Category Archives: Samajam

St Mary’s Martha Maria Samajam

Liturgical Hours: “Seven times a day I praise You”

Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous judgments.  - Psalm 119:164

Liturgical Hours:

  1. Evening Prayer (Sandhya/ RAMSHO)
  2. Bed-time Prayer (Soothara/ SOUTORO))
  3. Night Prayer (Rathri/ LILIO)
  4. Morning Prayer (Prabhatham/ SAPRO)
  5. Third Hour (9 am/ Moonnam Mani)
  6. Sixth Hour (12 pm/ Madhyanam/ Noon)
  7. Ninth Hour (3 pm/ Onpatham Mani)

 

Great Lent Common Prayer Book

Click here to download the Great Lent Prayer Book (Morning & Evening):**

Great Lent Common Prayer Book

**This is not an authorized translation of the church; user discretion requested.

50-Day Lent Gospel Reading & Meditation Planner- 2014: According to the Lectionary of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Tradition

Great Lent is a special season to meditate and read the Bible. The attached Gospel Reading planner is according to the Lectionary of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox tradition. It is free! Download and use as you can very well stay connected with the Bible and the tradition of the Church, thereby experience an enriched relationship with savior God.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0Ewg5dLguJBWUVVRFBBdFZfY2s/edit

CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK:

50 day lent reading planner

CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK FOR PRINTER FRIENDLY SHORT VERSION:

50 day lent reading planner short version

Lectionary Great Lent 2014 Malayalam Part I & English

lectionary Great lent 2014- palectionary Great lent 2014- part Irt Ilectionary Great lent 2014- part I

First Monday of Great Lent

 

First Tuesday of Great Lent

  • Evening
  • St. Luke 4: 1 – 15
    • Morning
    • Exodus 32: 30- 35
    • Hosea14: 1 – 9
    • Isaiah 30:1-4
    • St. James1: 12-27
    • Ephesians 4: 32- 5: 21
    • St. Matthew 6: 1-6

First Wednesday of Great Lent

  • Evening
  • St. Matthew 6: 19-24
  • St. Luke 16: 14-18
    • Morning
    • Genesis 1: 14-18
    • Isaiah 13: 6-13
    • St. James 2 : 1 – 13
    • Romans 2:7-24
    • St. Matthew 6: 25-34

First Thursday of Great Lent

  • Evening
  • St. Matthew 7: 1-12
    • Morning
    • Exodus 22:5-6
    • I Kings 18: 16 -24
    • II Kings 17: 7 – 23
    • Isaiah 36: 1-7, 37: 1-7
    • St. James 2: 14 – 26
    • Romans 2: 28 – 3: 8
    • St. Matthew 7: 13-27

First Friday of Great Lent

  • Evening
  • St. Matthew 5: 17 – 26
    • Morning
    • Ezekiel18: 20-32
    • Hosea 4:1-11
    • Deuteronomy 6 : 1- 13
    • Isaiah 1:1-9
    • St. James 3: 13 – 4: 5
    • Romans 3:9-26
    • St. Matthew 5: 27-37

First Saturday of Great Lent

  • Evening
  • St. Matthew 10: 24 – 38
    • Morning
    • St. John 15: 17-16: 3
      • Before Holy Qurbana
      • Genesis 2: 4 – 17
      • Zechariah7: 8-14
      • Isaiah 1:24-31
        • Holy Qurbana
        • Acts 12:1-24
        • Romans 12: 10-21
        • St. John 4:46-54

Second Sunday of Great Lent (Lepers’ Sunday)

  • Evening
  • St. Mark 1: 32-45
    • Morning
    • St. Mark 9 : 14 – 29
      • Before Holy Qurbana
      • Genesis 7: 6 – 24
      • II Kings 5: 1 – 14
      • Isaiah 33:2-9
      • Jeremiah 50 : 4- 7: 15 : 15 -21
        • Holy Qurbana.
        • Acts 5:12-16 :19 :8-12
        • Acts 9:22-31
        • Romans3: 27- 4: 5
        • St. Luke 5: 12-16, 4: 40 -41

PETHRATHA SUNDAY (Also called Kothanae Sunday- Marriage at Cana)

PETHRATHA_001

 

The Sunday before the Great lent is called the PETHRATHA Sunday. The Syriac word, ‘Peturta’ means “looking back” or “reconciliation”.

