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Offline Ansgar

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Greek Orthodox in India
« on: March 28, 2013, 04:18:50 PM »
I just read an article about the Greek Orthodox Mission in India and I wondered, what do the Oriental Orthodox in India think of this?
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2013, 04:22:57 PM »
It is important to remember that the Oriental Orthodox in India are a tiny minority within a tiny minority (see, for instance, this interview on Coptic Youth Channel for more on Indian Orthodox demographics). The vast majority of Christian Indians are Roman Catholics, and of course it would be better if they were Orthodox. Anything more specific than that, I will defer to the Oriental Orthodox Indians who regularly post here. :)

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2013, 04:25:12 PM »
I just read an article about the Greek Orthodox Mission in India and I wondered, what do the Oriental Orthodox in India think of this?

Christians are less than 3% of the population in India, so it's not like they are going to be stepping on each others toes.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 04:28:07 PM by Iconodule »

Offline Ansgar

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 04:28:55 PM »
It is important to remember that the Oriental Orthodox in India are a tiny minority within a tiny minority (see, for instance, this interview on Coptic Youth Channel for more on Indian Orthodox demographics). The vast majority of Christian Indians are Roman Catholics, and of course it would be better if they were Orthodox. Anything more specific than that, I will defer to the Oriental Orthodox Indians who regularly post here. :)

Yeah, but I thought that since that since the Greek Orthodox Church has such a close relationship with the Oriental Orthodox, some would might see it s unnecessary.
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2013, 04:29:42 PM »
I just read an article about the Greek Orthodox Mission in India and I wondered, what do the Oriental Orthodox in India think of this?

Christians are less than 3% of the population in India, so it's not like they are going to be stepping on each others toes.

I have seen disputes between different juristictions in other places where Christianity was a tiny minority.
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Offline Alpo

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2013, 05:24:01 PM »
I'm pretty sure normal folks outside of internet don't really bother to think "problems" like this. The only place this matters is Jerusalem where they have their annual olympics of Christian behaviour.
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2013, 07:21:55 PM »
I think these missionaries are good.  At the moment the OO Indian churches are severely affected by their own factional problems that missionaries are very slow.  If they were active, perhaps this would be a problem, but right now, there is no problem, and perhaps encouraged.
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2013, 07:34:37 PM »
I just read an article about the Greek Orthodox Mission in India and I wondered, what do the Oriental Orthodox in India think of this?

Christians are less than 3% of the population in India, so it's not like they are going to be stepping on each others toes.

Depends.  When the Portugese came, they came to the area where the Christians were (or very close to it) and they did step on their toes.

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2013, 07:51:01 PM »
I just read an article about the Greek Orthodox Mission in India and I wondered, what do the Oriental Orthodox in India think of this?

Christians are less than 3% of the population in India, so it's not like they are going to be stepping on each others toes.

I have seen disputes between different juristictions in other places where Christianity was a tiny minority.

As I understand it, the OO's are concentrated around Kerala. Most of the Greek Orthodox activity is in and around Bengal, which is pretty far from Kerala. Their converts tend to come from Hindu backgrounds.

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2013, 06:24:58 AM »
AFAIK, Russians have bigger presence than than Greeks.
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2013, 07:28:24 AM »
I imagine there would be clashes if the Orthodox Malayali Keralites started converting to Chalcedonian Orthodoxy, but I think that is highly unlikely. From what I've heard, Greek and ROCOR missions are not in Kerala but are in other areas far from Kerala. The Jacobite and Malankara Orthodox Churches are more ethnocentric to the Nasrani Keralite people of India so it is good to see a more diverse Orthodox presence in the Subcontinent.

Christianity in India is actually not that small. India is home to the second largest population on the Earth and although Christians only represent two percent of India's population, that is still a LARGE number of persons.

I especially pray that the Church will not only reach out to those of lower castes but those of all castes.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 07:30:18 AM by Cantor Krishnich »
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2013, 12:00:04 AM »
I just read an article about the Greek Orthodox Mission in India and I wondered, what do the Oriental Orthodox in India think of this?

Christians are less than 3% of the population in India, so it's not like they are going to be stepping on each others toes.

I have seen disputes between different juristictions in other places where Christianity was a tiny minority.

As I understand it, the OO's are concentrated around Kerala. Most of the Greek Orthodox activity is in and around Bengal, which is pretty far from Kerala. Their converts tend to come from Hindu backgrounds.

