Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Volume 1 No. 18 August 12, 2011
Shunoyo (Assumption of St. Mary) Special

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Assumption by Micael Angelo
Assumption by Michael Angelo
Table of Contents
Editor's Note
This week is an important one to our church. Last week, we celebrated the Transfiguration Feast. The next Sunday (August 14) is the 2nd Sunday after Transfiguration. The Gospel reading is Mark 12:38-44. It is the well known story about the widow and the 2 coins. Jesus, watching the people tithing in the temple, comments to His disciples that the widow who has donated 2 coins has done more than all others because she donated everything she had. There is some debate among biblical experts as to whether Jesus is talking about the generous tithing or he is criticizing the temple establishment for the exploitation of the widows and the poor. The bible commentaries, analyses and the sermons provided in Malankara World will cover this issue from various angles. You can find the links here:

Monday, August 15 is the Shunoyo (Soonoyo) Perunnal. This is the day, we believe that St. Mary has departed from this world. The church fathers teach us that the Mother of God was assumed to heaven after her death. This is a very important feast for us. Malankara World has a Supplement for Shunoyo Perunnal that covers the feast from various perspectives. In fact, this edition of Malankara World Journal is a special one to celebrate the Shunoyo (Assumption). More on the supplement later. In case you have a problem with the links, here is the full URL for the Shunoyo Supplement:

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (August 14)
Second Sunday after the Festival of Transfiguration
  • Evening
    • St. Luke 14: 15-24
  • Morning
    • St. Mark 10:28-34
  • Before Holy Qurbana
    • Exodus 23: 20-27
    • Psalms 29
    • Hosea 11:1-9
  • Holy Qurbana
    • I Peter 5: 1-11
    • I Corinthians 10: 1 -13
    • St. Mark 12:38-44

Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Sermons for This Sunday (August 14)
We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.

More Sermons

Bible Readings for Shunoyo - August 15

The Festival of the Assumption of St. Mary (August 15)
  • Evening
    • St. Luke 1: 39 - 56, 2: 22 - 35
  • Morning
    • St. Luke 2: 42-51,
  • Before Holy Qurbana
    • Exodus 3:1 - 6, 19: 16-23
    • Ezekiel 44 : 1 - 3
    • Isaiah 45: 11 -19
  • Holy Qurbana
    • Acts 1: 12 - 14, 7: 44 -53
    • Hebrews 9: 3-12, 2: 14 - 18
    • St. Luke 11 : 22 -28
    • St. Matthew 12: 46 - 50
    • St. John 19: 25-27

Sermons for Shunoyo (Assumption) - August 15

Commentaries, Analyses and Sermons for Shunoyo (Assumption of St. Mary)

More homilies and articles in Malankara World Shunoyo Supplement

This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today
Give thanks to his holy name!

"The heavens are not pure in his sight; how much less one who is abominable and corrupt, a man who drinks injustice like water!"--"And the stars are not pure in his eyes; how much less man, . . . who is a worm!"

"Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness?"--"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts."

As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."--Share his holiness.

God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.--Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, . . . without spot or blemish.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. . . . And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Ps. 97:12; Job 15:15, 16; Job 25:5, 6; Ex. 15:11; Isa. 6:3; 1 Pet. 1:15, 16; Heb. 12:10; 1 Cor. 3:17; 2 Pet. 3:11, 14; Eph. 4:29, 30

