Voices from Russia

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Statement by President Obama on the Occasion of Orthodox Easter

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo. Easter 2012 01

______________________________

This weekend, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to members of the Orthodox Christian community here in America and around the world as they observe Holy Friday and the Feast of the Resurrection. For millions of Orthodox Christians, this is a joyful time, but it’s also a reminder of the sacrifice Christ made so that we might have eternal life. His decision to choose love in the face of hate, to hope in the face of despair, is an example we should always strive to follow. However, it’s especially important to remember this year, as members of the Orthodox community have been confronted with persecution and violence, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. For centuries, the region and the world has been enriched by the contributions of Orthodox communities in countries like Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. As a nation, we reaffirm our commitment to protecting universal human rights including the freedom of religion. Moreover, in this season of hope and restoration, we celebrate the transformational power of sacrificial love.

00 Barack Obama4 May 2013

Barack Obama

President of the USA

http://www.Whitehouse.gov

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/04/statement-president-occasion-orthodox-easter

Saturday, 4 May 2013

4 May 2013. Read n’ Heed… Pentecostalist Propaganda from a Secular Newspaper in Texas… This is Why We Can’t Have ANY Official Contact with “Evangelicals”, Pentecostalists, Mormons, or Other Radical Sectarians

pentecostalists

THIS is Christianity? I think NOT…

______________________________

Editor’s Foreword:

READ THIS.

It’s false… it’s revolting in its dishonesty… it’s full of hatred for Our Lord Christ and His Church. Yet… you must know what the enemies of Christ say… and that many of them cloak themselves in pseudo-Christianity. Nasty world, ain’t it? THIS is what the Evangelicals truly think of us… the “nice” people aren’t so nice, are they?

BMD

******

The aroma of tobacco lingered on the tips of his fingers and stalled on the fold of his collar. He agreed not to smoke for the duration of the church crusade, but his two-and-a-half-pack-a-day habit had Roy Jacob longing for a cigarette. The then-31-year-old Jacob knew he didn’t belong among the charismatic churchy types surrounding him, who found joy and meaning praising Jesus under a tent in the middle of nowhere, India. However, he was obligated to stay and fake his comfort. He was in charge of the musical entertainment, including 75 musicians and choir members. He’d learned all the church songs so he could teach them to his musicians. Jacob, who now lives in Victoria TX and works as a DuPont lab analyst, didn’t realise it then, but he was about to embark on a journey that would take him far from his roots in a Christian tradition that stretched back 2,000 years in Kerala, India.

The Journey Begins

Jacob knew the conference would soon end, and he’d be free to go home and wrap his lips around a pint of whiskey and inhale a few drags of nicotine. That was the usual sundown routine… a contentious point for his wife, Elsie. He agreed he wouldn’t drink through the weekend. It was a request from the crusade’s organiser, an evangelical preacher who paid him good money during the week to teach his daughter to learn guitar. The preacher and the request, Jacob respected. He’d do about anything to be able to play Western music in front of a crowd. Jacob sat in a chair next to his cousin, Jimmy, in the back of the revival tent, where hundreds of traditionless Pentecostals gathered in Kerala, India, for a weekend of wholesome Christian fellowship.

The crusade was polar opposite from the piety and religiosity of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Orthodox church tradition he was raised in. He was used to high bishops, three-hour-long communions, repeating liturgy on command, and ordered sitting and standing during service. Sitting in the chair, Jacob heard something unusual. Confused, he thought he heard a voice telling him to speak to a pastor. He said he later realised it was the voice of God, guiding him to speak to a man at the front of the room. Jacob had no idea he was about to surrender his life to Jesus, even if it required that he leave his family, and his country and walk away from a 2,000-year-old Orthodox religious family tradition that he had always been told was the only way to heaven.

