20141214

Ensure religious freedom: Indian Catholicos


Catholicos Baselius Mar Thomas Paulose II 
addressing a press conference at Devalokam, 
near Kottayam, on Friday,December 12, 2014

Special Correspondent of the Hindu 

KOTTAYAM, December 13, 2014(IST):
Catholicos Baselius Mar Thomas Paulose II, head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, has underscored the need for authorities to take steps to ensure the constitutionally given religious freedom so that communal amity and secularism could be upheld in the country.
Talking to mediapersons here on Friday to announce the valedictory of the 50th death anniversary observance of his predecessor Catholicos Baselius Gheevarghese II, the pontiff said while he was upset over the incidents of forced reconversion attempts and burning of churches reported from north India, he viewed them as isolated incidents. The Catholicos, who had courted controversy by praising the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his administrative acumen during the run-up to the last general elections, said he still stood by his earlier stance about Mr. Modi.
The important thing was for the government to put things in order and rein in the extreme fringes who engaged in such activities, he said. Unless those in power take steps to ensure the confidence of all sections of society, they will not be able to put the developmental agenda into practice, he said.
Reacting to a question, the Catholicos said corruption had pervaded the whole society and it was for the political leadership to take corrective measures. “People are losing faith in their leaders and the nation was witnessing a major crisis on account of the leadership vacuum, not only in politics, but in all sections of society,” he said.
There was a drastic fall in adherence to values and unbridled consumerism had led to a scramble to make money at any cost, he said. The political leadership was not insulated from this trend, he said. The political leadership should address the issue and take steps to regain the confidence of the people, he said.
Referring to the schism in the Church, the Catholicos said he had not received any information from the Patriarch of Antioch (Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim) regarding any peace moves.
Reacting to a question, he said the perception of the Orthodox Church was that the government was moving back from its avowed policy on the liquor issue.

COURTESY: The Hindu  (INDIA)



20141210

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE MALANKARA ORTHODOX SYRIAN CHURCH

THE CANON LAW OF THE MALANKARA ORTHODOX CHURCH

The Canon Law accepted and followed by the Orthodox church of Malankara was collected and codified by Mar Gregorios Bar Hebraeus, Catholicos of the East (AD. 1226-1286) in the thirteenth century. He was a versatile genius who wrote about thirty books on a variety of subjects. He was a great scholar in church History and Canon Law of the Church. Having carefully and judiciously scrutinized the verdicts of the Church Fathers and the decrees of the provincial and ecumenical councils he collected them, edited and classified under different heads. The original work in Syriac contains forty chapters and is called by the name ‘hoodoyo canon’. The word ‘hoodoyo’ means “explanations”.

The original syriac manuscript was edited and printed in Paris in 1898 by Paul Bedjan. The Pampakuda Konat Library possesses a copy of this ancient canon which in every detail agrees with the Paris publication.

The Patriarch party in Malankara maintains a varied version of this Canon which was prepared here to give more power and claims to the Patriarch of Antioch. The original Syriac canon contains forty chapters of which the first ten chapters have been translated into Malayalam by the late lamented Malpan Fr. Abraham Konat. In his editorial note it is mentioned that the remaining thirty chapters contain subjects that are irrelevant for the Malankara Church, but connected with the Middle East society of that period. The author of the ‘Hoodoyo canon’ has simply presented the verdict of different church fathers and early councils, but he does not make any positive and conclusive pronouncements.

Certainly the Canon needs revision and updating to meet the challenges and needs of the Malankara Church in the modern times. The Church leaders who framed the constitution of the Malankara Orthodox Church have used this Canon as a basis.

The ten chapters contain matters related to church politics, sacraments, feasts and fasts, burial rites etc.

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE MALANKARA ORTHODOX CHURCH

The church had no written constitution until 1934, but was governed by consensus, traditions and precedence. It was the vision of Mor Dionysius, Vattasseril to have a clearly defined uniform constitution to govern the church administration. He initiated action in this regard and appointed a sub-committee with O. M. Cherian as convener to submit a draft constitution. The committee members had discussed the fundamental issues with the Metropolitan in several rounds. However it was not finalized and passed (materialized) in his life time.

After his demise, the constitution was presented in the Malankara Christian Association meeting of Dec 26, 1934, held at M. D. Seminary. It was adopted and brought to force. Three times the constitution was amended to meet specific situations and needs. It only shows that the church is alive to meet the challenges that arise from time to time.
The validity of the constitution was challenged by the Patriarch party in the Court, but the Supreme Court has given its final verdict declaring the validity of the Constitution. Every member of the Church is bound by the rules and regulations laid down in the Constitution.

The Constitution upholds the autonomy and autocephaly of the Malankara Orthodox Church. It is Episcopal in its (polity) and not congregational. At the same time it upholds democratic principle by safeguarding the rights and privileges of the lay people. It was framed at a time when the Patriarch of Antioch was held in high esteem and hence his limited role is included.

The constitution enshrines the fundamental features of the Church, provides direction for its internal administration and preserves its integrity and autonomy. The essential features of the Church are provided in the preamble. The first article emphasizes the bond of relationship between the Church of Syria and Malankara. The second article deals with the foundation of the Malankara Church by St. Thomas and the primacy of the Catholicos. The third article refers to the name of the church and the fourth about the faith, traditions etc., and the fifth about the canons governing the administration of the Church.

The whole constitution conceives the Malankara Church as self –sufficient in all her requirements, be it temporal, ecclesiastical or spiritual in nature and upholds that the Malankara Orthodox church is rightly autocephalous in character.


