HIS HOLINESS MORAN MOR IGNATIUS APHREM II
( Supreme head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church)
HIS EMINENCE MOR TITUS YELDHO
(Archbishop, Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in NA)
Rev. Fr. Binu Joseph
St. Paul’s Fellowship is a spiritual organization under the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America. The Supreme Patron of the Fellowship is His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Supreme Head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church and the President & Patron is His Eminence Archbishop Mor Titus Yeldho.
At the 2002 archdiocesan family conference, a meeting of members from various parishes across the United States & Canada acknowledged a vacuum existing in our spiritual growth and an immediate need for organizing a body of faithful to work together for the remedial cause. There “The St.Paul’s Fellowship” was born. The announcement was warmly welcomed by everyone that reflected the need for such an organization for men, a kind of parallel organization to the St. Mary’s Women’s League (Martha Mariam Samajam). Men also deserve spiritual nurturing rather than being onlookers of events. It is expected that the two organizations of men and women can plan joint activities that are often of common interest in the fields of family life, upbringing children in our church tradition, Gospel study, spiritual growth and helping those who are in need of social & spiritual nurturing. The archdiocese expects that each member parish have a unit of St.Paul’s Fellowship and a unit secretary.
My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior, For he has looked upon his servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed. God who is mighty has done great things for me, holy is his name; His mercy is from age to age on those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm; he has confused the proud in their inmost thoughts. He has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry he has given every good thing, while the rich he has sent empty away. He has upheld Israel his servant, ever mindful of his mercy; Even as he promised our fathers, promised Abraham and his descendants forever.(Lk 1:46-55)
St. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church here after referred as SMSOC in this disclaimer note, is a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of state of Texas. These Rules govern the raffle and, by purchasing a raffle ticket, you agree to be bound by these Rules.
1. You must be 18 years of age or older and must qualify under Texas law to purchase a raffle ticket and participate in this raffle.
2. The purchase price for one raffle ticket is $100.00. If an entrant’s check or credit card is dishonored by the bank or credit card company, the entry ticket will be invalid unless full payment is received by SMSOC on December 23 ,2014 prior to the time the raffle closes.
3. No more than 2,500 tickets will be sold. Any monies turned in after the raffle closes will be returned to the entrant. All tickets will be recorded in the order received. Original Raffle ticket is required to redeem the prize.
4. If 2,500 raffle tickets are sold before the raffle closes, each ticket will have a 1-in-2,500 chance in winning, and the prizes will be as follows:
First Prize: Honda Accord LX having an appraised fair market value of $18,000.
2 Second Prizes: 50” Samsung Smart TV
3 Third Prizes: iPad
5. The Winner will be determined by random drawing. The drawing will take place on December 24,2014 at approximately 10:00 p.m. CST, after the Holy Qurbano. Winners will be notified by telephone or/and e-mail or/and mail. Prizes can’t be redeemed for cash. A valid picture id of raffle purchaser is required to claim the prize.
6. Winner will assume and be responsible for all licensing, registration, title, license plate, dealer preparation, shipping and all other fees, and local, state and federal taxes, including without limitation all applicable sales, use, luxury, income, and special taxes. SMSOC specifically disclaims all expressed or implied warranties, including without limitation warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose regarding the Honda Accord LX vehicle.
7. If SMSOC has not received by 5:00 p.m. CST, December 23, 2014, at least 300 valid raffle tickets and full payment therefore, SMSOC may, at its sole and absolute discretion, cancel the raffle and withdraw the prizes (mentioned in disclaimer clause 4) or decide to delay the drawing until the minimum has been purchased. In such event, SMSOC will consider the raffle tickets sold thus far towards delayed drawing.
8. Purchasers of raffle tickets must legibly write their full names, addresses and telephone numbers on each counterfoil / registration form. If more than one name is stated on a counterfoil / registration form, the first listed name shall be the Entrant. SMSOC shall, will and can have no obligation for payment or delivery of any prize to any person other than the entrant. It is the sole responsibility of the entrant to allocate any such prize among the participants in any multiple party entry.