The liturgical Season of Great Lent is one of the kinds of introspection- looking back to one’s own life, and of real reconciliation.

As a reminder one of the hymns in the Shubquono liturgy says, “Brethren, let us love one another, for it is the completion of the commandments.”

The reading is from St. John 2: 1-11; which depicts the Marriage at Cana, where we can see the first sign of the Son of Human.
We all know the episode at the marriage house in Cana; Jesus and his friends had been invited to a wedding feast in the city of Cana. The mother of Jesus was also there and she came to know that there was a problem with the supply of vine- they ran out of vine.

When she knew this, she said to Jesus “they have no vine”;
Jesus replied: O women, what have you to do with me; what does this mean?
Does it means that, he was so harsh and saying; crap, who are you?
No. But it means “What have I and you to do with this;
It further means, never mind; don’t be worried!
He further says, “My hour has not yet come”; which means “I must wait for the right opportunity”.

Though Jesus tried to find excuses, his mother was so confident in him; she asked the servants to “do whatever he tells you”. Mary was so confident; “do not worry, he will find some way”.
The servants filled six stone jars with water, and Jesus said “Now draw some out…start serving”

Water was turned into vine; transformed in to vine! And this became the first sign of Jesus and his disciples believed in him.

The take home is, reconciliation need to end-up with transformation!

ANEEDE SUNDAY (Remembering all the departed believers)

Aneede Newest_001

Aneede Sunday is to remembering all the departed believers. The Church wants the faithful to remember those forefathers and mothers who nurtured and maintained the true faith. Last Sunday the church remembered all the departed clergies. This Sunday is to remember all the departed faithful; our forefathers and mothers, brothers and sisters.

How blessed are we! How unique our faith is!

This is the only Christian faith where you are a part of the continuum; a continuum that begins with the birth to the second coming of the savior Lord Jesus Christ. Physical death is not a separation from the continuum and the departed believers are continuing their journey of salvation until the day of last judgment. We are so blessed because we are also in the journey where earthly life, death or anything is not going to separate us from the continuum so that we journey towards the final destination.  This is the only faith where you can participate in the Holy Communion along with the departed, living and the heavenly beings.

Let’s come together this Sunday to remember all our forefathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, and connect with the creator God, who is beyond our human comprehension, through praise and worship…

KOHNE (SUNDAY REMEMBERING ALL THE DEPARTED CLERGY)

KOHNE (SUNDAY REMEMBERING ALL THE DEPARTED CLERGY)_001

Today is Kohene Sunday- A special day to remember all the departed priests. It’s good to remember at least once in a year our forefathers who helped us to sustain in true faith. Let’s take a couple of minutes to remember them. We have already attended countless holy Qurbanas. We have participated in Holy Communion numerous times. Just take a moment and try to remember the names of the priests, imagine their faces, and recollect the images of the holy altars where they offered the holy Eucharist for us. Especially, remember the priests who are deceased. You know they are with their master; participating in the worship and holy Qurbana along with their master in heaven. So they have better access and they can intercede for us.

Let this Sunday be a Thanksgiving Day to God for giving us the priests who are appointed to help us to imbibe and nurture us in faith.

Well, coming back to the today’s gospel reading. Today’s reading is from St. Matthew chapter 24 versus 42 to 51. And it’s about two metaphors regarding the second coming of Jesus and the need to stay awake. It says that no one knows what time the master comes to evaluate his servants. The parable of a master going for a long journey is similar to the parable of vineyard tenants, which is very familiar to us.

A master is going for a long journey. He is assigning duties to his servants. When he comes back he is going to evaluate what his servants did. The illustration here depicts two servants. One who is faithful and the other who thinks the master is delaying and does all wicked things. So the message is since you do not know when the master is coming you have to stay alert.