***


THE CONSTITUTION OF THE MALANKARA ORTHODOX SYRIAN CHURCH

1 DECLARATION
1 The Malankara Church is a division of the Orthodox Syrian Church. The Primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church is the Patriarch of Antioch.
2 The Malankara Church was founded by St.Thomas the Apostle and is included in the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East and the Primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East is the Catholicos.
3 The ancient and the real name of the Malankara Church is the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church although it is also wrongly called ‘The Jacobite Church’, for the same reason for which the Orthodox Syrian Church has been also called so.
4 All men and women who have received Holy Baptism and believe in the divinity of the Holy Trinity, the incarnation of the Son, the procedure of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Church and the application of the Nicene Creed there-in-all, the divine inspiration of the Holy Traditions, the mediation of the Mother of God and the Saints, the commemoration of the departed ones, the administration of the seven sacraments and the Canonical observances like fasting etc and have accepted the obligation to observe them, will be members of this church.
5 The approved Canon of this Church is the Hudaya Canon written by Bar Hebraeus (the same Canon book as the one printed in Paris in the year 1898.)
2 THE PARISH CHURCH
A. The Parish Assembly
6. Every Parish Church shall have a Parish Assembly.
7. All men who confess and receive Holy Qurbana at least once a year, and who have completed the age of twenty one years may the members of the Parish Assembly.
8. There shall be a Parish Assembly Register containing the names and particulars of Parish Assembly, and a Holy Confession Register containing the names and particulars of those who have confessed.
9. A member of one Parish Church can either become permanent member of another Parish Church or if he resides temporarily in another place for profession or other-wise become temporary member of the Parish Church there, with the permission of the Vicar of the Parish Church he joins and the respective Vicars shall report to the respective Diocesan Metropolitans about such leaving and joining. In the event of the Vicar refusing permission for such transfer the Diocesan Metropolitan may be petitioned and all concerned shall abide by his decision. Those who have joined a Parish temporarily will not have, as long as they continue so, the right to participate in the Parish Assembly of the Parish Church in which they are permanent members or exercise their vote there.
10. If a member of a Parish Assembly fails to pay for a period of six months any amount on any account due from him to the Parish or to the Church, that members will not have the right to take part or exercise his vote in any Parish Assembly. If he continues in arrears, without paying such amounts for one year his name shall be removed from the Parish Assembly Register. A member so removed from the Parish Assembly Register will forfeit the right to be a member either of his own or any other Parish Assembly, until he has paid up all his arrears. The Vicar of the Parish shall write to the Metropolitan of the Diocese as to what shall be done thereafter with that member, and deal with him according to the written order of the Metropolitan.
11. A member who has been removed as above, as also a member who shall newly join a Parish, will not have the right to exercise his vote in the Parish Assembly before the expiry of three months after the former has paid up his arrears and the latter joined the Parish.
12. The Vicar shall convene the Parish Assembly Meeting by announcing in the Parish Church during service on two Sundays before the meeting, either by himself or as directed by him by the priest who conducts the service, about the meeting and the agenda thereof, and the meeting may be conducted either on the second Sunday of the announcement itself or any other day following. The Vicar or on his direction, the Secretary shall publish on the first Sunday of the announcement by posting on the notice board or otherwise, a list of those who have the right to take part and vote in he Parish
Assembly Meeting. If needed, the Parish Assembly may be held after giving one week’s notice in writing to all members of the Parish Assembly, by the Vicar or Secretary under the direction of the Vicar. If there be other churches or chapels under the auspices of the Parish Church, such churches or chapels shall be informed of the meeting in such manner as may be prescribed by the Parish Assembly. With the sanction of the Diocesan Metropolitan, the Parish may be divided in to wards and members of the Parish Assembly from respective wards may elect one or more of them to represent them at the Parish assembly Meeting, and any decisions taken in the meeting of such representative shall be deemed to the decision of the Parish Assembly.
There shall be no quorum for the Parish Assembly Meeting.
13. The Parish Assembly shall meet at least twice a year. The Vicar shall convene the Parish Assembly Meeting when he deems it necessary or at the request of the Managing Committee or at that of twenty percent of the Parish Assembly Members. The Diocesan Metropolitan, if he finds it necessary, May after announcing in the Church himself or causing such an announcement to be made convene the Parish Assembly Meeting on any subsequent day and the Diocesan Metropolitan shall preside over the meeting so convened.
14. If the Vicar does not convene a meeting of the Parish Assembly at the request of any party entitled to make such a request, the Diocesan Metropolitan may be petitioned and the decision of the Diocesan Metropolitan shall be implemented.
15. The Vicar shall be the President and other Parish Priests if there are any, shall be the Vice-Presidents of the Parish Assembly. The Vicar shall preside over the Parish Assembly Meeting except when it shall be convened by the Diocesan Metropolitan, as stated in section 13 above or by the Malankara Metropolitan as stated in section 98 **. If for any reason the Vicar is unable to preside, one of the Vice- Presidents present, and if there be no Vice-Presidents present, any member of the Parish Assembly, May on the direction in writing of the Vicar, may preside over the Parish Assembly Meeting.
** Section 98. The Malankara Metropolitan may officially visit all the Parishes of the Malankara Church and if found necessary, he may convene the Parish Assembly and the Diocesan Assembly after informing the Diocesan Metropolitan
16. There shall be a Secretary for the Parish Assembly, who shall be elected by the Parish Assembly Meeting, and he shall record and maintain the minutes of the Parish Assembly Meeting. Without assigning any reason, the Parish Assembly with the approval of the Diocesan Metropolitan removes the Secretary from office. When the Diocesan
Metropolitan shall come to the church on his Parish visit the minutes shall be got signed by him.
17. The duties of the Parish Assembly shall include the election of the ‘Kaikaran’(lay steward),the Secretary and the members of the Managing Committee; the removal of them if necessary with the approval of the Diocesan Metropolitan; the passing of the
budget for the year; the appointment of auditor or auditors and the consideration of their report; the adoption of the yearly account and the consideration and decision on matters required for the Parish.
18. The Vicar shall send or cause to be sent by the Secretary the decisions of the Parish Assembly to the Diocesan Metropolitan whenever such are made.
19. The Diocesan Metropolitan may be appealed to against any decision of the Parish Assembly and the Vicar shall simultaneously be informed in writing of such appeal. If the Diocesan Metropolitan agrees with the decision of the Parish Assembly, he shall dismiss the appeal, but if he disagrees, he shall within three months after the receipt of the appeal, place the same before the Diocesan Council and he shall in consultation with the Council decide the appeal matter.
20. Until a decision is made on the appeal, the Diocesan Metropolitan may at his discretion stay the implementation of the decision of the Parish Assembly by sending stay Kalpana (order). The decision of the Parish Assembly, shall come in to effect, if the aggrieved party fails to inform the Vicar in writing about the appeal within five says after the decision of the Parish Assembly or if no order of stay is received with in two weeks of it.
21. If the Diocesan Metropolitan is satisfied that the decision of the Parish Assembly is not right or that it is beyond the limits of the Parish Assembly, he shall have authority even if no appeal has been made, to adopt the procedures stated in sections 19 and 20 above with regard to such decision and settle the matter.
22. After setting apart the portion referred to in Section 122 ** hereunder, the balance shall be spent on the following items, in the following order of priority and only any balance remaining over may be spent for other needs of the Parish and the Church in general:-
(a) Day-to-day expenses in connection with the Holy Qurbana, festivals and other ministrations of the Church.
(b) Expenses in connection with the maintenance and upkeep of the Parish Church and other Parish buildings.
(c) Salary of the Vicar, the other Priests, the Sexton etc;
(d) Payments due to the Church Centre and the Diocesan Centre.
(e) Expenses for the Schools, Charitable Hospitals, Orphanages, Sunday Schools, Prayer meetings, Gospel work and the like conducted by the Parish Church.
Section 122. Out of the annual gross income of a Church including its properties, 10% for the first Rs 500/-; and 5% for the remaining Rs 500/- to Rs 1500/- and 2 ½% for the amount above Rs 1500/-shall be sent every year to the Malankara Metropolitan. If the percentage as stated above of any church is less than Rs 10/-, not less than Rs 10/-shall be ent from that Church to the Malankara Metropolitan under this item.
23. The acquisition of any immovable property for the Parish Church or the sale or creation of any charge on the immovable property of the Parish Church, shall be in pursuance of the decision thereto made by the Parish Assembly and the written consent of the Diocesan Metropolitan and shall be done by the Vicar and the Kaikaran (Lay – Steward) jointly.
B. ParishManaging Committee
24. For every Parish Assembly there shall be a Parish Managing Committee
25. The members of the Parish Managing Committee excluding the priests shall be elected by the Parish Assembly and their term of office shall be one year. Every Parish Managing Committee shall have a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 15 members
excluding the Priests. The Parish Assembly shall decide the needed number of members with in these limits. If any Parish requires more than 15 members for its Parish Managing Committee, the Parish Assembly may with the approval of the Diocesan Metropolitan elect the additional members required. If the Parish is divided into wards as provided in section 12 above, the Parish Assembly may elect the Parish Managing Committee members on such ward basis. In the event of any vacancy arising in the Parish Managing Committee, the remaining members of the committee may fill up such vacancy by cooption from the members of the Parish Assembly.
If in any circumstances special to any Parish, it is found necessary to extend the term of the Parish Managing Committee, the Parish Assembly may with the special permission of the Diocesan Metropolitan extend the term of office of that Parish Managing Committee to a period for three years.
26. The Vicar shall be the President of the Parish Managing Committee; other Priests if any shall be the Vice-presidents. The Kaikaran and the Secretary for the current year and the outgoing Kaikaran of the previous year shall be members of the Parish Managing Committee.
27. The Vicar shall report to the Diocesan Metropolitan about the election of the Kaikaran, the Secretary and other members of the Parish Managing Committee with in a week’s time along with a copy of the Parish Assembly proceedings and his written approval obtained for the same. If no Kalpana (order) of approval of the Diocesan Metropolitan is received with in three weeks of forwarding the report, it shall be deemed that the Diocesan Metropolitan has approved such election.
28. The Vicar or on his direction the Secretary shall convene the meeting of the Parish Managing Committee by giving written notice and the Vicar shall preside over the meeting. If for any reason the Vicar is unable to preside, one of the Vice-presidents, if any, and if there be no Vice-President a member of the Parish Managing Committee may on the direction in writing of the Vicar, preside over the meeting.
29. The Vicar shall convene the meeting of the Parish Managing Committee when he deems it necessary or when requested by the Kaikaran or at the request of one third of the members of the Parish Managing Committee or on the direction of the Diocesan Metropolitan. The Parish Managing Committee shall meet not less than four times a year. If found necessary the Parish Assembly may decide a quorum for the Parish Managing Committee meeting.
30. The Secretary of the Parish Assembly shall also be the Secretary of the Parish Managing Committee. The Secretary shall record and keep the minutes of the Parish Managing Committee, and when the Diocesan Metropolitan comes to the church on his Parish visit the minutes shall be got signed by him.
31. The duties of the Parish Managing Committee shall include the preparation of the yearly budget and the presentation of it to the Parish Assembly, the execution of the matters authorized by the Parish Assembly, the consideration and recommendation to the Parish Assembly of matters necessary for the Parish and the examination of the accounts presented by the Kaikaran.
C Kaikaran (Lay-Steward)
32. Every Parish Church shall have a Kaikaran who shall be the joint-steward along with the Vicar of all the assets of the Parish Church. When the Kaikaran goes out of office his stewardship will also terminate. The Parish Assembly may, if found necessary, elect not more than two Kaikarans with joint responsibility. In all legal proceedings on behalf of the Parish Church it shall be sufficient if the lay-steward is made party.( If there be two Kaikarans for a Parish Church, any reference to one kaikaran in the constitution shall be deemed to apply to both the kaikarans).
33. The Kaikaran shall be elected by the Parish Assembly and his term of office shall be one year.
34. The Parish Assembly may without assigning any reason remove the Kaikaran from office with the approval of the Diocesan Metropolitan
35. The duties of the Kaikaran shall include recording and maintaining correct
accounts of the Parish; receiving the income and making the expenditure of the Parish according to the direction of the Parish Assembly and the Parish Managing Committee; preparing the yearly accounts of the Parish every six months and presenting the same to the Parish Managing Committee and thereafter presenting the same to the Parish Assembly. When the Diocesan Metropolitan comes to the Church on his Parish visit the account books of the Parish shall be got signed by him.
36. The Vicar shall send or cause to be sent by the Secretary two copies of the summarized statement of accounts passed at the Parish Assembly to the Diocesan Metropolitan for his approval.
37. For every Parish there shall be a register of the movable and immovable properties of the Parish Church and it shall be made up-to-date every year and signed by the Vicar and the Kaikaran and kept in the custody of Kaikaran, and when the Diocesan Metropolitan comes to the Church on his Parish visit the same shall be got signed by him. All documents relating to the assets of the Parish and all records except those for the current year to be kept by the Secretary and the Kaikaran or those to be kept by the Vicar shall be kept under the joint-responsibility of the Vicar and the Kaikaran.
D Vicar
38. There shall be a Vicar for every Parish Church; other Priests, if any shall be assistants of the Vicar.
39. The Vicar shall be the joint-steward with the Kaikaran of the assets of the Parish. The monies of the Parish shall be deposited in the joint names of the Vicar and the
Kaikaran or in the name of any one of them with the consent of each other. But the Kaikaran may retain with him an amount as fixed by the Parish Managing Committee.
40. The Diocesan Metropolitan has authority to appoint, remove or transfer the Vicar or other priests. When the Vicar is so removed or transferred his stewardship will also
terminate.
41. If a priest belonging to one Diocese is to be transferred to another Diocese, such transfer shall be decided by the Metropolitans of the two Diocese concerned in consultation with each other.
42. Deleted
43. In addition to the Baptism Register, the Marriage Register, the Burial Register, the Parish Assembly Register and Confession Register, there shall be a Parish Register containing the names and other particulars of all men and women of the Parish entered regularly under the responsibility of the Vicar and kept in his custody. When the Diocesan Metropolitan comes to the Church on his Parish visit these shall be got signed by him. The Vicar shall keep also the files of kalpanas (orders) and other documents received from higher authorities of the Church.
44. The Vicar shall be the custodian of the movable articles required for the day to day use in Church Services and those not so used shall be in the joint custody of the Vicar
and Kaikaran.
3. DIOCESE
A. Diocesan Assembly
45. Every diocese shall have a Diocesan Assembly.
46: The following shall be the members of the Diocesan Assembly, viz
a) A priest from each Parish Church elected by the Parish Assembly, provide that if in any Parish Church, there is only one priest, he shall be the priest representative of the Parish Church without the need of an election.
b) (i) One layman member elected by the Parish Assembly of each Parish Church whose membership does not exceed 100 members.
ii) One more additional layman member to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having a membership of more than 100 members but not exceeding 250
members.
iii) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 250 members but not exceeding 500 members.
iv)One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 500 members but not exceeding 750 members.
v) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 750 members but not exceeding 1000 members
vi)One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 1000 members but not exceeding 1250 members
vii) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 1250 members but not exceeding 1500 members
viii) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 1500 members but not exceeding 1750 members
ix) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding1750 members but not exceeding 2000 members
x) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having a membership of more than 2000members.
c) The term of members elected under clause (a) and (b) shall be five years.” Members in the Article 46 as amended above refer to members as contemplated
by and as mentioned in clause (7) of the 1934 Constitution (which deals with Parish Church and Parish Assembly)
Note: 1Election of members of the Association and the Diocesan Assemblies shall take place on the basis of amended/substituted Articles 71 and 46 aforementioned on or before 30 April 1997.

