Your Question and My Answer

Your question:

Hi Thirumeni, Thank you very much for answering my previous question. Now can you please Now , can you please help me to understand Hell,Hades(Luke 16 23-24),Sheol(in old testment),Gehenna ( Dahana Sthalam)?

Thanks

My answer

All these are of the same meaning, but for various traditions. Each tradition has its own background in culture. Hell, hades, sheol or gehenna all simply mean a situation away from the presence of God and hence a situation of restlessness and suffering.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

Your question:

Beloved Thirumeni,Is it correct/good to stich the icons of st.mary or st.gregorios on the back side of Kaappa other than the cross or dove which symbolizes Christ /Holy Spirit.Now a days many achans are using these icons.Can the achans use 'kunjadu'on the kaappa?

My answer

Syriac tradition does not encourage pictures even in Churches. Our Synod has decided to restrict use of pictures. To my opinion, it is not good to have any picture on the vestments of the clergy.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

Your question:

Respected Thirumeni,

Since Malankara Orthodox Church was established by Apostle St Thomas, could You please tell why did we accept Persian lineage of succession for the throne of St Thomas in India? Before the establishment of Catholicosate in India we had Pakalomattom Archdeacons instead of Catholicos as head of our Church in Kerala. Are Pakalomattom Archdeacon and Catholicos of the East equal since both were installed by Apostle Thomas?

Regards,

My answer

We do not accept Persian lineage of succession of the catholicate. Catholicate of Malankara is unique and has its own origin. There are of course people who would argue otherwise. But there will be innumerable questions if we argue to that effect.

Ours is an independent Catholicate of the Church of Malankara.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

Your question:

Most Respected and Loving Thirumeni,

On His second coming, what is happening our Spirit, Soul and Body? What are the duties of these elements in this world to fulfill His plan?

The growth levels of these elements are equal or different? How we can feed to Spirit and Soul in spiritual way?

My answer

On the second coming we will face the Lord with transformed body as a person. The so-called division between spirit-body-soul are of western origin and we do not ascribe to that. Of course many of our people would think of it that way. But that is not Orthodox. We consider human as one integrated creature. Any thing you do, you do as a person and not in split personality as body or soul or spirit. So there is no question of feeding spirit and soul in isolation.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

Your question:

Dear Thirumeni,

Could you please explain what is "New Covenant"? and what is the implication in the orthodox christian life.

Thank you

My answer

The new covenant is that was established by Jesus Christ which is based on love and not on law. Love talks about relationship in a mutually respecting way. With this we all are accepted as children of God equal in status with the Son of God as we were all adopted by God to be children. With this, as the fathers of the Church explains, we are made eligible to become one like God (not to become God, but one like God). This is the perfect use of the image and likeness shared by God with us during creation. To sum up, in the old covenant it was said, “I am your God and you are my people”. In the new covenant it is said, “You are my children and I am your heavenly Father”.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

Your question:

Respecteed Thirumeni,

What does it mean when we say that Malankara Church is a division of the Orthodox Syrian Church in  the constitution of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
( 1st clause ) ??

My answer

There is a special kind of relationship between Malankara Church and the Church of Antioch. Division means a couple of things.

One, we follow the same theology as that of the Syrian Church and we got that theology from them.

Two, we follow the same liturgy and we are a section in that respect.

Three we have the same heritage with respect to the fathers of the Church.

Of course we are part of the Oriental Orthodox family. But we do not have any of these common elements with that of the other Oriental Orthodox Churches except in matter of theology. So we have a unique relationship with the Syrian Church. The terms of this relationship is further spelt in other clauses. See clauses 101 (Patriarch), 114 (consecration of the Catholicos) and 118 (on complaint against the Catholicos). This relationship does not carry any administrative issue.

Regards and prayers

Thirumeni

Your question:

Thirumeni, kindly explain the real symbolism in the 'Danaha' perunal procesion and the service as a whole;

the symbol of carrying the bottle filled with water by a man and covering it with soshapha.

And what is the significance of blessing the Censor in the service. please write.

My answer

Thank you for the greetings and I hope you and your family are doing fine by the grace of God. My prayers on your behalf.

I came back from US with what they call cervical spondylosis and can not spend much time on computer. This is why my reply was delayed. I am under treatment and feels much better now.

“Danho” service is a re-enactment (a technical term for what ever we do in worship) of Jesus’ first public appearance. In our (Syriac) tradition Christmas was never this important, rather more important was ‘danho’ or epiphany (revelation). This is because we never account so high the birth on a person in to this world, rather what we do after birth in life is more important. Jesus’ life with us begins at the river Jordan and that was where he was testified as the beloved Son of God and was revealed to us as our Savior. Birth day celebration is more important in western cultures. To us Easterners, humans are accounted in worship and in fellowship even before they are born in to this world. So our worship is of the whole creation including those who are born, dead and yet to be born. Those who are not yet born are born in the mind of God. They have to show what they were born in to this world through their life in this world. This is why public life is more important than date of birth.  So for us the culmination of life is what is worth remembering. Thus the date of death becomes a memorable date in our tradition.

The procession during ‘danho’ service marks the walking in of Jesus to the river. In principle the whole world walks with him to the river. Jesus as Son of God did not require baptism. But he was going to the water as he carries the whole human race that the whole human race may be washed off the sin of the first parents and be filled with H. Spirit and for being testified as the child of God. There are two traditions in this regard. One: covering just the water jug with the cross in. Two: covering the person with the water jug and cross. In any case, it shows the state before revelation. This is exactly like what we have in H. Qurbono where the elements are covered with soosepho to mark the time before Jesus’ revelation to the world. When Jesus walked to the water he was not revealed but was like anyone else who went to John for baptism. But when he touched the river John recognized him. People recognized him when God revealed him as His Son. This is ‘epiphany’. Until that time Jesus was a mystery – a theme we always use in our theological talk-.

The blessing of the censor at any occasion is for two purposes. One: to designate it as the symbol of the prayers of the congregation. Two: to make it a tool to sanctify the congregation. In both cases it is done in the name of the Triune God.

Hope I addressed your questions.

Thirumeni