I’m not going to focus on the second coming of Jesus in today’s sermon. Rather I’m trying to elucidate why is the message stay awake is relevant in today’s context. For this I’m trying to find parallels between the gospel of Matthew and Mark. The same parable is depicted in both gospels.

In St. Mark the call to watch is replaced with a synonym- the command to “shake off sleep”. By commanding to shake off sleep Jesus is introducing a new theme. The struggle between staying awake and falling asleep.

Now I’m inviting your attention to what happened on Gethsemane. Jesus wanted his disciples to stay awake with him. But what happened, the tragedy is they will not stay awake with Jesus in Gethsemane. And they will sleep. They failed, because they do not understand the call to the cross; and the call to be awake with Jesus. We are failing to stay awake because we simply never understood the call and mission of Christian life.

I will make this theme very simple by telling a small story. Fiorello La Guardia was one of the most colorful and energetic and reformist mayor of New York City during some time after First World War. He was very active, he would ride the city fire trucks, and he takes the entire orphanages to the baseball games.

The story I am going to tell you was printed in New York Times sometime in 1935. Mayor LaGuardia turned up in a night court that served the poorest ward in the city. It was very late; so he dismissed the judge for the evening, and took over the bench himself. After he heard a few cases, an old woman was brought before him. She was accused of stealing a loaf of bread. She told the mayor that her daughter’s husband had deserted her; her daughter was sick; and her grandchildren were starving.

But the shopkeeper, from whom the bread was stolen, insisted on pressing charges. He said, my store is in a very bad neighborhood. Therefore, she’s got to be punished in order to teach other people a lesson. The mayor was listening. He turned to the old woman and said, I have got to punish you. The law makes no exception. $10 or 10 days in jail. Remember in 1935 $10 was like $500.

But even as he spoke, LaGuardia was reaching into his pocket and pulling out a $10 bill. Here is the woman’s fine, he said. Furthermore, I’m going to fine everyone including me in this courtroom $.50. The reason he said, this is for being insensitive, for not staying awake, for not sensing the needs of others, for living in a city where a person has to steal bread so that her grandchildren can eat.

Well, are you getting the link, the meaning of Jesus command to stay awake. Unfortunately, whenever we talk about staying awake it land up in the theme of the second coming of Jesus, and people think that it exclusively mean you have to keep praying all the time and be ready and alert for the second coming. But here stay awake has a different meaning. It means and commands us to be mindful, to be alert, to be vigilant, and to be sensitive to the needs of the needy. Not only the material or tangible needs, but also the psychological and spiritual needs; like for example- love, compassion, understanding and so on.

I was on a mission trip last year to India. We had a chance to participate in the community mission of Bethsada/ Guardian Angel society. The community mission team there tries to reach out, and address the needs of the community. For example, they are supporting 25 local families with rice, vegetables groceries and other essential food every month; they have a group of 25 students whose educational expenses are taken care on a monthly basis; they help homeless families to build a house and so on. I know this is not the new mission. But what I’m trying to say is, during the interaction with George achan and Julio’s thirumeni-the people behind this mission-they said, we can easily ignore these people, I mean the people who are in need in the community; and we can be busy with the parish ministry, church and diocesan administration, worship liturgy and so on. Community mission is a big burden. It’s a long-term commitment. For example, if you are supporting a student who is in a professional college like nursing, you have to support him or her for four years. Though it is a big we still want to do this, because we are supposed to be sensitive, mindful, and vigilant to the needs of the needy.

I hope the message is much clearer now. It’s the duty of a priest to stay alert and make sure that his parish members are staying awake, vigilant, and sensitive to the needs of the fellow beings around us. I hope today’s gospel reading and message help us to stay awake, and help us to be sensitive, open, and watch for the needs of the needy. Thanks again, May God bless.

