Metropolitan Mar Yulios landmark visit to Antioch monastery aimed at reconciliation, holds cordial talks

Indian Malanakra Orthodox Church- Syriac Orthodox Church in India
Liju Cherian

MANJINIKKARA, Kerala, India — Ahmedabad Diocese Indian Orthodox Metropolitan HG Pullikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios has undertaken a landmark visit to the Manjinikkara Monastery (Dayaro) on March 3, 2013, Sunday. 

The visit had kicked up a fierce debate with many on the social networking sites hailing the visit.

This ice-breaking initiative marked a giant step towards unity among the long-feuding Indian Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox Church in India. They also urged to continue efforts to restore unity at every single opportunity.

One friend on Facebook said the visit and subsequent meeting with Bishop His Grace Geevarghese Mar Dionysius from Syriac Orthodox Church heralded a good sign for peace and unity moves in the Church.

Dr Mar Yulios himself posted on his timeline: My cherished dream is that the “One Holy Universal and Apostolic Church in India founded by St Thomas as per the Wish and Will of our Lord, having fraternal relationship with our sister Church of Antioch founded by St Peter in the same way. When human fail, God wins and works. So let us pray for the will of God.”

Mor Ignatius Dayara is well-known for the tomb of Patriarch St Ignatius Elias III and is a major pilgrim centre of the Syrian Christians of India. The Patriarch, widely acclaimed as ‘Angel of Peace’, entered into the heavenly abode here.

Geevarghese Mar Yulios has ample sentiments attached to the monastery. The Metropolitan expressed his desire to visit tombs of the three Late Lamented greats namely Yakib Mar Yulios, Elias Mar Yulios and Kuriakose Mar Yulios under whose name Dr Mar Yulios accepted monastic vows.

After paying obeisance, HG Mar Dionysius received Dr Mar Yulios at the Dayaro.

DMar Yulios extended his sincere fraternal thanks and regards to Mar Dionysius. He was presented with a translation of works by him from the study of Holy Liturgy by Musse Barkeepho, a famous work from the Oriental Orthodox Treasure. 

The reception was warm and talks held in a cordial manner. They offered kiss of peace among each other which was followed by a Remban and a deacon who also kissed his hands. Later, His Grace and Fr Dr M K Thomas were served tea and exchanged greetings. It was acknowledged that the visit was well received by the community. 

The Metropolitan substantiates his visit to the Dayaro since His Grace was in Manjinikkara to visit a member of the Dayaro parish and had expressed his intention to pay obeisance.

Concluding his visit, the Holy Shepherd felt it was a high blessed feeling after he returned from the monastery spending a couple of hours. “I am thankful to the Patriarchate and its Malankara Committee of providing me such an opportunity.  My wish and pray that when once the pending issues are solved, I will be able to offer incense at these tombs once again,” he remarked.

Dr Mar Yulios says that he would also have loved to pray and hold intercession at the tomb of great glorified memory of Patriarch Saint Mor Ignatius Elias III Shakir, whom he respects much as the head of the Antiochean Syriac Orthodox Church, a sister church with whom the Indian Orthodox Church has communion.

Though it’s unfortunate that there are fractional clashes in the Malankara Church, the Metropolitan firmly believes that a day will come when all factions will come under an umbrella of one Malankara Orthodox Church with its Supreme Primate Paulose II, the Malankara Metropolitan, Indian Patriarch and the Catholicos of the East. And then the entire Church gets to celebrate Elias III memory in the Church instead of one fraction doing it at present.”

His Grace recalls his younger days: “My mother’s family is from the Patriarchal Simshasana parish from Kunnamkulam (home town) and whenever I used to stay with them from my childhood days, we used to take intercession of HH Elias III.”

“I would love to visit the tomb of glorified memory of Bennyamin Mar Osthathios, who hails from Panakal family of Kunnamkulam and whose elder brother is my uncle, whom I also revere as one of my spiritual Father who blessed me during my days as a seminarian.”

A long way to go towards reconciliation but a promising beginning has definitely been made by the Metropolitan.