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 His Grace 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 H.G. 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.
ABOUT THE VISITING HEAD OF THE CHURCH
The 91st Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II was born (K. I. Paul) on 30 August 1946 in the ancient Syrian Christian family of Kollannur to K.I. Ipe and Kunjeetty. His mother, Kunjeetty hails from the illustrious family of Pulikkottil and he was baptized at the St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Pazhanji, Kerala.
Young Paul got his early calling to a life of divinity as he attended church services regularly and became an altar boy. His call was strengthened while pursuing his graduation. Paul was an active member of MGOCSM, the student wing of the Church. Attracted to monastic life, in 1969, Paul enrolled at the Theological Seminary in Kottayam, Kerala under the tutelage of His Grace Dr. Paulose Mar Gregorios, Fr. Abraham, and Fr. Koruthu Malpan. He completed his theological studies from the Orthodox Theological Seminary and Serampoor University. On 2 June 1973, Deacon Paul was ordained as a priest. On 15 May 1985, Ramban Paul was ordained as a Bishop with the title Paulose Mar Milithios at the young age of 38.
Metropolitan Paulose Mar Milithios was unanimously elected as the Catholicos-designate by the Malankara Syrian Christian Association on 12 October 2006. Succeeding from Baselios Marthoma Didymus I, he was enthroned Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan on 1st November 2010 at Parumala, Kerala. Today, His Holiness looks after a large community spread across India and abroad. Enthroned the Supreme Head at a relatively younger age, a man of piety, prayer and vision, not only is he an inspiration to the youth, but he also brings cheer to all others who need it the most.
ABOUT THE MALANKARA ORTHODOX SYRIAN CHURCH
The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, popularly known as the Indian Orthodox Church is one of the oldest Churches in Christendom dating back to 52 AD, when St. Thomas, one of the direct disciples (Apostles) of Jesus Christ came to India and established the Church. Indigenous, dynamic and devoted to social and welfare activities, it is founded and committed to a tradition of worship, love and service.
The Early Christians of India were known as St. Thomas Christians, until the advent of the Portuguese in the 16th century, followed closely by the British. The Orthodox Church in India is one of the 37 Apostolic Churches, dating from the time of the disciples of Christ. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church was autonomous then, as it is now.
The Church entered a new phase of its history with the establishment of the Catholicate in 1912 and in this year, 2011, we begin the centenary celebrations of the Catholicate in India. The Supreme Head of the Church in India is the Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan. Today, with 2 million followers in all parts of India and across different continents of the world in 30 dioceses, its headquarters is based in Kottayam, Kerala. The head of this ancient and global Church is the recently consecrated Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II.
The Church has its presence in the national capital for close to seven decades and its first Bishop was the globally renowned Metropolitan Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios who passed on to his Heavenly Abode in 1996.
By K. T. Geevarghese/
Nikky Gupta / Bity John
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