KOTTAYAM, Kerala, India: ‘The foundation of a church is based upon the purity of life led by the clergy, their vision, purity, and knowledge and how it is imparted. They should follow and spread Christ’s divine vision amidst the present widespread use of social media,’ said His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Supreme Head of the Indian Orthodox Church.
The Catholicos of the East & Malankara Metropolitan of Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Syrian Church was delivering the presidential address after inaugurating the Silver Jubilee celebrations of St Thomas Orthodox Theological Seminary (STOTS), Nagpur, on June 19, 20, 2019.
The STOTS set up in 1994 in a village in Kalmeshwar, about 25 kilometers away from Nagpur city, in the central Indian state of Maharashtra.
Also called Nagpur seminary, it is the second theological seminary of the Orthodox Church catering to the needs of the diaspora population. The seminary provides a stage for fruitful dialogues of Christian theologians with people of other faith.
His Holiness hailed the seminary for molding youngsters into mature individuals inculcating missionary and modern teaching methodologies.
The Orthodox Primate said the celebrations marked a new chapter for the Church and paid rich tributes to the sacrifices made by late lamented bishops towards setting up the seminary.
The Catholicos launched the year-long celebrations by lighting the traditional lamp at the 204-year-old Orthodox Theological Seminary (OTS) in Kottayam, Kerala, also known as Old Seminary, and the first Orthodox Christian School of theology in Asia.
Tracing the earlier days of the seminary, His Grace Geevarghese Mar Coorilos Metropolitan, Mumbai Diocese, in his welcome address, mentioned how it became a milestone for the Orthodox fraternity in the field of theological education.
Mementos and bouquets were also presented during the occasion.
Five senior Metropolitans of the Malankara Church, HG Youhanon Mar Polycarpos, HG Alexios Mar Eusebios, HG Joshua Mar Nicodemos, HG Dr. Youhanon Mar Diascoros, Synod Secretary, and HG Dr. Yakoob Mar Irenaios were the distinguished guests on the occasion.
Dr. Sabu Thomas, Vice-Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi University, in his inaugural message, preferred STOTS to be a center of research for excellence and also involve in community services.
He promised all help from the University to the Seminary in this regard.
The St Thomas Seminary is also open for women of the Orthodox Church, who wish to study theology and to reflect on the challenges of the world where their ideas will be influencing the theology of the Church.
The celebrations also saw the devotional address and group discussions.
Some of the topics include ‘matters to be aware and taught by the priests towards a responsible usage of social media,’ ‘relevance and possibilities of alternative or non-pastoral ministries.’
There was also a STOTS-OTS interface assembly compared by the deacons.
The theme of the seminar was on ‘inter-path journey on the inspiration of Gospel and Gandhian Vision’ and also papers were presented as part of the day-long event.
The seminar also saw a devotional address by Fr Dr. T J Joshua, inaugural speech by Dr. Jacob Kurian, and welcome speech by Fr Dr. Bijesh Philip, Principal, STOTS.
OCP News Service