OCP Delegation meets Syriac Orthodox Metropolitans

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Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Delegation meets with Syriac Patriarchal Representatives to India

OCP Exclusive

India/Kerala/Kottayam: It was rather a historical moment for the Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE delegation to meet the representatives of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch to Malankara on 12th of February 2011. The Syrian Orthodox Metropolitans ABOON MOR THEOPHILOS GEORGE SALIBA (Archbishop of Thur Lebanon & Secretary to the Holy Synod), ABOON MOR PHILEXINOS MATHIAS NAYIS (Patriarchal Assistant and Metropolitan of St. Ephrem Seminary) ABOON MOR CLEMIS DANIEL MALAK KOURIEH (Archbishop of Beirut, Patriarchal Institution in Atchaneh) and several other Pilgrims were in Malankara to mark the 79th dukhrono of Saint Ignatius Elias-III of Manjinikkara.

The OCP delegation consisted of Subin Varghese(Vice-Chariman), George Alexander(Secretary & Spokesperson) Varghese John Thottapuza (OCP Associate), Lijo Elias Joseph (Knanaya Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church) and Bibin Andrews (Knanaya Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church). The delegation was warmly welcomed by Very. Rev Chor-bishop Sleeba Kattumangadu. Mr. George Alexander introduced each of the OCP delegation members to the Metropolitans and explained in detail its mission and purpose.

Discussions were made on topics like mission, iconography, interreligious relations, inter-orthodox unity, ecumenical relations etc. H. E. Mor Theopolios George Saliba responded to the questions. H. E. spoke on the missionary activities of the Syrian Church especially in the context of Latin America. His Eminence also spoke on Syrian Orthodox manuscripts and iconography. Many of the ancient manuscripts have been restored in good quality and quantity and it is now available for research and general reading purpose. There are a number of monks who are specialized in Syrian Iconography and more attempts have to be taken to restore and popularize Syrian icons. The Syrian Orthodox Church enjoy very good relations with the Muslim community and rest of the Christian communities in Syria, though there are difficulties elsewhere. The Church also enjoys fraternal ties and deep relations with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All East. Both Churches have reached several important agreements which is fruitful to boost inter-orthodox relations.

An important announcement made by His Eminence was about the upcoming Oriental Orthodox meeting. The meeting with full participation of the representatives of all oriental orthodox churches will be held in September 2011 at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The last Oriental Orthodox conference was held at Adis Ababa in the year 1965.

As a token of love, His Eminence Mor Theopiolos George Saliba was presented with the very special icon of the Chinese Orthodox Martyrs of the Boxer Rebellion. OCP Vice-Chairman Mr. Subin Varghese congratulated His Eminence Mor Theopilos George Saliba on the 30th anniversary of his Episcopal Ordination which was celebrated on the 8th of February. The rest of the delegation was presented with the rare Russian icon of the Mother of God. The entire delegation was also presented with traditional Kerala Lamp (Nilavilakku). George Alexander thanked the delegation for granting their valuable time as well as for the love, respect and care expressed which is beyond words.

On the occasion Mr George recalled and thanked His Eminence Archbishop Nareg (Ecumenical Officer – Armenian Church in Lebanon) for extending the kind courtesy in making all necessary communication and recommendations to the Syrian delegation, without which the meeting would not have taken place. His Grace Mor Gregorious Joseph Metropolitan of Cochin (Secretary to the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church in India) was thanked for taking effort in making all arrangements for the meetings and Very. Rev. Chorbishop Sleeba Kattumangadu for creating a conducive environment for the programme.

On behalf of the entire OCP family, Mr. Varghese John conveyed fraternal greetings and prayerful wishes for His Holiness the Patriarch of Antioch to His Grace Mor Philexinos Mathias Nayis. His Eminence Mor Theopolilos George Saliba took a special interest in conveying all good wishes for Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE mission and also invited OCP members to visit Lebanon.

OCP News Service