Note: 2 The membership of each Parish Church shall be determined with reference to the entries in the relevant register maintained by each Parish Church as on the date of judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the Church case i.e. 20 June 1996.
47. Election of the Diocesan Secretary and the members of the Diocesan Council, appointment of auditor to examine the accounts of the income and expenditure of the
Diocese, consideration of the auditors report, adoption of the Annual Accounts and consideration and decisions of matters necessary fir Diocese are within the functions of the Diocesan Assembly.
48. The Diocesan Metropolitan shall convene the Diocesan Assembly.
49. The Diocesan Metropolitan shall be the President of the Diocesan Assembly and shall preside over the Diocesan Assembly.
50 There shall be a Secretary for the Diocesan Assembly who shall be elected by the Diocesan Assembly and such election shall be valid if confirmed by the Diocesan
Metropolitan. The Diocesan Assembly may with approval of the Diocesan Metropolitan remove the Secretary from office without assigning any reason.
51. The duties of the Secretary include the recording and maintaining the correct accounts of the income and expenditure of the Diocese, preparing and presenting statements of accounts to the Diocesan Council at least twice a year and thereafter presenting he said Statement of Accounts to the Diocesan Assembly and the recording and keeping the minutes of the Diocesan Assembly and the Diocesan Council.
52. The Secretary shall get printed the Statement of Accounts passed by the Diocesan Assembly and forward a copy of such statement to every church within the Diocese and one copy to the Malankara Metropolitan.
53. The monies of the Diocese shall be deposited in the name of the Diocesan Metropolitan.
54. The acquisition of any immovable property for the Diocese or the disposal of or creation of any charge on any immovable property of Diocese shall be done by the Diocesan Metropolitan and the Diocesan Secretary jointly and in pursuance of a decision thereto made by the Diocesan Assembly and written consent of the Malankara Metropolitan.
55. The Diocesan Assembly shall meet at least once a year.
B. Diocesan Council.
56. Every Diocese shall have a Diocesan Council.
57. Two Priests and four laymen elected by the Diocesan Assembly and the Diocesan Secretary shall be the members of the Council. Their term of office shall be three years. If in the meantime any vacancy arises in the Council the remaining members have the right to co-opt another instead.
58. The Secretary of the Diocesan Assembly shall be the Secretary of the council also.
59. The Diocesan Metropolitan shall convene the Council and shall preside over the meeting. The Metropolitan and three members shall constitute a quorum. The Diocesan Council shall meet at least twice a year.
60. In case any expenditure out of the Diocesan monies is to be made the Diocesan Metropolitan and the majority of the remaining members of the Council shall agree.

61. The Diocesan Council shall prepare a budget for the Income and Expenditure of the Diocese and the Secretary shall incur expenditure only as provided in the budget. If additional expenditure is to be made it shall be incurred only with the approval of the Council. But in the event of any urgency the Secretary may spend under the orders of the Diocesan Metropolitan an amount not exceeding Rupees two hundred. Any such expenditure incurred without authority of the Council shall be reported at the next meeting of the Council.
62. Appeal may be made to the Malankara Metropolitan against any decision of the Diocesan Metropolitan and the Malankara Metropolitan shall hear the appeal matter
before his Advisory Council and make decision in consultation with the Council. If Malankara Metropolitan deems it fit, he may issue a stay order that the decision of the
Diocesan Metropolitan shall not be implemented till the decision of the appeal matter, and the Diocesan Metropolitan shall abide by such order.
C. Diocesan Metropolitan.
63 Every Diocese shall have a Diocesan Metropolitan.
64. The Catholicos in consultation with the Malankara Association Managing Committee and according to the recommendation of the Malankara Episcopal Synod allocate Dioceses to the Metropolitans.
65. Matters concerning faith, order and discipline shall, subject to the decisions of the Malankara Episcopal Synod, be under the control of the Diocesan Metropolitan
66. The Diocesan Metropolitan shall carry on the administration of the Dioceses under their care subject to the supervision of the Malankara Metropolitan.
67. The expenses of the Diocesan Metropolitan on his visit to the churches of his Diocese shall be borne by such churches.
68. A Diocesan Metropolitan has no right to ordain a member of another Diocese or perform any administrative act within the limits of another diocese without the request or consent of the Metropolitan of that Diocese.
69. If there be any personal acquisitions for a Diocesan Metropolitan at the time of his death which have not been included in his will, the same shall remain under the control of the Catholicos.
4 MALANKARA ARCH-DIOCESE
A. Association.
70 The Malankara Arch-diocese shall have an Association by name “Malankara Syrian Christian Association”.
71 The following shall be members of the Malankara Syrian Christian Association (Malankara Association) viz.
a) Members of the existing Managing Committee Provided that the nominated members of the Managing Committee, if any shallot be entitled to vote at the election of the Catholicos, Malankara Metropolitan or any other holder of office who is to be elected by the Association.
b) A priest from each Parish Church elected by the Parish Assembly, provide that if in any Parish Church, there is only one priest, he shall be the priest representative of the Parish Church without the need of an election