Yes, I think this is the case, too. Also, there are many Indians in the Church of the East--how many, I'm not sure. Nor am I sure about their geographical spread. I didn't think there were any at first, but later found out that there were.
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2013, 12:02:15 AM »
AFAIK, Russians have bigger presence than than Greeks.

That is interesting. I hadn't heard that.

Not in India, but interesting: Years ago in the college library, I found a book in Russian about a mission to Persia in the early 20th century/late 19th century. It could have been related to the Russian mission to the Church of the East diocese of Urmia near the Russian frontier, but my impression was it went farther afield. I know also of a Russian bishop who went to Tibet, but know few details of what he did there--this was in the 19th century. It would be nice to know more of the Russian Orthodox history in India.
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2013, 08:16:30 AM »

Yes, I think this is the case, too. Also, there are many Indians in the Church of the East--how many, I'm not sure. Nor am I sure about their geographical spread. I didn't think there were any at first, but later found out that there were.

Mainly Kerala, too. Wikipedia says that (paradoxically) the metropolis Assyria is the biggest diocese in the Assyrian Church (that's very probable, because of all these divisions and persecutions in Iraq and Iran - only in India there is intercomunion and an agreement to have one metropolitan between 2 Assyrian fractions).

I know that Assyrians are more heretical than Roman Catholic, but, to tell the truth, I rally like them (maybe because of this perceptible semitism).

What I know, only during last years (20?) the Malankara Orthodox has making some missionary effort in India e.g translating the Liturgy in Hindi.

So, that's nice that Eastern Orthodoxy is growing in other parts of India and what I can observe (e.g from theortohodoxchurch.info), Malankara really appreciate this EO presence in India (it seems that Malanakara is more open for EO and consider us in some way as one Church). And it was unfortunate what Portuguese did in Kerala and surrounding provinces. Fortunately, most of Malankars haven't chosen the way of union or giving up its own practices for latin ones.

PS: I used to study indology for some time that's why I have some information about the Christianity in India. And really, it's quite large (e.g in the eastern north there are some provinces with 90% of Christians, unfortunately mainly anglicans and protestants), and many e.g Hindus even from other parts than Kerala, Karnataka etc. know taht about the Malankara Orthodox (of course, they don't differentiate it with EO, for them it's one Orthodox Church).
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2013, 06:38:51 AM »
In India Orthodoxy is awaiting the full potential to be realized. It was providence that brought its contact with the Syrian Orthodox Church in 17th Century. Through the Church's contact with Persian, Syrian , other members of the  Non Chalcedonian Orthodox communion, Anglican, Roman Catholic and even Greek or Russian Eastern Orthodox communion, I believe we are being directed towards fulfilling its destiny.

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2013, 08:02:27 AM »

Yes, I think this is the case, too. Also, there are many Indians in the Church of the East--how many, I'm not sure. Nor am I sure about their geographical spread. I didn't think there were any at first, but later found out that there were.

Mainly Kerala, too. Wikipedia says that (paradoxically) the metropolis Assyria is the biggest diocese in the Assyrian Church (that's very probable, because of all these divisions and persecutions in Iraq and Iran - only in India there is intercomunion and an agreement to have one metropolitan between 2 Assyrian fractions).

I know that Assyrians are more heretical than Roman Catholic, but, to tell the truth, I rally like them (maybe because of this perceptible semitism).

What I know, only during last years (20?) the Malankara Orthodox has making some missionary effort in India e.g translating the Liturgy in Hindi.

So, that's nice that Eastern Orthodoxy is growing in other parts of India and what I can observe (e.g from theortohodoxchurch.info), Malankara really appreciate this EO presence in India (it seems that Malanakara is more open for EO and consider us in some way as one Church). And it was unfortunate what Portuguese did in Kerala and surrounding provinces. Fortunately, most of Malankars haven't chosen the way of union or giving up its own practices for latin ones.

PS: I used to study indology for some time that's why I have some information about the Christianity in India. And really, it's quite large (e.g in the eastern north there are some provinces with 90% of Christians, unfortunately mainly anglicans and protestants), and many e.g Hindus even from other parts than Kerala, Karnataka etc. know taht about the Malankara Orthodox (of course, they don't differentiate it with EO, for them it's one Orthodox Church).

