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The St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India celebrates its Ruby Jubilee by publishing the 3rd Volume and by hosting 40 articles and papers on www.indianchristianity.com, www.nazraney.com, www.menachery.org

              



Prof. George Menachery, Chairman, Organising Committee
kunjethy@gmail.com 0091-9846033713 may be contacted

Dear scholars,

May I invite your attention to the attachment where details of the International Conference proposed to be held from 23-25 Feb. 2014 on megalithic burial sites of south India wsrt Kerala and possible Jewish Connection of these sites followed by a tour of megalithic monuments on the 26th are given. You are invited to participate. If you have suggestions for papers pl. share it with me.

-Prof. George Menachery, Chairman Organising Committee.

kunjethy@gmail.com 00919846033713


 


ISBN 81-87133-10-4
Mega Malayalam Book by Prof. George Menachery
Price Rs. 1200/- Pre publication price till March Rs. 800/- Send money to SARAS,[ South Asia Research Assistance Services],
OLLUR 680306 Kerala India pallikkalakal@gmail.com  www.indianchristianity.com

Mega Malayalam Book on the art, architecture and cultural heritage of the Thomas Christians. Full book printed on art paper in full colour. One thousand full colour photographs, sketches, plans, maps, epigraphic reproductions on Nazraney heritage. Published on Easter Day, 2014. Price Rs. 1200/- Pre-pub price until March 800/- only. Book your copy by remitting the amount to SARAS, Ollur, 680306. Or transfer amount to A/c SARAS , South Indian Bank, Holy Angel’s Road Branch, Ollur, 680306. A/c Name : SARAS A/c No. 0533073000000008 IFSC Code SIBL 0000533 SWIFT Code SOININ55

Wednesday Morning

More black smoke poured from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel at 11:40 a.m. March 13, though it is “no smoking day”,  indicating that the 115 cardinal electors failed to elect a pope on their second and third ballots.

The cardinals had voted once yesterday March 12 without electing a pope. According to the schedule published before the conclave, the cardinals were to take two votes in the morning of their first full day in the Sistine Chapel and return to their residence at 1 p.m. for lunch if the voting was unsuccessful. Now they will be back in the Cappella in the afternoon for two more votes today.

Romans, pilgrims, and tourists began arriving in St Peter's Square early today  morning in spite of the almost torrential rains, hoping to get a glimpse of history by watching for white smoke from the chapel chimney. "It's an incredible moment, but we want the rain to go away," said one chimney watcher.

And in the afternoon white smoke came out. He who entered the Conclave as Cardinal has come out in the white cassock. Except for the much expected election of Cardinal Ratzinger always a dark horse had won. And South America with more than a third of the world Catholic population surely deserved it and as I earlier remarked it was a football match between Brazil and Argentina and Argentina won. If any place needs a counter-reformation, even more than Africa, it was South America, and the Cardinals have chosen well. And now the South American dictators have reason to shiver in their shoes, as JPII's election made Eastern Europe tremble and burst. By choosing the name Francesco he has shot down two birds at one shot: Francis of Assisi is the beloved of Italy and the new Pope's mode of operation resembles the saint's. And the veneration for the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier could be hidden in the choice, and some regard for India and the East too.

The evening was even colder than Tuesday and the rains were almost incessant. But an even greater crowd waited patiently for the smoke, black or if luck could have it, white. The slogan shouting and occasional prayers gave some relief. But the real relief was the bird which came and perched for such a long time on the cap of the smoke-stack. Probably it was a little warm as the tube was connected to the stoves below in the Sistine Chapel. Anyway the Albatross like vision of the bird gave the rain hoisting crowd something to rest their eyes on. An old fashioned journalist like me thought of the bird as the Holy Ghost whispering the necessary inspiration to the befuddled Cardinals through the thin pipe, and so I was sure it would be white smoke this time. And wnen a small, infinitesimally small, row of lights was switched on some fifteen minutes before the smoke show I was certain the Cardinals had come to a decision. Soon, not so soon, followed the Habemus Papam which was followed by the Pope’s appearance on the central balcony which was now adorned with the papal maroon? tapesties.

 

Black Smoke for the first time in 2013
 

After a short siesta I started back to the Piezza San Petro by about 4 p m. When I reached the Square the huge screens installed there were showing the oathtaking of the Cardinals in the Sistine after their colourful procession to the Sistine form the Pauline chapel, gliding two by two along the Scala Regia. Although Cardinal Alencherry is third in the lists of Electors he was seen taking the oath as 87th or 88th and Cardinal Thottunkal followed after three or four other Cardinals in the oath taking. The Vatican spokesan,  Federico Lombardi, who was present for the swearing in said with a smile “They were all there. We counted”.

Soon after that the papal master of ceremonies, Msgr. Guido Marini, pronounced the words “extra omnes” that is “Everyone Out”. A large number of attendants, clergymen, and Vatican officials were seen trooping out of the huge wooden door. Then he closed the doors with a loud click and locked. The Con – Clave had begun. They wrote the name of their candidate on rectangular pieces of paper and tipped them into a flying-saucer-shaped urn, to be counted by hand and recorded by three cardinals chosen by lot

Then the waiting of the crowd began. The day was long, rainy, and very cold. But the crowd only increased as time went on. As it grew dark and the Sistine smoke stack became invisible the giant screens captured it for all to see. But for the flying of birds near the chimney which was seen on the screen there was little else going. The the lights on the Basilica and the Palace came on step by step. Finally it was a wonderful sight. By seven of the clock the Square must have contained thousands upn thousands of pilgrims, tourists, and tradition loving Romans. At 7.41 the tube began to spew black smoke, not like the wisps of smoke in past conclaves, but huge billows of really black smoke thanks to the second electronic stove this time and the chemicals used for black smoke: The Vatican now uses a mixture of potassium perchlorate, anthracene and sulphur to produce black smoke and potassium chlorate, lactose and rosin for white, the Vatican says on its website. I still remember the straw and coal pieces or pitch I took and put in my coat pocket as souvenirs from near the single stove in 1978 when a few of us were allowed to see Area Conclava. The new arrangements makes it certain that black smoke is black and white smoke white, and you need not listen to the huge Vatican bell Kanchenone or other Roman church bells to make sure a new Pope has been elected.

As the whole periphery of the Bernini colonnade was barricaded the crowd found it difficult to go out of the Square, and many old priests and elderly nuns even were found jumping the barricades, with unfortunate results sometimes. Hope a few openings will be left in the coming days.

The Mass for the Election of the Pope

Missa Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice (Mass for the Election of a Roman Pontiff) 

So Tuesday has dawned the 12th of March, the day the Conclave starts. But before the Cardinals enter the Conclave, today early in the morning at 7 am, they go to occupy their room for the Conclave duration in St. Martha's House ( many reporters call it a hotel, of course it has 3-star amenities in 100 odd suites and more than a dozen single rooms, but it was ordered by John Paul II as a residence for those coming with official appointments with the Pope and for Cardinals during the election, esp. because of the cramped accommodation in the Sistine area, experienced by John Paul himself as Cardinal during the two elections of 1978) which each has drawn in Saturday's lot. From there they proceeded to the Basilica at around 9.30 for the mass for the election of the Pope. I have just rushed out of the Basilica after Cardinal Sodano’s sermon during the mass. The ceremonies began at around 9.30 with the rosary followed by various prayers and ceremonies given in the special liturgical palmphlet distributed to all as is the custom. Last time in 1978 I could not attend all these pre-mass prayers and ceremonies because as one of the fourteen journalists out of 1300 allowed to photograph the event I was still waiting outside the Basilica side entrance for Cardinal Parecattil to arrive for the mass whom I wanted to photograph, and he was the very last to come. So I entered the Basilica only after the preliminary ceremonies. But this time I took my seats provided for the press up front in the Basilica just behind the 115 princes of the Church - in 1978 only we 14 were given such seats, if I remember right early enough so that I could witness and enjoy all the pomp and glory of the opening of the Solemn Mass, this time by Cardinal Sodano – a non electorunlike the last time in 2005 when Cardinal Ratzinger an elector himself said the Mass and gave the sermon – and the sermon also by Sodana. But entering the Basilica late last time I was fortunate catch the latecoming Cardinal Woijtiw on my Minolta  which was the last picture of John Paul II as Cardinal and one of his rarest  preconclave photos (see www.indianchristianity.com/html/menachery/html/GeorgeMenachery.htm )

The beautiful procession of the cardinals to the altar (which already had its six lighted candles), following the sleeba cross flanked by two candles and all the red of the cardinals and the huge crowd of Archbishops, Bishops, Monsignori, Priests, nuns, lay men and colourfully dressed women was a sight to see. I especially noticed with delight a large number of Indian Cardinals kissing the Bible (I think) one by one before the Mass. Especially Cardinal Alenchery who is always No. 3 of the electors by virtue of his alphabetical primacy, and Cardinal Thottunkal ( the second Thottungal to be Bishop I think after Clemens) though at the end of the lists as T is towards the end prominent in all assemblies because of his head dress and because he is the youngest Cardinal Elector. As I am typing from a portal in the media center after rushing out of the Basilica on a typewriter with Italian keyboard and typing in a hurry there will be many mistakes. Hope to send a better message from my room later.Bye for now. (I just discovered the apostrophe and now I shall change all the commas used instead till now). (The American journalist next to me was telling me that she thought that there was no apostrophe for the Italians. OK)

The Cardinals go to Martha's at around 12 and return to the Pauline chapel to begin the precession into the Sistine for prayers, meditation by the Maltese non-elector Cardinal Prosper GRECH and for the oath of secrecy followed by the first vote of the conclave this very evening. At around 5 pm the first smoke will come out, probably black. In any case I want to see that and before that let me take a bite of something from the menu which has a lot of things I can't understand at the Media Canteen.

Possible Popes

I do not want to pick any for the future papacy. First of all almost all prophecies in the past have proven wrong. In most cases, except perhaps in the case of Cardinal Ratzinger, the Italian proverb has proved right: He who enters the Conclave Pope comes out Cardinal. We saw this happening again and again, the last time in 1978 Cardinal Siri was believed sure to be elected Pope and also Cardinal Benelli but the pundits were proved wrong by the reality. This time around, as often in the past, the Cardinal electors are supposed to be looking for "personal holiness and a keen mind combined with a global vision, a capacity to evangelize, and the ability to govern “ in the would be pope.

