KOTTAYAM: “On the basis of the unanimous request of the Chapter of the Monastery and on my own conviction I have appointed Fr. Dr. K. M. George as the Director of the Academy. His erudition and ecumenical experience, particularly with the Orthodox Churches will, I hope, contribute to the mission of the new Academy. When he proposed the idea of gathering together our theological students involved in higher studies, he was actively assisted by Fr. Abraham Thomas, Fr. Aswin Fernandezand others. I am pleased to see a good number of new faces at this meeting. I am sure your studies and research will contribute greatly to the enlightenment of the Church and society. God bless you and your new initiative:’ said the supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Church at the first meeting of the Sopana Academic Fellowship, a new initiative of the Church to mold budding theologians.
The first meeting of the Sopana Academic Fellowship was convened on May 30, 2014 at the Mar Ivanios Chaithanya Nilayam where the Academy is housed. His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II presided over the meeting
Fr. Dr Regi Mathew, Registrar of the Federated Faculty for Research in Religion and Culture pointed out in his speech that spirituality and academic pursuits are not incompatible with each other as popularly perceived. He said that the Sopana Academy is in a very congenial position to reconcile the intellectual and the spiritual, the theological and the pastoral dimensions of Christian life.
Fr Dr Bijesh Philip, Principal of St Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary, Nagpur, emphasized the dimension of meditative reflection in order to deepen our understanding of the Scriptures and of reality in general. He hoped that the Sopana would provide a new style of learning and reflection.
Fr. Abraham Thomas, Secretary of Inter-Church Relations Committee outlined the various possibilities open to the candidates for theological and ecumenical research particularly in relation to the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental
Fr. Dr. K. M George said that the Sopana would hold the ideal of” committed learning for the Common Good” The Sopana academy will facilitate studies and research, particularly in the area of theology’s engagement with various cultural expressions in society in an effort to deepen Orthodox sacramental and spiritual understanding of life. He added that the fellowship meetings planned for the postgraduate students would focus on the creative combination of spiritual fellowship with academic excellence.
Fr. George Philip, Superior of the Monastery, welcomed all to the new initiative supported by the Dayara. His Holiness, in his opening speech said that the colonial period, both Portuguese and British, had undermined to some extent the authentic spiritual traditions of the Malankara Orthodox Church. In the theological field, we are making a new attempt to strengthen the Indian and Eastern ethos of the spirituality and theological understanding of the Malankara Church. The life and mission of Metropolitan Mar Ivanios set a model for those who search for a genuine Orthodox spiritual tradition and lifestyle
The meeting was attended by more than 30 candidates in Post Graduate studies in Theology and Syriac language.
Reported by Fr. Abin Abraham,
Secretary, Sopana Academic Fellowship