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Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Holy Synod

The Holy Episcopal Synod, with the Catholicos as its President, is the apex body consisting of all bishops of the Malankara Orthodox Church. The authority of the Holy Synod is final and binding in matters of doctrine and faith-practices of the Church and its discipline and determining the order of Apostolic Succession to the Throne of St. Thomas. With regard to temporal matters, the Church is guided by the resolutions of the Malankara Syrian Christian Association and the Church Constitution (1934).

The metropolitans administer  the dioceses assigned to them by the Holy Synod in consultation with their respective Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Assembly. The following is the list of the present members of the Holy Synod of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan: H.H. Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose II (In addition he also administers the dioceses of Kunnamkulam & Kottayam Central. Consequent to the demise of their metropolitans, the dioceses of Kottayam and Mavelikara are being administered by His Holiness with the assistance of other bishops)

 

Secretary to the Holy Synod: H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros

CHURCH DIGNITARIES

  1. H.G. Thomas Mar Athanasios (Chengannur)
  2. H.G. Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius (Kandanad East)
  3. H.G. Yuhanon Mor Meletius (Thrissur)
  4. H.G. Kuriakose Mar Clemis (Thumpamon)
  5. H.G. Zachariah Mar Anthonios (Kollam)
  6. H.G. Dr. Mathews Mar Severios (Kandanad West)
  7. H.G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos (Mumbai)
  8. H.G. Zachariah Mar Nicholovos (North East America)
  9. H.G. Dr. Yakoob Mar Irenaios (Kochi)
  10. H.G. Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios (Tiruvananthapuram)
  11. H.G. Dr. Zachariah Mar Theophilos (Malabar)
  12. H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrisostomos (Niranam)
  13. H.G. Yuhanon Mar Polycarpos (Ankamali)
  14. H.G. Mathews Mar Theodosios (Idukki)
  15. H.G. Joseph Mar Dionysius (Calcutta)
  16. H.G. Abraham Mar Epiphanios (Sulthan Battery)
  17. H.G. Dr. Mathews Mar Timotheos (UK-Europe-Africa)
  18. H.G. Alexios Mar Eusebios (South-West America)
  19. H.G. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros (Chennai & Asst. Metropolitan, Diocese of Kottayam)
  20. H.G. Dr. Youhanon Mar Demetrios (Delhi)
  21. H.G. Yuhanon Mar Thevodoros Metropolitan (Kottarakkara –Punalur)
  22. H.G. Yakob Mar Elias Metropolitan (Brahmavar)
  23. H.G. Dr. Joshua Mar Nicodimos (Nilackal Diocese & Asst. Metropolitan, Diocese of Mavelikara)
  24. H.G. Dr. Zacharias Mar Aprem Metropolitan (Adoor –Kadampanadu)
  25. H.G. Dr. Geevarghese Mar Yulios (Ahmedabad)
  26. H.G. Dr. Abraham Mar Seraphim (Bangalore)

Metropolitan's Message

Dearly Beloved,   "Hope of the Hopeless: The Affirmation of the                                                                          Resurrection" Despite the veneer of peace and prosperity…

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Thought for the Month

                                Shepherds of Significance

The Gospel of St Luke portrays a group of shepherds, who were probably the first people to learn about the birth of a Savior and who visited the new born Baby at the manger and proclaimed the divine birth in public. St. Luke “carefully investigated everything from the beginning” (Luke 1:1-4) and reported in Chapter 2: 8-20 about the specially chosen shepherds who received the great message of universal importance,

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told”.

I really wonder why the angels appeared to a group of unnamed shepherds at night outside a small village called Bethlehem to proclaim a message of universal importance.
Shepherds were poor people who watched over their flock, a job which lacked any sense of respect or dignity from the society. It was perceived to be the last resort for a jobless man. However, shepherds were tough, tough in every sense of the word. They had to stay up all night and all day in order to deal with troublesome animals, fight wolves, lions, and bears to protect his flock. Moreover, shepherds were intimidating. Bishop Craig Satterlee writes, “Society stereotyped shepherds as liars, degenerates, and thieves. The testimony of shepherds was not admissible in court, and many towns had ordinances barring shepherds from their city limits. The religious establishment took a particularly dim view of shepherds since the regular exercise of shepherds’ duties kept them from observing the Sabbath and rendered them ritually unclean. The Pharisees classed shepherds with tax collectors and prostitutes, persons who were “sinners” by virtue of their vocation.” Hence, they belonged to the lower ranks of the society.

But the question remains: Why shepherds?
One could argue that the conception and birth of Jesus Christ was the greatest event in history. God had become a human being, was born in Bethlehem, and was named Jesus. Yet, this good news was proclaimed by angels to these shepherds. If protocol demands, the news of this importance should have been told to the highest authorities in the region, not the world. It should have been announced by the angels to Caesar Augustus in Rome? or to the Roman Governor Quirinius or King Herod? Why didn’t they appear to the Jewish high priest at the Temple? Again the question remains, why shepherds?

The Mishnah, a collection of documents recording oral traditions governing the lives of Jewish people during the period of the Pharisees, considers the possibility that these were not shepherds of ordinary sheep. Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889) provides a fascinating answer to our question in his book’ The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Writing about these shepherds, Edersheim referenced the Jewish Mishnah. One regulation in the Mishnah “expressly forbids the keeping of flocks throughout the land of Israel, except in the wildernesses – and the only flocks otherwise kept, would be those for the Temple-services” .Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and their surrounding fields were not in the wilderness where ordinary flocks of sheep were kept. Therefore, according to the Jewish regulations, the flocks under the care of the shepherds near Bethlehem must have been “for the Temple-services.” These shepherds watched over sheep destined as sacrifices in the Temple at Jerusalem.

Here lay the significance of the Shepherds of Bethlehem. If the flocks of sheeps are kept for the temple services; the shepherds watching over it are also specially chosen for the purpose and not like the nomadic ordinary shepherds of Bethlehem. Edershime wrote, “…everything points to these shepherds watching over sheep used for sacrifice. What would they have thought when they heard: ‘Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord’ ” (2:11). The message of the angels signified, among other things, that the time of animal sacrifices would soon end. The offering of Jesus Christ, the Savior would soon take place. It is no wonder that these shepherds “glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen”. This clearly resonates with the celebratory spirit of Christmas, a traditional time for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Let’s remember why he came – not only to live but also to die – the perfect sacrifice for sin, once and for all.

Like the Shepherds of significance, we all are specially chosen for God’s purposes and are dignified enough to hear the good news from God and to proclaim to the world. As the chosen shepherds heard the good news and travelled far to see the incarnated God, let us also set for a search in our life to see the divine Child. Let us hurry and join the shepherds saying:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men and women, on whom his favor rests”.

Rev. Fr. Saji Yohannan
(DIOCESAN SECRETARY)