Christmas Message

In the blessed name of the Tri-une God, Self-existent,
Beginningless and Endless, Perfect in Being, (Glory be to Him)

Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II Catholicos of the East and
Malankara Metropolitan enthroned on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas

No. 491/2011

Blessings to our beloved Vicars of the parishes, Priests of the locality, Kaikkarans of the parishes and all members of the Church!

Dearly beloved,

Once again we are blessed with a season of Nativity. Christmas reminds us our vocation to our Savior’s childhood. This reminder but gives us significant responsibilities. We cannot lead a life as we please, but we ought to make ourselves analogous to the will of God. Staying in the premises of our lives, the challenges that we face are diverse and those may often tend to break us; but this higher sense of vocation that we have been called to be His child should in every way give us the impetus to go forward. Yes, this great event had made us His ‘heir’. Let the Feast which revealed to us that there is space in the heart of Jesus Christ for all creatures, make us more spiritual. Let us dedicate ourselves in holiness to prepare a manger in our hearts so as to equip ourselves to face the challenges of the age in the power of the Holy Spirit.

May this Christmas not be a commercial event for us but this may bring each one of us the sense of our vocation. May the peace of this season continue to sustain and reflect in you to be carried over to a very blessed New Year. We wish and pray that the Almighty grant you all a Christmas of spiritual renewal and joy and a blissful New Year.

May the Grace and Blessings of the God Almighty abide with you forever. May the prayers of the Mother of our God, the Holy Virgin Mary, St. Thomas the Apostle of India, our Holy Fathers Mar Gregorios, Mar Dionysius and all the Holy Saints be a stronghold for us. Amen.

Our Father who art in Heaven.........................

Baselios Marthoma Paulose II

From Catholicate Aramana
Devalokam, Kottayam, Kerala, India
On December 05, 2011.

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Message from their Holinesses and Beatitudes the Patriarchs to their Communities and Citizens in Syria Message from the Heads of Churches their Holinesses and Beatitudes the Patriarchs to their communities and citizens in Syria

Their Holinesses and Beatitudes Ignatios Hazim IV Patriarch of Antioch and All the East of the Greek Orthodox. Mor Ignatios Zakka I IWas Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Syrian Orthodox. Gregorios III Laham Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Alexandria and Jerusalem of the Greek Melkite Catholic.
The Patriarchs met at St Ephrem the Syriac Monastery in Ma’arat Saydnaya on the morning of Thursday 15th December 2011. They examined the situation which our beloved country Syria is passing through for the last nine months of events.
The Patriarchs explored the events and its outcomes which have caused pain and suffering to the country and to the people in all aspects of life.
The Patriarchs expressed:
- their deep pain about what is occurring, and their sorrow for the loss of the lives.
- their fear about the decline of the economic situation.
- their acute wishes to see Syria recovering its wounds
The Patriarchs hoped that:
- citizens of Syria may come back to each other in love, tolerance, cooperation and wisdom.
- the nation’s interest may favor any other interest
- the people may return to their authenticity and heritage, and to their conscious and faith in dealing with each other; and in solving their problems by their own.
The Patriarchs rejected all sorts of foreign intervention from any foreign party.
They called for lifting up the sanctions which were imposed on Syria under any excuse.
The Patriarchs rejected resorting to the use of any type of violence.
The Patriarchs called for:
- peace and reconciliation between all the people under the name of God and the nation.
- respect the principles of justice, freedom, human dignity, social justice and citizenship rights.
The Patriarchs encouraged the steps of reforms and positive actions which the government has lately recognized.
The Patriarchs are lifting up their warmth prayers, in one mouth and one heart, to God Almighty so that He may:
- bless the souls of those who died
- console the hearts of those who lost people
- protect Syria and guide it to the shore of safety, peace, sovereignty, and prosperity
The Patriarchs are calling on everybody to join them in their prayers. They ask people not to let the fear enter their hearts because not one single piece of hair will fall from the heads without God’s permission, as our Lord Jesus Christ taught us.
During this Advent times, their Holinesses and Beatitudes are approaching all their spiritual sons and daughters, as well as the citizens of Syria with wholehearted wishes. They are asking the Lord Jesus, the God before all ages, who took the flesh of humans for our salvation, to place in our hearts the joy and peace which the angels proclaimed at the night of Jesus’ birth; together with the intercession of the Mother of God Mary, everlasting Virgin and all the Saints.

St Ephrem Monastery – Ma’arat Saydnaya – Syria
15 December 2011

Courtesy: syrianorthodoxchurch


New Archbishop for the Indian Orthodox diocese of Delhi

His Eminence
Dr. Yuhananon Mar Demetriuss

KOTTAYAM, Kerala state, India: The managing committee of Indian Orthodox Syrian Church which met here on 20th December 2011 Tuesday has made recommendation for appointing His Eminence Archbishop Yuhananon Mar Demetrius as the new head of the Delhi diocese of the church.
Bishop Demetrius, so far functioning as the assistant metropolitan of Delhi is being elevated to the new post following the demise of his predecessor His Eminence Metropolitan Job Mar Philoxenos on November 20.