c) (i) One layman member to be elected by the Parish Assembly of each Parish Church whose membership does not exceed 100 members.
ii) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 100 members but not exceeding 250 members
iii) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 250 members but not exceeding 500 members
iv)One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 500 members but not exceeding 750 members
v) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 750 members but not exceeding 1000 members
vi)One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 1000 members but not exceeding 1250 members
vii) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 1250 members but not exceeding 1500 members
viii) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding 1500 members but not exceeding 1750 members
ix) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having membership exceeding1750 members but not exceeding 2000 members
x) One more additional layman to be elected by the Parish Assembly of a Parish Church having a membership of more than 2000members
d) The term of members elected under clause (b)and (c) above shall be five years.
e) The Managing Committee shall be elected every five years soon after the election of the member under clause (b) and (c). Members in the Article 71 as amended above refer to members as contemplated by and as mentioned in clause (7) of the 1934 Constitution (which deals with Parish Church and Parish Assembly)
Note: 1 Election of members of the Association and the Diocesan Assemblies shall take place on the basis of amended/substituted Articles 71 and 46 aforementioned on or before 30 April 1997.
Note: 2 The membership of each Parish Church shall be determined with reference to the entries in the relevant register maintained by each Parish Church as on the date of judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the Church case i.e. 20 June 1996.
72. The Malankara Metropolitan shall be the President and the remaining prelates having administrative charge of Dioceses shall be Vice-Presidents of the Association.
73. The Malankara Metropolitan shall preside over meetings of the Association. When it is inconvenient for him one of the Vice-Presidents by his nomination, and if the office is vacant the Vice-President who is the “Senior Metropolitan” shall preside. In this constitution “Senior Metropolitan” means the Metropolitan who is oldest among the Vice- presidents.
74. The Malankara Metropolitan shall convene the Association and if the office is vacant, two of the Vice-Presidents or if they fail, half of the members of the Managing Committee may convene the Association.
75. There shall be a Secretary for the Association. The Association Managing Committee shall elect the Secretary and if the Malankara Metropolitan ratifies the election it shall be valid. The Association Managing Committee has the right to remove the Secretary from the office without assigning any reason.
76. There shall be a register for the movable and immovable properties of the Community and it shall be kept by the Secretary up to date and signed every year by the Malankara Metropolitan and two members of the Committee.
77. The duties of the Secretary shall include recording and maintaining of the accounts of the income and expenditure from the assets of the Community and the
revenue of the Malankara Arch Diocese, preparing and presenting up to date Statements of Accounts at the meetings of the Association and the Managing Committee.

B. Association Managing Committee.

78. There shall be a Managing Committee for the Association.
79. The members of the Managing Committee shall be, exclusive of the Association
Secretary and the Community Trustees, 43 priests and 86 laymen elected by the Association. The term of office of the members of the Managing Committee shall be five
years. The Association may at its discretion increase the membership of the Managing Committee. The Managing Committee may fill up any vacancy arising during its tern of office by co-option. The Malankara Metropolitan may, if he feels it needed, nominate not more than 30 persons (10 priests and 20 laymen) as members. When the Association shall increase the number of members of the Managing Committee the number of the members to be nominated by the Malankara Metropolitan shall also be increased.
80. The Malankara Metropolitan shall be the President of the Managing Committee and the remaining prelates having administrative charge shall be Vice-Presidents.
81. The Malankara Metropolitan shall convene the Association Managing Committee and preside at the meeting. If the office of the Malankara Metropolitan is vacant, two of
the Vice-Presidents or if they fail half of the members of the Committee may convene the Committee and in such cases the Senior Metropolitan among the Vice-Presidents shall preside. The Association Managing Committee shall meet at least twice a year.
82. The Association Secretary shall also be the Secretary of the Committee.
83. If any expenditure from the monies of the Malankara Diocese is to be made the majority of the Malankara Episcopal Synod and the majority of the Managing Committee members other than the Prelates shall agree.
84. For the income and expenditure of the Community a budget shall be prepared by the Committee in the beginning of the year and any expenditure exceeding the same shall only be incurred with the consent of the Committee. However in case of any urgency the Malankara Metropolitan may spend an amount not exceeding Five Hundred Rupees and such expenditure shall be reported to the Committee at its next session.
85. If any property is to be purchased for the Community or if any property of the Community is to be alienated or any charge created over the same it shall be so decided by the majority of the Managing Committee and the Malankara Episcopal Synod and the deed therefore shall be executed by the Malankara Metropolitan and the Associate Trustees if the property belongs to the Joint Trust properties and by the Malankara Metropolitan alone if it belongs to the Malankara Metropolitan Trust.
86. Sub-Committees may be appointed with the approval of the Malankara Episcopal Synod by the Managing Committee for education, finance and other similar matters needed for the church. The President of every such Sub-Committee shall be a Prelate.
87. The Association Managing Committee shall have a Working Committee consisting of not more than ten members and that body shall execute matters as decided by the Managing Committee. In case of urgent necessity the Working Committee may act on behalf the Managing Committee in anticipation of its approval. All matters so done shall be reported to the Managing Committee and its approval obtained. The President of the Working Committee shall be the Malankara Metropolitan. A Prelate elected by the Malankara Episcopal Synod, the Community Trustees and the Association Secretary shall be members of the Working Committee. The remaining members shall be appointed by the Malankara Metropolitan in consultation with them. Members of the Working Committee who are not already members of the Managing Committee, so long as they continue to be members of the Working Committee shall be members of the Managing Committee.
88. The Working Committee referred to in Section 87 shall also be the Consultative Committee of the Malankara Metropolitan.
89. The Association Secretary shall also be the Secretary of the Malankara Metropolitan’s Consultative Committee.
90. The Malankara Metropolitan may have an Assistant. If such an Assistant is not elected by the Association, he may be nominated by the Malankara Metropolitan. The Assistant shall be ex-officio member of the Managing Committee and the Working Committee.
C. The Community Trustees.
91. With the Malankara Metropolitan there shall be two persons, a priest and a layman who shall be the Trustees for the Vattipanam (Trust Fund) and the Kottayam Syrian Seminary and the income which have accrued or shall be accruing there from.
92. The Malankara Metropolitan shall be the Trustee for the rest of the Community properties if they are not subject to other special provisions.
93. The Association shall elect the Associate Trustees. The term of office of the Associate Trustees shall be co-terminus as that of the period of election of the Association members. The office of the associate trustee will continue until another trustee was elected and assumed office. The Association may remove them and appoint others without assigning any reason.

D. Malankara Metropolitan.

94. The Prime jurisdiction regarding the temporal, ecclesiastical and spiritual administration of the Malankara Church is vested in the Malankara Metropolitan subject to provisions of this constitution.
95. In case it happens that there is no Diocesan Metropolitan in any Diocese that Diocese shall be under the direct administration of the Malankara Metropolitan.
96. Common institutions and similar matters in the Malankara Church which do not specifically belong to a particular Diocese shall be directly under the supervision of the Malankara Metropolitan.
97. The Malankara Metropolitan shall be elected to that office by the Association.
98. The Catholicos may also hold the office of the Malankara Metropolitan. As the Malankara Metropolitan he shall be the President of the Association and the Managing Committee and the Metropolitan Trustee of the Community properties. The Malankara Metropolitan may officially visit all the parish churches of the Malankara Church and if found needed, he may convene the Parish Assembly and the Diocesan Assembly after
giving information to the Diocesan Metropolitan. When the Catholicos and the Malankara Metropolitan happen to be two individuals, regulations needed shall be made about their respective rights and powers.

5. CATHOLICOS

99. The throne of Catholicos was re-established in the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East which includes the Malankara Church in AD 1912 and this institution has been functioning ever since in the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East.
100. The powers of the Catholicos include the consecration of Prelates, presiding over the Episcopal Synod, declaring its decisions and implementing them, conducting administration as representative of the Synod and consecrating the Holy Mooron.
6. PATRIARCH.

101. The Malankara Church shall recognize the Patriarch, canonically consecrated with the co-operation of the Catholicos.

7. EPISCOPAL SYNOD.

102. There shall be an Episcopal Synod in Malankara.
103. All Prelates in Malankara shall be members of this Synod.
104. The Catholicos shall be the President of the Synod.
105. The Catholicos shall convene the Synod and preside over the Synod.
106. When there is no Catholicos or if there is any accusation against the Catholicos and the Catholicos does not convene the Synod for considering such accusation, the Senior Metropolitan shall convene the Synod and preside over the Synod.
107. The Episcopal Synod shall have the authority to decide matters concerning faith, order and discipline. When the Synod shall meet for this purpose the Synod may select such persons as the Synod may deem needed for consultation.
108. No one shall have the right to alter the faith of the Church. But in case there may arise any dispute as to what is faith, the Episcopal synod above said may decide the matter and the final decision about this shall vest with the Ecumenical Synod.
109. The Episcopal Synod may in consultation with the Association Managing Committee appoint sub-committees for the purpose of Theological Education, Mission Work, Sunday school and similar matters.

8. ORDINATION.

A. Deacons and Priests.
110. A candidate for ordination should have at least passed the Degree Examination.
111. Those desiring to be ordained shall on the recommendation of the Parish Assembly or on their own apply to the Diocesan Metropolitan and he after due inquiry if
he feels no objection shall send them to the Malankara Metropolitan and he according to the convenience shall send them to the Theological Seminary of the community and if
needed theological study the Principal of the Seminary certifies that they are fit for ordination, the Diocesan Metropolitan or the Malankara Metropolitan will at their
discretion ordain them. But after three years of theological studies if a certificate is issued by the Principal the ordination of Korooya (Reader) may be administered.
B, High Priests (Prelates)
112. The Catholicos shall consecrate with the co-operation of the Episcopal Synod the required number of Bishops and Metropolitans for the Malankara Church. On the occasion of consecration of a Bishop or a Metropolitan such Bishop or Metropolitan shall submit a statement regarding faith and submission (Salmoosa) to the Catholicos, the President of the Synod. The Catholicos shall give a certificate of consecration (Sthathicon) to the Prelate so consecrated.
113. If any one is to be consecrated a Bishop or Metropolitan he shall be elected to such office by the Association. If such election is approved by the Episcopal Synod, the Catholicos shall consecrate the candidate canonically with the co-operation of the Synod. For such election by the Association, there shall be separate majority of the priests and of the laymen present at the Association.
114. If any one shall be consecrated as Catholicos he shall be elected to that office by the Association. If such election is approved by the Episcopal Synod, the Synod shall consecrate the person as Catholicos. If there be a Patriarch recognized by the Malankara Church the Patriarch shall be invited when the Catholicos shall be consecrated and if the Patriarch arrives he shall as the President of the Synod consecrate the Catholicos with the co-operation of the Synod.

