Church site on Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday he is expected to be present at St. George Orthodox Cathedral, Abu Dhabi and return back to Kerala on Friday from Dubai.
The Holy Father is quite alert and responsive although physically needing support to walk. On arrival the Pontiff had a medical checkup by the specialist physician and all his medical parameters were found to be satisfactory.
News sent in: Dr. Vinu Thomas