I would like to invite the attention of all Members of the OC net Forum to this special report on the situation of the Brahmavar Orthodox Christians in India, a community which got reunited to the Indian orthodox Church form Roman Catholicism under the leadership of His Grace Alvazis Mar Julius Metropolitan.
This is an example of the original reunion to the mother Orthodox Church from Roman Catholicism, which is the real 'reunion'.
Orthodox Church of the East
A Report on the Brahmavar Orthodox Christian Community in India.
‘Brahmavar’ is term by which each and every Orthodox Christian in India must feel happy and proud of their Church. Brahmavar Christain community also known as the Brahmavar Mission was once considered to be proud by the Indian Orthodox Church. It is very important to make an analysis on the present conditions of the Brahmavar Christians.
The Beginning and Reunion to the Mother (Orthodox) Church from Roman Catholicism
In the year 1889 Fr Alvariz and Fr Nurono along with 5000 Roman Catholic Families reunited with the Indian Orthodox Church. In the very year itself Fr Alvaris was ordinated as the Metropolitan of Goa-Ceylon in the name Mar Yulius by H G Paulose Mar Athanasius and St Gregory of Parumala. The ceremony was held at Kottayam Old Seminary.
It is very important to note that those days the Indian Orthodox Church had a large number of believers in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and in the Trishnapalli area of Tamil Nadu.
The rift between Indian Orthodox Church and the Jacobite Syrian Church (Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate) after the year 1912 affected the Brahmavar Christian in deep manner. In the year 1923 H G Alvariz Mar Yuluis Metropolitan passed away in Lord. The Metropolitan had a very sad and terrible end to his life. His mortal remain were ignored by the Church. For several years it remained in one of the Municipal Cemeteries of Goa till it was recovered by the Late Catholicose of the East His Holiness Baselius Marthoma Mathews I. At present the mortal remains is well preserved in one of the Orthodox Churches in Goa.
The Brahamavra Christian considers H G Alvariz Mar Yuluis Metropolitan to be a Saintly person.
The Present Situation
The Brahmavar Christians followed Latin from of worship till 1980. Later Rev Thomas Ramban translated the holy mass into Kokini language along with other prayers and namaskarrams. Presently there are four parishes in Brahmavar. There are a number of Priests from their own community. Presently there are nearly 700 Orthodox Christian families in Brahamavar .
They know that they are ‘Syrians’ They remember the name of Catholicose of the East in the First Tubden, apart from that they are unaware of the Malankara Orthodox Church, though they are an integral part of the Church.. In all aspects they stay away from the forefront of the Indian Orthodox Church. The Brahmavar Orthodox Christian also run a College and a School.
The Indian Orthodox Church must give high priority and importance to the Brahmavar Christians. It is high time the Church think about the future of these Christian Community.
Threats from Malankara Catholic Rite: Malankara Catholic Rite (An Eastern Catholic Rite in India) has an eye on the on the Brahmavar Christians. They have plans to build a new diocese in the Shimoga area, focusing exclusively on the Brahmavar Orthodox Christians. The Malankara Catholic Rite will definitely aim at the Brahmavar Orthodox Christians
The Orthodox Church must give more importance to the Brahmavar Community. A good amount in the Church budget must be allotted to the total development of the Brahmavar Orthodox Christians. They must be given chance to involve more deeply in all areas of the Malankara Church. It would be better to raise the status to a diocese or Archdioceses and a full time Metropolitan can be constituted for their spiritual and administrative needs. Help must be given to their overall development. Spiritual organizations of the Church like Orthodox Christian Youth Movement, Mar Gregorious Orthodox Students Movement, Martha Mariyam Samagam (Women’s Fellowship of the Church) must extend their activities to the Brahmavar community. These organization must give importance to deliver have Holy Mass in Kongini Language.
The Brahmavar Christians does not like tem being addressed as Brahmanar Mission. These Christian Community and their leader H G Alvariz Mar Yuluis Metropolitan had undergone large number of problems, physical and mental torture, and ignorance, but they have relied and still hold strongly on to the holy Orthodox faith. The existing people never went back to the Roman Church, but remained within the Indian Orthodox Church. It is to be always noted that the Orthodox Christians in Brahmavar is not at all a result of any mission of the Malankara Orthodox Church. But they have come into existence as part of their enquiry for the true faith of a number of truth seekers.
Let Good Lord give the courage and strength to the Brahmavar Community. May God bless the Leadership and members of the Indians Orthodox Church to bind them and to help them to follow the true Orthodox Faith of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
This article was originally written in the Malayalam Language by Mr Subin Varghese (Vice-Chairman-OBL) as part if his visit to Brahmavar in the year 2007.
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