Featured This Week: Shunoyo (Assumption)
August and September are important months for St. Mary, Holy Mother of God. On August 15, we celebrate the feast of Assumption. On September 8, we celebrate her birth. The Orthodox faith is that St. Mary died and was taken bodily to heaven (assumption) where she is the queen mediator between us and Jesus Christ. There is an important difference between what we believe and what Catholics believe in terms of what happened to St. Mary at the end. Catholics believe that St. Mary was taken up as in case of Enoch and Elia without bodily death. Orthodox Belief is that she was assumed after a bodily death.
Malankara World Shunoyo Supplement will cover both sides of this issue. It has plenty of articles, homilies, prayers, and eBooks covering all aspects of assumption as well as about the life of St. Mary. Important writings from church fathers such as St. Gregory Palamas and St. John of Damascene are presented. An important eBook on St. Mary written by our Holy Father, the Patriarch, that was serialized in SOCM Forum, is published in its entirety. We also have another eBook written by Cicily Sunny a decade ago that provides further insight into the life of St. Mary and the end times. Please access the MW Shunoyo Supplement here. Here are some highlights:
General Articles on Assumption - Dormiteon
Soonoyo Lent by Very Rev. Kuriakose Corepiscopa Moolayil
The Syrian Orthodox Church observes the Soonoyo lent in connection with the translation of St. Mary. The church observes different days and hours in honour of St. Mary, the blessed.

Shunoyo Lent by H.E Mor Themotheos Thomas Metropolitan
Shunoyo lent is very old and is in memory of St. Mary. It is interesting to see that in all the ancient Churches, this lent is observed.

The Dormition Fast: Ending another year of grace in Our Lord
The Byzantine Church since at least the 5th century has practiced a period of fasting prior to the feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Christians of the East have always recognized the mystery of Our Lady’s Dormition, her ‘falling asleep’ at the end of her natural life when in a miraculous way she was assumed into heaven to sit with her Lord and our Lord.

The Feast of the Assumption (Shunoyo) of St. Mary by Fr. Mathai Varkey Puthukkunnathu
Beyond all heretical teachings and deviations, the prominence of Saint Mary is made clear in the words of Cyril of Alexandria.

Assumption - Eastern Orthodox View
The feast of the Dormition or Falling-asleep of the Theotokos is celebrated on the fifteenth of August, preceded by a two-week fast. This feast, which is also sometimes called the Assumption, commemorates the death, resurrection and glorification of Christ's mother.

Mary’s Assumption is hope for today’s society, says Pope Benedict XVI
Today there are those who live as if they were never to die or as if all should end with death. Some act as if humankind was master of its own destiny, as if God did not exist, going so far as to deny Him any place in our world.

The Assumption and the World by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
The Assumption challenges the nothingness of the Mortician philosophers in a new way. The greatest task of the spiritual leaders today is to save mankind from despair, into which Sex and Fear of Death have cast it.

Mary's Assumption by Fr. Patrick Greenough, OFM
Catholic view of Assumption.

Apocryphal Works on the Assumption of Mary
The Account of St. John the Theologian of the Falling Asleep of the Holy Mother of God.

Dormition of the Theotokos - Greek Orthodox Teaching
Concerning the Dormition of the Theotokos, this is what the Church has received from ancient times from the tradition of the Fathers.

The Dormition Of The Theotokos And Ever-Virgin Mary
Many believe that at the end of her life Mary was assumed bodily ‘into heaven’. This claim, magisterially entitled ‘The Doctrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary’, is a Latin concept.

The Early Church Fathers on the Assumption

Relevant Scripture on St. Mary's Assumption into Heaven

Homilies/Sermons about Assumption

On the Dormition of Our Supremely Pure Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary by St. Gregory Palamas
Both love and duty today fashion my homily for your charity. I am obliged by the sacred canons, to bring to your God-loving ears a saving word and thus to nourish your souls, but if there be any among those things that bind by obligation and love and can be narrated with praise for the Church, it is the great deed of the Ever-Virgin Mother of God.

St. John of Damascene: Homily I on the Assumption/Dormition
Neither human tongue nor angelic mind is able worthily to praise her through whom it is given to us to look clearly upon the Lord's glory. What then? Shall we be silent through fear of our insufficiency? Certainly not.

St. John of Damascene: Homily II on the Assumption/Dormition
There is no one in existence who is able to praise worthily the holy death of God's Mother, even if he should have a thousand tongues and a thousand mouths. Not if all the most eloquent tongues could be united would their praises be sufficient.