And yet it would be unnatural for a Vatican – Watcher to keep mum about the matter. And hence here we go:

The pundits and the punters have given us many names. Some of the names suggested have ceased to have buyers any more. A few new names have taken the place of some of the old papabili. The following is only some musings on the topic, based on watching the Vatican for well nigh 35 years and having researched the ways of the Church for four decades, but let me say it again this is mostly only a media game to keep the suspense alive, because the final winner might well be a dark horse.

One of the very first who rose into first place as the papal contender both according to the media and the punters was Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, of Ghana. The exhortations for an African Pope in modern times found Turkson the fittest papabile. But two things have slightly marred his prospects. One: a speech he made depicting muslims not in the best of colours. Two: His remark on the day after benedict’s resignation announcement in which he said he is ready to be pope if God so wished. This type of self projection has been looked down upon by cardinals for a long time and I pointed out this on the same day. In fact Cardinal Siriri’s bright prospects were dimmed because he gave a press conference the day before a previous Conclave.

From the English speaking world and the Commonwealth countries there are half a dozen papabili: From North America we have Cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York, Sean O’Malley of Boston and Donald Wuerl of Washington from the USA and Cardinal Marc  Ouellet from Canada. However the front runners as of today are Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan – previously of Venice- of Italy and Cardinal Odilo Scherer of Brazil. Others perceived as having a chance are Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary, Cardinal Sandri (now heading the Oriental Congregation) from Argentina, and Cardinal Tagle of Philippines. Cardinals from Sri Lanka, Austria are also among those tipped. As i have mentioned on my site and elsewhere India’s Oswald Gracias might be discerned as the most suitable, perhaps.Each Journalist I question give a different name depending upon his own perceptions, wish list, and nationality.

Whatever might be the prophecies as things stand only the third or fourth day of the Conclave can  give us a definite answer.

SUNDAY MORNING

As I was saying, when I went into the Sistine Chapel on Saturday I had wanted to compare the arrangements in the Cappella now with that of 35 years back when John Paul Second was elected. Indeed the situation was entirely different. First of all now the transferring of the Chapel and adjoining halls was only at the initial stages. In 1978 I visited the Area Conclave when all the changes were already in place. Because the Cardinals were staying this time in the St. Martha’s House (Domus Sanctae Marthae), a modern 3 star quality residence building near St. Peter’s completed by John Paul II in 1996 to avoid the inconveniences and hardships of the Cardinals, all forced to stay during previous Conclaves in the little makeshift cubicles in the halls adjoining the Chapel, the only place this time to visit was the Chapel itself. Last time our tour took a long time as we scrutinised the beds, the dining arrangements, the sanitary sections for the electors. Then I remember to have pointed out to some of the leading world pressmen that every table in the dining area had containers with India’s own pepper. Since the tour this time was quite short, though I was able tospend an hour in the Chapel area, more Journalists were allowed to visit this time. Somehow the sense of wonder that was with all the media men allowed to visit was lacking this time, perhaps because all the secrets of the secret Conclave were coming out in the media every day and at length and with lots of graphics and videos.

Sunday was a day of rest, with even the energetic Fr. Francisco Lombardy s.j. deciding not to give one of his lengthy briefings. The Cardinals were free to visit their titular churches in Rome and to say the Mass and pray. Most of them did so while I went to the papal summer resort where I had an appointment with an ecclesiastic acquaintance in Castel Gandolfo which I had visited last Sunday also. The Alba lakeshore is a magnet that no one who has gone there once could resist, with its cycles, cats, birds, calm, chill, and Shanthi, and of course the rustic Tratorias and Pizzerias.

The Sistine Chimney and the Two Stoves Installed

Early in the morning of Saturday 9th March, 2013 when I was heading towards the Media Centre of the Vatican Press Office (catering to the 4000 odd Temporarily accredited media persons) for perhaps the final briefing session before the Conclave by Frederico Lombardi and his efficient team, situated between the first left columns of Bernini, I looked up once again to see whether the chimney has been erected on top of the Sistine Chapel to snake out black and white smoke to indicate non-election or election of a new Pope as the case may be. Yesterday even late in the evening it was not there. In 1978 I went up to the top of the Chapel when the thin pipe had just been installed and in spite of the policemen guarding the pipe was able to just touch the historic tube to the furious reaction of the arm of the law which I have described in my “Vatican Adventure and Roman Holiday”. Click here for the whole story: www.indianchristianity.com/html/menachery/html/GeorgeMenachery.htm  But now I found the Vatican firefighters , I could count at least three of them, hard at work to install the world attention grabbing Chimney. I took a few photographs and was pleased to find Reuters’ photographers just in front of me trying different angles to get the best pic. In case my own pictures turn out not so  good  I could always steal theirs after one or two days, or was it ethical to do so. I checked to see whether my name was there among the first lot of Journalista selected to visit the Conclave Area, but did not find it in the list. But soon Father Lombardi announced that those who still wanted to make that visit could go to the right fountain in front of the Basilica (that is Bernini’s fountain for you) where arrangements would be made to take the Media personnel to the Sistine, though the Sistine was closed to visitors as of Tuesday noon.

I straight away gathered my things together and was about to get up and don my overcoat (today, unlike yesterday, there were no rains) when an Italian Journalist and her Cameraman asked me for my Portal seat if I were leaving.  I gladly gave them my seat and went like an arrow to Bernini’s fountain. Actually the media briefings were getting a little boring as there was mighty little to announce because the media made everything known much before the briefing. Visiting the Chapel being prepared for the Cardinal Electors was much higher up on my agenda. Actually I wanted to compare the present arrangements with the 1978 Conclave Area arrangements which were allowed to be visited by a team of only 60 journalists (out of 1300) which number fortunately had included the present writer also.

At the fountain I met a young person with the Accreditation Card hanging from his neck. So I asked him “Is this the  rendezvous”, and he said yes.  He was from Chicago and his name was John Paul. I said “Oh!”. He explained that when John Paul II had come to Chicago in 1980 his parents were in the audience. His mother was expecting then. She made a vow then if the child was a boy they would call him John Paul. And he was the outcome. At that time the gentle Bruno from Sala Stampa appeared from behind and said, “So, Prof. Menachery, you want to come with us to the Chapel”. It seems he had arranged a special tour for some vvips I understood. I said I would love to. And we proceeded to the Sistine, climbing the scores of steps of the Stairs of the Kings. I do not remember whether in 1978 we had taken the same steps. But then at forty climbing those steps did not make much of an impression, but now at 75 it really felt like climbing the Everest. We saw the many workmen transferring the Chapel to suit the needs of the election. Restorers, electricians, mechanics, carpenters, seamstresses, assemblers, electronic technicians and other labourers from various areas of competence suddenly have replaced the hundreds of tourists who visit the Sistine Chapel every day (20,000 tourists per day in summer to be exact). I took some photos of the levelling of the floor – for three reasons: to provide a level surface for the chairs (115 cherry wood chairs) of the electors, for them to walk to the altar to vote and to work. Secondly to conceal the electronic devices to prevent the use of mobiles and hidden cameras, and also to protect the wonderful floor of the Sistine. I also photographed the two stoves. This time there are two: one for burning the ballots of the cardinals – for this the old stove cast in 1938 (I remember this because I was born in that year) used for the election of five popes already is used, which has the popes’ names etched on it as I had noticed in 1978. Now it has the names of  Pius XII elected in 1939 to that of  Benedict XVI (2005). The modern one, equipped with an electronic device, will add the chemicals to produce the black or white smoke indicating the result of the voting until the election occurs. The second stove has a key, a red start button and seven tiny temperature indicator lights. Flares will be electronically ignited inside it to send out either white or black smoke. I finally had one more look at the great Last Judgement of Michelangelo under which the cardinals will stand to put their ballots into the paten and then slide it into the chalice.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias for Pope

 I propose Cardinal Oswald Gracias for Pope. Two weeks back I would not have made such a, perhaps. surprising statement. Then I was thinking that one of the media’s proposed papabili or a punters’ choice would be and should be elected Pope without much ado. But having arrived in Rome on the 25th of February and having watched with concern almost bordering on consternation the chaos and confusion caused also by the media revelations each and every day and the Cardinals’ own responses and reactions in public and in private I have been forced to suggest an entirely new name for the meditation of the electors.. My experiences in Rome during papal elections and other occasions and my four decades long research into and study of the Church emboldens me to make this suggestion. Cardinal Gracias who considers himself a Goan Catholic, comes from “non-aligned” and generally independent thinking India, a Commonwealth country, a leader of the third world, and a country which still provides a large number of religious and priestly vocations, with an almost self-dependent Church, and active in all mission fields globally. Cardinal Gracias is known to be impartial, highly knowledgable,  an excellent leader, heading with demonstrated skill in holding together a Catholic community divided by heterogenous groups of rites, castes, tribes, languages, and regions in a country whose population is as large as the world Catholic population. He heads one of the largest Archdioceses in the world, is the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, and was elected FABC Secretary General. His good record in the fields of ecumenism and dialogue has been much appreciated.  Of course I am carrying coal to Newcastle as the Cardinals surely know their man. He is a man for all seasons and the man for our own turbulent and uncertain times.

--Chev. Prof. George Menachery, Chief Editor: Christian Encyclopaedia of India, a temporarily accredited journalist in the Vatican.   

 

          


Conclave must not be Pre-poned - Prof. Menachery

If, as is reported, the election process and the Conclave is preponed and the Conclave meets before the end of the stipulated fifteen days after the Chair becomes vacant it will be a great injustice done to the office of the Pope. Because many of the cardinals -ninety in fact - were named by Benedict XVI in five consistories dated March 24 2006 (15), November 24 2007 (23), November 2010 (24), February 18 2012 (22), and November 24 2012 (6) all of them in the past less than seven years. Many became cardinals only in the near past, 52 have been cardinals only for less than three years. The nine days of the novendials used to provide the cardinals the only opportunity to know each other, to assess each other, and to elect the most suitable as Pope. If the cardinals come for the retirement audience of Pope Benedict XVI and start the Conclave soon after, most will lack the opportunity to know the possible candidates intimately, and the election will be only a farce. The election of the Pope must be deemed an important matter at least by the cardinals and they must set apart sufficient time to proceed without haste and estimate each candidate impartially and in one's own light, notwithstanding the help and guidance of the Holy Ghost. I would like this matter be brought to the attention of each voter before a decision is taken on this important matter.  And another thing: These rules for the election of the Supreme Pontiff were promulgated by Popes down the centuries, with Pope Paul VI making some amendments in 1967, 1970, and 1975; Pope John Paul II in 1996; and Pope Benedict in his Motu Proprio of June 11, 2007. It may not look appropriate for Pope Benedict XVI to script an Apostolic Letter on this important matter after he has declared the date of his abdication and in a sense at present heading only a lameduck curia.