9. The winner of the raffle must claim the prize within 30 days of the drawing. If the winner does not claim the prize within 30 days of the drawing, the prize will be forfeited and proceeds will go to the SMSOC church building fund.
10. Any drawing may be postponed due to weather or any state of emergency declared by state or county local authorities. In such event, a new date, place and time for the drawing will be determined by SMSOC, which will be published in the SMSOC website.
11. Any and all disputes, claims and controversies concerning this raffle shall be submitted to and resolved by binding arbitration, to be conducted under the commercial arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association and the Uniform Arbitration Act, 42 Pa. C.S.A. §7301, et seq. The decision of the arbitrator will be final and binding on all parties.
12. Safekeeping of Raffle Ticket stub is purchaser’s sole responsibility. Any attempted transfer, purchase, sale or auction of Raffle Ticket constitutes fraud by attempted seller and attempted buyer of Raffle Ticket and renders Raffle Ticket void. Raffle Tickets obtained from unauthorized sources are void. Raffle Ticket stub is void and will not be accepted if SMSOC determines in its sole discretion that stub has been tampered with, altered, counterfeited, forged or is otherwise irregular or invalid nor is SMSOC responsible for stubs that are lost, damaged, destroyed, stolen, incomplete or illegible; and, in all such cases, such stubs are void and SMSOC shall have no liability in conjunction with same. In such event or if SMSOC otherwise has reason to believe that someone has tampered with a Raffle Ticket (including stub) or the Raffle generally or otherwise attempted to defraud SMSOC in any way, SMSOC will disqualify such person and may otherwise seek to protect its rights via all available legal remedies, including possible criminal prosecution. SMSOC further reserves the right to confiscate and retain any Raffle Tickets suspected of being invalid. In no event will SMSOC award more than one (1) Grand Prize, Two (2) Second Prize and Three (3) Third Prize. Should a printing, programming or other error result in multiple winning Raffle Ticket stubs for any of the prizes, only one (1) of each Raffle Prize so affected will be awarded in a random drawing from among the holders of all such “winning” stubs for the affected Raffle Prize. SMSOC disclaims any liability for typographical, printing, production or other errors with Raffle Tickets, with the understanding that SMSOS’s sole liability for a defective or irregular Raffle Ticket is replacement with another ticket (provided supplies last) or the refund of the purchase price of such Raffle Ticket.
The faith of the Syriac Orthodox Church is in accordance with the Nicene Creed. It believes in the Trinity, that is one God, subsisting in three separate persons called the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The three being of one Essence, of one Godhead, have one Will, one Work and one Lordship. The special aspect of the First Person is His Fatherhood, that of the Second Person His Sonship, and that of the Third Person His Procession.
The Syriac Orthodox Church believes in the mystery of Incarnation. That is, the Only Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, took to Himself a body and became man. It further believes that at the time of Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit came upon her and cleansed her of all natural impurity, filling her with His grace. Then the Only Son of God came down and entered her immaculate womb, and took to Himself a body through her, thus becoming a perfect Man with a perfect Soul. After nine months, He was born of her and her virginity was maintained contrary to the laws of nature. It further believes that His true Godhead and His true Manhood were in Him essentially united, He being one Lord and one Son, and that after the union took place in Him, He had but one Nature Incarnate, was one Person, had one Will and one Work. This union is marked by being a natural union of persons, free of all separateness, intermixture, confusion, mingling, change and transformation.
The Syriac Orthodox Church calls Mary yoldath aloho, ‘Bearer of God’, because she gave birth to Christ, God truly incarnate.
