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Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27.1

Metropolitan

HIS GRACE DR. YOUHANON MAR DEMETRIOS

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Met. Dr. Youhanon Mar Demetrios formerly known as Fr. Dr. John Mathews (Ravi Achan) was born as the second son of five children to the late Cdr. Samuel Mathews and Mercy Mathews in Kerala on 18th Dec 1952. He completed his high school studies from Baldwin Boys’ High School, Bangalore in 1968 and took his B.A. (English Literature) from Fathima Matha National College, Kollam in 1971. Subsequently he proceeded for his theological education to Gordon – Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts, USA for his M.R.E. degree and then secured his Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Fordham University, Bronx, New York in 1993.

Met.Demetrios was first consecrated as a Reader (Korooyo) in July 1980 and Sub-deacon (Yaupudiakono) in September 1987. He was ordained as a priest on January 8th 1989. He was consecrated as metropolitan on 12th May 2010 and was first appointed as the Assistant Metropolitan of the Diocese of Delhi in August 2010. Subsequent to the passing away of Met. Job Mar Philoxenos in 2011, he was elevated as the Diocesan metropolitan in November 2011.

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Met. Demetrios had served in various capacities in the Church during the course of his priestly life. He served as Vicar/ Assistant Vicar in several churches in the diocese of Kollam. He was appointed as a faculty in Biblical Studies at the Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam in November 1987, where he taught till 2010. During this period he was its Warden from 1995-2008. He was also the Professor of N.T. Studies at the FFRRC, and also was appointed as its Dean of Doctoral Studies and later as its Registrar.

Mar Demetrios was also the Secretary of the Department of Ecumenical Department of the Church from 1991-2010, and represented the Church in various dialogues and ecumenical organisations, such as the dialogue between the Malankara Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and Catholic Church Dialogue (Co-Secretary), the Global Christian Forum and the National Council of Churches.  He is also a life-time member of the Biblical Society in India, of which he was the President in 2006.

 

In addition to his responsibilities as the diocesan metropolitan, Mar Demetrios continues as the Co-Secretary of the Dialogue between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church, represents the Church at the Lausaunne-Orthodox Initiative and the National United Christian Forum.

 

Metropolitan's Message

In an age of instant communications and social sites it is a necessity to maintain a website to offer requisite information and guidance to the Church members and others. While the website has been in existence from the time of the late Metropolitan Job Mar Philoxenos, it has been revamped and updated to offer the…

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Thought for the Month

By all accounts (narrated only in the Synoptic Gospels) the birth of Jesus is an event revealed only to a select group of people. When we put together the birth narratives we will find that those who are recipients of this birth are the poor shepherds and the Wise Men in addition to St. Joseph and St. Mary. As such it must be seen as an event that received scant attention and by and large the general public is exempt from this revelation. This is one of the reasons that the Eastern Orthodox Churches prefer to celebrate the appearance of Jesus at His baptism (Epiphany) rather than the Christmas. For, at His baptism the declaration of Jesus’ identity was clearly made public.

Why only this restricted announcement? Even with the angelic hosts announcing the event only the shepherds become aware of the significance of the child born in a stable in Bethlehem; St. Luke does not indicate that anyone else became aware of this announcement. We also have to ask why only the Wise Men in St. Matthew’s gospel? Were there no other persons who qualified for this revelation? The answer to these questions lie in the fact that these two categories of people alone met the condition who found favour with God as the angels pronounced. The shepherds were poor in spirit, which meant that their economic and social situations left them with no other support other than God. They could not avail of the subverting influence of gold or silver or political and social clout to gain a privileged positions. Their only hope was in God alone. Similarly the Wise Men sought to meet the great God who would alter the destiny of humankind and nations. They were not mesmerised by the glow of the star or of the lure of worldly wisdom. They sought the One God, and that One God alone. It is probably for these reasons that they alone were able to perceive the greatness of Jesus’ humble birth.

As we celebrate the Christmas with its joy and revelry it would be appropriate to ask ourselves if we own the necessary characteristics displayed by these two groups. Is our life based on God alone or does God come as a footnote to our power and prestige? What is it that we seek after during this Christmas season? Another fat bonus that swells our accumulated financial resources or the many gifts that provide us with fleeting joy? Let us be aware of the fact that even though the first coming of Jesus was announced to a restricted few, His Second Coming will be universally visible. And when we are called to account before our Lord and King, certainly to characteristics He will seek in us will be our complete faith in Him alone and that we have surrendered ourselves totally, body, mind and soul to Him. We have to also keep in mind the fact that at that juncture we will not have the option of either rejecting or accepting Jesus Christ.

For a moment let us imagine the scene around the crib. The birth of Jesus had the additional benefit of integrating all of creation. In addition to the Holy Family there are the angels, the Wise Men, the shepherds and the cattle. While such a scene is not found represented in the gospels it is nonetheless a familiar Christmas card picture. It certainly carries a message. Do our celebrations and services serve to unite all creation or are we isolated in commemorating the birth of Christ within our own preferred circles. The integration of all creation is an intrinsic part of the theology of the Eastern Church, yet another reason why it prefers the celebration of the baptism of Jesus as opposed to the Christmas. However, in this season of Christmas let us try to include all within the circle of our joy and happiness. Let us announce the divine birth to all so that all creation can join in the joyful celebration of our God becoming human so that we could become transformed into His likeness.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a joyful New Year!

Mar Demetrios