Prof. George Menachery

POPE RESIGNS

Papal Election. Eye Witness Account of the Pope’s Election in the Vatican.
John Paul II Election Surprises by Prof. George Menachery.

VATICAN ADVENTURE AND ROMAN HOLIDAY

ELECTING A NEW POPE: THE CONCLAVE AND ALL THAT

LAST DAYS OF POPE JOHN PAUL II
 

 

Church Elephants of Kerala

Every old Syrian or Thomas Christian or Nazraney Church of Kerala has two exquisitely carved wooden elephants supporting its main beam, one a fully caparisoned Festival Elephant and the other a Plain Working Elephant used mainly to pull and carry heavy weights like timber. 
 

 

iNDIA'S CHRISTIAN HERITAGE

Ed. Dr. O. L. Snaitang & Prof. George Menachery

 CHAI Publication

The Church History Association of India 

Rs. 1200 US$ 60

Order from: CHAI, Dharmaram College

Dharmaram College PO, Bangalore - 29

 

Cardinal Oswald Gracias  of Mumbai (Bombay) Speaks at the Synod of Bishops

 

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and General Secretary  of the Federation of Asian Bishops said that the continent of Asia is experiencing "the hopes and joys of a constant rebirth in the Spirit."

While saying that the continent has a rich culture, the cardinal identified three major areas of work that focus on three major challenges in the area. Cardinal Gracias said that "we need to have dialogue with cultures, a dialogue with the poor and a dialogue with religions: to study what the Gospel mandate means to us in our relationship with these three major realities."

The greatest challenge he identified within the continent is that of globalization, stating that it first began as an economic process which led to free competition, many times at the expense of poorer countries, has now turned into "phenomenon of culture".

"It impacts cherished Asian cultural values bringing in its wake materialism, individualism, consumerism and relativism. The youth in particular are very vulnerable to its effects. The effects of globalization are seen overall affecting our value systems. Traditional Asian values, much cherished traditions and cultures are being impacted and eroded. "

Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences, went on to tell the synod that Asia is experiencing a boom in communications technology. "This is not to be viewed as a threat, but a great gift from God to be used to spread the good news."
The cardinal said the church must help parents, pastors and teachers who can train young people to use the new media and to benefit from them.


Bishops at the Synod, HB Mar George Cardinal Alencherry, Syro Malabar Major-Archbishop in the foreground.
VATICAN 7-28 Oct 2012: World's bishops at synod - 50 years after Vatican II


The 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will focus on a new missionary consciousness "aimed primarily at Europe and North America, concentrating on the societies where Christianity was once dominant but has seen a dramatic drop in influence in recent decades." The statement suggests the bishops won't be wrestling with an issue widely attributed the drop -- clergy sex abuse scandals, which haven't spared bishops.
The Second Vatican Council, announced by Pope John XXIII in 1959, opened on 11 Oct 1962 and lasted for three years. It remains a symbol, controversial to some, of the church's readiness to adapt to modern life.
Few see any Vatican readiness to place the sex abuse scandals at the top of the issues confronting the venerable Church, though Church-based inquiries have been launched on both sides of the Atlantic. According to The Guardian newspaper on Nov 30, Amnesty International has called for an independent inquiry into clerical child sex abuse in Northern Ireland after internal Catholic Church reports found the clergy guilty of inaction over paedophile priests. The Church in the United States has also had to deal with numerous cases of clergy abuse of children. Cardinal Bernard Law resigned in disgrace as Boston’s archbishop in 2002 after the priest sex abuse scandal erupted in the United States. AP reported on Nov 21 that he has resigned from the Rome job that followed.

In a Dec 2 address to US bishops, Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the sex abuse issue, defended the Church's handling of it, then moved on to "the new evangelization," the official theme of the October synod as the recommended primary focus of US bishops. He noted that many of the bishops shared with him their concern about the "grave challenges" presented by an increasingly secularised society in the United States.
In March, Catholic Culture noted that the “new evangelization” is a term introduced into regular usage at the Vatican by Pope John Paul II, and taken up by Pope Benedict XVI. Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, the first president of the new body, has said the effort will be aimed primarily at Europe and North America, concentrating on the societies where Christianity was once dominant but has seen a dramatic drop in influence in recent decades.
The world’s episcopal conferences, and to the synods of the Eastern Catholic churches will be asked to comment on the preliminary document on which the Synod's deliberations will be based. The preface to the document, the lineamenta, explains evangelization as a constant duty of the Church, and the “new evangelization” as an effort designed to reach “those who have moved away from the Church, those who have been baptized but not sufficiently evangelized.”

The Pope urged the world's bishops on Sunday Oct. 7 2012 to try to bring back Catholics who have left the church as he opened a three-week meeting to reinvigorate the church's evangelization mission.
Some 262 cardinals, bishops and priests from around the world are in Rome for the meeting, or synod, called to give impetus to the pope's efforts to re-evangelize parts of the world where Catholicism has fallen by the wayside.
At the start of the Mass, Benedict named two new "doctors" of the church, conferring one of the Catholic Church's highest honors on the 16th-century Spanish preacher, St. John of Avila, and the 12th-century German mystic, St. Hildegard of Bingen. They join the ranks of only 33 other church doctors who have been singled out over the course of Christianity for their contributions to and influence on Catholic doctrine.
Benedict has long lamented that in Europe and the Americas, Catholics no longer practice their faith or pass it onto their children. That concern is reflected in the synod's working document that will form the basis of discussion over the next three weeks.

"There is a clear link between the crisis in faith and the crisis in marriage," the pope said.

The so-called "new evangelization" is a top priority for Benedict, who routinely laments how cultures in Europe and the West that were once profoundly Christian have become increasingly secular.
The church has been beset by competition from rival Protestant churches in Latin America, dissent from Catholics who oppose church teaching on homosexuality and desertions in the U.S. and Europe from Catholics fed up by years of sex abuse scandals.

"The church exists to evangelize," Benedict said in his homily, urging a new missionary spirit among the church's pastors to reawaken the faith among Catholics who have been baptized but no longer practice their faith.
The synod coincides with the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 church meetings that modernized the church.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, was named by Benedict to run the meeting.

At the start of the Mass, Cardinal Angelo Amato, head of the Vatican's saint-making office, read aloud the reasons why the church was proclaiming St. John and St. Hildegard doctors, saying their "holiness and eminent doctrine" shine hundreds of years after they lived.

Benedict is particularly fond of Hildegard, who was considered a saint in her native Germany but was never officially proclaimed one by the Vatican. Benedict, who himself referred to Hildegard as a saint, earlier this year passed the decree making her one officially, a requirement for her to be named a church doctor.

The last church doctor named was St. Therese of Lisieux, France, in 1997. The first church doctors were Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome and Gregory the Great.
 

Pope Benedict XVI leads a
Mass for the opening of the
synod of bishops in St.
Peter’s square at the Vatican,
Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012.
 
Pope Benedict XVI, standing
on a car at right, waves to
faithful as he is leaves after
celebrating a mass for the
opening of the synod of
bishops in St. Peter's Square..
Pope Benedict has also named
two new "doctors" of the
church, conferring the Catholic
Church's highest honour on a
16th-century Spanish preacher
St. John of Avila, and to St.
Hildegard of Bingen, a 12th
century German
mystic who was canonised
earlier this year.
The tapestry of St. John of
Avila hangs from the facade
of St. Peter's Basilica during
the opening of the synod .
The tapestry of St. Hildegard
of Bingen hangs from the
facade of St. Peter's Basilica
during the opening of the
synod.
 


 

Church Historian Dr. A. Mathias Mundadan Passes Away

World renowned Indian Church Historian Dr. A. M. Mundadan, General Editor of the prestigious History of Christianity in India series of the Church History Association of India (CHAI), and first president of the Dharmaram Pontifical Institute, Bangalore passed away at 4.30 p. m. yesterday the 31st of August 2012 at Alwaye, Ernakulam.  The funeral will take place today 1st September at 2.30 p. m. at the St. Ant[h]ony’s Monastery, Alwaye next to the railway station and a few metres away from the KSRTC station, where he was residing now for a number of years nursing the research institute Jeevass which was very close to his heart. A member of the editorial board of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India from 1971 and the organiser of a number of Christian Cultural and Historical Exhibitions, beginning with the exhibition at Dharmaram College, 1972, he has a number of publications to his credit including: The History of Christianity in India upto the Middle of the Sixteenth Century(CHAI 1984), The Arrival of the Portuguese in India and the Thomas Christians under Mar Jacob, 1498 – 1552 (1967), Sixteenth Century Traditions of St. Thomas Christians (1970), Indian Christians: Search for Identity and Struggle for Autonomy (1984). He was the Rector of Dharmaram College and the Provincial of the Sacred Heart Province, Rajagiri of the CMI Congregation for more than one term each. The last article he had completed was autobiographical in nature written for CHAI’s Platinum Jubilee Volume India’s Christian Heritage, edited by Oberland Snaitang and George Menachery. Bishop Gratian Mundadan is the younger brother of the deceased.  May his great soul rest in peace. The Church History Association of India is being represented at the funeral by Prof. George Menachery and Sebastian Edathikkavil CMI who will  convey  condolences on behalf of Dr. Oliver Jetti, President, Dr. George Oommen, Gen. Secretary, and D r. Francis Thonippara, Treasurer of the CHAI.

 

The 15th Triennial Conference of the South Indian Branch of the Church History Association of India CHAI (15 – 17 May 2012) was inaugurated at Bangalore by the Vice-Chancellor of the Christ University Dr. Thomas C. Matthew by lighting a bronze lamp in the DVK Philosophy auditorium in the presence of Dr. Saju Chackalakkal (President DVK), CHAI Natioal President Dr. Oliver Jetti, Dr. Prameela Devi, Prof. George Menachery, Dr. Pasupulethi Manasseh (CHAI SIB Secretary), and Dr. Francis Thonippara (CHAI SIB President). The valedictory function was addressed by Dr. Thomas Aykkara, Rector, Dharmaram College

 


 

The Bishop Vazhappilly Memorial Church History Award was presented to Prof. George Menachery at the Basilica Hall, Thrissur by Sri P. C. Chacko, M. P. in the presence of the Mayor of Thrissur Sri I. P. Paul, Bishops Antony Chirayath of Sagar, Bp. Thomas Vazhappilly of Mysore, Bishop Emeritus Paul Chittilappilly, Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, Bp. Raphael Thattil, M.P.Vincent MLA, P. Madhavan MLA, Kaviyoor Ponnamma, Rector Dr. Louis Edakkalathur, Prof. V. G. Thampy and others. The Award purse of Rs. 25,000 was handed over to Chev. Prof. Menachery by Archbishop Thazhath. 