The Syriac Orthodox Church believes that the death of Christ was the separation of His soul from His body, but His deity did not at any time leave either His body or His soul. It further believes that by His death for us, He conferred upon us salvation from eternal death and reconciliation with His Heavenly Father. The Syriac Orthodox Church believes that the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Spirit of Truth, proceeding from the Father. The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son. (Note. The word for ‘spirit’ in Syriac, ruho (which is also the word for ‘wind’), is grammatically feminine. Holy Spirit is referred to with the feminine pronoun in almost all early Syriac writings, though later writings refer to it in the masculine.)
Concerning the Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church believes the Church is the body of true believers in Christ, and that the Head of the Church is Our Lord God Jesus Christ. The Chief Bishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church is the Patriarch of Antioch.
With regards to Sacraments, the Syriac Orthodox Church believes that the Holy Sacraments are tangible signs designated by the Lord Christ to proclaim divine grace, which He gave for our sanctification. The Sacraments of the Church are: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Repentance, the Priesthood, Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage. Holy Sacraments are offered by the Bishops and the Priests. Only believers can receive the Sacraments. All but four of the Sacraments are essential for salvation: Baptism, Confirmation, Repentance and Eucharist. Of the sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation and the Priesthood may be received only once.
The Syriac Orthodox Church conforms to the teachings of the Three Ecumenical Councils of Nicea (A.D. 325), Constantinople (A.D. 381) and Ephesus (A.D. 431). It rejects the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451).
Born in Qamishli, Syria on May 3, 1965 to a Syriac family originally from the village Ehwo in Tur Abdin, Cyril entered St. Ephrem’s Theological Seminary in Lebanon in 1977. From 1984 to 1988 he pursued higher studies at the Coptic Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt, receiving a Bachelor of Divinity degree upon graduation.In 1985 Cyril took the vows of a monk and was elevated to the sacred priesthood. From 1988 to 1989, he served as both the secretary of Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and as a teacher at St. Ephrem’s Theological Seminary in Damascus, Syria. In 1989 he entered St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland from where he received a licentiate of Sacred Theology degree in 1991 and his Doctorine of Divinity degree in 1994. During that time, he also served as a priest to the SyriaN Orthodox Community in the United Kingdom. Patriarchal vicar: On January 28, 1996, he was consecrated as Metropolitan and Patriarchal Vicar of the Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch for the Eastern United States by Patriarch Ignatius Zakka Iwas at St. Mary’s Syriac Orthodox Church in Qamishli. Cyril arrived in the United States on March 2, 1996, and was officially installed at St. Mark’s Syriac Orthodox Cathedral in Teaneck, New Jersey.Publications:In 2003 Archbishop Cyril published the Book of the Order for the Burial of the Clergy, the last of the series of liturgical texts produced under the editorship of Mor Athanasius Yeshue Samuel. He also saw to the reprint of works ncluding the Shorter Catechism of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch (1999) by Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem I Barsoum, and the Book of Scripture Readings for Sundays and Feasts Days (2000) originally published by Metropolitan Mor Philoxenus Yuhanon Dolabani of Mardin. Cyril had encouraged the American Foundation for Syriac Studies to publish several issues of a quarterly entitled Syriac Studies and helped cosponsor a series of public lectures by scholars and intellectuals on Syriac culture, history, literature and theology. In 2004 Archbishop Cyril wrote Symbols of the Cross in the Writings of the Early Syriac Fathers, and he also published two children’s books In The Tree House and “Animals from the Bible”.
LATE LAMENT PATRIARCH
Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, the 122nd successor to St. Peter in the Apostolic See of Antioch, completes 25 years in the Patriarchal See on the day of the Feast of Holy Cross, 2005. The Universal Syrian Church with its flocks spread over many nations, celebrates this unique historic occasion, of His Holiness’s Silver Jubilee of the Patriarchal enthronement, with great fervour and enthusiasm. It was on September 14, 1980, the Holy father was enthroned as the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church. He is one of the very few primates of the Syrian Church who have been in the Patriarchal office for an entire quarter of a century. As a true Shepherd, His Holiness has led the Holy Church to greater glories in these years of his Patriarchal See.His Holiness was born on April 21, 1933 into the faithful family of ‘Iwas’ in Mosul, Iraq. He was born as the fourth child and was named ‘Seenaherib’ (name of the father of St. Behnam). His Holiness had three brothers and three sisters. The forbears of Patriarch Zakka, the Iwas family, originally belonged to Jessera on Tigris; they migrated to Mosul about three hundred years ago. Some of his ancestors adorned very important posts in the Kingdom. His grand father has received an award from King Faisal I of Iraq for his excellence in his job as Chief craftsmen and architect of the State.