Syria: A sad Christmas for Damascus Christians

Subdued out of respect for dead, but 'we are united'
21 December, 11:56
(ANSAmed) - DAMASCUS, DECEMBER 21 - No Christmas lights are strung up around Damascus, and not even a decorated tree can be found in the Christian quarter of the Old City, where even the churches are bare of adornments. ''Out of the respect for the dead,'' the Christian community seem to say in unison in Syria, where they account for 10% of the population and have long been one of the most integrated in an Arab country. It is for the latter reason that they have oftentimes shown their support for Assad's regime, which they feel protected by. And it is for this every reason that now - aware of the crisis afflicting the country - they are calling for Syrian unity.

The community is doing its part by renouncing all ''superfluous' Christmas symbols, observing the holiday solely through religious celebrations and within their families. ''There will be celebrations as always, but due to the situation and out of respect for so many who have died, in our church and our family we have decided to spend Christmas in our houses and limit the use of lights and decorations,'' said Milad, whose name means 'Christmas'. Milad works with his father in one of the many goldsmith shops of the souk, whose owners are almost all Christians. ''In Syria there is a problem at the moment,'' he said, ''there is a need for reform, but the situation is not like what some media outlets make it seem. And so the arrival of observers is a good thing. However, we must stay united, more than before, for our future.'' Concerns over what the future may hold in store are palpable. ''There have never been religious tensions here,'' said Iria, a 71-year-old Christian Protestant in her tiny linen shop in the Christian quarter of Damascus's Old City, ''we have always lived in harmony. We are now worried because there are people shooting and killing and we do not know who they are. And we don't know what will happen if the regime falls - in Egypt, after what happened, the Muslim Brotherhood are now taking over.

We do not know what could happen here, but we have always lived in harmony and we want to continue to do so.'' These are fears that Bishop Louka El Khouri, from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, seems to want to exorcise. ''The Christian community in Syria is very strong, and as Christians we are not afraid - because we love our country and will stay in our country and we do not believe the media which tell us we should leave it. We will stay and live with our Islamic brethren.'' He then said that the Damascus Bishops Council meets every month and holds meetings also with Islamic representatives. ''At the beginning of the month the council met to discuss the situation. We are here for anyone who needs support. Even Muslims: every day I receive at least 10 Islamic friends.'' The support is almost always spiritual, however, and almost never material: the bishop says that the community does not fear any economic difficulties due to the lasting of the crisis which has led even to the inflicting of heavy sanctions. Among the Old City shopkeepers, however, it is inevitable that the effects are being felt. ''Of course revenues are down,'' said Basil, a Muslim who sells almost exclusively Christmas decorations and who said that he had only sold 20% of what he had last year.

''But it doesn't matter,'' he said, ''it is a choice made by Christians and we agree with them. Because we are united and at the moment there is no happiness in the country.''(ANSAmed).



H E Mar Severius Ishak Zakka, the Metropolitan of Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, dies at 80

Mar Severius Ishak Zakka

MOSUL, IRAQ, December 21: His Eminence Mar Severius Ishak Zakka, the Metropolitan of Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch dies at a hospital in Bhkkadidha (Baghdaida), Qarakhosh (Qarakosh) on Monday December 19th, 2011 at the age of 80. His Eminence was admitted to the hospital due to a prolonged illness.

His Eminence Mar Severius Ishak Saka was born in Bartella, near to Mosul, Iraq in 1931 and was consecrated as metropolitan on 22 February 1981. His Eminence was the Metropolitan for St. Aphrem Seminary and In Charge for the Higher Studies and Research in Syriac and Former Metropolitan (Dayaraya) for Mar Mathai Dayara (St. Matthew monastery), Mosul, Iraq.

The funeral of His Eminence Mar Severius Ishak Zakka, was held on Tuesday 20th December 2011 at Mar Mathai Dayara (St. Matthew monastery), Mosul, the place the His Eminence served for a long period as a monk (Dayaraya). Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim (Archbishop of Aleppo and Environs in Syria) led the service as the envoy of His Holiness Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch. At the end of the funeral service, Mar Gregorios labeled the body with Holy Oil (Zayto) and covered the face with `shushefo' veil. Mar Gregorios Saliba Shamoun (Retired Metropolitan of Mosul), Mar Dionysius Yuhanon Kawaq (Director of Patriarchal Office), Mar Nicodemos Dawood Matti (Archbishop of Mosul and Environs) assisted Mar Gregorios. Bishops and priests of sister Churches and hundreds of people thronged the Mar Mathai Dayara, on last two days to pay last respects to the departed Metropolitan.