 

 

Award for church historian Menachery

Press Trust of India / Thrissur May 08, 2012, 21:35
Prof George Menachery, considered an authority on Christianity in India, has been selected for the Bishop Francis Vazhappilli memorial award for his contrbutions to church studies.
The award, instituted by Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours here to recognize outstanding contributions in the field of the history of Christianity in India, carries a purse of Rs 25,000, citation and memento.
It will be presented to Menachery at the commemorative function on the 70th death anniversary of Bishop Francis Vazhappilly on May 12. Vazhappilly was the first Bishop of Thrissur Diocese and also the founder of the Basilica.
Menacherry was selected for the award by a panel of church historians headed by Basilica Rector Rev. Louis Edakkalathur, a press release issued by the Basilica said.
He had edited and produced "The St. Thomas Christian Enyclopaedia Of India", acclaimed as the first Christian Encyclopaedia based on a particular country.
He has to his credit a large number of publications, research papers, articles, radio talks and TV programmes. His research activities and lectures have taken him to more than 25 countries in four continents.

India's George Alencherry among 22 new cardinals inducted by Pope
 


 


 



Pope Benedict, putting his mark on his Church's future, on Saturday inducted 22 men including India's George Alencherry into the exclusive group of cardinals who will one day elect one of their own to succeed him as leader of the world's 1.3 billion Roman Catholics.

Among the most prominent in the group is New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is already being touted by some Vatican experts as a possible future candidate to become the first American pope.

Benedict, who turns 85 in April elevated the men to the highest Church rank below him at a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica known as a consistory.

"Cardinals are entrusted with the service of love: love for God, love for his Church, an absolute and unconditional love for his brothers and sisters, even unto shedding their blood, if necessary (in defence of the faith)," the pope told the new cardinals before giving them their rings and red birettas, or hats.

"Furthermore, they are asked to serve the Church with love and vigour, with the transparency and wisdom of teachers, with the energy and strength of shepherds, with the fidelity and courage of martyrs," he said.

The new cardinals are from the United States, Hong Kong, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, India, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium, and Malta.

 

Eighteen of them are aged under 80 and thus will be eligible to enter the secret conclave to elect the next pope from among their own ranks.

Twelve of those are Europeans, bringing the number of "cardinal electors" from the continent to 67 out of 125.

With the new appointments, Benedict, who was elected in a secret conclave in 2005, has now named more than half the cardinal electors. The others were named by his predecessor John Paul.

Compared to the 67 "cardinal electors" from Europe, Latin America now has 22, North America has 15, Africa has 11, Asia has nine and Oceania has one.

Cardinals are the pope's closest collaborators in the Vatican and around the world. They lead major archdioceses and run key Vatican departments that help the pope decide Church policy and doctrine that can affect the lives of Catholics worldwide.

FIRST, BE MEN OF RELIGION, POPE TELLS NEW CARDINALS

At the ceremony, the pope told the new cardinals that while they will cooperate closely with him in "the delicate task" of governing the worldwide Church, they must first and foremost be men of religion.

"May your mission in the Church and the world always be 'in Christ' alone, responding to his logic and not that of the world, and may it be illumined by faith and animated by charity which comes to us from the glorious Cross of the Lord," he said.

Benedict also asked for prayers so that he can guide the Church "with a firm and humble hand".

Numerically, at least, the pope has increased the chances that the next pontiff will be a conservative European but there have been surprises in past conclaves.

The pope is a conservative on matters of faith and sexual morals such as birth control, homosexuality and the ban on women priests. Each time he names cardinals he puts his stamp on Roman Catholicism's future by choosing men who share his views.

Besides Dolan, other prominent new cardinals are John Tong Hon, archbishop of Hong Kong, and Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin in the pope's native Germany.

Seven of new "cardinal electors" under the age of 80 are Italian - six of them members of the Vatican's central administration and the other the archbishop of Florence.

Popes usually reign for life but in a book last year, Benedict said he would not hesitate to become the first pontiff to resign willingly in more than 700 years if he felt himself no longer able, "physically, psychologically and spiritually", to run the Catholic Church.

Several popes in recent history, including the late Pope John Paul, considered resigning for health reasons, but none did so.

The last pope to resign willingly was Celestine V in 1294 after reigning for only five months. Gregory XII reluctantly abdicated in 1415 to end a dispute with a rival claimant to the Holy See.

The Vatican says the pope's health is good but he needs to conserve his strength. Last October he started using a mobile platform which aides use to wheel him up the central aisle of St Peter's Basilica.

Kerala elated as Alencherry ordained cardinal 

Catholics, and the people at large,  in Kerala were elated as Mar George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church, was on Saturday ordained a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Many of the Catholics, who form 50 per cent of the over seven million Christians in Kerala, were glued to the live coverage from the Vatican as Alencherry was ordained by the Pope along with 21 other bishops from various countries.

Alencherry, 66, becomes the youngest cardinal in the country and the fourth Keralite to be ordained.


Cardinal Mar George Alencherry (right) helps Monsignor Kuriakose Bharanikulangara with the episcopal sash after announcing his appointment as the first bishop of new Faridabad diocese, in Kochi on Tuesday. — DC

Cardinal clears the air
Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday created a new diocese of Faridabad for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and appointed Monsignor Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, 53, the deputy nuncio of Vatican in Germany, as its first bishop.

The announcement was made simultaneously in Vatican and in Kochi. Mar Bharanikulangara will have the title of archbishop as well.
Making the announcement at Mount St Thomas, Kochi, the seat of the Syro-Malabar Church, Cardinal Mar George Alencherry said the new diocese covers the region of National Capital Territory of Delhi and states of Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu Kashmir and the Gautambudhanagar and Ghaziabad districts of UP.

The new diocese will look after the spiritual needs of nearly one lakh Syro-Malabar catholics. With this, the number of dioceses of the church has gone up to 30, including the 10 outside Kerala.

The Faridabad diocese will have multiple jurisdiction like the Kalyan diocese of the Church (Other 8 dioceses outside Kerala come under the territorial jurisdiction of Latin Catholic dioceses).

Mar Bharanikulangara, born to Alia and late B.V. Antony on February 1, 1959 at Karippassery in the archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, has served as a diplomat of the Vatican in the last 18 years, including its nunciatures in the UN, Iraq, Jordan, Venezuela, Republic of Congo and Gibon.
 

Muziris letter to  Defence Minister AK Antony


Respeced Minister for Defence,

Sir,

Kindly go through the two attachments.Your Excellency,It would be great , both for India and Kerala, if a Muziris Voyage along the lines of the First century voyages from and to the Red Sea Ports of Berinice, Aden- and Socotra - which were frequent in the early centuries - could be re enacted as suggested by the KeralaHistory Association headed by the venerable Justice V R Krishna Iyer. Such a trip would get immense world media attention and will go a long way to promote Tourism in the country and to project a glorious image of India's and Kerala's culture and achievements in the early centuries BCE and ACE. The Indian Navy could play a pivotal role in such a trip as was played by the Omani Navy in the voyageof the 'Jewel of Muscat'.Entreating your good selves and the Navy to kindly take immediate and effectivesteps in the matter, and to include the necessary funds in the forth coming budget itsef for 1. a feasibility study, 2. for a Project Report, 3. for the construction of a Sail Ship at Beypore or elsewhere, and 4. for the training of a dedicated team of sailors and navigators, and 5. to form a team of researcheras for the purpose.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Prof. George Menachery, West Bazaar, Ollur, Trichur District, Kerala 6803060091 98460337130091 487 235 43980091 487 235 2468kunjethy@gmail.com,kunjethy@yahoo.com

Muziris Red Sea Voyage

 

Re-enact Muziris voyages, KHA tells Navy
K.A. MARTIN & S. ANANDAN
 (THE HINDU 21/I/12)


Defence Ministry told to take the lead in rebuilding such a vessel at Beypore
The Kerala History Association (KHA) headed by jurist V.R. Krishna Iyer has urged the Indian Navy to join hands with the Departments of Cultural Affairs and Tourism to re-enact the voyages of ancient trade vessels from the ancient port of Muziris to the Red Sea around 2000 years ago.
In a key resolution, passed early this month, the association asked the Union Defence Ministry to take the lead in rebuilding such a cargo vessel at Beypore, a historical boatbuilding hub in northern Kerala renowned for its esoteric technology adept at building ‘urus' [cargo sail yachts] using locally available timber and coir.
The association felt that recreating a cargo vessel that plied the seas from Muziris to link ports in the Red Sea on the Egyptian and the Yemeni coasts would highlight the strong historical links between the two important regions of the world besides bringing to the world's attention their cultural exchanges.
Historian K.N. Panikkar endorsed the idea when he told The Hindu on Friday that it would be good if the Navy undertook such a mission.
He recalled that such efforts had been made in other parts of the world, including in the recreation of journeys along the old Silk Route.
It must have taken 40 days to reach Muziris from Egypt by sea in the olden times, said George Menacherry, a church historian, who piloted the resolution at the association's meeting.
He, however, added that the ‘Jewel of Muscat,' a replica of the late first-millennium trading vessel that sailed around the world jointly created by the Sultanate of Oman and the Government of Singapore, had shown that the journey would take just 27 days now.
Approached for its comments, the Navy said although it had not received the proposal yet, it would study the merits of the project before taking a call on that.
“While the Navy has always taken a keen interest in understanding, conserving, and contributing to build upon the rich maritime history that India boasts, collaboration in such ventures require decision at the highest-level,” said Navy sources.
In the State, the Navy has earlier assisted the archaeological excavation team at Pattanam (where vestiges of Kerala's trade with the Mediterranean countries were exhumed) by sending its deep-sea divers to conduct underwater surveys.
It sustains a chair on maritime history at Calicut University and the local chapter of the Maritime History Society is headed by the Southern Naval Command's Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST).
When the ‘Jewel of Muscat', currently installed as a maritime history museum in Singapore after a historical sail along the ancient Middle East and the Far East, was constructed in Oman on the lines of a shipwrecked ninth-century cargo vessel, uru-builders of Beypore were called in to build it.
Built without nails or screws and with planks sewn together using coconut fibres, the sail yacht was made by over a dozen carpenters and rope-makers from Beypore.
“There was a time when the boatbuilding industry here had its hands full, building about 60 urus simultaneously. Even now, they build about six to seven urus for foreign customers who use them for tourism promotion. They recently constructed one for a French customer. Exponents of the esoteric technology of uru-making are not many now. But still there are a few and scores of workers are employed by them to carry out the job. They can create mock-ups of ancient ships as well,” said M.P. Padmanabhan, INTUC national leader and an authority on the subject.