The father of His Holiness, Basheer Iwas, who graduated from the University in Istanbul, the then capital of Ottoman Empire, later became a Professor in the Military Engineering College there. A faithful member of Church, he was very enthusiastic in attending the Church Services regularly and also inspired others to follow his path. It was his ardent desire to mould one of his sons as a priest to serve the Holy Church. After a few years of teaching, he left for his home state in Iraq where he started a wood-working factory of his own. But unfortunately, misfortune struck the family a few years later; Basheer Iwas died of a Cardiac arrest. His Holiness was only 10 at that time. Two years later in 1945, his wife, the mother of His Holiness, also passed away. Thus the young Seenaherib, who later came to be known as Zakka, becomes parentless at a tender age of 12.
On September 14, 1980, Mor Severios was installed as the 122nd Patriarch of Antioch & all the East, by name IGNATIUS ZAKKA I, in a rite officiated by the late lamented Catholicos of the East Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose II, along with the archbishops of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church. It was for the first time in the history of the Universal Syrian Church that the chief celebrant for the Patriarchal enthronement was an Indian.
Since that blessed day, the Syrian Orthodox Church has witnessed a remarkable revival through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the pastoral care of H. H. Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. The 25 years of Mor Ignatius Zakka’s Patriarchate have been eventful and significant. In his very first address after adorning the Patriarchate, he stressed the need for a major seminary and centre for the Church. This was a great dream of the new Patriarch. The Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate after moving from the Monastery of Mor Hananyo (Deir ez-Za`faran/Kurkumo Dayro) in Turkey, to Syria in the last century, lacked a proper centre in the new circumstances. It was the Holy fathers’ vision that filled this gap. He acquired extensive lands, about 20 miles away from Old Damascus, where he built a magnificent Seminary with all facilities for theological students, accommodations for the visiting dignitaries, residence of the Patriarch etc.. Though officially, the Patriarchate still functions in the St. George Cathedral, Bab Touma, in the city of Damascus, His Holiness resides at the Mor Ephrem Seminary in Ma`arat Sayyidnaya, in the suburb of Damascus, Syria.
Conceived from: http://syrianchurch.org/PZakka/biography.htm
Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselios Thomas-I, the spiritual head of the Syrian Christians of India, was born in the Cheruvillil family of Vadayambadi, Puthenkuriz to Mathai and Kunjamma on 22nd July 1929. Early part of his life was full of sufferings. Though he belonged to an aristocratic family, by the time he was born the family had seen bad days. As a child he had frequent bouts of illness which affected his education. His mother used to take the young boy frequently to the nearby Malecuriz Dayro where the relics of late Patriarch St. Ignatius Elias-III and Saint Gregorios Geevarghese (Parumala Thirumeni) had been interred. One night, as his mother prayed with the young boy on her lap, she had a vision which prompted her to dedicate the boy to the service of the church. Within days, the boy’s illness was entirely cured. God was with him, guiding him and shaping him.