St. John of Damascene: Homily III on the Assumption/Dormition
To-day she begins her second life through Him who was the cause of her first being. She gave a beginning, I mean, the life of the body, to Him who had no beginning in time, although the Father was the cause of His divine existence.

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Pope John Paul II
Homily delivered by Pope John Paul II on Wednesday, 15 August 2001.

Homily During the Mass on the Solemnity of the Assumption by HH Pope Benedict XVI
Delivered at the Parish Church of Castel Gandolfo on 15 August 2005.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Rev. James Bartoloma
Homily given at the annual Mater Ecclesiae Solemn High Mass in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden, NJ on August 15, 2007.

Feast of the Assumption - A Homily (2001) by Fr. Robert Altier
But the wonderful thing is she is also our mother, and she is our queen. As she glorifies God, she prays for each one of us, her children. When we see these readings today, we recognize that death indeed has been destroyed.

Feast of the Assumption - A Homily  (2002) by Fr. Robert Altier
Right from the very beginning of humanity there has been a struggle between life and death. From the very first moments of human existence, Satan came down and tempted Adam and Eve, and they fell; they chose death over life.

Feast of the Assumption - A Homily  (2003) by Fr. Robert Altier
As we celebrate today the glorious solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we have to recognize the importance of this feast and why we hold it in such honor.

Feast of the Assumption - A Homily  (2004) by Fr. Robert Altier
Indeed, Our Lady’s words in her Magnificat that all generations would call her blessed ring true in every single generation for the last 2,000 years. And for all eternity the same glory will be given to her because, of all the human creatures that God has made, there is none more blessed than she.

The Dignity of the Human Body - A Homily (2005) by Fr. Robert Altier
But we too, being members of the Mystical Body of Christ, are to share in the crushing of the head of Satan. He was there trying to devour her Child.

"The Third Word of the Cross: Family" by: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
Like her son, Mary was not unacquainted with grief. Not at all! What sorrow it must have caused her when she had to lay her new-born son in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

General Articles/eBooks about St. Mary

The Holy Virgin Mary in the Syrian Orthodox Church by HH Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas
How greatly appealing the discourse about the Mother of God, the Holy Virgin Mary is! Our Holy Church fathers had had extensive scrutinizing studies of her biography; inspired ecclesiastical poets wrote beautiful poems in glorification of her; celebrated artists sculpted the most beautiful statues of her and skillful painters filled the world with her splendid portraits.

Virgin Mary, Mother of God By Mrs. Cicily Sunny
This eBook is based on the author's readings about Virgin Mary in the books 'The Poem of the Man-God' by Maria Valtorta and 'The Signs of the Times' by Benny Punnathura.

Morth Mariam Yeldos Aloho
Mary is familiar name for Bible readers. 7 different women bear the name, Mary in the New Testament.

The Mystery of Holy Mary, Mother of God
When I was a young student of the church I had opportunities to meet regularly with my teacher, His Grace Bishop John. When we met, I usually asked tough questions first.

Intercessional Prayers to St. Mary

Prayer of Consecration to St. Mary

Prayer to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Intercessionary Prayer to Virgin Mary, Orthodox Prayer

Maronite Catholic: Qolo (Hymn) of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Canon of Supplication to the Most Holy Mother of God at the Confession of a Sinner


Intercessional Prayer to St. Mary Used by Mother Teresa

In Praise of Virginity by Ephrem of Edessa

Rasa-Intersession Prayer Song to St. Mary by Jeebo G. Kulathumkal - Malayalam

This is only a partial list of contents in the Malankara World Supplement for Shunoyo. Please check the entire list online.
Follow Mary's Example as a Mother

by Stephen Felker

[Editor's Note: This article is excerpted from "Jesus’ Care For His Mother" by Stephen Felker, a sermon based on John 19:25-27. You can read the full article in Malankara World.]