Growing Up Orthodox

When he was a child in Kerala, India, it wasn’t unusual for his family to entertain high bishops of the Mar Thoma Orthodox church in their home. His father, a respected layman of the church, helped build the Korba Mar Thoma Church from the ground up when the family moved to Korba. Jacob’s father would often invite the high priests to stay in their home and Jacob, now 55, remembers as a young boy, sitting on the bishops’ knees when they’d visit. He remembered what a coup it was for his father, recalling, “My dad was a hard-core Mar Thoma. He had a lot of influence with the bishops. They were always close to us. They always saw big things in our life, and they always thought we’d do something big in the Mar Thoma church”.

Church was never missed on Sunday; Sunday was always respected as a day of rest. Jacob said, “Sabbath meant Sabbath. We couldn’t play radios or work, and if you did anything, it’d have to be Christian. That church was just so traditional… We all hated it as kids”. Even with years of exposure to godly men and his father’s impressed importance of the church, Jacob said he never accepted Christianity. Church was simply something his family did, like watching soccer or drinking tea, noting, “I didn’t have anything to do with God. I was pleasing my dad, I guess”. Still, his father had high hopes for Jacob in the church and was grooming him early to learn and perform musical instruments so he could perform for the church. With a talent for bass, guitar, drums and other instruments, Jacob was put to use as early as sixth grade, conducting choirs and leading music for the church’s youth programme. He said, “My dad’s goal was to make us famous musicians for the church. We were kind of big at one point”. Jacob enjoyed his guitars and performing them for an audience. God didn’t keep him in church, but his love of music and performance did.

History of Orthodox Church (sic)

When St Thomas, one of Jesus’ Twelve Apostles arrived on the coast of Kerala state in 52 AD, he left behind more than the gospel of Jesus. He introduced Christianity to the region, where to this day, Orthodox and Catholic believers in Kerala are quick to inform foreigners their church traditions are rooted in more than 2,000 years of antiquity. By the sixth century, Christianity was firmly planted in the state. The St Thomas Christians, who still practise the faith in Aramaic, the tongue of Jesus’ time, existed peacefully among the Hindus for more than 1,000 years until the Portuguese arrived on a second expedition in the 16th century. Upon their arrival, they forcibly converted many to Roman Catholicism and forced Indian Orthodox believers to acknowledge the Pope above others. Protestantism didn’t arrive until the 19th century, brought by British and American missionaries. It’s still not quite as popular as Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

In subsequent years, many of the Orthodox churches went through periods of branching off and beginning new churches in Kerala, each of them recognise St Thomas as the bringer of Christianity. His Holiness Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose Paul, the supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Church, a breakaway from Jacob’s Mar Thoma Church {this is laughable… the Malankara Church IS the Mar Thoma Church… what a maroon! It shows the ignorance of American Evangelicals: editor}, acknowledged the divisions inside Orthodoxy, but said he doesn’t feel they weaken Indian orthodoxy or Christianity in general, saying, “When colonisation occurred, some divisions happened. Roman Catholics came, and other denominations came. With the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500s, slowly our freedoms were lost”. He said the other churches, both Orthodox and Catholic, may be separated by name, but they’re together in worshipping the same God, noting, “We keep a traditional faith as it is. We are in communion with other churches. We are one group… same church, same faith”.

However, Jacob said the Mar Thoma church takes its role in preserving the history too seriously. Because members claim their lineage to Syria, and history to St Thomas, no one is admitted as a member of the church unless they’re part of the pure bloodline of Syrian descent. Jacob said, “They’re very prideful of it. Because they claim that’s first church. That’s what they believe”. Members marry only other members of the church, even if it means marrying first and second cousins to preserve the bloodline. Jacob said, “That doesn’t happen as much anymore unless you’re in the smaller villages where the communities are smaller”, mentioning his arranged marriage to wife, Elsie, the day after their engagement. “But, yes, sometimes”. Jacob knew his entire life his marriage would be arranged to a girl of the Syrian Mar Thoma church. Elsie, an educated Orthodox woman from Kottayam, a city about four hours from where he lived in Trivandrum {it hasn’t been called that for 20 years now… it’s Thiruvananthapuram… another case of Evangelical stupidity: editor}, was the perfect match for Jacob. They had nothing in common, except they were single and Orthodox, the only necessary qualifiers. “When we started our life, I wasn’t a Christian. I hated Christians, and always thought they were phonies”.