9. COMPLAINTS AND DECISIONS.

115. A complaint against a layman, a deacon or a priest shall be made to the Metropolitan of the Diocese to which he may belong.
116. The Metropolitan shall bring the complaint before the Diocesan Council and after giving notice to both parties and receiving their evidence and hearing arguments shall decide in consultation with the members of the Diocesan Council. Until such a decision is taken the Diocesan Metropolitan may take such actions by himself as he deems necessary.
117. Appeal may be made to the Malankara Metropolitan against the decisions of the Diocesan Metropolitan and he shall bring such appeal before the Episcopal Synod and
after giving notice to both the parties and hearing them, the Synod shall pronounce the decision in accordance with the opinion of the majority of its members. While the Synod is in session for this purpose such members of the Managing Committee as are deemed needed may be invited for consultation. The Malankara Metropolitan may as provided for in Section 62 above issue a stay order against the decision of the Diocesan Metropolitan.
118. Complaint against prelates shall be made to the President of the Episcopal Synod and the President shall bring it before the Synod and after giving notice to both the parties and receiving evidence and hearing arguments the President shall pronounce the decision in accordance with the majority opinion of the Synod. If the complaint is against the Catholicos, the Patriarch if there is a Patriarch recognized by the Malankara Church, shall also be invited and in the event of his arriving he shall be the President of the Synod and if he does not arrive the Synod shall pronounce the decision. While the Synod meets for these purposes such members of the Association Managing Committee as are deemed needed may be invited for consultation.
119. When Prelates are tried two persons who have acquired proficiency in canons and Theology and two persons who are versed in law may be invited f0r consultation. They shall be members of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

10. INCOME.

120. The Vicar of every Parish Church shall collect “Ressisa” at the rate of two annas every year from every male member who has passed the age of twenty one years, and shall send the same to the Catholicos.
121. The rates and similar matters regarding dues receivable by Churches or priests may with the approval of the Episcopal Synod be decided by the Managing Committee.
122. Out of the annual gross income of a church including income from its properties, 10% on the first Rs 500/-; and 5% for the remaining Rs 500/- to Rs 1500/- and 2 ½% for the amount above Rs 1500/-shall be sent every year to the Malankara Metropolitan. If the percentage as stated above of any church is less than Rs 10/-, not less than Rs 10/-shall be sent from that Church to the Malankara Metropolitan under this item.
123. The Malankara Metropolitan shall allot the income derived as above at the rate of 4 out of ten to the Diocesan Bishop, 2to the Diocesan Fund,1 to the Malankara Metropolitan and 3 to the Malankara Diocesan Fund.

11. MONASTERIES.

124. Monasteries or similar institutions shall be established only with the approval of the Episcopal Synod and all such institutions shall be subject to the authority of the
Episcopal Synod.
125. If any or all members of any of the above institutions leave this Church for another, all rights of such in the institutions or over other assets shall thereupon lapse and the institutions and their assets shall remain for ever in the ownership of this Church.

12. RULE COMMITTEE.

126. There shall be a Rule Committee appointed by the Association Managing Committee to make amendments to this Constitution as are necessary to suit the times and the conveniences. The President of the Rule Committee shall be a Prelate.
127. The Rule Committee shall submit the amendments to the Association Managing Committee and those passed by the Association Managing Committee shall be in force till altered by the Association and the Episcopal Synod.

13. MISCELLANEOUS.

128. The Parish Assembly, the Parish Managing Committee, the Diocesan Assembly, the Diocesan Council the Malankara Association or the Association Managing Committee shall have no authority to pass any resolution concerning faith, order or discipline.
129. Byelaws which are not inconsistent with the principles contained in this Constitution may be passed from time to time by the Parish Assembly, the Diocesan
Assembly or the Diocesan Council and submitted to the Managing Committee through the Rule Committee and brought in to force with the approval of the Managing Committee.
130. Any body or office, although the Constitution provides for limitation of its duration, shall continue to function until such time the next body or office begins to
function.
131. If elected members of a committee absent themselves continuously for three sittings of the committee without proper reason their membership shall be lost. Each such committee shall have the right to decide whether the reason is proper or not.
132. All agreements, offices and practices which are not consistent with the provisions of this Constitution are hereby made ineffective and are annulled.
133. In this Constitution the word ‘Diocesan Metropolitan’ shall denote any prelate who has administration of a Diocese.
134. Deleted
This Constitution first Brought in to force on 26’Th December 1934 And amended on
17’Th May 1951 And further amended on 14’Th April1967 And approved by the Holy Episcopal Synod was promulgated by His Holiness Moran Mor Baselius Augen First. Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan per his order No 156/67 of 26’Th June, 1967.
Subsequently amended as per Orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India Dated 25’Th March 1996 and 5’Th February 1997. And amended on 23’rd November 2006 by the Decision of the Malankara Association Managing Committee.



p d f 

Constitution 

Canon Law 

Constitution of the Church Adopted in 1934 

Malankara Orthodox Church Constitution
English 
Malayalam (2006 edition)



20140826

Catholicos of All Armenians Issues Statement Condemning Atrocities Against Yezidis


Etchmiadzin, 25 August, 2014:
His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; has sent a supportive letter to the Temporal Leader of All Yezidis, His Sublime Highness Mir Tahsin Saied Beg, which was delivered through His Eminence Archbishop Avak Asadourian, Primate of the Armenian Diocese of Iraq. “From the spiritual center of All Armenians, the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, we convey to you our condolences on the tragedy suffered by the Yezidi people in Iraq. We strongly condemn the atrocities against the Yezidi people, and are deeply disturbed by the inhumane violence that has destroyed the lives of countless innocent victims in recent days”, His Holiness’ letter said in part.

Strongly condemning the massacres and violent acts carried out against the Yezidi people, the Catholicos of All Armenians expressed confidence that the Yezidi people with their ancient heritage will endure and overcome the trials that have befallen them. His Holiness also called on the international community and organizations to immediately take steps to end the massacres against the Yezidis in Iraq.

The Catholicos of All Armenians wished that peace be restored to Iraq and that the God-loving people of Iraq resume their peaceful lives.

Source: Information Service of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

20140824

Catholicos of All Armenians Sends Condolences to Pope Francis of Rome


Etchmiadzin, 21 August, 2014:
On August 21, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; sent a letter of condolence to Pope Francis of Rome, on the death of his family members in tragic car crash.

"On behalf of the members of the Brotherhood of Holy Etchmiadzin and our faithful throughout the world, we convey our deepest sympathies and condolences to you and your loved ones.

We pray that the Lord will receive in His love and mercy their souls, and make them worthy to dwell in His Divine company, and grant the solace and comfort of the Holy Spirit to you, your family members and relatives.

May the Almighty God accompany You at this difficult time, and give you strength to overcome the pain of this heavy loss, and carry on Your God-pleasing Apostolic mission", said the Pontiff's message.

Source: Information Service of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

His Holiness Aram I Expresses His Condolences to Pope Francis upon the Loss of His Family Members


Antelias,23 August 2014:
On Thursday 21 August 2014, His Holiness Aram I sent a letter of condolence to Pope Francis expressing his profound sadness on the death of three members of his family, following a car crash on a provincial highway in Argentina.

Source: Armenian Orthodox Church

20140810

His Holiness Aram I Receives the Representatives of the Coptic and Antiochian Syriac Orthodox Patriarchs


Antelias,09 August 2014:
On Tuesday 5 August 2014, Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, Coptic Orthodox Church, and Metropolitan George Saliba of Mount Lebanon, Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, met with His Holiness Aram I in Bikfaya at his summer residence. Archbishop Nareg Alemezian, the Pontifical Vicar of the Diocese of Cyprus, and Rt. Rev. Housig Mardirossian, the Ecumenical Officer, were also present.

The meeting focused on the current situation in the Middle East, particularly the situation of Christians in Iraq and cooperation between the three ancient Churches. They also discussed issues arising from the theological discussions of the Oriental Orthodox family with other Churches.

Source: Armenian Orthodox Church

20140806

Catholicos of All Armenians Sends Letter to the Spiritual Leader of Azerbaijan


Etchmiadzin, 05 August, 2014:
On August 5, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, sent a letter to Sheikh ul-Islam Allahshukur Pashazade, Grand Mufti of the Muslims of the Caucasus, urging him to apply efforts, so that the peaceful settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will not be endangered by the countries authorities.