There were many near the cross of Jesus that day: the religious leaders were there to mock Him, & see Him suffer and die. They were the ones who spearheaded His death. They taunted Jesus saying, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him” (Matthew 27:42). Then there were the curious spectators. Jerusalem was filled with pilgrims at Passover. The place of crucifixion was along a busy road leading in and out of Jerusalem. The Romans wanted many people to see crucified victims as a warning not to violate Roman law. Then there were the Roman executioners, who were indifferent to the suffering of Jesus. There were also two who were crucified with Him.

But one group of people received special notice. They came close to Jesus in His time of suffering because of their love and devotion. In v.25 we read, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” Matthew (27:55) spoke of women beholding from afar, but John mentions three or four women (1) who have clearly drawn near the Cross by now. They were near enough to hear Jesus speak, and near enough to see the anguish and agony on His face! He who showed such love to others does not die unlamented. In the midst of rage & fury, loving followers stand near Him in His dying moments.

Now the one that we will focus on this morning is Jesus’ mother. She headed the list. In fact, John alone mentions the mother of Jesus in the group. Our heart goes out to her. To watch your child suffer & die must be one of the worst experiences of life.

Mary’s example challenges us first of all to:

A. Have Steadfast Devotion for Your Children

The thousands whom Jesus had fed, healed, blessed, and comforted had turned away–but His mother was there near Him. Mary showed her love and devotion to the very end. They convicted Him of blasphemy, but she still believed that He was the promised Messiah. She & the other faithful followers at the cross exhibited the words of the Song of Solomon: “love is as strong as death…. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it…” (8:6-7).

You know, you can usually count on your mother to stand by you, even when others won’t. Isn’t it wonderful to have a mother like that, who will stand by you through thick and thin? How can we not fully appreciate the heart of a mother!

I hope every mother here will follow Mary’s example, and be devoted to your children as she was.

Secondly, Mary's example teaches us to:

B. Be Strong for Your Children

Mom’s are endowed by God with great strength. After all, being a mom is one of the most difficult assignments a woman will ever accept. Mothering is no job for a weak person! Someone said that if motherhood were going to be easy, it never would have started with something called labor. Mary’s strength was exhibited in at least two ways:

1. Unlike all but one of the male disciples, she & the few other followers displayed a lot of courage to be at the cross.

We see her standing strong in the face of such hostility by the religious leaders, the crowds, and the thieves crucified with Him. They could have been accused of guilt by association. At the very least they could have been objects of scorn. Yet they drew near the cross, and clearly demonstrated that they were His followers. There are some women who show courage like few men do.

What a contrast they were to most of the male disciples. Where was Peter, the big, bold fisherman? Where was Thomas, who had said, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him” (John 11:16). Where were the other disciples? Mt. 26:56 says of theme, “They forsook Him and fled.” As we see from v.26 that only John returns to follow Jesus to the cross. (2)

2. Another evidence of her strength is the fact that she did not flee the terrible sight.

Though her heart was filled with sorrow, I believe that she kept her composure. She would not let anything keep her from being there for her son. That is one characteristic of mothers that is worthy of honor. A mother’s love and devotion enables her to keep going when others would quit. A mother will make heroic sacrifices for her children.

Years ago, a young mother was making her way across the hills of South Wales, carrying her tiny babe in her arms, when she was overtaken by a blinding blizzard. She never reached her destination alive, and when the blizzard had subsided her body was found beneath the snow. But the searchers discovered that before her death she had taken off all her outer clothing and wrapped it about her baby. And when they unwrapped the child, to their great surprise and joy, they found he was alive and well. She had given her life for her child, proving the depth of her mother love. Years later that child, David Lloyd George, grown to manhood, became prime minister of Great Britain, and without doubt one of England's greatest statesmen. (3)

Dear mothers, will you be strong for your children? Are you spiritually the kind of mother that your children need?