 

HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE GOVT. SUBSIDY

Andhra Pradesh Govt. Minority Welfare Dept. Scheme &  Govt. Order

 High Court Verdict Setting aside objections to Pilgrimage Subsidy

Letter to the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Kerala

Prof. George Menachery

From
Chev. Prof. George Menachery
Chief Editor St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India
Member Archdiocesan Pastoral Council
Member Of the Governing Body Christian Chair, Calicut University
Pallinada
Ollur Kerala 680306
09846033713, 04872352468, 04872354398
kunjethy@gmail.com,kunjethy@yahoo.com
www.indianchristianity.com,www.nazraney.com.www.menachery.org

To
Sri Oommen Chandy
Honb'le Chief Minister of Kerala
Thiruvananthapuram

Respected Sir,
We the representatives of the Nazraney Maha Kudumbayogam (Myself as President) had visited you at your residence and submitted a petition signed by the President, Secretary, Office Secretary, and Fr. K. M. George of the Pazhaya Seminary humbly requesting you to kindly grant a State subsidy to the Holy Land pilgrims from Kerala. At that time you had kindly consented to consider the the also the desire for setting up a St. Thomas University, to make arrangements for the protection and conservation of ancient Christian monuments, and to consider the Holy LandPilgrimage subsidy. However when you asked for details of such subsidies granted by other South Indian States we were unable to provide the details during such a short interview.

I am herewith sending the copy of the AP Government Order granting Holy Land Pilgrimage Subsidy to the tune of Rs. 20,000/- per pilgrim.The detailed GO also lays down conditions for tour operators and parameters for the aselection of pilgrims. In the first year AP Govt. had set aside an amount of Rs. Two Crores for the purpose to subsidise the pilgrimage of 1000 pilgrims.

This and the other exemplary schemes of the AP Minorities Development Finance Department are also enclosed.whichcould perhaps be followed by your honourable Goverment also.

Also enclosed is the Court Judgement of the AP High Court setting aside all objections raised by interested parties against the granting of the said subsidy.

We had also met in Trivandrum other ministers and legislators, including Sarvasri K. M. Mani, T.M. Jacob, P.J.Joseph, K.C. Joseph, Abdl Rabb, and the MLAs C.F.Thomas, Mons Joseph, Ravindranath, M. P. Vincent and C. who all expressed their support and goodwill for all these efforts, and many had also asked for copies of the AP GO which I was able to procure from the AP Ministry in Hyderabad recently.

Awaiting your government,s kind and favorable response and action,
Yours faithfully,
Prof. George Menachery.

Copy to: Hon'bleMinister Sri K. M. Mani
Sri Abdul Rubb
Sri. T. M. Jacob
Sri P. J. Joseph
Sri K. C. Joseph

Copies also to Sri P. C.George
C. F. Thomas
Mons Joseph
Prof. Ravindranath
M. P. Vincent
& Other Hon’ble Minsters and Legislators we could not meet on that occasion.

Copy of letters recd. From AP with copies of AP GO on Subsidy to Holy Land Pilgrims and High Court Order setting aside all objections to proceeding with the Holy Land Pilgrimage Subsidies and also Summary of Schemes of the AP Govt. Minorities Welfare Finance Corporation and AP Govt Minorities Welfare Department.

Dear Prof.George Menachary,

Just a short note to send you the attached GO concerning the Holy Land
Pilgrimage for Christians of Andhra Pradesh.

All the best for your efforts to get similar benefits to the
Christians in Kerala.

With warmest regards,

Dr.Jetti A.Oliver

JAO/kbm

Dear Prof. George Menachery,

Hope you had a safe travel back home. This note is to send you the
attached copy of the judgment of the AP High Court lifting the ban on
pilgrimage of Christians to the Holy Land duly sponsored by the
Minority Welfare Department of the Govt. of A.P0. Attached also are
a few paper clippings as desired.

With warmest regards,

Dr.Jetti A.Oliver

JAO/kbm

Download  Affidavit - High Court Hyderabad

Download  Abstract Govt of Andhrapradesh

Download  News - paper

Copy of the petition personally handed over to your good selves at the Chief Minister’s residence, Trivandrum by the Mar Thoma Nazraney Maha Kudumbayogam:

Petition made by the delegates empowered by the extraordinary conference of the St. Thomas Maha Kudumbayogam and invited scholars held at Kuruvilangad on 3rd July, 2011 to the Hon’bleChief Minister of Kerala Sri Oommen Chandy Esq.:, Thiruvananthapuram.

Hon’ble Chief Minister, Sir,

We the delegates of the St. Thomas Maha Kudumbayogam and representatives of the scholars and cultural activists of the various Nazraney Christian Denominations take this opportunity to bring to your attention the incomparable record of service rendered by these Thomas Christian Communities to the people of Kerala in the fields of culture, education, and social service and to request you and your respected Government to kindly take the initiative to implement and realise the following :

1. To establish a University in the name of St. Thomas the Apostle of Christ who was the founder of the Christian Faith adhered to by the lakhs and lakhs of members of the Syro Malabar Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church, the Jacobite Syrian Church, the Mar Thoma Church, the Syro Malankara Church, the Chaldean Church and many other Churches and denominations of Kerala, on the pattern of the Sri Sankara Sanskrit University of Kalady or the Mahathma Gandhi University of Kottayam.

2. To allow a pilgrim grant and/or subsidy to all Christians of Kerala, irrespective of sect or denomination or rite desirous of making a Pilgrimage to the places associated with Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament and the Venerable Fathers of the Old Testament in the Holy Land to promote spirituality and true religious fervour.

3. To instruct the Departments of Archaeology and Tourism to protect, conserve, and popularise all the different Jewish and Christian Monuments in the State, including the Megalithic monuments..

Yours faithfully,
1. Rev. Dr. K.M. George., Old Seminary, Kottayam
2. Chev. Prof. George Menachery, Historian, Trhrissur, President
3.Abram Ben Hur, General Secretary, St. Thomas Maha Kudumba Yogam, Archadeacon Centre, Pakalomattom P. O., Kuruvilangad, Kottayam.
4.Jacob Thomas Edassery, Kuravilangad.
5.Prof. Dr. Tarsis Joseph, Kuravilangad.

CHURCH HISTORY ASSOCIATION OF INDIA

     15th TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE AND PLATINUM JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS

Hyderabad 2011

Inauguration of the 15th Triennial Conference of CHAI, the Church History Association of India at Jeevan Jyothi CRI Andhra Pradesh Centre by the Cultural Secretary of the Govt. of AP Dr. Chellappa IAS presided over by Dr. Sen IPS DGP and Bishop Rajaratnam of Medak. In the picture (l to r) are Prof. George Menachery (Secretary General CHAI), Dr. Oberland Snaitang (President),  Dr. George Oommen (Dehra Dun), Dr. Jos Kalappura (Patna), Dr. Francis Thonippara (President DVK, Bangalore) and Prof. Agnes DeSa (Bombay Jt. Secretary) (6th Oct)

 

 

Inauguration of the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of CHAI  the Church History Association of India at the Jubilee Hall of the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh by Sri Francisco Sardhanha, former speaker and Chief Minister of Goa and at present MP and Chairman of the Plarliamentary Estimates Committee by releasing the 1000 page Platinum Jubilee Volume of CHAI "Christian Heritage of India". Others  in the picture are Sebastian Edathikkavil cmi (Treasurer), Dr. Oliver A. Jetti (Allahabad University and President of the Organising Committee), Ms. Christine MLA, Swami Aravinda (President of the State Hare Krishna Movement), Prof. George Menachery (Secretary General), Dr. Oberland Snaitang (President CHAI), Dr. "Cardinal" Thomas Edmunds (Vice-President), and Dr. Charles Dias MP (Chai Member and Office Bearer).

Download - "India's Christian Heritage" - The Dust Jacket
 

CHURCH HISTORY ASSOCIATION OF INDIA

     15th TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE AND PLATINUM JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS

“INDIAN CHRISTIAN HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES: YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW” 

                                      6TH – 9TH OCTOBER, 2011 – JEEVAN JYOTHI, BEGUMBET, HYDERABAD-500016

 

                                                                             Prof. George Menachery 

                                                                            Secretary General, CHAI

                                                                  The Church History Association of India



CHAI
Platinum Jubilee and 15th Triennial
 

The Platinum Jubilee Celebrations and 15th Triennial Conference of  the Church History Association of India (CHAI) will  be held from October 6 to 9, 2011 (i.e. from the Vijayadashami Thursday to the following Sunday) at HYDERABAD,  A.P. at Jeevan Jyothi, Begumpet, Hyderabad. Begumpet is about 4kms from Secunderabad railway station and 6kms from Hyderabad(Nampally) railway station. Bangalore train terminates at Kacheguda railway station which is about 10kms from the venue.Prepaid taxis are available at the Airport.Registration fee for Delegates / Participants is Rs.300/- Boarding and lodging will be provided at no extra cost. The half day city tour also will be financed by the organisers.

Conference Theme:

 Indian  Christian Historical and Cultural Studies -Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow 

1. CHAI is pleased to invite Scholarly Papers related to the above theme, adhering uniformly to any of the standard style sheets, from CHAI members and other scholars. The duration of the paper will be 20 minutes followed by discussion which will not exceed 10 minutes. Title of paper to be sent before the 10th of August 2011; Synopsis to be received by 20th August 2011; and the complete paper to be received before 31st August, 2011 and in any case not later than the 10th of September 2011by e-mail (preferably in MS Word or Adobe Pagemaker) in addition to a hard copy by post or courier addressed to the Secretary General Prof. George Menachery, Pallinada, Ollur, Kerala, 680306; kunjethy@gmail.com, kunjethy@yahoo.com. For other particulars contact the Secretary General 0091 9846033713, +91 487 2352468, +91 487 2354398 or other National office-bearers.