Born Again in the USA

Sitting in the chair at the back of the crusade, Jacob listened to an American preacher share the gospel with a room of Christian Protestants. He wasn’t thinking about God, but an audible voice crept into his mind and told him to go speak to a man at the front of the room. Jacob said, turning to his cousin, “Jimmy, someone just told me to go speak to that man”. “That was the voice of God”, Jimmy replied, urging him to walk to the front of the tent. Jacob finally went up to the man and explained they were supposed to meet. “You’re not saved, are you?” the man asked. “No”, he replied. “You’re leading all this music at this big event, and you’re not saved?” “I’m not ready to get saved”, Jacob said, flatly. “Why not?” Jacob replied, “I have yet to see a Christian who’s real”. “So you evaluate God based on every Tom, Dick and Harry?”

That was the question that captured Jacob’s heart. That’s when he realised he’d spent his entire life judging everyone else’s relationship with God and realising their imperfections rather than where God had stretched them. He said, “What he said, it hit home for me. I realised I was running away from God. That was the day I got saved. I quit drinking and smoking, and I lost half my vocabulary because I stopped using all curse words”. Jacob got serious about going to church. He was water baptised {“water baptised”… what a maroon! It proves that this article was written by a sectarian fanatic with no real knowledge of actual Christianity: editor} a few weeks later and then spiritually baptised, in which he accepted the gift of speaking in tongues {there’s no such sacrament… it’s a fable of the Pentecostalists: editor}.

Six months later, Elsie was saved. Jacob said, “She came up out of the (baptismal) water speaking in tongues”. Lamenting the years they spent in an unhappy marriage, Jacob said his beloved wife most certainly would have left him if he hadn’t been saved that day. Jacob was ordained in 1989 and felt God leading him to the USA to learn more about church life. He sold his guitars and most of his valuables to pay for his trip to New York. He also gave up a lucrative sales job in India where he was earning a top salary and the respect of his family to follow God’s path in a foreign land. His journey to the states wasn’t easy, but he said God was always near, making sure he was provided for. He left Elsie and their two sons behind for about a year, so he could establish himself in South Carolina and set up a home and job for his family. From New York, he travelled to Virginia, then to Pennsylvania. From there, he travelled to South Carolina, where he and Elsie lived for 22 years with their two sons.

Jacob said they helped launch a church in South Carolina, where Jacob preached and grew a music ministry greater than any he ever envisioned in India. Their sons never felt the burden of church, Jacob said, “Our kids learned the easy way. They didn’t struggle with faith the way we did”. Elsie said, “We had to unlearn a lot of things that were taught by the church. Our kids didn’t have that”. Jacob said that the traditions of Orthodoxy he learned growing up prevented him from knowing the true gospel of Jesus and that he can have a relationship with him. He realised he didn’t have to wear his hair a certain length or dress in a certain type of suit to be a Christian. He said, “These are cultural things. They’re religious spirits, the same as what the Pharisees did. I couldn’t believe at first that a pastor could come preach in jeans. I thought he had no reverence for God. But I learned that God doesn’t care about that. And eventually those things were broken off for us”.

Three years ago, the couple moved to Victoria. Their sons are grown, dating American girlfriends, and Jacob went back to an engineering profession at DuPont. Every morning he reads his Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, a version named after an American Pentecostal minister. For many years, family back home in Kerala, especially Jacob’s father, weren’t accepting of the couple’s conversion to Pentecostalism. However, as the Jacobs continued to follow God and preach the gospel to their Indian friends and family, members of their family started leaving the Orthodoxy, too. Jacob said, “Her two sisters were saved. My mother was saved. And my father was saved about a year before he died. He told me, ‘I’m going to do what you did, and become a Pentecostal’. He thought he was serving God his entire life, but he wasn’t. He realised there was something more”.