Finally, Mary's example teaches us to:

C. Be Willing to Suffer for & with Your Children

Can you imagine how difficult it was for Mary to be there, to watch her son suffer so much? What a horrible sight for a mother to look upon! The same head that Mary kissed and caressed in a cradle now bleeds from a thorny crown on a cross! The crowd was screaming and mocking, her son was bleeding, and she was watching it all. She experienced the fulfillment of Simeon’s prophecy (Lk. 2:35). He told her some thirty years before that someday her own heart would be pierced through also. We can only imagine how much Mary suffered that day with grief and sorrow that only few can imagine.

Being a mother or father is a great experience, but we must be realistic and expect the possibility that it can be a source of great suffering and pain. Being a mother begins with great pain. Some of you have buried a child. Others of you have worked long hard hours to provide for, and care for a child. Many parents have experienced the heartbreak of a rebellious child. Oh yes, there can be great suffering in being a mother. But there is also great reward! Many rewards are yet to come! So don’t flee from the responsibilities of being a parent just to avoid suffering. Accept suffering as a necessary part of being a parent.

Now I want every child here today, whether young or old, to appreciate what Mary illustrates, that your mothers have been devoted to you, strong for you, and have suffered for you. They are worthy of your honor, respect, obedience, and love. And so that leads to my next scene in this drama at the cross.

Read the full article including the example of Jesus as an exemplary son, taking care of his Mother in Malankara World.

Devotional: Want vs. Need

by Laura MacCorkle, Senior Editor

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19, NIV

Leave it to God to give me some food for thought from a relationship advice book/memoir written by someone who is not exactly purporting to have a biblical worldview.

In Lori Gottlieb’s Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, she writes: “What you want isn’t necessarily good for you. And in going after the person you think you want, you ignore what you really need.”

How true, Ms. Gottlieb, how true. After I thought about that, I expanded the notion to everything in my life—not just relationships or finding a mate. And that made me think about people in the Bible who wanted what they wanted but who got what God determined they needed.

Jacob …

In Genesis 29, we read how Jacob didn’t want to marry Leah who had “weak eyes.” He wanted to marry Rachel who “was lovely in form and beautiful.” But Laban gave his other daughter Leah to Jacob instead of Rachel on their wedding night. But Jacob wanted what he wanted. So he promised to work for Laban for seven more years in order to have Rachel. Because of that “delay,” Jacob grew spiritually and his character was refined. His sons would become the nation of Israel, and through Israel God blessed mankind.

Jesus …

“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me,” Jesus said in Matthew 26. “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus did not want to be separated from the Father by the sin that he was about to die for when he was crucified in our place on the cross. But to save the world, a perfect, spotless lamb was needed to take away our sin (Jn. 1:29). God, in his great love and mercy, purposed that his only begotten son would die to pay the price for you and me.

Paul …

He was a zealous persecutor of the church who later became a passionate missionary. When he was Saul, he didn’t want the gospel to spread. But in Acts 9, God intervened, blinded him temporarily and then gave him a new vision for the rest of his life. Once renamed Paul, he was armed with the story of his amazing conversion experience, as he made three missionary journeys to represent Christ, mentored young ministers including Timothy and wrote many of the Epistles in the New Testament.

What God needed to happen in each of these lives was all part of his perfect plan. We can see it now, but I’m sure that while Jacob, Jesus and Paul were in their midst of their painful struggles, God’s plans might have been more difficult to accept as what they needed in their lives.

As you personalize this today, what is it in your own life that you want? And what is it that God is telling you that you need? Make peace with what you want versus what God says you need, as you rest in him and his perfect plan for your life.

Intersecting Faith & Life:

I have always loved CeCe Winans’ song, "Rest in Me," from the Coram Deo II: People of Praise project. Ponder the words from the chorus today as you contemplate letting go of what you want and receiving with open hands what God says you need:

Rest in me, rest in me
I’m the rock of your salvation
Can’t you see?
Rest in me, rest in me
Perfect peace belongs to you
If you believe

Further Reading:

Matthew 11:28-30
Romans 8:28

Source: Devotional

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