In the letter, the Armenian Pontiff in particular said, “The continuous firing on the border settlements by Azerbaijan, the diversionary operations and the ongoing ceasefire violations presents a serious threat to the fragile but precious peace achieved in our region.

We are deeply concerned about the tense situation, which has taken the lives of soldiers, and violated the peaceful life of border residents. God-given human life is sacred, and the right to life is sacred. The endangerment of human life is unacceptable.

Provocations and military operations cannot be an alternative to a peaceful settlement of the Karabakh conflict through negotiations, in accordance with international standards.

Remaining faithful to the peaceful spirit of the tripartite meetings of spiritual leaders of the region, which was the initiative of Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow and All Russia, We appeal to You, as spiritual leader of Azerbaijan, to apply all efforts, so that the authorities of your country stay committed to the earlier agreements, uphold the ceasefire, and not impede the Karabakh conflict settlement process with their activities, allowing for peace and stability in the region”.

Source: Information Service of Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin

20140619

Iraqi Christians find refuge in ancient monastery


Fleeing Christians find shelter in St. Matthew's Monastery in northern Iraq, a place of refuge since the fourth century
June 17, 2014
by Jane Arraf @janearraf  america.aljazeera.com
Mar Mattai monastery, Mosul. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons--kyselak


Perched on the side of a mountain surrounded by caves, St. Matthew’s Monastery has been a place of refuge since the fourth century. Some of the earliest Christians sought safety here. With the fall of the city of Mosul, just 20 miles away, the monastery’s thick stone walls have again become a sanctuary.

Along the courtyards in rooms normally used by religious pilgrims and monks, dozens of Christian families fleeing Mosul have settled in – laying out mattresses and the few belongings they carried with them. Released from school, children climb dizzying heights to play on the rocks nearby – their home city visible in the distance. Inside, their worried parents drink tea and watch news of a region that has again become a battlefront.

The current crisis in Iraq has been cast as a battle between Sunnis and Shias, but Iraqis of all faiths are caught in the middle – none more so than the ancient religious minorities along the Ninevah Plains between Mosul and the Kurdish territories. To Al-Qaeda and the group it inspired, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), anyone not adhering to its hardline version of Sunni Islam is a heretic to be converted or killed.

Once the largest of Iraq’s religious minorities, the Christian community has shrunk to one-third of the size it was before Saddam Hussein was toppled. The less than 500,000 Christians left are clinging tightly to their faith. One of the largest sects is the Syriac Orthodox church, which considers itself the oldest established church -- so old that some of its founders would have known Jesus Christ.
On Sunday, church bells rang out across the plains heralding the arrival of the world’s new Syriac Orthodox patriarch, who is to Orthodox Christians what the Pope is to Catholics.

As Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II swept in, protected by Kurdish soldiers and surrounded by bishops and priests in black and purple robes, the faithful rushed towards him to try to kiss his golden jewel-encrusted cross for a blessing.

The patriarch, leader of the world’s 3 million Syriac Christians, led prayers in a dialect of Aramaic, the language of Jesus. The song he led though was modern – the nationalist anthem ‘My Nation’. Speaking to the families from Mosul, he told them Christians could not abandon the Middle East.

“We have been in this area of the world from the beginning of Christianity even before,” the patriarch, formally known as the Patriarch of Antioch and All The East, later told America Tonight. “I would like to see Christians remaining here in their homeland of their ancestors. The blood of our martyrs has been mixed with the soil of this land for many centuries.”

And Christians are still shedding blood on this land. Since 2010, dozens of priests and nuns have been killed by Al-Qaeda in Mosul, Baghdad and other cities in attacks aimed at persuading Christians to leave.
Nadia, a hospital worker whose husband was shot in the head four years ago in Mosul, wiped away tears as she described her son coming back from a shop to find his father dead on the sidewalk. He took the body to the morgue in a taxi.

“Everyone ran away,” she said. “They were too afraid to move his body.”

The attacks haven’t deterred Martin Banni, who’s studying for the priesthood and will be sent to Mosul next year. In the city of Tel Keef, just 10 miles from Mosul, he said the real fear is not the ISIL, which so far hasn’t attacked civilians in Mosul, but the possibility of airstrikes.

"I have seen everything in Mosul, it’s OK,” he said, just an hour after returning from the city. “But the future we don't know what will happen…. If the Iraqi army is going to do air strikes that will be very difficult."

At the monastery, Nadia, along with other women from Mosul, helps in the kitchen, and waits. Some here say it’s like waiting for the war to start in 2003, only worse. Then, there was the possibility that life would get better; this time, many Iraqis are just thinking of all the things they’ve lost.

COURTESY: america.aljazeera.com



Mosul Christians Out of the City for Good


By Judit Neurink
Rudaw

Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Ignatius
Aphrem II, visiting the displaced Christians at
the Mar Mattai monastery. Photo: Judit Neurink Rudaw


BARDARASH, Kurdistan Region, Iraq– There is no place for them in an Islamic state, say Christians who fled Iraq’s second city of Mosul for safer areas controlled by the autonomous Kurdistan Region.
Eman and Sabah, two nurses who left the city for the Syrian Orthodox monastery of Mar Mattai, some 40 kilometers from Mosul, said they did so because they could no longer live there. “Their rules are different from ours and anyone who disobeys them will be killed,” one of them said.
Fear of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which captured Mosul last week together with bands of other rebels, has seen about a half-million people flee the city.
Amongst them were thousands of Christians, who sought refuge in areas under control of the Kurds. Many of them have fled violence in the city multiple times before.
“This time is decisive,” stresses Zaid, whose family shares a room in the monastery with another. “Any time there were elections, we left to return a couple of weeks later. This time is different. Now we really have to forget the option of returning back to our homes.”
Many of the Christians occupying the monastery’s 35 guest rooms think this way: More than 50 families have found refuge in the safety of the monastery.
Of the estimated 5,000 Christians who were remaining in Mosul, only hundreds have stayed behind. Most left for the villages of the Nineveh Valley, which is under Kurdish control, or to the Christian neighborhoods of the Kurdistan capital, Erbil.
Last week their patriarch came from Syria to wish them strength, visiting the Mar Mattai monastery as well, signaling the safety of the area where his flock has sought refuge.
The way the radical Muslims were welcomed by some in Mosul -- while thousands of other Muslims fled because of their presence – raised Christian fears of what might happen.
The nurses, Eman and Sabah, were ordered to report back to work, because the present authorities want to normalize the situation and get the hospitals up and running. But the pair is too afraid to obey the order.
Although they left with only the clothes they were wearing, leaving their homes unguarded, the fear of the radical Muslims in their city keeps them from returning. This fear is clear when they echo the words of other women in the monastery: “How can we keep our daughters safe there?”
In the room where the two families are gathered, the noisy air conditioning adds to the clamor; mattresses for the night are piled high; a little boy begs his father for change to buy ice cream.
Stories about the changes in Mosul volley across the room, about the Sharia laws that have been imposed and the new rules that have been published, including a punishment of 20 lashes for any man not at mosques at prayer times, and an order for women to cover up.
One of the families that returned was told that Christians have to adapt: They have to get rid of all Christian symbols, and women must wear the face cover, or niqaab. The family left the city again.
Zaid recounts finding a flyer in the street before he left that was delivered to some homes of Christians, too, calling on residents to adapt, or leave.
Christians in Iraq normally proudly display their faith, wearing crosses as jewelry and adorning their homes with Christian portraits. The women generally dress in a more Western manner than other Iraqi women, not wearing a headscarf and never a niqaab. To change this would mean to change their way of life.
The Christians wonder what will happen to their city. Most expect fighting between the different groups, with Saddam Hussein’s former military and different Islamic groups struggling for power.
“Those armed groups know no mercy,” someone says. “I am afraid of my own neighbors. Will they not sell me to some kidnapper?”
And they are worried about the future: What will happen to their properties? Will they be confiscated, in a repeat of what happened in parts of Baghdad some years ago after many Christians fled their homes?
One worry is about how they will live. Iraqi Kurdistan is expensive, and their jobs from Mosul cannot be transferred elsewhere. Some have families abroad that pressure them to emigrate.
“We are so few now, we have become very vulnerable,” someone says. The number of Christians in Iraq went from 1.5 million in 2003 to around 35,000 at present, mainly because of massive emigration after Saddam’s fall.

Source:Rudaw


20140602

Our aim to sustain the Catholicity (Universality) of the Syriac Orthodox Church: Mor Ignatius Ephrem II


Damascus (Syria), 30 June 2014: His Holiness Ignatius Ephrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East said his main aim is to sustain and improve the Catholicity (Universality) of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch . His Holiness said that the enthronement service of the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch, The 'Order of Mor Cleemis' ( St Clement) was divided into 26 parts and it was read in 13 languages.

The Syriac Orthodox Episcopal Holy Synod under the under the auspices of the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East has concluded on 30 May 2014 at the Patriarchate.

Steps will be taken to improve the already existing strong relationship of the Patriarchate of Antioch and All The East with church in Malankara which is the integral part of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.