THE SUNDAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS

THE SUNDAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS

 

Genealogies are common in Hebrew bible and were a matter of pride.  Mathew’s portrait of the genealogy of Jesus Christ is an amazing testimony to God’s power to overcome the sin of humankind. This stylized ancestral tree consisting of roughly three groups of fourteen: from Abraham to David, from David to the deportation to Babylon; and from the deportation to Jesus. The numerical value of David’s name in Hebrew is fourteen, which may account for this arrangement.

From an Orthodox perspective, these three phases represent the three states of human life. The first phase represents the uniqueness and dignity of humanhood, and the continued fellowship with God in the Garden of Eden.  The separation and lost fellowship with God when they committed sin represents the second phase. But God never abandoned the humankind. The salvation plan by sending the Son of God for the remission of human sin and the reinstatement of the fellowship with God represents the third phase.

Jesus genealogy is unusual, not simply because it includes women, but also because it features non-Israelite women, some of questionable repute (e.g., Tamar, Rahab). In short, despite Mathew’s intention to prove that Jesus is a true Israelite, this genealogy is by no means a “pure” family tree: Judah visited prostituted women; Rahab was a prostituted woman; David committed adultery and murder; Solomon flirted with idols. The inclusion of women (and/ or with questionable repute) may prefigure Mary’s own marital dilemma and the coming mission to the gentiles.

Yet through these imperfect people, God was able to preserve his promises and shape earthly events to prepare the way for the savior Messiah. Today, let’s think about what all ways in which we have departed from God’s will for us? Think about how God has called us back. Despite our spiritual dryness and (perceived) distance from God, can’t we see God’s working to keep us back on track with his purposes?

Today’s Gospel reading gives us the hope, that despite we slipped away we can come back as he came to call not the righteous but the sinners.

HOODOSH EETHO Sunday: “The Feast of Dedication of the Church.”

Hoodosh Eetho_001

HOODOSH EETHO Sunday: ‘Hoodosh Eetho’ means “The Feast of Dedication of the Church.”

Luke 20 depicts a series of questions the Jews ask Jesus in order to trick him. They ask Jesus three questions and today’s Gospel reading is about the first one; they question about the authority of Jesus. If we continue reading the chapter, Jesus responds by asking them twice as many questions and by telling them a parable.

We might want to list the questions in this chapter of Luke and ponder why Jesus asks so many of them. Then ask ourselves, “Do we respond to people’s problems with our answers or do we try to listen to them and ask them helpful questions?” A poet once said, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.” Are we ready to offer our own questions to God in our personal prayer life, in our community life, and in our church life?

As a church, as God’s people, let us ask these questions to ourselves. “Are we trying to listen to people’s cry, pain and sufferings? Or are we trying to respond with our myopic and selfish perspectives to the real problems of the world?”  Remember, the mother Church and her members were sanctified last week (Koodosh Eetho). Now it’s the time for renewal and re-dedication (Hoodosh Eetho). Let us pray and submit ourselves as a community, as the God’s people, as the church to renew and rededicate, to bear the beacon of light to the society that fumbles in the darkness of evil.

Various Classifications of periods in the Lectionary in Malankara tradition

calendar

Reviewing the available literature, there are at least four to five different classifications of the periods in the Church Lectionary in the Malankara tradition. All of them have the same arrangement of Sundays, order, and themes with minor differences in the gospel readings and other readings from Old Testament and New Testament.

Over the years, liturgical calendars were published in two forms- the tables of Easter and related movable feasts; and a calendar of saints. The two have separate origins. The former were a matter of controversy in the ancient church. Eventually, a single one of 532 years (taqlab in Syriac sources) was adopted as the norm. They again differed in the way in which the dates of are fixed, so do the content and classification of Lectionary.

There are different categorizations of the periods in the Church. Many books published refer to six or seven periods; some refer to generally two periods; most of the other books on Lectionary have no mention on the periods/ cycles. The book ‘Sermons based on readings of the Lectionary’ by H.G Mor Chrysostamus Mosa Salama (1958; Re-published by Mor Adai Study Center) presents seven cycles instead of six. This approach seems to be classical and more authentic.

