Mumbai Diocese Accords an Astounding and Historic Welcome to the Supreme Head of The Indian Orthodox Church
The Supreme Head of The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulos II, Catholicose of the East and Malankara Metropolitan was given an arousing and august reception at Mumbai on 5th February, 2011. His Holiness arrived from Pune after a grand reception, where His Holiness has inaugurated Mumbai Diocese’s new ICSE school. The programme started at 3.30 p.m. Even in that hot sun thousands of faithful assembled at the Vashi St. Mary’s school ground, as a mark of the loyalty, allegiance and love to His Holiness. Each and every one was so eager and happy to make the reception a grand success and to make the mighty leader of the Orthodox Church happy. Bava Thirumeni was escorted to the dais by Diocesan Secretary – Rev. Fr. T. E. Isaac, School Principal – Rev. Fr. Abraham Joseph, Rev. Fr. Aswin Fernandez – Joint Secretary of Gregorian Community, all the revered Priests, the officials of the Diocesan Centre and of St. Mary’s school. It was an awesome experience to see that procession with Catholicate flag first (which was carried by Mr. M. C. Sunny – the Diocesan Council member), followed by the dignitaries. The school band did their job in an exemplary and appreciable manner. The procession also had ‘The Platter of Light’ (Thalappoli), adding colour and brightness as well as transforming the procession to spectacular especially with all paraphernalia, wherein 60 girls clad in Kerala Saree, ceremoniously carried a platter (thalam) in their hands having rice, fresh flowers, coconut and lighted lamp, signifying love, reverence, honor and prosperity.
His Grace Mar Coorilos welcomed His Holiness in a short speech, since one more welcome speech had to be done during the function of the school jubilee. Mar Coorilos expressed the joy in welcoming the Holy Father. His Holiness inaugurated the Birth Centenary celebration programmes of our former Diocesan Metropolitan, late lamented His Grace Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilus, the mentor of the Diocese. All the churches of the Diocese participated in the function. The vicars/representatives of each Parish felicitated Bava Thirumeni by presenting woolen shawl/our Kerala special handloom ‘kasavu kavani’, which His Holiness appreciates much, as His Holiness distributes the same among the needy and poor. Also Mr. Kurien Daniel felicitated Bava Thirumeni on behalf of Trinity News. His Grace Mar Coorilos, on behalf of the Diocese, handed over the citation to Bava Thirumeni. Reception to the Holy Father concluded here. For the next function His Excellency, Sri Sankaranarayanan, Governor of Maharashtra, the Honourable Excise Minister – Mr. Ganesh Naik and the Navi Mumbai Mayor Mr. Sagar Naik had to arrive. Till their arrival, the talented choir took the audience to a divinely atmosphere with their devotional songs.
Dr. Mar Theophilus Birth Centenary & the Silver Jubilee Celebration of St. Mary’s Multipurpose School at the School Ground, Vashi.
His Excellency Sri Sankaranarayanan and the Honourable Excise Minister – Mr. Ganesh Naik were received at 5.30 p.m. by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, along with all other dignitaries, office bearers and school teachers. The guests of honour were also accompanied by the same school band and “thalappoli”. The Inauguration of Mar Theophilus Birth Centenary Award and Silver Jubilee celebration of St. Mary’s Multi Purpose High School were the purpose of this function. The function was presided by His Excellency Sri. Shankaranarayanan. State Excise Minister Hon. Ganesh Naik – who is an integral part of Mumbai Orthodox diocese (his own words), His Grace Yuhanon Mar Chrisostomos – Metropolitan of Niranam Dicocese and President of Balika Samajam, Rev. Fr. K. M. George – Principal Orthodox Theological Seminary and a great theologian of international reputation, Justice (Retd) Benjamin Koshy, Mr. Ashok Alexander – Mr. P. C. Alexander’s son (Executive Director of Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation for Public Health and Charities in India), and Navi Mumbai Mayor Mr. Sagar Naik (Nephew of Minister Mr. Ganesh Naik) were the other dignitaries along with the host His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, the Diocesan Metropolitan.
The programme started at 5.30 p.m. immediately after the arrival of the Governor and other dignitaries. The function started with prayers by His Holiness which was followed by welcome speech by His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos. His Grace said “It is the most blessed occasion for the Diocese of Bombay and this august gathering to extend a very warm welcome to His Holiness the Catholicose and felicitate His Holiness for being elevated to the highest rank of the Malankara Orthodox Church. It is also a great privilege for us to celebrate the Birth Centenary of Late Lamented H.G. Dr. Philipose Mar Theophilus, former Metropolitan and chief architect of the Diocese of Bombay and the Founder Manager of this St. Mary’s School which celebrates its silver jubilee. During the Birth Centenary celebrations, the first
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