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Con-celebration marks maiden Holy Eucharist at New Burbank Church

Boost to ecumenical ties as Mar Milithios leads mass along with Cor-episcopos Dr Joseph Tarzi
Metropolitan assures Syriac Community of constant support from Malankara Church
Hails faithfulness, commitment to the cause of justice and truth by the congregation

BURBANK, Los Angeles: The maiden Holy Eucharist at the newly-bought Church by St James Syrian Orthodox Church of Los Angeles, a mission of the Malankara Orthodox Church under the Episcopal care of Dr Yuhanon Mor Milithios, Metropolitan of Thrissur was held on December 4, 2011.

This was as per the decision of the Holy Episcopal Synod of Malankara Orthodox Church, and by the order of HH the Catholicos of the East.

The remodeling of the new Church is yet to be completed. However, for the convenience of Dr Mar Milithios, the first-ever service was conducted in the adjacent hall. Cor-episcopos Dr Joseph Tarzi (Vicar) participated in the con-celebration.

The Metropolitan later congratulated the congregation for finding a Church of their own to worship in the path of the ancient fathers of the Church and to hand it over to the coming generations. He also assured the continued support of Malankara Church for the spiritual development of the congregation.

“I am happy that the Holy Synod of Malankara Church entrusted me with this mission and appreciated the able leadership Cor-episcopo Dr Tarzi has been rendering to the congregation. It was for this reason that I wanted him to co-celebrate with me during the first-ever service in the new Church,” said Mar Milithios.

In his reply, Cor-episcopos Dr Tarzi thanked the parishioners for their support in making this possible and also expressed the congregation’s gratitude to Malankara Orthodox Church and to Mar Milithios for the spiritual guidance and support. “He hoped that this relationship will grow and strengthened further. The consecration of the Church will be held some time in May 2012 while the main sanctuary will be ready for worship towards the end of the year.”

In his sermon Mar Milithios likened the present situation to a reading from the Gospel passage dealing with the occasion of the birth of John the Baptist.

It is our responsibility in this world to understand the will of God and to accomplish it in our lives under any challenge that may arise from the world around. When John was to be named, relatives and friends of Zechariah suggested the name ‘Zechariah.’ But Elizabeth, who was aware of God’s will, did not yield to this, but asked to name him as ‘John.’

“We may wonder how did she know of the will of God which was only revealed to Zechariah who was since then mute and could not speak. This is where the mutual understanding of husband and wife comes into concrete test. Words are not needed to share ideas between husband and wife if there is true union between them. They can look at each other and understand each other. That is the result of mutual love, trust and understanding. Language may some times become hindrance to effective communication. It was Elizabeth’s refusal to the suggestions of the people that made them ask for the opinion of Zechariah. He also did not listen to the people when there was already the word of God. Thus the will of God was fulfilled through John. Otherwise, John would never have become John. So the patents’ response to the will of God regarding each child becomes the identity and personality of the child,” Mar Milithios explained.

“It was the will of God that people should stand firm when questions of justice, peace and love were raised in the Syriac Orthodox Community in Burbank. Some times, it is quite unfortunate that these questions come from the responsible people in the community itself as happened in the case of John. But those who really know the will of God have to disregard that and go ahead with responding to the plan God sets.”

Mar Milithios further appreciated the faithfulness and commitment to the cause of justice and truth by the congregation. Metropolitan warned that earlier no one would have thought that this was possible with the congregation. “People may have thought you will fast disintegrate and will be forgotten. But God had plans with you just as he had with John. When people saw the things happening at the time of the naming of John, they wondered, “What this child shall become”. That is an exploration in the plan of God without any prejudice or preconception. Now after you have accomplished this, after having a mute talk, people who were against you and suggested that you change your name and your ways of upholding truth and justice, would wonder “what this congregation shall become,”? he concluded.

The new Church is in Sunland and located not very far from Burbank.

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