However, other approaches are in no way inferior to the seven period approach; indeed some of them are more logical and correlates well with the themes and gospel readings.

The 52/ 53 Sundays in a calendar year has been divided to Seven Cycles in the Church Calendar. The first Sunday according to the Church Calendar is the Koodosh Eetho Sunday (Sanctification of the Church). Koodosh Eetho is the Sunday that falls between October 30th and November 5th. The following are the four major classifications commonly found in the Malankara literature (includes the literature published by both the Indian Orthodox and Jacobite Churches).

I. A Broader classification (May have little to do with the actual Lectionary)

  1. Kymto period (Starts from Easter to the feast of Cross/ Sleebo)
  2. Sleebo period (Starts from the feast of Sleebo to Easter)

The order of worship of Kymto (prayers) are meant to be followed on all Sundays. However, inclusion of Sleebo prayers, and this kind of a bifurcation has a specific meaning and purpose. The general message of this categorization is that the salvation and liberation of human race is interlinked in the Cross and Resurrection of the savior lord Jesus Christ.

II. Another bivariate approach; this is more conceptual rather than a clear-cut division or categorization. This approach presumes that the entire Lectionary is stretched from Genesis to the second coming of Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Koodosh Eetho to Pentecost; the Lectionary includes Genesis, Prophets, Birth, death and resurrection of the savior, to ascension and Pentecost. The entire message and objective of this part of the Lectionary is the spiritual empowerment of believers and meditation in lines with the salvation plan of God the Father.
  2. Pentecost to the second coming of Christ; this period is considered the ‘growth’ period of the church and beyond the scope of written scriptures. The reason being, the widespread growth of the church triggered after the formation of bible. The fundamental dogmas/ faith that are essential for Christian life and Jesus teachings pertaining to this are included in this section. To be more precise, the Sundays after Sleebo are aimed at reminding the church about the second coming of Jesus Christ and how the church and her members should prepare for the same.

III. Six cycles classification:

  1. The first Cycle Starts with Koodosh Eetho, and ends on the Christmas day (Yeldho).
  2. 2nd is from Christmas to the first Sunday of great lend (Kothine)
  3. 3rd is from the first Sunday of Great Lend to Easter Sunday (Kymtha)
  4. 4th is from Easter to Pentecost
  5. 5th is from Pentecost to Sleebo (feast of Cross)
  6. 6th is from Sleebo to Koodosh Eetho

IV. Seven cycle classification: (Mor Mosa Salama )

  1. Sanctification of the Church to Christmas (Yeldho)
  2. Yeldho to Epiphany (Dan’ho)
  3. Dan’ho to the Beginning Sunday of Great Lent (Kothine)
  4. Kothine to Easter Sunday (Kymtha)
  5. Kymtha to Pentecost
  6. Pentecost to the Transfiguration
  7. Sleebo to Sanctification of Church (Koodosh Eetho)

V. Yet another seven periods classification (conceptually same as above; difference in setting the norms)

  1. Suboro period: seven weeks from Koodosh Eetho
  2. Yeldho- Dan’ho period: seven weeks from the Sunday before Christmas to the beginning of Great Lent
  3. Lent period: seven weeks till Easter Sunday
  4. Kymtho (Hovore) period: Seven weeks from Easter to Pentecost
  5. Pentecost period: Pentecost to August 5th
  6.  Transfiguration period: Transfiguration to September 13th (till the day before the feast of Sleebo)
  7. Sleebo period: September 14th till Koodosh Eetho

Knowing this arrangement will help us to better appreciate and understand the logical connection between different feasts, days of the church, gospel readings and what the gospel messages are intended to be. Moreover, there are general themes for each cycle; for example, theme for the first Cycle is confession, affirmation and purification, which helps us to prepare to welcome the Savior on the Christmas day.

The divine intervention in Lectionary is beyond the scope of doubt and definitely Holy Spirit driven. The actual correlation of the themes of each period, the series of scripture readings on the respective Sundays and utilization of contemporary understanding of biblical hermeneutics on Lectionary are the topics for further research.