Ben Kunjacko (Public Relations Officer @OCP-MARP Research Board) – August 2018
Photos by Shijo Mathew (Focalize Photography)
Kottayam-Kerala-India: Metropolitan Zachariah Nicholovos of the Indian Orthodox Malankara Church and Chorbishop Kuriakose Moolayil of the Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church jointly launched the research work ‘Western Rites of Syriac-Malankara Orthodox Churches’ at Sofia Centre, Old Seminary Campus, (Kottayam, Kerala India) on 15th August 2018.
Join Venture of OCP-MARP and Ecumenical Relations Dept. of the Malankara Church
The book launch was organized as a joint venture of OCP-MARP and the Ecumenical Relations Department of the Malankara Church (DER-MOC). Penned by Dr. Ajesh T. Philip and George Alexander, the book is a result of intense ‘field’ and ‘document-research’ (over nine years) on the missionary efforts of Metropolitan Alvares Julius, Archbishop Rene Vilatte and the leaders of the Independent Catholic Movement (Western Rite Orthodox). The book is published on behalf of Metropolitan Alvares Julius Research Project (MARP).
Despite heavy rain and adverse climatic conditions, more than 40 invited guests (laymen, priests, seminarians and well-wishers) took part in the ceremony. Fr. Abraham Thomas (Secretary of DER-MOC) and Fr. Aswin Fernandez (Executive Secretary of DER-MOC) were the official representatives of the Malankara Church at the ceremony.
The Venue – The Place where Metropolitan Alvares Julius was Ordained to Episcopate
The launch took place at Old Seminary. The beginning of the Independent Catholic Church of Goa, Ceylon and India has historic connections with Old Seminary. It is the place where Metropolitan Alvares Julius took his initial lessons on the Orthodox faith. Moreover, the great prelate was ordained in the chapel of the Old Seminary. Old Seminary is the office of the Malankara Metropolitan as well.
K C Jacob (Chairman of the Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE) delivered the welcome speech. George Alexander (Secretary of Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE) made a presentation on OCP and MARP. He explained the history, mission and activities of OCP Society. He also spoke on MARP and its structure.
Dr. Paul Manalil introduced the research book. The book was released by Metropolitan Zachariah Nicholovos (Metropolitan of the North East American Diocese and President of the Ecumenical Relations Department of the Malankara Church) by presenting a copy to Chorbishop Kuriakose Moolayil (Syriac Scholar and Faculty at Malankara Syriac Seminary). Dr. Ajesh T. Philip (Head of OCP-MARP Research Board and Delegate of the Indian Sub-Continent) delivered vote of thanks.
Importance of Liturgical Rites – Metropolitan Nicholovos
Metropolitan Nicholovos spoke on the importance of preserving and maintaining distinct traditions, liturgical rites and practices of Western Rites. The Metropolitan mentioned the need for preserving autocephalous/autonomous nature of Western Rite Orthodox communities. Metropolitan Nicholovos said that it is a highly appreciable fact that prelates and leaders (of Syriac-Malankara Churches) had the broader outlook and leadership to accommodate Western Rites under the spiritual supervision of the Orthodox Eastern Church of the East.
‘Building the Ship on a Dry Land’ – Fr Chorbishop Kuriakose Moolayail
Fr. Chorbishop Moolayil spoke on the importance of Pan-Oriental Orthodox unity. He congratulated Dr Ajesh T. Philip and George Alexander (authors) for having written such a book. He recognized that it must have been a Herculean task for the authors to find and tack together details of the ‘anonymous past’ of Syriac-Malankara Churches. He compared them to two adventurous scuba divers who are in the process of finding gems from a dry sea and also mentioned that their work has a resemblance to ‘building a ship on a dry land’. He appreciated the work by stating that the book deserves important attention from everyone, especially students and scholars of church history. He also took time to criticize certain elements in the book which gave the authors an insight into areas of improvement.
Critique of the Book
A critique prepared by Fr. John Mathew (Faculty at St. Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary) was presented by Deacon Ebin of Orthodox Theological Seminary.
The Honoring Ceremony and Logo Release
OCP family honored Metropolitan and Chorbishop with the OCP Pan-Orthodox icon of St. Gregorious of Parumala. Dr. Paul Manalil was presented with the OCP icon of Christ the Pantocrator (written by Anca Sirbu- OCP Delegate of Bucharest and All Romania). Three logos were released – Coat of Arms of Metropolitan Alvares Julius, Coat of Arms of Archbishop Rene Vilatte and the new OCP-MARP Logo.
Coats Of Arms were recreated from the originals by Fr. Prakash Kuriakose (OCP Delegate of Malankara and Chief Technical Officer at OCP-MARP Research board). Fr Prakash designed the new MARP logo as well. Apart from the Coat of Arms and logo, a Collage of the ‘Western Rite Leaders of the Syriac-Malankara Churches’ was released by Metropolitan Nicholovos and Fr. Chorbishop Moolyail.
First Day Sales Money Donated to Kerala Flood Victims
The amount of the first day sales of the MARP book was donated to the Chief Minister’s Distress relief fund to support and help victims of the devastating floods in Kerala. The amount of Rs. 7000 (inclusive of charity support of OCP benefactors) was donated to the ‘Chief Ministers Distress Relief Fund’ in the memory of Saintly Metropolitan Alvares Julius, who was as well-known philanthropist and the ‘Apostle of Charity’.
Availability & Purchase Options
The book is a world-wide release. International and Indian buyers can use LULU, Amazon, Ingram, Barnes and Noble and many other online outlets to order hard bound copies of the Book. E-book is available on LuLu books as well. Indian buyers can also get hard bound copies from selected outlets (lists to be updated soon) in Kerala.