The Universal Syriac Orthodox Holy Synod will be convened every 4 years.

A six (6) member Committee under the president ship of the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East was constituted to look into the possibility of convening an Universal Syriac Orthodox Holy Synod in India ( Malankara) in the year 2016. The other members are His Beatitude Catholicose and Aboon Mor Basilious Thomas I, Syriac Orthodox Church Synod Secretary and Mount Lebanon diocesan Metropolitan Mor Theophilose George Saliba , Regional (India) Syriac Orthodox Church Synod Secretary and Kochi diocesan metropolitan Mor Gregorios Joseph , Metropolitan of High Range Region and Perumbavoor Region of Angamaly diocese and United Kingdom Mor Aphrem Mathews and Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal secretary Metropolitan Mor Themotheous Matta Al Koury .

The next year is the 100th anniversary of genocide of the 100,000 Syriac Orthodox Christians of Turkey , which occurred in the year 1915. Programs related to this event will be organized in Europe , America, Middle East and India.

Press release  Arabic text


Holy Synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church calls on Syrian citizens to vote in elections

May 31, 2014

Maarat Saydnaya, (SANA) The Holy Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch held Friday a meeting in Maarat Saydnaya headed by Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.

Patriarch Aphrem II said, in statements after the meeting, that there are more than 60 archbishops of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the world, adding that the importance of the meeting lies in the gathering in Syria, highlighting that the meeting signals a message that "No matter how hard the circumstances are, we will live our normal lives."

On the presidential elections in Syria, Patriarch Aphrem II said that since his first visit, he has been urging citizens to participate in the elections, adding that elections is a step in constructing a democracy that suits the Syrian nature.

He stressed that voting is the right and duty of every Syrian citizen, noting that what has happened in the Syrian embassy in Lebanon proves that Syrians are avid to participate in this democratic process.

His Beatitude described decisions made by some countries to deprive Syrians in their lands to vote as inconsistent with the democratic situation in these countries and being an uncivilized act.

The participants expressed, in the meeting's concluding statement, gratitude for President Bashar al-Assad for his keenness on providing any help.

The statement stressed the importance of co-existence between Muslims and Christians, calling also for a Christian unity.

M. Nassr/ M. Ismael

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)






20140601

Mar Ignatius Aphrem II assumed Supreme Head of Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch


Damascus Countryside (SANA): Investiture ceremony of His Holiness Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim of Syriac Orthodox, Patriarch of Antioch and All East, as Supreme Head of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch started Thursday (May 29, 2014) in presence of representative of President Bashar al-Assad, Minister of Presidential Affairs Mansour Azzam.

Patriarch Aphrem expressed his full willingness to cooperate with Islamic and Christian clergymen and scholars, as partners in this Homeland, to serve citizens, humanity and bringing up the good Man, guide people to the correct path and get them away from narrow vision and misunderstanding of religious contexts.

"President al-Assad has showed great competence in leading the country amid the big dilemma Syria is passing through, proving to the whole world that Homeland will not collapse in front of the most fierce powers," Aphrem said.

Ministers of State Nazira Sarkis, Joseph Sweid and Jamal Shahin, Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Badr Eddin Hassoun and Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All East John X Yazigi also attended the ceremony that was held at Saint Peter's and Paul Cathedral in the Syriac Mar Ephrem Monastery in Saydnaya, Damascus Countryside.

Representatives of officials and patriarchs from Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon and a number of Christian denominations, Islamic scholars, economic and popular figures attended the ceremony.
Patriarch Karim was elected Patriarch last March at al-Atshaneh in Lebanon. He was born in al-Qamishli city in Hasaka province, Syria, in 1965, and served as archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Eastern United States of America.
R. Milhem / H. Said/ Mazen
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)May 29, 2014

20140407

Ignatius Aphrem II to be Enthroned at the Mar Ephrem monastery in Ma`arat Sayyidnaya on 29th May

Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim, patriarch-elect
 of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch
Beirut , April 1, 2014: The Patriarch-elect of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Anthioch, Metropolitan Mar Cyril Aphrem Karim, will be enthroned at the Mar Ephrem monastery in Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, Damascus in Syria, on 29th May 2014, the day of the Ascension of Jesus Christ. He will be known as Ignatius Aphrem II Karim upon his installation.

He was selected on Monday, March 31, 2014 by the Synod of the Bishops of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch at the patriarchate headquarters St. Jacob's St. Jacob Baradeus monastery in the village of Atchaneh (al-Atshana or Atshaneh) northeast of the capital Beirut in Lebanon as the 123rd Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, succeeding the late Zakka I Iwas.

Aphrem Karim was born in Qamishli city , the capital of a northeastern Syrian province Hasaka, wedged between the borders of Turkey and Iraq, in 1965.

He was the Archbishop and Patriarchal Vcar of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Eastern United States of America, and before that he was the secretary of late Patriarch Iwas. Patriarch Iwas passed away on March 21st in a medical center in Germany at the age of 80 and was interred in Mar Aphrem Monetary in Sednaya, Damascus Countryside.

Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim 's official title will be the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. It was not clear if Karim will be based in Syria or in Lebanon as patriarch.The Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch had been residing in Lebanon since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.

The Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East is one of seven autocephalous churches under the Oriental Orthodox Church. The Syriac Church is one of the first Christian communities established by the Apostle Saint Peter. It uses Syriac as its official and liturgical language.

There are more than 1.7 million members, living in Syria, Lebanon Iraq and India although there are also significant communities in Germany, Sweden and in the United States, where immigrants from the Near East (Western Asia) introduced the faith in the late 19th century.

It belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of churches with the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East (the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church) since the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451.


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20140404

Catholicos Baselios Marthoma Paulose II of the East Conveys Prayerful Wishes to the Syriac Orthodox Church

Devalogam, April 4, 2014: Greetings Letter and wishes send to the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate from the desk of His Holiness Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulose II of Syriac Orthodox Catholicos of the East, Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church of the East prior to the election of Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem Karim II of Antioch and All East.

The full text of the message is below:
***
March 31, 2014
His Eminence Metropolitan Theophilus George Saliba
Secretary of the Holy Synod
Syrian Orthodox Archbishopric
Bouschrieh, Fardous St.
P.O. Box 90420
Beirut, Lebanon.

Your Eminence,

At this time of great bereavement to the whole Church, we pray to God Almighty for divine consolation and guidance. We also send our fraternal greetings and love in Christ to all the Members of the Holy Synod, the Clergy and the people of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.

We trust that Your Eminence has duly received the message of condolences that we sent to you on hearing the sad news of the demise of His Holiness Zakka Iwas I. We have had commemorative prayers in all our parish churches and Centers for His Holiness Patriarch Zakka of blessed memory.

As you are now in the process of electing a new Patriarch, we sincerely pray that the Holy Spirit of God may guide all the Synod Fathers to elect the right candidate worthy of the Apostolic throne of Antioch.

We hope in Christ, the Prince of Peace, that the newly elected Patriarch together with the whole Church of Antioch may do all that is possible to heal the wound of division in our Malankara Church, as well as help bring peace to all regions in conflict and war.

We pray together with whole Church of Malankara for the smooth process of election of a God -appointed Patriarch.

We would be very grateful if Your Eminence communicates this message of greetings and prayers to His Eminence the Kaimakham and all the distinguished Members of the Holy Synod.

With Prayers
Baselios Marthoma Paulose II

***
Read the PDF Letter Here

Source:
OCP News Service

20140403

President al-Assad affirms to Patriarch Karim the Patriarchate’s vital role in promoting fraternity

President Bashar Al-Assad received Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II Karim

Damascus, April 02, 2014 (SANA): Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received Wednesday, April 2, 2014, Patriarch Elect Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and the accompanying Patriarchate delegation.

President al-Assad congratulated Karim for being elected Patriarch, wishing him luck in his new post and affirming the Patriarchate’s vital role in spreading the culture of love and fraternity in the face of the threat posed by exclusionist takfiri mentality affecting the region and the world.

For his part, Patriarch Karim hoped that security and peace will prevail in Syria whose people are a shining example of national unity, asserting that the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate supports the Syrian people’s struggle against terrorism and their right to self-determination away from interference and dictation from any foreign side.

Karim was elected Patriarch on Monday at al-Atshaneh in Lebanon. He was born in al-Qamishli city in Hasaka province, Syria, in 1965, and served as archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Eastern United States of America.

