The Indian Orthodox Church is also known as Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, a Church founded by St. Thomas, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, who came to India in A.D. 52. St. Gregorios Church London is the first parish church of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in the United Kingdom. and it is the mother church of all other parishes and congregations in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Our mission is to the people of Indian origin in the British Isles, and though we are completely Orthodox in our faith and practice, we remain Indian in our ethos and in our appreciation of the Orthodox heritage. The Malanakara Orthodox Church, as part of the Oriental Orthodox family of Churches, is in communion with the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Church.But we also warmly welcome all who wish to worship and learn with us, whatever their culture.
- There will be Sunday services at both St.Andrew-By-The-Wardrobe church, Blackfriars and St.Gregorios church, Brockley on 27 Jul 2014
- Photo gallery is updated with latest church event pictures. View photos
Sunday 27 July - 7th Sunday of Pentecost
Please find the Scriptural Readings for this Sunday
Leviticus 16:29-34, Hosea 5:1-5, Isaiah 57:15-19
Acts 4:32-37, Ephesians 2:11-22
St Mark 3:20-30
Reflections on St Mark 3:20-30
The text speaks about Jesus and disciples entering a house where he had to face severe criticism and blames. When they were inside the house, people flowed in and the family found it impossible to serve and eat food. - There is no reference about whose house was it. But we could assume, this might had been the property belonged to either his close relatives or friends. There was every possibility for them to get confused because of the behaviour and rush of the crowd in their private place. They said, "He is out of His mind." Scribes who came from City said, "He has Beelzebub." Here two serious blames came on to Jesus, madness and possessed.
- Why these blames ?
Madness, foolishness and stupidity are terms we use to belittle or ridicule some one's extra ordinary actions. World is too unfit for too good people ! Markings could be attempts to dispirit. We might tell hyper active children, "You are very good, you cannot behave like this." It is the euphemistic way of discouraging or warning. Good words can be deceptive !
- Here the blames are direct blames with severe words. "You are mad" or " You are Satan" cannot be counted as silly. A crowd can, through blame or gossip, make someone stamped as evil, liar, thief, corrupt, bad or anything. Then the person will find it difficult to convince others. Such stamping has been a political strategy used very much in history. How many have been burnt alive or beheaded blaming witchcraft ?!!
- Every human has a wish to get established. This could go further through extending the territory of influence stage by stage, step by step. This is how empires formed. There is a very serious psychological aspect. Once get established, everyone will have a conscious feeling that they would be outnumbered by somebody else. Every movement of others will be watched to assure that there won't be any challenge or threat coming up. It is the existential fear. Every nation, community, corporate institution and individual has this fear. The greatest fear on earth is the fear of good in others ! Humans might think and look suspect on the good life and work of other communities or individuals.
- Fear can be disastrous. It can make people and communities lethal and harmful. What we now see around as bombing, shelling and firing are the expressions or outbreak of existential fear. If we listen to the speeches of leaders, we could understand the fear they all have about their neighbours. Every where goodness will be destroyed as we see in the life of Jesus.
- Fear alert people to act in advance before others could act. Most of these advance acts will be based on mere speculations. ( Case of MH17 could be an example ). Somebody thought the innocents on board were extremists or fighters. King Herod ordering the massacre of children below 2 years was out of this fear. A similar episode we could trace in the Hindu Mahabharata where King Kamsa given out order to kill all the boy children below two years. But what actually happened ? The world has lost millions of precious lives who could have transformed this world ! The aim was not actualised either as the whole scheme fund their targets spared for future encounter !
Vs 24,25 : " If a Kingdom is divided against itself, that Kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand." Nobody would think that house or kingdom will divide against itself. But history proves it wrong. There has been many a lot cases for this. History is the history of feuds between brothers too !!! How many families lost their ground ?! How many fights prevail ? !
