WE thank God humbly for the privilege that we as women of the Indian Orthodox Church (IOC) have got in the very long history of our Church since it was established in AD 52!
We also take this opportunity to thank all those people who were directly and indirectly instrumental in bringing this great change – men and women, laity and clergy, Managing Committee and the Holy Episcopal Synod. Although recognising women’s voting rights at the local parish level and enabling them to be office bearers at the local parish level is a small step, it is indeed a great moment in history, a great beginning for women of our Church to participate in the Life and Witness of our Church (MOSC/IOC) in more responsible, accountable and visible positions. Indeed it is the biggest feather on our cap as we celebrate the Catholicate Centenary this year!
On October 19, 2011, we had this good news when the Managing committee of our Church that met on this day unanimously accepted the constitution revision proposals of the Rules Committee that women of the parish should be given equal right in the parish assembly.
We take this opportunity to thank our Bava Thirumeni HH Baselios Marthoma Paulose II for making the Catholicate Centenary a very meaningful and happier occasion for all women and those who believe in the empowerment of women.
It is indeed a matter of great importance leading to visible Transformation of the Church when the Faith community rejoices in acknowledging God’s Love, Peace and Grace through this gesture. We hope, trust and pray that it will remain a great blessing for this generation and all Generations to come. We look forward the guidance and Blessings of His Holiness as we tread this new, exciting as well as challenging path to witness our faith as we explore greater dimensions of our calling.
Although it was with great fear, doubt and worry that many participated in this process in the last few years, we see the change gaining its momentum under the able guidance and leadership of the Metrachens in different Dioceses. Of course, we do not expect an instant change everywhere but hope and pray that those Parishes and Dioceses which are yet to bring this change will do so in the near future. As a person who has had a global ecumenical exposure working with the Churches across the world, as I commend the Priests, Metrachens, men and women of the Church (including the Youth) for bringing about a big change, I also plead that we take care not to abuse this great privilege and not to create a situation where any particular group will be threatened on account of the changes made in the constitution. By this I mean that every woman who is called elected and put into responsible positions ensure that we carry out our responsibilities in the most fitting manner making a right difference. We need to exercise our roles with great caution, sense of accountability, inclusivity and faithfulness to God Almighty.
While it is seen as expressing the empowerment of women in the Church, for me it is more the expression of our spirituality and faith in the Triune God who embraces us with no discrimination. Whether we take God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son or the Holy Spirit, we see no discrimination. We are all the children of God the Father, Brothers and sisters to Christ through Baptism and become the instruments and agents of change and transformation through the Holy Spirit. Thus the Triune God in whom we live, move and have our being calls us to be the agents of Transformation.
A Kalpana that makes and marks history: At this point of time, I would also like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to our Diocesan Metropolitan HG Dr Mathews Mar Thimothios for giving me this opportunity to serve the UK region in my role as the Deputy Secretary for Ecumenical Relations and Spiritual Organizations.
I am deeply humbled and commit myself to serve in this capacity to the best of my ability by God’s Grace. Needless to say that he has taken a huge step with Faith and Courage.
As a mark of celebrating this day I would like to post His Grace’s Kalpana here (dated August 23, 2012 No: 29/GEN/2012) May many more women be honoured to take up such positions at different levels in our Church. I am grateful to all people in this region – young and old who have rejoiced with me as I got this new role, which constantly encourage, support and uphold me in their prayers.
I also take this opportunity to thank HG Dr Yuhanon Mar Meletius for all his contributions in my spiritual and personal formation. I am ever grateful to him for the manner in which he has enabled me to take deeper roots in the Orthodox Faith even as I am in the learning process to understand and witness the Orthodox Faith in its essence and grandeur.
If you wish to read more on the proposal – the text of the report given by HH Yuhanon Mar Meletius on behalf of the Commission appointed by the Holy Episcopal Synod to study the matter and place proposal, please follow the link below:
As His Grace says, the Synod, the Rules Committee and the Managing Committee has made several changes to this document. It is taken from his wordpress.com Blog. Click to go to this page
Answer me O Lord!:
You can read many articles or refer to the above link for Questions and Answers which I am sure will add Blessings in your life enlightening you on many questions in relation to Orthodox Faith and our witness. You can also go to Skydrive to listen to sermons or read more articles and interviews or view photographs! Hope you find these resources helpful not just in your Ecumenical and Spiritual journey but instrumental in changing your perspectives in relation to our Socio-political, religio-cultural and economic participation in whichever part of the world we may be in.
May they help us to re-orient ourselves deeply rooted in our Faith to respond to the challenges of this 21st Century.
You may be happy to find the resources here in both English and Malayalam including audio sermons that nourish us. They are like streams in the desert that one can seek and be refreshed. The link
As we pray for God’s guidance to lead us in paths that lead us to witness God’s love in our day to day lives, may we commit ourselves as members of this great Church with its great heritage to live out our faith in the Triune God to bring Transformation through love, peace and justice. May this day in history be a day that we remember to empower those at the margins – the least, the last and lost.
Mrs Elizabeth Joy is the newly appointed Deputy Secretary of Ecumenical Relations and Spiritual Organisations from UK-Europe and Africa. She was appointed by HG Dr Mathews Mar Thimothios, Diocese Metropolitan of UK-Europe and Africa.