H. Sabbagh
Source: SANA

Additional sources for this story

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20140402

Patriarch Elect Mar Ignatius Ifram II Karim of Antioch: All Syrians are determined to remain steadfast in the homeland

 
Photo: SANA

Damascus: Mar Girgis Cathedral for Syriac Orthodox in Bab Touma neighborhood in Damascus held a reception on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, on the occasion of the arrival of Mar Ignatius Ifram II Karim, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Supreme Leader of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch in the World.
Patriarch Karim was elected as the 123rd Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and All East, succeeding the late Zakka I Iwas.
He stressed that the followers of the Syriac Church are determined to remain steadfast in the homeland and defend it with all their capacities.
“I have come today after I was chosen to be patriarch to announce my love for Syria and its sons … I have come to be with you..to be patriarch elected in Damascus as if I entered Antioch… Damascus is just like Antioch for us,” he added.
For his part,Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for Melkite Greek Gregory III Laham stressed he will work with Patriarch Karim and all other patriarchs of Christian churches in Syria to make the church of Damascus one apostolic community that expresses Syria’s richness and diversity.
Earlier, Patriarch Karim arrived in Jdaidet Yabous crossing point on the Syrian-Lebanese borders where was received by a number of bishops.
The Patriarch expressed happiness to return to Damascus, the capital of Syria and the Syriac Church in the world.
"As for us, Damascus is the Antioch which was the capital of Syria at the Roman days," the Patriarch said.
He added Syria, which was prosperous almost in all fields, confronts those who try to destroy it.
Karim greeted all the Syrians, Muslims and Christians, affirming the need for cooperation among each other to rebuild the Syrians who believe in coexistence and tolerance, praying to God to restore security and stability to Syria .

Source: Syrian TV

Additional sources for this story
The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)

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20140401

Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim

The Patriarch-elect Mar Ignatius Aphrem II Karim


The Bishops Synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Anthioch met and elected Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, as Patriarch-elect. He will be known as Ignatius Aphrem II Karim upon his installation and will be the 123rd Patriarch of Antioch.

Born in Kamishly, Syria on May 3, 1965, the youngest son of Mr. & Mrs. Issa Karim, His Eminence Metropolitan Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim lost his father at an early age and was raised ,with the rest of his family, by his late and loving mother Khanema. He entered St. Ephrem’s Theological Seminary in Atchaneh, Lebanon in 1977, following his primary schooling in Kamishly. In 1982, His Eminence served the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Aleppo, Syria, for the next two years. From 1984 to 1988, Archbishop Karim pursued higher studies at the Coptic Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt, graduating with a Bachelor Degree of Divinity.

In 1985, Metropolitan Karim took the vows of a monk, and put himself in the service of the Church. He was ordained to the diaconate in Egypt, and later the same year, to the sacred priesthood in Kamishly. From 1988 to 1989, Mor Cyril served as both, the secretary of His Holiness, Moran Mor Zakka I Iwas, Syrian Orhtodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and as a teacher at St. Ephrem’s Theological Seminary in Damascus, Syria. In 1991, His Eminence entered St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland, where he received a License of Sacred Theology Degree, in 1992, and his Doctor of Divinity Degree in 1994, following a defense of his doctoral thesis on The Symbolism of the cross in early Syriac Christianity.

On Sunday, January 28, 1996, His Eminence was consecrated as Metropolitan and Patriarchal Vicar to the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church for the Eastern United States, by His Holiness Patriarch Zakka I Iwas, at St. Mary ‘s Syriac Orthodox Church in Kamishly. Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim arrived in The United States on March 2, 1996, and was officially installed to his position at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Teaneck, New Jersey.

In addition to his many talents, Archbishop Karim is fluent in both Classical and Vernacular (Touroyo) as well as in Arabic, French, and English.

During his years as hierarch of the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church for the Eastern United States, His Eminence, Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim has overseen the establishment of several new parishes:

St, Aphraim’s Church (Washington D.C.)
The Mother of God of the Zunoro Church (Jacksonville, Florida)
St. Jacob of Urhoy’s Church (Orlando, Florida)
St. Stephen’s Church (Miami, Florida)
St. John’s Church (Atlanta, Georgia)
St. Helen’s Church (Indianapolis, Indiana)
St. Barsawmo’s Church (Wyckoff, New Jersey)
St. John Bar Aphtonia’s Church (Cranbury, New Jersey)
St. George’s Church (Brooklyn, New York )
St. James of Nisibin’s Church (Corpus Christi, Texas)
St. Philoxenus of Mabug’s Church (Roanoke, Virginia)

Thanks to Almighty God and to His Eminence’s fatherly and tireless leadership, the Archdiocese now directs twenty parishes. Throughout the years, Mor Cyril has visited, on a regular basis, all the parishes, and formed a new Archdiocese Advisory Council to assist with the administration of the Archdiocese and its various programs; working closely with the parish boards and clergy to see that the spiritual and church needs of the faithful are fulfilled.

His Eminence had a special concern for the youth of the Archdiocese; in his first year as an Archbishop, he established the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocesan Youth Organization (SOAYO), which coordinates the ministry of all youth organizations of the parishes of the Archdiocese. His commitment to them was shown right from the start, when he immediately held a number of youth gatherings and conferences, as well as being instrumental in establishing an Archdiocesan Scholarship Program to benefit the students. His Eminence shared the youth with the Church’s deep concern for them, and fielded many questions related to faith and other specific concerns they had. He encouraged them to do their best to work together as one family for the growth and advancement of the Holy Church. Mor Cyril, likewise, helped organize Annual Youth Retreats throughout the Archdiocese, for both younger and older youth. He was also responsible for the creation of a special Monthly Youth Liturgy, to bring the young people of the various parishes in the New Jersey/New York area, to give them a chance to participate fully in the Eucharistic Celebration. Consequently, His Eminence called for the establishment of the Archdiocesan Choral Society, comprised of musically talented children from different parishes of the Archdiocese. This group performed in several concerts and produced two Hymnal recordings; one for Christmas and the other for Maundy Thursday Service.

The Syriac Orthodox Scouts of America is another organization of the youth that is dear to His Eminence’s heart, and he does his best to attend all their activities and he always appeals to our people to encourage them.

Likewise, His Eminence showed his great concern to the adult members in our community. Under his guidance and leadership, a Pre-marital Counseling Program has been created in the parishes of the Archdiocese, to help young people prepare for their Christian married life. This includes an opportunity for them to meet with His Eminence and local clergy, to discuss matters of common concerns, that help assure lasting and successful marriages.

Mor Cyril also realized how important is to respect and honor the elderly. In this regard, he established an Annual Elderly Liturgy Service, that brings together the elderly members of local parishes to share in the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and to spend a special time of recognition and appreciation.

In the field of education, Archbishop Karim blessed and encouraged the establishment of the Archdiocesan Sunday School Committee; a body of Sunday School principals and teachers, who had been working together with His Eminence and local clergy, in the creation of a Unified Sunday School Program for the parishes. As a result of the Committee’s outstanding efforts, a series of unified lesson plans and materials have been prepared, and have proven invaluable in helping to introduce students to the Orthodox faith and traditions of the Holy Church.

Moreover, His Eminence Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, has been responsible for the publication of a series of books and articles related to the Church:

Essays on Syriac Theology and Spirituality. This series included English translations of various articles written by His Holiness, the Patriarch, as well as articles contributed by local clergy.
New Liturgical Books, to help the people follow and more actively participate in the Holy Liturgy.
The Church’s Morning and Evening Prayers for the use and convenience of the faithful.
The Book of the Order for the Burial of the Clergy, the last of the series of liturgical texts produced under the editorship of the late Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel of blessed memory. The volume was published as a special memorial to the remembrance of the late beloved Archbishop.
The Shorter Catechism of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch (1999) by the late Patriarch Ephrem I Barsom.
The Book of Scripture Readings for Sundays and Feasts Day (2000), originally published by the late Mor Philoxenus Yuhanon Dolabani of Mardin.
The Symbols of the Cross in the Writings of the Early Syriac Fathers, authored by His Eminence and published by Gorgias Press in (2004).

Mor Cyril encouraged the American Foundation for Syriac Studies to publish several issues of a quarterly entitled “Syriac Studies”, and helped in co-sponsoring a series of public lectures by outstanding scholars on Syriac Theology, culture, history, and literature.

Over the past decade, Archbishop Karim has also established himself as an ecumenist, very much concerned about Christian Unity. He has served on both, the Executive and Central Committees of the World Council of Churches, attending the 1991 Canberra, Australia WCC General Assembly, the 1998 WCC General Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe and the 2006 Assembly of Porto Alegre, Brazil, as a member of the Syriac Orthodox delegation. Moreover, he has been an active member of the Executive and Governing Boards of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, and he also serves as a Vice- Chairman of the Standing Conference of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in America. In recent years, His Eminence has been instrumental in the establishment of a new and promising ecumenical body, Christian Churches Together in the USA, of which the Syriac Orthodox Church is a founding member. In all his ecumenical activities, Archbishop Karim has most capably represented the Holy Church and has won the admiration and respect of his colleagues and confreres.

Among the most important accomplishments of His Eminence, over the recent years, was the purchase of two very valuable properties in New Jersey:

The Beth Antioch property in Wantage, which is a large piece of land, with many options, in
cluding building units or malls, whose revenues will help support all future plans and programs of the Archdiocese.
The New Archdiocese Center on Midland Avenue, Paramus, which will fulfill many dreams and plans the Archdiocese needs to serve the Community appropriately: Church, clergy center, Syriac School, youth center, library, elderly facilities, spiritual retreats center and a hostel to receive out-of-town Suryoye. This center will hopefully become a reality in the near future, to help preserve the Orthodox faith and spiritual and social heritage of our Church for the years to come.

Source: Syrian Orthodox Church