This text could be a good warning for all the faith communities. How many dialogues have been organised between churches, denominations and communities of faith and ideology ? See the geographical division of the world again and again divided on other differences. Continents - Nations - States - Ideologies - Culture - Religion - Colour !!! In a state again divisions ... The world is divided, humans are divided, life is divided ... What could be the unifying point ? Is there any ?
Common Wealth !!!
Common Wealth Games inaugurated yesterday in Glasgow. It was colourful. This event gives the positive message that there is 'common wealth ' every body could share or bring together ! OLYMPICS also carried the same message. For the church what 'common wealth' could be encouraged and highlighted ? It is the God Factor. It is the goodwill factor. It is the Holy Spirit factor. It is the Christ Jesus factor. It is the goodwill factor. Altogether these are the one and the same factor of 'God the Creator' through Whom we all have become children. This is the fact. Can we promote the 'One Family' message everywhere ? Can we find each other in that spirit ?
This week church celebrates the feasts of :
1) Mary Magdalene
2) Mar Epiphanios of Cyprus
3) HG Gevarghese Mar Dioscoros, 15th Annivarsary, entombed at Holy Trinity Asram, Ranny.
There will be Intercessory prayer on this Sunday. May their prayer help us.
St Mary's League
There will be a meeting of St Mary's League this Sunday after the refreshment.
Hymns, Bible Reading, Prayer
Presentation by Rebecca Alexander on Holy Eucharist
Discussion - Parish Day ( Parish Day 2014 will be organised by St Mary's League )
We love you Bobby Achan !
The Farewell meeting of Fr Mathew Abraham ( Bobby Achan ) organised at Brockley on last Sunday revealed the love and affection of our parish members towards him.
The meeting was of official in colour with the presence of the Diocesan Bishop.
Achan has been giving pastoral and sacramental support to our members since 2009. He travelled Cardiff- London- Cardiff every weekend to help us. He has been very kind, attentive, inspiring and supportive. We were benefitted much by his service. Achan is transferred to St Mary's IOC Bristol. Let us wish him the best ! May the Spirit of God help him in serving God's people with more energy and enthusiasm.
Youth Fund Raising for Helping the Family in need
Our Youth/ MGOCSM organised a cake sale and auction on last Sunday at Brockley. Deepthi Abraham, assisted by the youth members, baked 300 cup cakes ! Bigger cakes were also made and brought for auction. OVBS Paintings made by Bency also auctioned. Cake sale and auction collected approximately £3,500 /- Our members enthusiastically participated in the fund raising. Youth members have done everything perfectly. May I express sincere thanks to Deepthi Abraham, Bency Sijy, Baby Cherian, Wilson George, Bobin Varghese, Vismaya Wilson, Ashik Oomman and all the youth / adult members for their efforts. I thank all our members who participated in auction.
Senior Citizens & Young Couples Meeting
The joint meeting of Senior Citizens and Young Couples on last Sunday went well as HG chaired the meeting. It was a time if good sharing of thoughts.
It has been decided that there will be a gathering of Senior Citizens and Young couples at Brockley on Saturday 09 August in the afternoon. May I request all our Senior members and Young Couples to block your diary for this event. I request maximum support and participation from our members.
Parish Projects We have made decisions in the AGBM on the following projects:
1) Translation and Publishing of 'Sabha Pithakkanmar ' : We have launched the project for translation and publishing 'Sabha Pithakkanmar ' written by Dr Samuel Chandanappally. The launching was initiated by Mr K A Mathew giving the first donation to Dr George Varghese ( Project Coordinator ) overseen by HG. I request all our members to contribute towards this significant project for the future generation.
2) Parish Library- We need to set up a Parish Library. Dr C K Cherian ( Balu ) has been entrusted with the responsibility to coordinate and supervise.
3) Local Charity Programme , Assistance to Children with Autism, Organ Donation - Dr K Georgekutty has been entrusted as the coordinator. We have already started the Eye Donation Project. We aim to have all our members registered.
4) Food Bank - Mr Philip Abraham has been assigned with this project.