His priestly formation was under the guidance of Mor Philoxenos Paulose(late Catholicos Mor Baselios Paulose-II) who ordained him ‘Korooyo’ in 1952 and ‘Shamshono’ at Kadamattom Church in 1957. In August 1958, C M Thomas was ordained ‘Kassisso’ (full priest) by Mor Yulius Elias at the Majanikkara Dayro. In 1959 he was appointed as the vicar of St.Peter’s church, Puthencuriz. Later he served the churches at Vellathooval, Keezhumuri, Fort Cochin, Valamboor, Calcutta and Thrissur. For a period of seven years from 1967, he was the organizing secretary of Kolenchery Medical Mission Hospital. He also served as the Chief organizer of the North Indian mission at Bhilai in 1970′s and as the secretary of the Pourasthaya Suvishesha Samajam in 1974. He was well known as a great revivalist preacher and was also recognized as an excellent organizer.
In January 1974, Fr. C M Thomas was elected to the episcopate by the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christian Association convened at the Karingachira St. George Church and was consecrated Metropolitan with the title ‘Mor Dionysius’ by H.H. Mor Ignatius Ya`qub-III on 24th February 1974 at Damascus, Syria. He was entrusted with the charge of Angamali diocese, the largest of all the Syrian Orthodox dioceses which has a membership of more than half a million. (Click here for a newspaper report dt. 26th February 1974 on the Metropolitan ordination of Mor Dionysius & Mor Gregorios)
The untiring efforts of Mor Dionysius in those days had helped a lot to revive the confidence of not merely the faithful of the diocese, but the entire Malankara Church. Metropolitans Mor Dionysius, Mor Gregorios Geevarghese (late) and Mor Koorilos Kuriakose (late) together were a great support to the (late) Catholicos Aboon Mor Baselios Paulose-II, the then Chief of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church. As the Metropolitan of Angamali Mor Dionysius had successfully initiated many welfare programs and also reorganized the diocesan administration. In 1978 Mor Baselios Medical Mission Hospital at Kothamangalam was started under his patron-ship.
Conceived from: http://www.syrianchurch.org/StGG/Catholicos_ThomasI.htm
His Holiness the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas ordained Very Rev. Ramban Yeldho Pathickal as the Archbishop and Patriarchal Vicar of the Malankara Archdiocese in North America at the solemn function held at the St.Peter and St.Paul Cathedral in the Monastery of St.Aphrem the Syrian, at Ma’arrat Seydnaya, Damascus, Syria. The new Metropolitan was entrusted with the title ‘TITUS’ during the consecration ceremony. His Grace will henceforth known by name ‘Mor Titus Yeldho Pathickal ‘. Archbishops from different countries were present to grace the occasion: Mar Gregorios Joseph (Kochi), the synod secretary of Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church, Mar Julius Kuriakose- Secretary to His Holiness the Patriarch, H.G. Mor Osthathius Matharohom (Syria), Mor Severius Saka Musal (Iraq), Mor Silvanos Pathros (Homs), Mor Athanasius Elia Bahi (Patriarchal Assistant), Mor Cyril Aprem (America). Also were present the 1st secretary of the Indian Embassy in Damascus Mr.R.C.Manchanda, monks, nuns, friends and family members. At the end of the Holy ceremony, the newly consecrated Archbishop thanked His Holiness the Patriarch Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas and all those who were present. He pledged his fidelity to the church and promised to be faithful in imparting the teachings of the church to the faithful.
Born on 30 May 1970 to Pathickal P M Kuriakose and Sosamma, His Grace belongs to the Perumbavur Bethel Suloko Church in the Angamali diocese, India. His schooling was at the Asramam High School, Perumbavur. He took the Degree and Post Graduation in Mathematics from the Union Christian College at Alwaye. Later he completed the B.Ed. course from the Mahatma Gandhi University.
It was the age of 12, on 28 October 1982, H.E. Mor Titus Yeldho was ordained deacon by Mor Athanasius Paulose, the late Metropolitan for the Evangelical Association of the East. In 1997 he went to the Patriarchal Cathedral at Damascus. On September 26, 1998 he was ordained Ramban by His Holiness the Patriarch and on September 5, 1999 ordained as Priest. The Metropolitan had his theological education from the Patriarchal Seminary at Damascus and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Seminary at Udayagiri, India. During this period he had the opportunity to have studies at the Syrian Orthodox Monasteries of Jerusalem, Turkey, Holland, Germany and Switzerland. After the demise of Mor Gregorios in 1999, he was appointed the administrator of the Perumpally St.George Church. Later he was deputed to New York and was serving different churches in the Malankara Archdiocese of North America till recently.
