Catholicate Day of Malankara Indian Orthodox Church I 36th Day / 6th Sunday of Great Lent
As long as the sun shines, till then shall the Catholicate remain
Catholicate Day is observed as ‘Day of the Church’ (Sabha Dinam) to reaffirm our loyalty and dedication to the Holy Church, to the Throne of St. Thomas, to the Catholicate of the East and to the Catholicos and all the members of Holy Episcopal Synod. Catholicate day, is a day for prayer and dedication for the Church, the Catholicos, Bishops, Priests, Clergy, Faithful and for all activities of the Church. It is the duty of each faithful to pray for the Holy Church and to serve the Church the way God desires. We faithful, are obliged to remember all our forefathers who had suffered for the reestablishment of the Catholicate in India.
The Catholicate, the Headquarters of the Orthodox Christians of the East, the Holy See of the St. Thomas, was established at the Jerusalem Synod of the Church in 231 A.D. It was first situated in Edessa in Persia, then moved to Seleucia, then to Tigris in the present Iraq and then to Mosul. The Catholicos of the East, in Tigris in 629 A.D. was the Head of the Christian Church in India. The persecution of Christians in Persia from 5th century A.D. affected the Catholicate in Tigris. It was very appropriate to move the Catholicate headquarters to Malankara, as the number of faithful in Malankara increased extensively and among other reasons. Thus, the Catholicate of the East was re-located and established in India in 1912, 15 September, at Kottayam, in Kerala. Hence, this day is also a day to commemorate the re-establishment of ancient Catholicate of East in Malankara
The ancient Orthodox Church of Malankara was established by St. Thomas the Apostle of Christ, who spread the gospel in the East. He is rightly called as the first Metropolitan of the East, and the Catholicos and Metropolitans who led the Churches in the east can be rightly called his successors. The Primate and supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Church (Orthodox Syrian Church of the East) is the Chief of the Office of the Catholicate of the East, who is seated on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas. His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Mathews III is the current Catholicos enthroned, on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas in the East and the Metropolitan of Malankara. The Catholicate day reveals the freedom, deep passion and love for the Church in the minds of the devotees. The whole Church prays for the wellbeing of the holy Catholicos and makes long life wishes to the Holy throne of Saint Thomas in Malankara.
It was decided in Malankara association held at M.D Seminary 1934 December 26, that the Catholicate day must be observed on the 36th day (Sixth Sunday) of the Holy Great Lent. The Church is celebrating the Catholicate Day, as on this day, St Simon Bar Sabbae, Catholicos of the East (AD 329-341), in Persia, attained Martyrdom, at the hands of King Shappor II’s men. The Christians living in the Persian Empire was being persecuted by the Shappor II, because of the Persian empire’s enmity towards the Christian Roman Empire. After the formation of the MD Seminary Association in 1934 and the formation of a constitution for the Church, His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Geevarghese II, the then Catholicos who took over the position of Metropolitan of Malankara from St. Vattasseril Mar Dionysius and he came up with the idea of a ‘Trust’ (Nidhi) and implemented it with the help of other fathers of our Church. HH bought a property at Devalokam in Kottayam and shifted the Church headquarters there. The blessed fathers, Pampady Thirumeni and Puthenkavil Kochu Thirumeni, extended full support and the Catholicate Trust was instituted. Kalpana from H.H. Baselios Geevarghese II dated 10 February 1961, says that sixth Sunday, the 36th day of the Great Lent shall be celebrated as (Catholicate Day) Church Day. Every year the people of the Church set aside a portion of their work for the general growth of the Church. This increased the unity and participation of the people in the Church. It has brought things to the level of being the most financially secure Church in Kerala.
It is this great blessing bestowed on the Holy Church by the Catholicos, that has contributed to the growth and strength of the Church today. The funds are used as assistance of underdeveloped dioceses, Seminaries of our Church Housing, marriage assistance to needy, medical assistance to the sick Educational assistance, Assistance to the central level activities of spiritual organizations, Assistance to Mission Institutions and Charities activities in the Church, Widow’s Pension, Priestly Welfare Fund, Clergy Pension, Welfare Scheme for Sextons and Caretakers, for the day to day of the Church, Assistance to Ecumenical Movements, Scholarships, Public Works, Media, Conferences, Environmental Activities, against Alcohol and Drugs. No funds from the Catholic Day collection, is spend for the legal needs of the Church.
The Holy Church, remains steadfast in its unwavering allegiance to the Catholicate Throne, in faith. The Malankara Church is led by the Fathers, who are full of the Holy Spirit. As long as there is life in the mother’s womb, the golden throne of Catholicism will be the soul of the soul, and will be cared for like the apple of the eye. By observing the Catholicate Day, each year, we instil an inspiration and willingness in our faithful to work sincerely for the progress of the Church, the preservation of Catholicate and the dissemination of the true faith of the Church.
Let us pray diligently for our Church, work for the unity of the church and prepare for the holiness of the Church. Let’s stand with the fathers. Let us celebrate the Catholicate Day, in such a manner that it conforms to the fulfillment of its aims. Let us all faithful go to the church on the day and participate in the Holy Qurbana and express our allegiance to the Holy Church. Let us also Enlighten our members on the Holy Church and the Catholicate, the epitome of her independence.