Men of God and Charity – Patriarch Daniel and Catholicos-Moopan Marthoma Paulose II

George Alexander – OCP Articles – (OCP News Service) – 8/9/2020

‘Two continents, two ancient Christian Orthodox communities, two Christian leaders, two Men of God and Charity’.

The approach of philanthropy by the primates of the Romanian and Indian Churches need not require a scientific analysis due to the plain and simple essence they practice in alms-giving. It is as lucid as it is.

Hence, I intend carrying out an exceedingly brief examination of the nature of their ‘personal giving’ as well as their leadership in placing philanthropy as a chief priority for their Churches.

“You give them something to eat” – Jesus of Nazareth (St. Mark 6:37)

Both primates follow the basic Christian principle of love and charity. Patriarch Daniel and Catholicos Marthoma Paulose II practice ‘benefaction’ from their personal earnings which remain the most impressive aspect of their approach towards ‘giving.’ These primates act as role models by providing help from their own ecclesiastical ‘pockets.’

Patriarch Daniel of Romania
The charity and welfare policies of the Romanian Church have been profoundly influenced by the personal vision of Patriarch Daniel. Patriarch’s approach to charity and social help assumes multiple dimensions. Since 2007, Patriarch Daniel has been overseeing the social welfare outreach of the Romanian Patriarchate. Since then the Primate has made it a point to intensely ‘reach the unreached.’

“The charitable work of the Church was born of the Gospel and the Divine Liturgy. The care for the poor in the form of permanent social institutions is inspired by the Gospel.” Patriarch Daniel of Romania.

Under his leadership, the Romanian Patriarchate has invested over 210 million (since 2007) which endure a considerable amount that has benefited a sheer number of people. In 2020 alone, Patriarch Daniel donated more than 10000 plus Euros from his personal account for various charities and welfare activities.

The resurgence of the Romanian Orthodox Church

Patriarch Daniel has turned out to be an inspiration for philanthropy and social work in the contemporary Christian world. Spiritually rich homilies from Patriarch Daniel will undoubtedly inspire countless generations to follow. The Primate of the Romanian Church steadily encourages the faithful to continuously engage in social welfare activities by his pleasant words and practical deeds. I sincerely believe that the Patriarch of Romania efficiently is in the creative process of building a constructive charitable model over the years to proactively engage in meaningful dialogues with every section of the civil society.

‘We do not do good for a good image in society, but we do the good deed because the love of Christ is in our soul and urges us to become the hands of His mercy to those in need.’ Patriarch Daniel of Romania.

Catholicos-Moopan Marthoma Paulose II of India
Catholicos Marthoma Paulose II might be one of the few Christian leaders who do not bother typically maintaining a personal account and do not worry about personal earnings. Catholicos Marthoma Paulose II is a simple human being in many unique aspects. Around 95 percent of the money personally received (donations and from well-wishers) by the Catholicos is being donated for charity or social welfare projects. If someone approaches the Primate for a genuine need, he will respond by instantly pulling necessary cash from his cassock to generously assist them. In case adequate money is not in his Cassock, the Catholicos usually approaches a person nearby and lent money to pay the needy. He then repays back to the person from whom the necessary money was advanced.

“Charity is the manifestation of the love of God towards mankind and as such charity service must be the responsibility of every human being.” Catholicos-Moopan Marthoma Paulose II of India.

Since the consecration as the Catholicos (on the apostolic throne of St. Thomas) in 2010, HH Marthoma Paulose II has strived earnestly to faithfully keep charity and social outreach as a prime focus of the Malankara Church.

In 2012, during the centenary celebrations of the Catholicate, 1, 3,000,000 dollars was incorporated for social welfare projects under the specific initiative of Catholicos. In 2018 under his leadership, the church invested 1,431,700 dollars (apart from other social assistance) to enthusiastically support the flood victims in Kerala. The 2020-21 budget of the Indian Orthodox Malankara Church has placed heavy priority to health care, social welfare, and education projects. An amount of 1, 70,000 dollars was dedicated to social welfare activities. Since 2012, under the leadership of Marthoma Paulose II, the Malankara Church has invested millions of dollars in various charity projects.

The Malankara Church has also made it a key point not to accept any foreign funding. She relies completely on the money contributed by her faithful (from India and from the Diaspora). The beauty of the charity by the Malankara Church is it serves the needy from all sections of the society regardless of their sex, religion, caste, or creed.

Honouring the poor is indeed honouring God
You may achieve tremendous things in your Christian life, but if you are unable to wipe the tears of the downtrodden and the needy, then all your achievements do not make much value in the eyes of God Almighty. It is impossible to serve everyone in this world, but you support who you can!

The Primates of the Romanian and Indian Churches are not at all beyond any criticism. Every so often they are vehemently criticized by their opponents. However, their charitable actions and commitment to society are beyond all criticism.

These Primates naturally make it a practical point to willingly give irrespective of who is at the receiving end. They practise the simple philosophy of giving. Nothing, but give!

By generously helping others these Primates are faithfully fulfilling some of the most essential aspects of the Christian life, like personal charity, spiritual charity, and institutional charity. As human beings, they show compassion to others in their specific capacity, thereby fulfilling personal charity. As good Christians, they fulfill spiritual charity by constructively engaging in charitable work of the Church that has come from the gospel itself. By successfully placing charity as an utmost priority for their Churches, they are also fulfilling the Christian institutional charity.

I disagree with many things in the Orthodox world, particularly with the slow phase of Pan-Orthodox unity. Such things cause much sadness. However, I experience an immense relief, when these two men of God bring enormous joy to my heart through their actions and almsgiving.

References:
Catholic Focus. 2020. Budget Of Orthodox Church: Priority To Social Welfare Projects – Catholic Focus. [online] Available at: <https://www.catholicfocus.in/budget-of-orthodox-church-priority-to-social-welfare-projects/> [Accessed 6 September 2020].

Basilica.ro. 2020. Church Philanthropy Was Born Of The Gospel And Liturgy, Patriarch Daniel Says – Basilica.Ro. [online] Available at: <https://basilica.ro/en/church-philanthropy-was-born-of-the-gospel-and-liturgy-patriarch-daniel-says/> [Accessed 6 September 2020].

Pressreader.com. 2020. Pressreader.Com – Your Favorite Newspapers And Magazines.. [online] Available at: <https://www.pressreader.com/> [Accessed 6 September 2020].

Catholic Focus. 2020. Budget Of Orthodox Church: Priority To Social Welfare Projects – Catholic Focus. [online] Available at: <https://www.catholicfocus.in/budget-of-orthodox-church-priority-to-social-welfare-projects/> [Accessed 6 September 2020].

Source:
OCP News Service