From 1995 to 2001, he was actively involved in YMCA organization as its regional vice chairman and also as its National Executive Board member.
His Eminence is the only prelate from Malankara to receive five ordinations (Sub-deacon, Full Deacon, Ramban, Priest & Metropolitan) from the Supreme Head of our Church His Holiness Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas.
Conceived from: http://www.malankara.com
Kerala Christian community in Houston in the late seventies was very small but the need for a Syrian Orthodox Church became impetus in 1977. St. Mary’s Prayer Group was organized in September 1977. The St. Mary’s Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church came in to existence with the first service in November 1977 by Rev. Fr. Dr. John Jacob, now His Grace Yuhanon Mor Philoxenos, and was incorporated in December 1978. Mr. Joseph C. Joseph, now Very Rev. Fr. Joseph C. Joseph, received training under Rev. Fr. John Jacob in New York and he was ordained as a priest in 1978. Joseph Achen was the vicar of the church till 1981; Rev.Fr. C.M. Punnoose of the Knanaya Jacobite Church served us as assistant vicar (1979). In 1981 Rev. Fr. Dr. Thomas Itty, later on ordained as Corepiscopa, was appointed as the Vicar and Achen served the church till 2004. Under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Itty, the Parishioners built the present church building and later the parish hall at 4637 W. Orem, Houston, Texas; the church building corner stone was laid by then Diocesan Archbishop Late Lamented His Eminence Athanasius Yeshu Samuel on 10/06/1985. The consecration ceremony was conducted by His Eminence jointly with Their Graces Yuhanon Mor Philoxenos and Late Lamented Thomas Mor Osthatheos on June 7, 1986.
H.E Titus Mor Eldho, Diocesan Archbishop appointed the following vicars over the years for the church: Rev. Fr. Mathai V. Puthukkunnathu (2004 -2006 and 2008), Rev. Fr. Shinoj Joseph (2006- 2007), Rev. Fr. Baiju Chandy (2007- 2008), Rev. Fr. Jacob Joseph (2008-2010), Rev. Fr. Saji Chambilil Kuriakose (2010-2013). Rev.Fr. Paul Varghese (2013), Rev Fr. Jossy Abraham (Asst. Vicar 2013) and Rev. Fr. Binu Joseph, the present Vicar since Sept 12th 2013.
Rev. Fr. Bijo Mathew and Rev. Fr. Zach Varghese served the church as deacons while studying in Houston. Rev. Dn. Anish Thelappillil Skariya is currently serving the Parish which is also blessed to have its own Rev. Dn. T.S. Varghese and Rev. Dn. Martin Jacob Babu.
His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas (1981), Late Lamented His Beatitude Beselios Paulose II (1979), and His Beatitude Aboon Mor Beselios Thomas 1st (few times) visited and blessed the church. Over the years many Malankara Bishops, Syrian Bishops, corepiscopas, priests, deacons, dignitaries and laymen visited the Church.
St. Paul’s Fellowship, St. Mary’s Women’s League, St. Mary’s Youth League, St. Mary’s Sunday school, and Organization of True Antiochian Faith are actively functioning in the church. Members of this parish are very actively involved and have served in different capacities in the Archdiocesan Council. We are grateful to all the bishops, priests, deacons and laymen for their devotion and service to this church and archdiocese.
The church has tremendous growth from 2004 onwards. Currently, we are one of the largest parishes in the Archdiocese with 70 Families and still growing by the Grace of God. We look back with great appreciation and joy but most importantly, we offer sincere thanks to our Lord. May, the love of The Triune God continue to guide us in the years to come to witness the Faith and Traditions of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Community in the Greater Houston Area.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2014