Not all Assyrians are "more heretical than Roman Catholic", their is the Syriac Orthodox Church in communion with Oriental Orthodoxy.

The Malankara Orthodox as well as other Oriental churches in Kerala are very ethnocentric to the Christian Malayalis (Nasranis) from Kerala. Most of the Indian Orthodox churches in India and abroad are what Westerners would call "Cradle-churches". This is understandable as the Orthodox Malayalis are very honored of their unique mix of Malayali Brahmin, Jewish, and Syrian culture. But, in my opinion, there have been many wasted opportunities in converting other Indians. The Western Protestants and Catholics are also to blame for this as they have given Christianity a bad name in the eyes of many traditional Indians.   
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2013, 10:38:05 AM »

Not all Assyrians are "more heretical than Roman Catholic", their is the Syriac Orthodox Church in communion with Oriental Orthodoxy.

Yes, of course my fault, I've just shortened my thought: by Assyrians, I meant the Assyrian Church of East.

But, in my opinion, there have been many wasted opportunities in converting other Indians.
Can you precise or give any example? That's very interesting topic for me and for sure because of your ethnicity and knowing the languages from the region you know a lot about it.

The Western Protestants and Catholics are also to blame for this as they have given Christianity a bad name in the eyes of many traditional Indians.   
Yeah, that's true... So, as famous Serbian Orthodox saint, bishop Nicholas Velimirovic has written in his book "Indian letters" (unfortunately, he claims in the book that Malankara are in some way heretical, but the difference between them and EO are not so much in fact), Only Orthodox Christianity is able to convice India to Christianity [becasuse of all these bad things done by Western Christianity] and only Orthodoxy can save India
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Offline Cantor Krishnich

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2013, 12:21:23 PM »

But, in my opinion, there have been many wasted opportunities in converting other Indians.
Can you precise or give any example? That's very interesting topic for me and for sure because of your ethnicity and knowing the languages from the region you know a lot about it.

The Western Protestants and Catholics are also to blame for this as they have given Christianity a bad name in the eyes of many traditional Indians.   
Yeah, that's true... So, as famous Serbian Orthodox saint, bishop Nicholas Velimirovic has written in his book "Indian letters" (unfortunately, he claims in the book that Malankara are in some way heretical, but the difference between them and EO are not so much in fact), Only Orthodox Christianity is able to convice India to Christianity [becasuse of all these bad things done by Western Christianity] and only Orthodoxy can save India

My heritage is partially from Northern India and Afghanistan. I speak Punjabi and Hindi but I dont speak Malayalam, the language of the Indian Orthodox Christians. South Indian culture and languages are very different from those of the North. The indigenous Christians of Kerala are ethnically Malayali Nasrani/Mar Thoma people who have their own separate culture related to other Malayalis. They should be classified as an ethno-religious group. I'm sure converts are welcomed, but in most cases, they would have to learn the Malayalam language to follow the services. Malayalam is a South Indian language and would definitely be very difficult for the average North, East, or West Indian to learn. Most Indian Orthodox Churches outside of Kerala are predominately minister to Malayalis with very small numbers of converts.

It would help their missionary efforts if they would use more Hindi and other languages so everyone could understand the liturgies and ordaining Non-Malayali Nasrani priests. Its great that they are proud of their rich culture based on religion but they should make a few sacrifices as Greek and Russian churches here in the U.S. have done. 

The Greek and Russian Orthodox missions in India are refreshing because they don't carry the Keralite ethnocentrism that the Indian Orthodox carries. However, because of the bad image that the West has given Christianity, they'll have a harder time convert higher castes unfortunately.   

     
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2013, 12:30:41 PM »
So, as famous Serbian Orthodox saint, bishop Nicholas Velimirovic has written in his book "Indian letters" (unfortunately, he claims in the book that Malankara are in some way heretical, but the difference between them and EO are not so much in fact), Only Orthodox Christianity is able to convice India to Christianity [becasuse of all these bad things done by Western Christianity] and only Orthodoxy can save India

IIRC St. Nicholas was friends with Rabindranath Tagore - he even came to visit him at Ohrid.

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2013, 12:37:42 PM »
It would help their missionary efforts if they would use more Hindi and other languages so everyone could understand the liturgies and ordaining Non-Malayali Nasrani priests. Its great that they are proud of their rich culture based on religion but they should make a few sacrifices as Greek and Russian churches here in the U.S. have done.