I thank all our members who joined for the church cleaning done on Saturday 19 July.
Diocesan General Body
Diocesan General Body Meeting will be held at All Saints Stoneycroft Parish Church, Broadgreen Road, Liverpool, L13 5SH on Saturday 26 July at 01:00 pm. All the elected members and special invitees are requested to attend the meeting.
Family Conference 2014 The Registration is about to close in a few days. If anybody wish to join, please don't wait. Register now. The Indian Orthodox Family Conference UK 2014 will be convened at Queen Ethelburga's Thorpe Underwood Estate, York on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 22,23,24 August 2014. Theme for this Conference will be " Nurturing Family Life:Mystery and Mastery of Orthodox Spirituality". Registration fee will be £100/ adult, £80/ youth, £ 60/ child. H G Abraham Mar Seraphim ( Metropolitan of Bangalore ), H G Yuhanon Mar Meletius ( Metropolitan of Trissur ) and Dr Mathews Mar Thimothios ( Metropolitan of UK, Europe, Africa ) will be the leaders. All the Priests of the Diocese will be at the Conference. On Sunday 25, there will be 'Orthodox Sangamam' to bring all families and members in the UK for the valedictory function. Please pray for the event and ensure the maximum participation.
Please find the AOYC registration website. Its live at www.aoyc2014.com
Please access the site and register now... Diocesan Annual Orthodox Youth Camp 2014 will be convened at Queen Ethelburga's Thorpe Underwood Estate, York prior to the Family Conference. Resource persons will be the same of the Family Conference. Theme has been chosen as 'Orthodox Witness-A Journey Transcending Through Generations.' The Camp will start on Wednesday 20 August. Registration fee will be £ 150 for each delegate. Please note that this is for five days stay starting with AOYC completing with FC 2014 ! May I request all our Youth/MGOCSM members to make up your mind and do the registration at the earliest.
Please Pray For :
1) K V Kochitty - Father of Benny Varghese and father in law of Rajani Benny. He Suffered a cardiac attack and was in Intensive Care Unit. Now he has come back home and feeling well. Benny has expressed gratitude to all our members for prayer and support. Please keep on praying.
2) Mathew - Still on life support.
3) Saramma John ( Amminy ), wife of late Mr P T John, is now admitted in hospital . She lives in Ashford. She is one among the Kerala immigrants arrived in early 70s and one among the early members of IOC London. Now she is a member of St Thomas IOC, Hemel Hempstead. Please keep her in prayer.
3) Abducted School Girls in Nigeria. It is very disappointing that there is no progress in redeeming them.
4) Pray for the people in all the regions affected by extremism, war, natural calamities and poverty.
We have now got copies of Hindi Bible brought from India. Can we have our members who know Hindi read Old Testament on Sunday occasionally ? You can take the scriptural reference from the weekend mail. Please let me know who are willing. I thank Vincent and Jenny and Ninan Mathai for bringing copies from Mumbai. Ninan Mathai and his wife Susan are in UK on visit to their son & family.
Parish Calendar has been sent to our members via email. Print outs shall be made available on Sunday. Please check for the coming up events like Harvest Festival, Parish Day and Perunnal. We need to start preparing for the events from now onwards. I request all our spiritual organisations to start working on programmes. If any assistance needed, please feel free to contact the vicar.
Altar Servers and Choir
The next meeting of Altar Servers and Choir will be held on Sunday 03 August. Please join. Those who wish to be ordained to the Altar are requested to attend the session.
Our members who are interested in contributing to the choir and wish to participate in the parish choir events are most welcome. If anybody think that they could complement to congregational singing or would like to see the Sunday Liturgy celebrated in a better way with more involvement are very much welcome. If anyone could help, please do so by joining the meetings. Comments or complaints outside or in public may not be welcomed or appreciated as constructive or sincere.
Yours in Christ
-25.07.2014 Rev. Fr. Thomas P John