Friday, October 15, 2010

Remembering the Fathers

One is remembered as a Church Father not because they are infallible with no short comings, but through their actions, words and thoughts, long after they departed this world bring more clarity and could edify others to live out the Orthodox Christian faith.

The Malankara Orthodox Church lists a multitude of Saints and Church fathers in the fifth diptych of it’s Holy Eucharist Service, when the community comes together as ‘Church’ and worship God. The list include the Church Fathers of the past 2000 years outside of India - those who live and declared the common faith of the Orthodox Church, those who particularly had interacted with the Church in India like St. Eldho Mar Baselios, those from Indian origin who taught by example to live out a life of prayer like St. Gregorios of Parumala, the beloved Saint of the Church in India – Vattasheril Gee Varghese Mar Dionysius Thirumeny.

A key point which we often miss out during the worship is that the list is endless – The Diptych ends with these words that we remember and beseech the Lord that prayers of the fathers listed – “... and those before them, and with them, and after them, those who have kept and handed down and entrusted to us the One genuine and undefiled faith” be a refuge to us the Church.
This compel us to remember that that for the Church the Fathers are live, continuing in their prayers, and we join them in our prayers. Also, there is a very serious responsibility entrusted to us - The Fathers have kept, handed down the Orthodox Christian faith and is entrusting to keep and hand it down to others.

A Father of the Malankara Church that comes to my mind today during our own times- exemplary in encouraging one another, strengthening each other to see with our eyes open what our faith entails is the departed Fr. V.C. Samuel of Memory Eternal. Some know him, many don’t, and some might have come across him at Wikipedia -
To me what encouraged me to remember him today was reading this response from his book - ‘An Orthodox Catechism on the Faith and Life of the Church’ on the ‘Need of Divine Economy for Human Salvation ‘
“Man is a creature of God, endowed with creaturely freedom. As a creature, he has a beginning and the possibility of an end. Yet, unlike other creatures, he/she is created to attain eternal life, which God grants. To gain this goal, man is called to live on earth in communion with the Creator and follow His way, using his creaturely autonomy. However, man took advantage of his personal freedom to follow his own plan in life. This led to his fall from the Source of Eternal life, to which he had to be restored. This restoration required an absolute surrender to God on the part of man, which was possible only by God Himself helping man to do it. Therefore the coming together of God the Son and man into union was necessary, and God accomplished it in Jesus Christ”

Lord forgive us and have mercy on us, for while the Fathers knew you and lived You- We have fallen away . Strengthen us to seek you in our lives like the Church Fathers

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