To my understanding, this already happens, though I'm not sure how common it is.

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2013, 12:51:52 PM »

South Indian culture and languages are very different from those of the North. The indigenous Christians of Kerala are ethnically Malayali Nasrani/Mar Thoma people who have their own separate culture related to other Malayalis. They should be classified as an ethno-religious group. I'm sure converts are welcomed, but in most cases, they would have to learn the Malayalam language to follow the services.Malayalam is a South Indian language and would definitely be very difficult for the average North, East, or West Indian to learn.
Yeah, I know the languages are completly different (as I said, I used to study indology and and Hindi and I do not understand Malayalam at all), becasue they're from 2 separate languages families (Hindi - indo-european and malayalam - dravidian) and they use also completly diffferent writting systems.

And I know they use symbolically a bit of Syriac too. But as dzheremi has posted, I've heard some Litugies and hymns translated into Hindi by Malankaras, so I hope it will be a great missionary fruit outside Kerala among non Nasranis.     
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Offline Cantor Krishnich

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2013, 01:05:42 PM »
It would help their missionary efforts if they would use more Hindi and other languages so everyone could understand the liturgies and ordaining Non-Malayali Nasrani priests. Its great that they are proud of their rich culture based on religion but they should make a few sacrifices as Greek and Russian churches here in the U.S. have done.

To my understanding, this already happens, though I'm not sure how common it is.

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They use a little Hindi sometimes, but definitely not enough of it. That's why I said they should use more Hindi.
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2013, 01:48:57 PM »

My heritage is partially from Northern India and Afghanistan. I speak Punjabi and Hindi but I dont speak Malayalam, the language of the Indian Orthodox Christians. South Indian culture and languages are very different from those of the North. The indigenous Christians of Kerala are ethnically Malayali Nasrani/Mar Thoma people who have their own separate culture related to other Malayalis. They should be classified as an ethno-religious group. I'm sure converts are welcomed, but in most cases, they would have to learn the Malayalam language to follow the services. Malayalam is a South Indian language and would definitely be very difficult for the average North, East, or West Indian to learn. Most Indian Orthodox Churches outside of Kerala are predominately minister to Malayalis with very small numbers of converts.

It would help their missionary efforts if they would use more Hindi and other languages so everyone could understand the liturgies and ordaining Non-Malayali Nasrani priests. Its great that they are proud of their rich culture based on religion but they should make a few sacrifices as Greek and Russian churches here in the U.S. have done. 

The Greek and Russian Orthodox missions in India are refreshing because they don't carry the Keralite ethnocentrism that the Indian Orthodox carries. However, because of the bad image that the West has given Christianity, they'll have a harder time convert higher castes unfortunately.   

     

Honestly, I agree with most of what you say here but I feel compelled to defend my Church in a couple respects.

1. Keep in mind having the liturgy in ANY Indian language is a relatively recent event (in Orthodox Time). If I remember correctly, the Liturgy was only translated into Malayalam in the late 19th Century and even then, Syriac Qurbanas were the norm up until the mid 20th Century. In fact, there are still some portions of our services which either have yet to be translated from Syriac, or have only been translated to prose.

2. There has been a lot of progress made in the last 20 years. When I was born, the only languages available were Malayalam and Syriac. Within the last two decades alone, we've created English, Hindi, and Konkani translations, with Tamil and Kannada translations on the way. The Metropolitan of Delhi recently held a forum for people who converted to the Orthodox Faith, which included converts from Indian faiths such as Sikhism and Hinduism. We may still be an "ethnic" church for the time being, but definitely we're working on fixing that.

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2013, 02:00:15 PM »
It would help their missionary efforts if they would use more Hindi and other languages so everyone could understand the liturgies and ordaining Non-Malayali Nasrani priests. Its great that they are proud of their rich culture based on religion but they should make a few sacrifices as Greek and Russian churches here in the U.S. have done.

To my understanding, this already happens, though I'm not sure how common it is.

Orthodox Holy Qurbana in Hindi


They use a little Hindi sometimes, but definitely not enough of it. That's why I said they should use more Hindi.

Is the liturgy in the video not primarily in Hindi? I don't speak any Indian language, but I had assumed from the title and the comments that it is. It's definitely not the only Hindi Orthodox Qurbana I've found, either, so it does seem that they're making some good progress in this area, as Sheenj points out.