2. The last date for receiving entries for the CHAI Platinum Jubilee All India Essay Competition on the theme"Preservation of Christian Monuments and Landmarks in India" (1000 to 1500 words) is 31st August 2011. Separate competitions are being held for a) Seminarians, b) University and College Students, and c) the General Public. In each category there will be three prizes of Rs. 8000/-, 5000/-, and 2000/-.For further details contact the Convener Dr. Varghese Perayilvarghesepera@yahoo.co.in 09447359139, Prof. Agnes De Sa, ahdesa@rediffmail.com 09967801723, or the Rev. Jeremiah ACTC Hyderabad prjapadam@gmail.com 09247463467 or the General Secretary 09846033713.

3. The Platinum Jubilee Commemoration Volume containing 75 scholarly papers on India's Christian Heritage is in the press. For details contact the chief editors Dr. Oberland Snaitang 09856642859 or Prof. George Menachery 09846033713. 

4. Objects of historical, artistic, archaeological...significance are invited for the Christian Historico-Cultural Exhibition to be held at the venue on the theme Indian Christian Heritage of the South, West, North, East, and North-East. Contact the local organising committee: Dr. Oliver 04027002498, Rev. Jeremiah 09247463467 or the CHAI Southern India Branch Secretary cum Treasurer Dr. Manasseh 09848123927.

5. Useful numbers for details regarding registration of delegates and participants, accommodation, travel details, local taxi and auto fares, bus routes, other directions: Dr. Oliver 04027002498, Rev. Jeremiah 09247463467 or the CHAI Southern India Branch Secretary cum Treasurer Dr. Manasseh 09848123927 or the General Secretary 09846033713, 09400494398.

 CHAI members are cordially invited to participate. Other interested scholars also may kindly contact the organisers.

-Prof. George Menachery, General Secretary, CHAI

Pallinada, OLLUR, Thrissur Dt., pin 680 306; Ph. Nos. 0091-98460 33713,

0487-2352468, 0487-2354398, 09400494398.

Email : kunjethy@gmail.com, kunjethy@yahoo.com

CHAI website : www.chai-online.net 



CARDINAL VITHAYATHIL LAID TO REST


KAKKANAD, 12 Apr, 2011, 10:30 Hrs (UCAN)
Tens of thousands of mourners bid a tearful farewell to Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, head of the Syro-Malabar Church (SMC) April 10.

The 84-year-old cardinal, who died of a heart attack on April 1 in Kochi, Kerala, was interred with full state honors at the city’s St. Mary’s Basilica Cathedral. Archbishop Cyril Vasil, secretary of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, represented Pope Benedict XVII at the funeral.

Bishops from the other two Latin and Syro-Malankara Catholic rites, other Christian denominations, priests and Religious, also attended the funeral.

Nitin Gadkari, president of the Hindu right wing Bharatiya Janata Party, federal minister Vayalar Ravi, Congress leader Oscar Fernandes, several state ministers and other senior politicians were also present.

The ceremonies started at 3:30 p.m. with a requiem Mass led by Bishop Bosco Puthur, the interim administrator of the SMC.

The cardinal’s body was then taken out in a procession around the parish before his return to the cathedral for the funeral Mass and his interment in the sanctum of the basilica.

The cardinal’s last journey started the day before from Little Flower Hospital, Angamaly when his body was taken to St. Thomas Mount, Kakkanad, headquarters of the SMC, 40km away, and then to the basilica where people paid their respects.

During the funeral orations, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India President Cardinal Oswald Gracious said Cardinal Vithayathil was a man full of faith, peace and devotion. “We have to carry forward his vision by following his footsteps.”

Condolence messages from Indian President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were also read out.

Pope John Paul II’s final resting place ready


VATICAN CITY, 13 Apr, 2011, 10:50 Hrs (CatholicNewsAgency)
The final resting place of Pope John Paul II has now been prepared.

In a private ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica April 8, the remains of Pope Innocent XI were moved from the altar in the Chapel of St. Sebastian to make way for the soon-to-be beatified Pope John Paul.

Pope John Paul is presently buried in the crypt below the basilica’s high altar. His body will be transferred following his beatification on May 1.

“This is the place where Blessed John Paul II will go because it is a particularly suitable chapel,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, said in remarks to journalists. “It’s quite near to the entrance of the basilica and just next to (Michelangelo’s) Pieta.”

Cardinal Angelo Comastri, the senior Italian cleric in charge of St. Peter’s, presided over the brief ceremony to move the body of Pope Innocent. The service included a candle-lit procession during which the names of all the popes who’ve become saints were intoned.

The remains of the 17th century pope were transferred to the basilica’s Altar of the Transfiguration. The altar sits to the left of the high altar, which is overshadowed by a marble statue of St. Andrew the Apostle.

Meanwhile, the altar of St. Sebastian has been restored with work being undertaken to improve its lighting and audio systems.

The translation of Pope John Paul’s coffin will also take place in private. The public, however, will be able to venerate the newly beatified Pope beginning from the afternoon of May 1 onwards.

“Beatification” is the second step in a three-stage process the Catholic Church has created for declaring a deceased person a saint. Beatification confers the title “Blessed.”


 

H E Varkey Card. Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar Church presents Prof. George Menachery with the first Syro Malabar Church Research Award in the presence of more than thirty Syro Malabar Bishops / Archbishops


 

His Eminence Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil the Major Archbishop greets Prof. George Menachery by presenting him a Bouque on his being selected for the LRC Award 


 

Mar Varkey Vithayathil presents Pope Benedict XVI the first copy of the Third Volume of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India at Castel Gandolfo

Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer speaks after receiving the first copy of the Indian Church History Classics Vol. I “The Nazranies” from His Eminence Mar Varkey Card. Vithayathil.

 

Ancient Picture of St. George 

St. George Knanaya Valiyapalli  Neelamperoor 
 

   

His Excellency Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio in India, New Delhi
 

Cardinal Gracias and Cardinal Toppo Dedicate the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India to the Nation

GUWAHATI, March 3

The publication of the three volumes of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India is a worthy model for the world Churches and an incomparable achievement and contribution of the Church in India, stated Oswald Cardinal Gracias in Guwahati, dedicating the work to the nation. The publication of the third and final volume is something of which the Encyclopaedia team can be justly proud, but they should not rest on their oars but must continue their much needed work of service to the Church in India today, His Eminence went on to say. Telespore P. Cardinal Toppo dedicated the volumes to the world Christian community. The two Cardinals officially released the Encyclopaedia by exchanging copies of the work, in the presence of Archbishops and Bishops from all over India and members of the CBCI Commissions. Archbishop Andrews Thazhath, Prof. George Menachery the Editor of the Encyclopaedia, and Dr. George Plathottam the secretary of the CBCI Commission for Media also spoke on the occasion.

                           

The Encyclopaedia comprises the contributions of hundreds of well-known scholars from all over India and abroad. There are articles on almost every aspect of Christianity in india, dealing with all chronological, denominational, and geographical divisions. The more than thousand illustrations on art plates, half of them on full colour art plates, in addition to the dozens of maps including a whole Christian and Linguistic atlas of India, and the graphs, tables, figures, and sketches go to make the work an exhaustive reference tool. Each major article is supported by bibliographies and inclusive end-notes, making the encyclopaedia an indispensible reference work for seminaries and teheological colleges. universities and colleges, and libraries of ecclesiastical establishments and headquarters and formation houses of religious congregations.


Justice V. R. Krishna Aiyer [former Supreme Court Judge and president,
History Assn.] on the 3rd Volume of the Encyclopaedia:

"The third volume of the book St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India is an extraordinary work with focus on Christianity but being Cyclopaedic has learned chapters on Hinduism and Islam. Truly it is a holistic work, an eclectic theological composite piece. The chapter on Hinduism illumines its ancient and geographical character and true source of its origin. Read on to learn the basic principles and you will learn that this Sanatana Dharma (moral values for all times)... Professor Menachery has done great service to all religions by weaving all of them into a new fabric in his epic voluminous trinity which if popularly read and discussed and read in libraries will surely be the beginning of Jesus and Sankara and Mohammed as the Founders of a New World Order of peace and stability of human rights and equality with a bias of equity. Gandhiji and Vivekananda did it in different ways. I deeply appreciate the wonderful work of Professor George Menachery. It is not narrowly Christian but broadly universal in thinking. Jesus was the greatest humanist revolutionary and died for a dynamic dialectical world order...

The Syro Malabar Major Archbishop and Cardinal His Eminence Mar Varkey Vithayathil presents the first ever Syro Malabar Church Award instituted through the Liturgical Research Centre for "Outstanding Contribution to the Promotion of Syro Malabar Heritage", to Chevalier Professor George Menachery, editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics, at Mount St. Thomas, Kakkanad, Ernakulam, Kochi on 1st Makaram - 14th Jan., 2010, in the presence of the 36 Bishops and Archbishops of that Church.  Click to see Deepika report.

 

Cardinal Vithayathil Better                                       Campaign for God

His Eminent Beatitude Mar Vakkey Cardinal Vithayathil, Major ArchBishop and Head of the Syro Malabar Church, and President of the CBCI, who was admitted to the hospital Monday night following a heart condition has registered considerable improvement in his condition and has been tranferred from the Ventilator. However His Eminence is still under active medical observation at the Lissie Hospital, Ernakulam. Visitors are strictly prohibited. -SARAS NEWS

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil Critical

The condition of Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar Church, who was admitted to the Lissie Hospital on Monday night after a cardiac arrest, continues to be critical.

He is on life support system after the doctors successfully carried out an angioplasty to remove a major block in the artery, said Fr. Paul Thelekkat, spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Church.

The Cardinal suffered the cardiac arrest on Monday night while he was at the headquarters of the Syro-Malabar Church at Mount St. Thomas Kakkanad. He was immediately rushed to the hospital. The condition of the Cardinal, who is 82-years-old, is reported to be stable,


 

Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church Mar varkey Cardinal Vithayathil honours Prof. George Menachery with a bouquet on the latter's being selected for the first Liturgical Research Centre Award of the Syro Malabar Church. Present on the dais were Bishop Mar James Pazhayattil, Archbishop Mar Andrews thazhath, Bishop Mar Thomas Chakiath, and Bishop Mar Joseph Kallarangatt

Vatican City, Sept. 19

At Castel Gandolfo, Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, Major Arch Bishop and Head of the Syro - Malabar Church, presents a copy of the third and final volume of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, the reference work on Christianity in India edited by Prof. George Menachery, along with the Alphonsa Coin to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI

"Heads and Fathers" of all the Eastern Catholic Churches discuss future course of action with with Pope Benedict XVI

Vatican city, 19 Sept. 2009:

This morning in Castel Gandolfo Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil met the Holy Father along with other Catholic patriacrchs and major archbishops from the Oriental Churches.

