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Thursday, May 24, 2012

When Mar George Alencherry completes 365 days in the Throne of Mar Thoma Sleeha

After the sad demise of Mar Varky Vithayathil, we got a new Major Archbishop, Mar George Alencherry to lead us. If Mar Vithayathil was a man of peace, who was chosen by the almighty to lead us in the midst of the internal crises, Mar Alencherry is a man of courage and wisdom, who was chosen by the god to lead us to a fully developed individual church. His election marked a mile stone in the history of the 1960 year old catholic church of the Mar Thoma Nazranis. For the first time in the history, the Holy Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church elected their Major Archbishop. He is a man who knows the presence of the church and its needs for the future. He is well aware of the holy traditions and identity of the church. His election was the most valuable gift for the Syro-Malabar Church in 2011. In this auspicious occasion of the first anniversary of this great election, let us brief the important events happened in the year.

A man of Wisdom and Determination

Syro Malabar Church was blessed abundantly by the god almighty through the election of HB Mar George Alencherry. A simple man, who loves the most valuable traditions of the church. A man who has the right knowledge is not the one whom we need. In addition to the knowledge, 'determination' is also equally important. Thankfully our new Major Archbishop is a well determined leader. He have his stands. A man who knows the importance of his designation, 'Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar Church*'. Even though its too early, within few months after his election, he was able to convince that Syro Malabar 'Oriental Catholic Church' have a powerful and energetic Major Archbishop.

Mar George Alencherry was well determined to lead the church in union and also raise the voice for the needs. Even before completing one year, he was able to fulfill the dream of the church to have a diocese at Delhi for the migrants. Where ever he go, whomever he meet, he is determined to proclaim the great traditions and identity of the 1960 year old catholic church. We are blessed to have a Major Archbishop who not only knows the traditions, but also live and lead according to the oriental traditions of our church.

We are also blessed to have a person who have his own stand in the issue of the celebration of sacred liturgy and the holy Qurbana. A man who values the synodal decisions above his likes. A man who wishes to see the Holy Qurbana of the Syro Malabar Church being celebrated in the same way, wherever it is celebrated in the globe. A man who had the courage to tell everyone that Qurbana should be celebrated properly according to the synodal decisions. Throughout the year, in all his visits to the Syro Malabar dioceses and communities around the globe, he celebrated the Qurbana according to the synodal decisions. He also had the determination to celebrate the Qurbana according to the synodal decision on the occasion of the jubilee celebrations of the Kodungalloor Mar Thoma shrine, where all his fellow Syro Malabar bishops were the co-celebrants. For this determination, he had to face some bitter experiences from his own priests in Ernakulam. Even though they succeeded in preventing fast changes, they failed in correcting him. He continued to celebrate the liturgy according to the synodal decisions, wherever possible. This courage and determination makes him different from his predecessors.

A Major Archbishop from a mission diocese

'A Major Archbishop from a mission diocese', that too when the church was all set to celebrate the Mission year, in concern with the golden jubilee of the first mission diocese of the syro malabar church,  was a big surprise and blessing to the missions. He managed to visit most of the mission dioceses even in his very first year. In all his visits, he was given hearty welcome by the natives. First Mission fest conducted in Karnataka state jointly by the three Syro Malabar dioceses in Karnataka was a great and unique event in the history of the church. People from all the three dioceses managed to make the event a great success.

Diocese of Faridabad: Happy news for all migrants

Inauguration of the diocese of Faridabad on May 26-27th is a gift on this occasion. Mar George Alencherry was able to raise his voice for the needs of the migrants. As a result, our longtime dream for a diocese at Delhi was fulfilled through the erection of the diocese of Faridabad. Even though we got the diocese of Faridabad, the need for new dioceses and mission stations are increasing rapidly to cope up the pace of the migration of the faithful. If the number of migrants is considered, new dioceses should have been created in other metropolitan cities in India, Gulf and Europe. We have very high need of dioceses at Banglore, Chennai and Gulf. Hope Mar Alencherry can succeed in this effort as soon as possible. Let us pray for this. In this year, he had managed to visit some syro malabar communities like Singapore. In all these regions, he was able to convince the local bishops, the needs of the community. He is also raising his voice for the migrants, in Vatican. Hope all these efforts become successful.

