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A Grand Public Meeting held to welcome His Holiness in New Delhi

His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II’s Visit Celebrated by Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
The Orthodox Church in the Third Millennium – public meeting held to welcome His Holiness
Programme on women empowerment inaugurated

NEW DELHI, March 13, 2011: The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, popularly known as the Indian Orthodox Church today welcomed its Supreme Head, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II (The Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan) at a grand Public Meeting on “The Orthodox Church in the Third Millennium”. It was his first ever visit to the capital.

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is one of the oldest Churches in India and this year, it has entered its centenary celebrations of the Catholicate in India established in 1912 at Kerala. The welcome address to the public meeting, organized at Thyagraja Stadium was eloquently delivered by Job Mar Philoxenos, Metropolitan Diocese of Delhi. The occasion was graced by a number of dignitaries including Smt. Sheila Dikshit (Honourable Chief Minister of Delhi), Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde (Honourable Minister of Power), Shri Wajahat Habibullah (Chairperson, National Commission for Minorities) and Prof. K. V. Thomas (Honourable Minister of State of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution). Also present was the Archbishop of Delhi Vincent Concessao.

In the presence of His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, the church also inaugurated an ambitious programme Shantigram Mahila Swayam Sahayata Samooh for North India. Aimed at women’s empowerment through the creation of self-help groups, the programme was launched by Smt. Sheila Dikshit. This programme is undertaken by Shantigram – a community development project of the Delhi Diocese, situated in the village of Mandavar in Sohna tehsil.

Speaking on the occasion His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II said, “The Church through its members and as an institution will be an important source of social reform in the 21st century, through contributions in education, health, business, and community welfare activities. The Shantigram Mahila Swayam Sahayata Samooh programme was incepted with the belief of empowering society through the empowerment of women. Through initiatives such as these we hope to contribute in the building of a compassionate, upright and humane society.”

Shantigram is spearheaded by Metropolitan Job Mar Philoxenos and has been into the area of social and community welfare from a decade. So far, it has helped in transforming the lives of about 20,000 people. Currently, the multiple projects include a full-fledged school for about 350 children, an integrated healthcare facility to treat patients from the nearby villages and a Balabhavan to look after the needs of underprivileged children.