Participating in the meeting were Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, alongside the "Heads and Fathers" of all the Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

They are: His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, Patriarh of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon; Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, Iraq; Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine; Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil C.SS.R.; Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, India; His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt; His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the Greek Melkites, Syria; His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon; His Beatitude Nerses Bedros XIX, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, Lebanon, Archbishops Major of the Rumanian and Syro-Malankara Churches and the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem.

The Pontiff had Lunch with the representatives of the Oriental Churches.

During the meeting the Head of the Syro-Malabar Church Cardinal Vithayathil presented the Holy Father with heritage articles of the Indian Church viz. the Alphona Coin and the third and final volume of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India edited by Prof. George Menachery.

URGENT LETTER TO HIS GRACE

Syro Malabar Processions / Pradakhinams in NRK NRI Cities / Communities 

May I humbly request your Grace to immediately issue a special circular to the NRKs/NRIs exhorting them to hold such a procession and celebration beginning with this July 3rd itself.

From

Prof. George Menachery

Ollur Thrissur City 680306

0091 487 235 2468, 0091 487 235 4398, 0091 98460 33713

14th June, 2009

Your Esteemed and Respected Grace,

May I humbly request your Grace to go through the following and take appropriate action if thought fit.

In the circumstances obtaining among the NRK/NRI Syro-Malabar communities in many Indian and foreign cities the Nazranies hardly get any chance to get together or to maintain their identity. Hence one possibility is for them to celebrate the Ormapperunnal of our father St. Thomas the Apostle with at least a public procession inside the church campus or if possible outside it, with all the cultural elements of our Pradakhinams or church processions.

It could be any one of the four types of processions we have - 1.intra-church procession, 2.procession rounding the open-air cross (this won’t be possible in most cases outside Kerala), 3.procession around the church building or campus, or 4. procession along the streets or Angadies.

I have found how happy our people are to congregate on such occasions - whether in the Americas or Europe or the Middle East, especially in the US and the Gulf, and how proud our people are of our cultural traditions and individuality.. A Syro- Malabar Mass may be said where ( and only where) the local hierarch permits it. Otherwise it can be a well attended religio-cultural event to which there could be no objection from any quarter. Such a programme, I feel - and am convinced from experience in different parts of the world - could and will go a long way to unite our people and to hold them together in the memory of our heritage and roots. AND it could be a first step in many ways.

These Pradakhinams or processions must have as many of the following elements as possible: 1. A gold(en) processional cross with the red (or other) sheath. 2.Two silver(y) crosses with sheaths. 3.Many colourful parasols or umbrellas viz. Muthukkudas. 4. At least one processional Roopakkoodu to carry the image of St. Thomas &c. typically decorated. 5.Band sets and typical Kerala Vadyams and Melams including drummers. 6. Fancy fire-works where permissible. 7. Public and common preparation and distribution of Kozhalappam, Achappam, Unni Appam, Neyyappam, and other Syro-Malabar confectionaries.

May I humbly request your Grace to immediately issue a special circular to the NRKs/NRIs exhorting them to hold such a procession and celebration beginning with this July 3rd itself.

Thanking Your Grace,

Your Graces’ obedient servant,

Prof. George Menachery.

p.s.Establishing a Bahya Kerala - Bahya Bharata Diocese for agreeable areas at least must be another priority.

p.p.s. Could we think of a reserve team of priests willing to serve these communities from time to time on special occasions and to give them cultural experiences and guidance in the form of seminars, video fests, power-point talks &c. occasionally?

Prof. George Menachery elected General Secretary of CHAI (Church History Association of India)

SHILLONG, May 10

At the Church History Association of India (CHAI) Triennial General Body Meeting held at the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) , Shillong, Prof. George Menachery was elected General Secretary of the Association for the next three years. He was working as national vice-president for the last three years.

Dr. O.L. Snaitang, Meghalaya (President), Rev. "Cardinal" Thomas Edmunds, Tamil Nadu (Vice- President), Dr. Agnes de’Sa, Maharashtra (Joint Secretary), S. Edathikavil, DVK, Karnataka (Treasurer), were also elected. Dr. Verghese  Perayil (Aroor), Dr. George Oommen (Deradun) were the other members elected to the Board of Trustees, . Dr. A. M. Mundadan will continue as the Editor-in-Charge of the ongoing History of Christianity in India project while Dr. Joe Kalappura (Patna) was appointed editor of the CHAI Journal, Indian Church History Review (ICHR).

The 14th Triennial of the Southern India region will be held in Thrissur in October, 2009 while the 15th Triennial of the National Association and the Platinum Jubilee will be hosted by the Southern India Branch.

The Vice-Chancellor of the NEHU, Dr. Pramod Tandon inaugurated the meet, presided over by the President of CHAI, Dr. Kranthi Farias. The Key Note address was delivered by Dr. J. Kalappura, Secretary.

The NE regional president Dr. O. L. Snaitang, secretary and Registrar cum Controller of the NEHU Dr. David Syiemlieh were the main organisers of the meet at which more than 20 papers on the Theme of the Conference "Christianity and the Marginalised in India" were presented by scholars from every region of india.
 

 

The new office-bearers and members of the Board of Trustees of CHAI, the Church History Association of India elected at the Shillong Triennial. (From left to right):Dr. Varghese Perayil (Member of the BOT), Dr. Agnes de'Sa (Joint Secretary), Prof. George Menachery (General Secretary), Dr. "Cardinal" Thomas Edmonds (Vice - president),  Dr. O. L. Snaitang (President), Fr. Sebastian Edathikkavil (Treasurer), Dr. George Oommen (Member BOT), and Dr. Jose Kalappura ( Editor, ICHR).

Some of the distinguished participants and delegates at the 14th Triennial of CHAI at Shillong.



 

A scholarly tome onChristianity in India

Staff Reporter

THRISSUR: The third volume of Saint Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India (STCEI) which is scheduled to be published shortly, throw light on various subjects including Christianity in India, Hinduism, Christianity and Sankaracharya, Shaiva Siddhantha and Islam, says George Menachery, the editor of the encyclopaedia. 

STCEI is considered an authoritative workfor reference on India in general and Christianity in particular, says Mr. Menachery. 

It contains articles contributed by renowned archaeologists, anthropologists, historians, educational experts, lexicographers and biographers. The first volume of the encyclopaedia was published in April 1973 in connection with the 1900th death anniversary of Saint Thomas, the Apostle of India. 

The first volume was about the origin, growth and development of Christianity in India. 

The second volume was brought out in 1982. The Thomapedia, an enlarged millennium edition of the early volume, was also published in 2000. STCEI had been described by noted reviewers as monumental work containing significant information on India, Mr. Menachery says. 

Thousands of its copies have been sold the world over and leading libraries have subscribed to it. 

[The HINDU, 3 March 2009]
 

KCBC Darshanika Vyjnanika Award being presented to Prof. George Menachery by HE Mar Thomas Chakiath, Chairman of the KCBC Media Commission on 25th January at POC Auditoriam, Kochi, Ernakulam.
 

KCBC Awards 2008:
Prof. George Menachery awarded the Darshanika Vyjnanika Award

Kochi: A. K. Puthussery has won the literary award instituted by the K.C. B. C. Media Commission. Prof. George Menachery has won the Mar Mankuzhikkari philosophical award. Fr. Geo Payyappilly and Elizabeth Raju  won the media and young talent awards, respectively. [The Hindu].
 
Malayala Manorama and Deepika add: The Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council's Media Awards 2008 have been announced.A. K. Pudussery bagged the Media Award for his contributions in the fields of the Novel and the Drama.Prof. Chev. George Menachery was selected for the Mar Mankuzhikkary
Darshanika Vyjnanika Award. Fr. Geo Payyappilly obtained the Media Award while singer Elizabeth Raju was chosen for the Young Talent Award.
 
Rev. Dr. Jacob Kattakkal, O. V. Raphael, Prof. Thomas Kaniyanplavan, Varghese Kanjirathingal, and Abraham Pattani were selected for the Guru Pooja Awards.
 
A judging committee consisting of the Chairman of the KCBC Media Commission Dr.Mar Thomas Chakiath, Dr. George Irumpayam, Dr. Cherian Kuniyanthodath, Dr. Primus Perincherry, and K.C.B.C. Media Commission Secretary Fr. Joseph Nicholas decided the awards.
 
The awards will be bestowed at a function to be held at the POC auditorium, Ernakulam on the 25th of January, 2009.
 

Prof. George Menachery is the Chief Editor of a number of reference works including the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India, Indian Church History Classics (The Nazranies), the Thomapedia, and the works in progress Ayurveda Encyclopaedia of India, and the Encylopaedia of the Arabian Sea.

Noted historian, archaeologist, numismatist, and geographer Prof. Menachery was in the UAE and Oman for the past several months researching on his latest publications.

Prof. George Menachery Sapthathy Sangeetha Seminar and Conference

Prof. G. Menachery Sapthathi Sangeetha (Musical) Seminar being inaugurated by Prof. George S. Paul the well known art critic and writer at the Kerala Sahitya Academy Campus. Seated from left to right are: M. D. Madhavan Namboodiri (Ch. Editor, Sangeetham, Kozhikode) [who gave a Chitra-Swara presentation of Kumaran Asan'n Veena Poovu in which Sri Namboodiri accompanied forty Veena Poovu paintings of Francis Kodankandath with his musical recital of the entire classicaql poem]: reputed educationist and cultural leader Sri Chitran Nampoodiripad (who presided); Dr. Mar Aprem Metropolitan of the Church of the East (who delivered the Key Note Address); Dr. Paul Poovathingal (who gave a classical concert and spoke on Voco-System in Classical Music); Prof. Balakrishnan (former principal of the Sree Kerala varma College and reputed vocalist who gave the Invocation Song; Prof. A. M. Francis the Principal of the St. Thomas' College (who welcomed the audience); and Prof. V.P.Jones the working Chairman of the Prof. Menachery Sapthathi Samithi who was also the M. C. on this occasion. Picture TWO: Artist Punachitaya gives a demonstration in connection with the Sapthathi Historico-Cultural EXPO on another day. months back he had inaugurated the Menachery Sapthathy Painters' Workshop attended by 40 odd artists from all over South India at the St. Thomas' College and the Archdiocesan Family Apostolate Complex presided over by Sri Madanan, Ch. artist at the Mathrubhoomi, Calicut.. Pic. THREE: Live Sapthathy demonstration by Artist Francis Kodenkandath in the Academy Complex: He painted a Jubilee Commemoration Montage in 55 minutes in which he represented M. T. Vasudevan Nair's Naalukettu, Vykkom Muhammed Basheer's Bhargavee Nilayam, and Kumaran Asan's Veena Poovu to commemorate the Jubilee Celebrations connected with these great sons of Kerala and pioneers in Malayalam Literature. The demo was followed by a two-hour discussion in which some of the leading artists and literary critics of Kerala participated.