The Jacobs said their sons, who are both studying to become doctors, are considering mission work in India in the next few years. The Jacobs also are considering a return to Kerala to start a church and help others find God the way they did. Jacob said, “There are so many in India who have never heard about Jesus. Our part is to preach, and the Father brings them to Christ. So, I’d love to go back. It’s something I dream of”.

3 May 2013

Jennifer Preyss

Victoria (TX) Advocate

http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2013/may/03/jp_india_christianity_050413_208404/

Editor’s Afterword:

Let’s be frank. The Evangelicals (and all radical sectarians, by the way) hold us in contempt. They believe that their late-blooming American-grown heresy is the Truth of the Ages, hence, they believe that we aren’t Christians at base (they also believe the same of Catholics, by the way). They hate history, they hate art… they hate anything that isn’t “religious”. That is, they hate the secular… even though God created that too (which is not to mention their addiction to vitiating intellectual flapdoodle such as Young Earth Creationism)! They proselytise aggressively amongst our people… and they’ve taken over the US Republican Party. This is why decent right-believing Christians can have nothing to do with the Republican Party or the Pro-Life movement… both have sold out to the sworn enemies of Christ and His Church.

You can believe in Christ or you can believe in Jayzuss… it’s up to you.

BMD

Monday, 26 November 2012

Celebrations Mark Centenary of the Establishment of the Catholicate of the Malankara Church

00 Malankara Orthodox. 26.11.12

______________________________

On Sunday, Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso addressed the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church centenary celebration, saying that India’s an example for the world because many religious sects co-exist in the country today. He noted, “Spiritually, the country occupies a very important place and its tradition is relevant today. Harmony can be more effective if love and compassion are practised in daily life. Now, everyone talks about money, which is important, but one must not forget peace of mind and spirituality”. Addressing the gathering, former Indian President A P J Abdul Kalam said that people should embrace a fusion uniting economic prosperity and a spiritual way of life. He also emphasised the importance of imparting moral values during early education.

Releasing a Centenary souvenir on the occasion, Chief Minister of Kerala State Oommen Chandy {a Malankara Orthodox believer: editor} said that the social responsibility of religious organisations gives stability to society. Delivering the presidential speech, Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose Paul, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, said that Malankara Orthodox people never wanted quarrels or undue privilege, only justice and the rule of law, observing, “We’re a peace loving community. We appeal to the government to act courageously, to give justice per the law of the land, to resolve conflicts in the community”. He added that the Church would set aside 1 billion Rupees (556 million Roubles. 18 million USD. 13.8 million Euros. 11.2 million UK Pounds) for social welfare schemes, including assistance to heart and cancer patients, building homes for the homeless, and providing financial aid to poor students. Union Minister K V Thomas {a Catholic believer: editor}, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Kerala Hibi Eden (INC/Ernakulam District), General Secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam Shri Vellapally Natesan {a Hindu believer: editor}, Metropolitan Mar Aprem Mooken (Chaldean Syrian Church of the East in India), Rev Thomas K Ommen (Church of South India), and Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany (INC) were present at the fete.

26 November 2012

Times of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/World-should-follow-Indias-example-Dalai-Lama/articleshow/17366444.cms

******

The Catholicate of the Malankara Church was established in 1912. Metropolitan Moran Mar Baselios Paulose Bava of Kandanad became the first Catholicos in 1912. To mark the centenary of the establishment of the Catholicate of the Malankara Church, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church announced that it’d carry out a billion Rupee programme of charitable work in the centenary year. The Catholicos, Baselios Marthoma Paulose Paul, who made the announcement at the launch of the centenary celebrations here on Sunday, said that the works would include building houses for homeless Church members, meeting the wedding expenses of widows’ daughters, providing education assistance and health insurance for the poor, and relief to farmers in debt. The Catholicos said that aid would also go for the treatment of cancer and heart disease, and for dialysis. In a veiled reference to an earlier split in the church, he called for peace and unity in the Syrian church, saying, “We hold the same beliefs; we should be in the same camp”. He said that St Thomas the Apostle founded the Malankara Church in AD 52; hence, the Church was now celebrating its 1,960th anniversary, together with the centenary of the Catholicate.

