MUSCAT: “Our journey must be way forward and let us dream big and plan for the next semi-centennial with Lord’s divine blessings,” said Ahmedabad Diocese Metropolitan HG Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios as he declared open the year-long golden jubilee celebrations of the Mar Gregorios Orthodox Maha Edavaka (MGOME), Muscat, on December 31, 2021.
The church formed in 1972 as a small congregation in the name of patron saint St Gregorios of Parumala completes 49 years and enters the golden jubilee year.
Mar Yulios compared the first Indian Orthodox church set up in the Sultanate of Oman from Luke 2:40. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
“Our journey must be way forward as we grow in Lord’s blessings. Like the child, the church has grown and as it steps into its 50th year it should endeavor to be a sanctuary to all who seek its refuge.
The metropolitan who took charge of the diocese during the 39th year of the church back in 2010 recalled the 40th anniversary celebrations with the apostolic visit of HH Baselios Marthoma Paulose II in 2012.
His Grace paid rich tributes to its founding fathers, former vicars who served the church, late metropolitans, ecumenical leaders, and the large number of faithful for their untiring sacrifices to make it what it is today.
Rt Rev Dr. Malayil Sabu Koshy Cherian, Bishop of the Madhya Kerala Diocese, Church of South India the chief guest, in his blessing speech made a clarion call to look back upon the days of its early existence. The Bishop lamented about losing moral values, waning family ties and to rectify mistakes and thank God for the blessing and achievements during the five decades.
“The jubilee year should not only be a year of celebrations but also a year of reconciliation as it is an occasion for restoration and repentance which makes it a complete picture. We need to look back and move forward and the ecumenical campus is the best way to achieve this,” he added.
Earlier, MGOME Vicar/President Fr. Tiju Ipe Varughese in his address recalled the efforts of the founding fathers who set up the church as a congregation and the church today is blessed with the presence of the relics of two holy saints of the Malankara Church, namely Mar Gregorios of Parumala and Vattasseril Geevarghese Mar Dionysios.
The church committee is planning an apostolic visit by the Supreme Head, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan HH Baselios Marthoma Mathews III in April 2022.
The jubilee celebrations was launched by lighting the traditional lamp by the guests and a logo released to commemorate the occasion. Senior choir sang the theme song with lyrics penned by Fr Tiju.
Also on the dais were CSI Vicar Anil Thomas, Marthoma Church in Oman Vicar Rev Sajan Varghese, Assistant Vicar Rev Binu Thomas, Malankara Sabha managing committee member Thomas Daniel, Diocese Council member Dr Chona Thomas and Sabu Koshy (Trustee). Koshy M Tharakan (Co-Trustee) proposed a vote of thanks while Biju Parumala compered the programme. The meeting concluded with a prayer and benediction.