Prof. G. Menachery Sapthati Historico-Cultural EXPO 2008

Bestowing "Ponnada" on Prof. George Menachery by Sri Therambil Ramakrishnan M.L.A. and former Speaker of the Kerala Assembly during the inauguration of the Sapthathi  Historico-Cultural Expo 2008 at the Kerala Sahitya Academy Complex. Sri M. V. Devan inaugurated the Expo at a function presided over by Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala Kala Mandalam Dr. K. G. Paulose. Dr. Raphael Thattil, V. G., Archdiocese of Trichur felicitated. Two Professors from the Krakov University of Poland are also seen discussing aspects of Kerala Culture with Prof. Menachery

 


 

 

Guide to Thomapedia

                       The SEVEN Indices in the Thomapedia

 The Thomapedia is the Enlarged 2000 Edition of the 1973 2nd Volume of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India                     both edited by Prof. George Menachery

U S and Canada Libraries having the Encyclopaedia
                                                            

                        Order Thomapedia                             

Send US$ 35.00 (Thirty-five only)
for the Paper Back Edition and  
for the Hard Bound Library Edition
send US$ 60.00(Sixty only) to
The Thomapedia, Ollur 680306 India.
Free Regd. Airmail Delivery
 

Thomapedia Index I
Index to Title Words and Contributors

Thomapedia Index II
Index to Photographs

Thomapedia Index III
Index to Dates

Thomapedia Index IV
Index to Personal Names

Thomapedia Index V
Index to Place Names

Thomapedia Index VI
Index to Subjects, Events

Thomapedia Index VII
Index to Bibliographical Details


[For YOUR EYES ONLY is a new LOL Series which would carry interesting pictures and illustrations which throw some useful light on St. Thomas Christian history, culture, customs, manners representing every church and denominations of Syrian Christians. Prof. George Menachery who is a renowned scholar with vast research experience in Thomas Christian traditions and history organizes this Series.]

 

Ollur Church photo taken in 1904 -  presented to Prof. G. Menachery by Henry C. Q. Brownrigg of the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia in October 2004. Note the three-tier roofing style and the gabled original copper roof of the bell-tower
 



 

Malabar Christians of Ancient Days (from an old painting). Photo published in the Cochin Government  Royal War Efforts Souvenir in 1938.
 



Ollur Church
, inside view. Note the altat, altarpiece, hanging lamps, globes, railings, floor tiles etc.  Photo published in the Cochin Government  Royal War Efforts Souvenir in 1938.

 

Ollur Church photo published in the Cochin
Government  Royal War Efforts Souvenir
in 1938 -  it is almost identical with the
previous picture with slight changes in
the coconut leaves - may be this was
taken at the same time as the 1904 picture.
 

View from the left side of the Ollur Church.
Photo taken in 1904 -  presented to Prof.
G. Menachery by Henry C. Q. Brownrigg
of the British Association for Cemeteries
in South Asia
in October 2004
 

For more info cf. http://www.indianchristianity.com/html/New Article.htm

MALABAR CHRISTIANS OF ANCIENT DAYS
By PROF. GEORGE MENACHERY
 

[For YOUR EYES ONLY is a recently started LOL Series which would carry interesting pictures and illustrations which throw some useful light on St. Thomas Christian history, culture, customs, manners representing every church and denominations of Syrian Christians. Prof. George Menachery who is a renowned scholar with vast research experience in Thomas Christian traditions and history organizes this Series.]

The very costumes and ornaments of the Thomas Christians indicate - at least used to indicate until very recent times - their deep Spirituality and commitment to the Gospel message. What the Bible speaks of the deportment of women is fully satisfied in the dress of Syrian Christian women of Kerala; it is a costume where beauty meets modesty. Allow me to quote (the late) Mrs. K. M. Matthew from the 1973 St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia: "The costumes they wear are worthy of special note which in many ways resemble those of the high caste Hindu women. A white cloth-length 51/2 yards by 12/2 yards [Mundu} is folded into a Pudava which is again folded into fan like pleats. This fan like arrangement, which is highly artistic completely, covers the back portion of the woman when she wears the

cloth. ... The upper portion of the body including the belly and the arm is completely covered with the loose blouse-like Kuppayam or Chatta. Going to the church they cover themselves from head to foot with a nice white cloth, when only the face will be visible. This dress is fully in keeping with the modesty and nobility of the Syrian Christian women. Naturally this dress is not meant to kill, the whiteness representing purity and chastity."

Again this is what Dr. J. Kolengadan has to say in the same Encyclopedia: "...the fan like appendage behind render their dress highly modest as well as artistically elegant...As they went out to church they had a veil like outer garment, with gold brocade, reaching to the ground showing nothing but the face..." The costume of the Syrian Christian women of Kerala does what the Purdah does but without its ugliness, unhealthy anonymity and abuses. Unfortunately today one has to watch the obituary columns of Malayalam newspapers to come across this unique costume - cry, the beloved country. D. Ferroli has this on the costumes of the Syrian Christians: " The mundu [of men] is fastened round the waist and reaches down to the heels. A towel is thrown over the shoulders...". "Except those who kept celibacy and those who had gone on a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Thomas at Mylapore, all kept long hairs tied up in a bundle..."(Placid, Thomapedia, p.107>f,g.)
 

 

[Author Prof. George Menachery is a freelance Indian Journalist and Editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics. After teaching university classes for thirty years, he gave up the job as Head of the Department of Post-Graduate Teaching in order to concentrate on research and publication. SARAS (South Asia Research Assistance Services) provides information and research assistance for topics dealing with India in particular and South Asia in general. He has to his credit a large number of publications, research papers, articles, radio talks and TV programmes. His research activities and lectures have taken him to more than 20 countries in 4 continents.]

THE ROCK CROSSES OF KERALA CHURCHES

By PROF. GEORGE MENACHERY
 


[For YOUR EYES ONLY is a new LOL Series which would carry interesting pictures and illustrations which throw some useful light on St. Thomas Christian history, culture, customs, manners representing every church and denominations of Syrian Christians. Prof. George Menachery who is a renowned scholar with vast research experience in Thomas Christian traditions and history organizes this Series.]
 

This is the pedestal of the stone cross in granite [rock] in front of the Ollur Church which is the oldest church in the Thrissur Corporation area. But the Ollur Church is less than 300 years old whereas there are more than a hundred churches which are 400 years or more old in Kerala. And there are dozens of exquisitely carved open air rock crosses or Nazraney Sthambams in front of many of these ancient Kerala Christian places of worship, e.g. at Kottekkad, Enammavu [now in the Trichur Archieparcal Residence, where it was shifted from the Lourdes Cathedral Christian Cultural Museum that was estd. in 1980 - discovered by this writer in 1980 at Enammavu from a mud deposit] Mapranam, Puthenchira, Parappukkara, Veliyanad, Kalpparambu [the last discovered by this writer in the mud deposits] Koratty, Angamaly

[one each in front of the three churches - the Western church cross, 27ft. tall- has been exactly reproduced in front of the Kakkanad Mount St. Thomas St. Thomas Christian Museum], Kanjoor, Malayattoor, Udayanperur, Kuravilangad,Uzhavoor,Chungam,Kaduthuruthy [2 Nos.], Muttuchira, Kudamaloor, Niranam, Kothamangalam, Chengannur, Thumpamon, Chathannur, Changanacherry [the base of the second cross was discovered by this writer in the Changanacherry cemetery], and many other places.

These crosses have four members: the base with a socket often fixed on a huge pedestal (see pic), the huge monolithic shaft with cylinder-like projections at both ends, the arm with sockets above and below, and the capital which forms the fourth arm of the cross with a cylinder arrangement at the bottom. All these crosses rise from the lotus carved at the top of the base member termed the Pookkallu. Many of these crosses have exquisite carvings and sculptures esp. on the four sides of the pedestal, and in rare cases on the shaft as the Adam, Eve, and the Serpent on the Chengannur Obelisk Cross. Like the Egyptian Obelisks the cross is a ray of the sun - Horus or Christ.
 

[Author Prof. George Menachery is a freelance Indian Journalist and Editor of the St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India and the Indian Church History Classics. After teaching university classes for thirty years, he gave up the job as Head of the Department of Post-Graduate Teaching in order to concentrate on research and publication. SARAS (South Asia Research Assistance Services) provides information and research assistance for topics dealing with India in particular and South Asia in general. He has to his credit a large number of publications, research papers, articles, radio talks and TV programmes. His research activities and lectures have taken him to more than 20 countries in 4 continents.]

Our services include providing research assistance and instruction via the web, e-mail, fax, telephone, mail, and, when possible, in person on topics connected with India's culture and religions (esp.Indian Christianity). Xerox of portions of books and manuscripts and copies of photographs both in our own collections and from other sources are made available at a nominal cost. This web site includes a number of online research guides to help you conduct your study and  research at a distance. Contact:  kunjethy@yahoo.com, kunjethy@gmail.com0091487-2352468, 0091487-2354398; 00919846033713, 00919387100181; www.indianchristianity.com 

His Grace Rt. Rev. Dr. Andrews Thazhath, Archbishop of Trichur, pins the papal medals signifying the award of membership of the Equistrian Order of St. Gregory the Great on the lapels of Prof.George Menachery, on the latter's elevation as a Chevalier, while Catholicos Mar Clemis and Archbishop Emeritus Mar Thoomkuzhy look on, during the Great Palayur Pilgrimage attended by more than 70,000 devotees of Apostle St. Thomas.
 

Papal Honour Chevalier / KSGG
for Prof. George Menachery

From Chev. Prof. George Menachery's
speech of acceptance.

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