DC-MD-VA Area Catholicate Centenary Celebrations held on September 23, 2012

The year 2012 is a blessed year for the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, as it is the year for the centenary celebration of the establishment of the Catholicate in India in 1912. The purpose of the celebration was an assertion of the Church's nationality, autonomy, and autocephaly and to provide awareness of the significance and greatness of the Catholicate to the growing generation. It is a rare opportunity and blessing for all the members of the Church to partake in this milestone.

Five churches located in the Nation’s Capital Region (Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) conducted the centenary celebration on September 23, 2012 under the leadership and guidance of His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, the Metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese. The celebration was held at the newly built St. Thomas Orthodox Church - 13505 New Hampshire Avenue Silver Spring, MD. A week-long celebration began with hoisting the Catholicate flag on Saturday September 15, 2012. More than 400 faithful members of the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Syrian Churches in the region participated in the celebrations on Sunday September 23 that included the Holy Liturgy, followed by public meeting, magnificent luncheon, and an afternoon filled with entertainment programs. Because of the leadership of Rev. Fr. K. P. Varghese, President of the Catholicate Centenary Celebration (CCC) Committee of Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (DMV), the event was a grand success.

His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, the Metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese was the Chief Guest for this occasion, along with presence of other Clergies of the Orthodox Church community and other political leaders. His Grace conducted the Holy Liturgy. His Grace inaugurated the Catholicate Centenary celebrations by lighting the lamp. Rev. Fr. K. P. Varghese read the official felicitation from His Holiness Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose II, the eighth Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan since the establishment of the Catholicate in India in 1912. Rev. Fr. K. P. Varghese also welcomed the chief guests and participants. In his key note speech, His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos reminded the majestic coming of St. Thomas into India for spreading the gospel, teachings of his Master, and converting many in to Christianity. His Grace reiterated the need to rise up to the occasion to support the Church and its establishments and gave a detailed history of the Catholicate in Malankara. He congratulated the faithful in the region on their continued commitment to upholding our Orthodox faith, the support for the Throne of the Catholicate, and the Diocese. He stated that this celebration shows the honor of our membership of a Church that is over 1960 years old; a historic event in the history of Christianity. The Metropolitan added that the establishment of the Catholicate of the East reflects international commitment of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church, her autocephalous nature and proper insights on the mission of the Church.

Rev. Fr. Alexander (James) Kurien, the former vicar of St. Gregorios Orthodox Church - 2337 Fairland Road Silver Spring, MD and a Senior Staff of the current President Obama Administration, read the congratulatory felicitation from the Office of the President. In his letter, the President recognized the leadership of His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos and commended the faithful for the continued commitment to service and charities in the local communities.

Rev. Fr. M. K. Kuriakose, our Diocesan Secretary congratulated the members of all five churches and the committee members for coordinating this wonderful event. State and local political representatives extended congratulations, citations, and felicitations for the event. The Choir under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Laby George Panackamattom, current vicar of St. Gregorios Orthodox Church 2337 Fairland Road Silver Spring, Maryland, did an excellent performance during the event. Rev. Fr. George C. Mathew, Jr., the vicar of St. Mary's Orthodox Church Clifton Town Hall, 12641 Chapel Road Clifton, Virginia, and Rev. Fr. K. O. Chacko, the vicar of St. Thomas Orthodox Church 28201 Kemptown Road Damascus, Maryland, participated in the celebrations. After lunch, the children of all ages from various churches presented an impressive entertainment program for the attendees. Rev. Fr. Andrew Daniel, the vicar of the host parish, expressed the Vote of Thanks to all who attended, and thanked God for being able to host such an event. A week long celebrations ended with benediction by His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos.

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Tags: Catholicate Centenary Celebrations, Holy Qurbano

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