HB HE Mar George Cardinal Alencherry

In this February, Mar George Alencherry was given the title of Cardinal. Thus he became one of the few, who will be called as 'His Beatitude His Eminence' in Vatican. It was a due recognition to the Syro Malabar Church, when Mar George Alencherry was given the title, even before completing one year as the Major Archbishop. Mar George Alencherry used the occasion to proclaim the identity of his church. He made it clear that he is not a simple cardinal, but also the Major Archbishop of the Oriental Syro Malabar Church. He chose long red dress and biretta with Mar Sleeva on top , his 'Rudraksha mala' and 'Kai sleeva' (hand cross) rather than using the vestments of Latin cardinals. Here also Mar Alencherry showed that he is different from his predecessors who used the Latin vestments. This was a big surprise to all including the global media. All reported the 'odd one' among the Cardinals with due respect and importance. Reuter’s album 'An Indian Cardinal' became popular. Mar Alencherry thereby made the nation and our church proud by proclaiming the uniqueness.

Into the Holy Congregations for Doctrine of Faith & Oriental Churches#

Soon after the consistory, Mar Alencherry was nominated to the Holy Congregations for Doctrine of Faith and Oriental Churches. This was surely the acceptance of Mar Alencherry's capabilities and the Holy See expects lot more contributions to the church from Mar Alencherry. It is evident from the fact that these all happened before the completion of his first year as Major Archbishop. We have to also consider the fact that these are the most important two of all holy congregations.

Few words about the controversy

At the same time when we were so proud of Mar Alencherry, the incident of Italian mariners happened. When two Italian mariners were arrested by the Kerala police, for killing two fishermen, Mar Alencherry was in Rome for the consistory. Some of the Kerala and Central government ministers were along with him, for attending the function as the representatives of the governments. Italian news agency reported that Mar Alencherry will mediate and solve the issue. They also reported that he had 'influenced' the ministers to let the mariners free. This fake or misinterpreted news created a big controversy. Actually it was a misinterpretation of what Mar Alencherry said to the news agency. When asked about this, the reply given to an interviewer by Mar Alencherry is as follows.

'What was given to the news agency (Fides) was not an interview. It was just a presentation of the scenario related to my cardinal post. Questions came in between the talk was like this.
Q: Did you hear what all happened in Kerala (about mariners)
A: Yes
Q: Why is it made a political issue?
A: These are happening in all countries. Is n't it?
Q: Two ministers were with you. Will they solve the issue?
A: Ministers will solve the issue.
This was misinterpreted that Mar Alencherry and ministers are with the Italy. Local media also tried to ignite the issue.

Final words of Conclusion

When Mar George Alencherry completes his first year in the Throne of Mar Thoma, let us thank the god almighty for choosing the right person. Let us be proud that we have a powerful, energetic and well determined oriental Major Archbishop. Let us pray to the almighty to strengthen his hands.

May the grace of our lord Ieso Mshiha, love of our holy Father in heaven and the fellowship of Ruha De Kaddish be with us for ever and ever..

Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar Church- Head and Father of 4 Million Syro-Malabar Catholics...Head of the Third Largest Catholic Church and the Largest Thomasine Christian Community....The largest among the 3 churches who are in Catholic Communion ever since their birth(AD 52 for Syro Malabar Church)...Our head once had the title 'Gate of whole India and it's premises'.

# Congregation for Doctrine of faith- is the final word of all faith related matters of the church especially of the Latin church. Oriental churches have not much obligations towards the decisions of this congregation.
Congregation for Oriental churches- is the holy congregation who look after all the matters related to the oriental churches.

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