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From Vicar's Desk


Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His Holy Name. (Ps.103:1)

Dearly beloved in Christ,

In His providence, we are privileged to witness the goodness of a new month, August. According to the church lectionary, the month of August starts with the 15 -Day Lent. In the Syriac Church tradition, at this Lenten season, we meditate the dedication and commitment of the mother of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, her willingness to the will of God, preparing her son for the salvific process of God.

When we look into the history of the Mar Thoma Church, 15Day lent has got a very revolutionary phase in terms of the language of worship. It is at the two Holy Communion services, one at the beginning of the lent at Kollad Church in Kottayam, led by Kaithayil Geevarghese Malpan Achen and the other on the ending of the lent at Maramon Church, led by Palakunnathu Abraham Malpan Achen, Malayalam words were first used in worship services in the Malankara church. Looking at the Syriac Taksa (worship order) of the Holy Qurbana, the Malpan Achens instantly translated and chanted the Sedra prayer in Malayalam. Though it claimed a lot of resistance from the so called ‘traditionals’, it was one of the pioneering moves of the reformation process of the Malankara Church. The crux of the reformation was to affirm the medium of worship need to be in the medium of the worshipper. Imbibing this spirit, our faithful forerunners translated the Bible and the liturgical texts to Malayalam, the language of the worshipper, without losing its spirit, style and culture.

In our American context, we were able to translate the whole liturgy for the sake of our children who knows only English. Now, all the liturgical texts are at hand in English. However, at some point of time, we have miserably failed in transferring the spirit of our liturgy to our younger generations. Compared to other Episcopal Syriac churches in America, the level of effective participation of our younger generation in our worship service is getting dangerously low. This proves us the fact that just the translation of words in the liturgy will not ring the bell.

Instead, it is words, spirit, style and culture of worship need to be translated, transferred and transmitted… Ignoring the importance of translating and educating the spirit, style and culture of worship to the younger generations and adopting new patterns of worship will no way benefit the church. It is high time for us to realize the need of inculcating the traditional divine values and culture that held us together for centuries as a worshipping community in our future generations.

May the Spirit of God guide us and help us…

In Christ,

Rev. Sibu Pallichira

Our Parish History

The first approved congregation in North America started as the Mar Thoma-Church of South India prayer group. The congregation, the Mar Thoma Church of Greater New York, met for worship service at the All Saints Lutheran church in Jamaica in the borough of Queens in New York City. After conducting worship services briefly at a worship place in Manhattan, the congregation moved in 1974 to a Presbyterian Church near 174th Street in Fort Washington, at the north end of the Manhattan borough of NYC, and it was its abode until the congregation was divided into four parishes.

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