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2013, 02:20:57 PM »
It would help their missionary efforts if they would use more Hindi and other languages so everyone could understand the liturgies and ordaining Non-Malayali Nasrani priests. Its great that they are proud of their rich culture based on religion but they should make a few sacrifices as Greek and Russian churches here in the U.S. have done.

To my understanding, this already happens, though I'm not sure how common it is.

Orthodox Holy Qurbana in Hindi


They use a little Hindi sometimes, but definitely not enough of it. That's why I said they should use more Hindi.

Is the liturgy in the video not primarily in Hindi? I don't speak any Indian language, but I had assumed from the title and the comments that it is. It's definitely not the only Hindi Orthodox Qurbana I've found, either, so it does seem that they're making some good progress in this area, as Sheenj points out.

I think he was referring to the frequency of Hindi Liturgies, which IMO is a valid point. There should be more liturgies in the local language.

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2013, 02:26:21 PM »
Ah, I see. Apologies for the misunderstanding. That is a good point.

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2013, 02:27:32 PM »

My heritage is partially from Northern India and Afghanistan. I speak Punjabi and Hindi but I dont speak Malayalam, the language of the Indian Orthodox Christians. South Indian culture and languages are very different from those of the North. The indigenous Christians of Kerala are ethnically Malayali Nasrani/Mar Thoma people who have their own separate culture related to other Malayalis. They should be classified as an ethno-religious group. I'm sure converts are welcomed, but in most cases, they would have to learn the Malayalam language to follow the services. Malayalam is a South Indian language and would definitely be very difficult for the average North, East, or West Indian to learn. Most Indian Orthodox Churches outside of Kerala are predominately minister to Malayalis with very small numbers of converts.

It would help their missionary efforts if they would use more Hindi and other languages so everyone could understand the liturgies and ordaining Non-Malayali Nasrani priests. Its great that they are proud of their rich culture based on religion but they should make a few sacrifices as Greek and Russian churches here in the U.S. have done. 

The Greek and Russian Orthodox missions in India are refreshing because they don't carry the Keralite ethnocentrism that the Indian Orthodox carries. However, because of the bad image that the West has given Christianity, they'll have a harder time convert higher castes unfortunately.   

     

Honestly, I agree with most of what you say here but I feel compelled to defend my Church in a couple respects.

1. Keep in mind having the liturgy in ANY Indian language is a relatively recent event (in Orthodox Time). If I remember correctly, the Liturgy was only translated into Malayalam in the late 19th Century and even then, Syriac Qurbanas were the norm up until the mid 20th Century. In fact, there are still some portions of our services which either have yet to be translated from Syriac, or have only been translated to prose.

2. There has been a lot of progress made in the last 20 years. When I was born, the only languages available were Malayalam and Syriac. Within the last two decades alone, we've created English, Hindi, and Konkani translations, with Tamil and Kannada translations on the way. The Metropolitan of Delhi recently held a forum for people who converted to the Orthodox Faith, which included converts from Indian faiths such as Sikhism and Hinduism. We may still be an "ethnic" church for the time being, but definitely we're working on fixing that.

This is good news. Personally, I think certain portions of the Qurbana should be left in Syriac for religious historical purposes. Hopefully a bishop following the footsteps of Mar Thoma will re-establish the church that once existed in Maharaja Gondophoros's kingdom.  
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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2013, 02:25:10 AM »


It would help their missionary efforts if they would use more Hindi and other languages so everyone could understand the liturgies and ordaining Non-Malayali Nasrani priests. Its great that they are proud of their rich culture based on religion but they should make a few sacrifices as Greek and Russian churches here in the U.S. have done. 

The Greek and Russian Orthodox missions in India are refreshing because they don't carry the Keralite ethnocentrism that the Indian Orthodox carries. However, because of the bad image that the West has given Christianity, they'll have a harder time convert higher castes unfortunately.   

     


That's good to hear.  I was happy to learn about a Greek orphanage for girls near Kolkata:  The Lucky Girls

Offline Orest

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2013, 09:17:19 AM »
Thanks for the link to the movie and information about that orphanage.  What a wondeful ministry.

Offline Velsigne

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Re: Greek Orthodox in India
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2013, 09:28:59 AM »
You're welcome.