A large number of religious, political, church, and community leaders… including Archbishop Emeritus Mar Joseph Powathil of the Archdiocese of Changanassery (Syro-Malabar Catholic Church), Metropolitan Mar Aprem Mooken (Chaldean Syrian Church of the East in India), Union Minister K V Thomas, General Secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam Shri Vellapally Natesan, and Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany (INC)… attended the public meeting. Tens of thousands of Orthodox believers from throughout Kerala showed up. A huge rally in the city marked the centenary. In view of the huge crowd expected to attend the meeting, the police announced traffic restrictions. However, there were disruptions of traffic on the key roads in the city.

26 November 2012

The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/church-chalks-out-rs-100crore-charity-works/article4136341.ece

Monday, 24 September 2012

Fête to Hail First Malayalam Bible: Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church will Celebrate its 200th Anniversary Tomorrow


Holy Qurbana (Divine Liturgy) in Malankara Syrian Orthodox parish

______________________________

On Tuesday, in Thiruvananthapuram, the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first translation of the Bible into Malayalam. Church historians say Philipose Ramban, a scholar from Kayamkulam, translated the Bible from Syriac into Malayalam in 1811 to help believers get a better understanding of the scripture. Claudius Buchanan, a missionary who toured South India in the early 19th century, persuaded Ramban to translate the holy book. Orthodox Church authorities in Travancore gave Buchannan, during his visit to Kerala, a copy of the Bible in Syriac, known in local parlance as Suriyani. Buchannan told them to translate the Syriac text into Malayalam and gave guidance to some local Syriac and Tamil scholars to undertake the task.

For centuries, Syriac was the liturgical language of Christians in Kerala, who believe that St Thomas the Apostle preached the Gospel in Kerala. Dr Daniel Babu Paul, former Additional Chief Secretary and scholar of Christian literature, said that Ramban worked hard at the translation, as he had no model before him to follow, saying, “Four Gospels translated by the Ramban made up the first version of the Bible, which appeared in book format in Malayalam. The translation was completed in 1811 and printed in ‘Kallachu’ (lithographic printing) at a press in Bombay (now Mumbai)”.

The book, composed in a hybrid language of Malayalam and Tamil, was entitled Visudha Veda Pustakam. For many years, believers called it the Ramban Bible. Historians said that translations of the Bible into Tamil and Bengali came out before the Malayalam version appeared. It took two more decades after the appearance of the Ramban Bible for speakers of Malayalam to get a more complete version of the scripture. Dr Paul said that missionary-scholar Benjamin Bailey produced another Malayalam version of the Bible in the 1840s with the help of Chandu Menon, a tahsildar in the Madras Presidency service. Herman Gundert, a German scholar, who compiled the first lexicon in Malayalam, translated the New Testament in the 1850s.

Dr Paul, author of a comprehensive work on Biblical literature, said, “One major difficulty in translating the Bible in the earlier centuries was the absence of an accepted prose literary form in Malayalam. People of various communities used to speak varying dialects in different places. There was a deep influence of Tamil in the early translations”. A book containing a collection of studies regarding the contribution of Ramban, edited by M. Kurian Thomas and titled Kayamkulam Philipose Remban: Vayakthium Sambhavanaum, will be released by Perumbadavam Sreedharan, Chairman, Kerala Sahithya Akademi, at VJT Hall in Thiruvananthapuram, at 11.30 on Tuesday.

24 September 2012

The Hindu

http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/kerala/fete-to-hail-first-malayalam-bible/article3929645.ece

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.