Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal

Volume 1 No. 6 May 27, 2011
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Psalm 1:3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psalm 1:1-3


Table of Contents
Editor's Note

Bible Readings for This Sunday

Sermons for This Sunday

Three Components of a Church

The Woodsman and the Leprechaun

Bad Manners at Church

Humor: God and Lawn Care

Family: Communication Isn't the Key?!

MASOC Family Conference

Recipe of the Week: Spicy Peanut Noodles

About Malankara World

Editor's Note
The world hasn't ended last Thursday as some false prophets have predicted. Of course, we do not know how long each of us are going to be here. Only God knows. If we use the time in this world for activities that are pleasing to God, we can look forward to an everlasting life after our brief stay in this world.

The gospel reading this week is about discipleship. Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem the last time and decides to go through Samaria. He was rejected by the first village he went and the disciples wanted Jesus to bring fire from heaven to "show Samarians" who He really is. Often we are also tempted to reciprocate by retaliation as opposed to forgiveness and love as taught by Jesus.

Talking about forgiveness, this week's family devotional will be of a bit surprise when you see it first. It is universally accepted that the biggest challenge facing family is the communication. Katherine Britton says it is not so. When you read it you will be quite convinced that it is not either.

In the Orthodoxy section we have an article about the components of a church as taught by Orthodox Church.

As a follow up to last week's articles about the participation by the Laity in the service, this week we talk about how we should attend the church service.

For all our readers in USA, we wish you all a Happy Memorial Day weekend. This is traditionally the first week of summer in North America.

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday
Fourth Sunday after New Sunday/ 5th Sunday after Easter

St. John 14: 1-16


St. John 16: 16-30

Before Holy Qurbana

Deuteronomy 16: 1-8
Joshua 8:30-35
Isaiah 54: 1-8

Holy Qurbana

I Peter 3: 17-22
Hebrews 11: 32-40
St. Luke 9 : 51 - 62

Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Sermons for This Sunday
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.
Sermons for the Fourth Sunday After New Sunday
(Fifth Sunday After Easter)

More Sermons

Three Components of an Orthodox Church

by Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch, Antiochene Orthodox Church


The Church belongs to the very heart of God's intentions. Every Orthodox believes that the Church is an expression of God's will on earth. That is why we take it very seriously and do not regard it as a kind of committee, an office, an administration, or a rigid body. That which is understood by the word "Church" is exactly that which is understood by the word "community." Whenever an Orthodox speaks of community he is ipso facto speaking of the Church and if the Church is not that, it has no raison d'etre at all. It could be replaced by other agencies established to fulfill certain practical purposes. For me, what we call the confessing community, the Church, is made up of three components.



The first, and very important, is the family. I know that the family is not very important in some western societies. For us the concept of the family is absolutely essential for the life of the Church. Why? Because above all, life in a community is existential; it is not something rational and conceptual. It is a way of living that involves one's whole being in relationships with other human beings who are the members of the family. What are some of the characteristics of this family life which foreshadow for us the full life of the Church? There is first of all love, that love of which we talk much but which is not often lived. This love gives rise to a faith and trust in others; it gives rise to hope in the total family life and manifests itself in both sacrifice and joy.

Religious Community

Another component of the Church, one that is related directly to the family, is the religious community. This religious community is a model for the community at large in that the relationship between the community members is founded on forgetfulness of self. We are often self-centered, concerned about our own interests. In the religious community personal interests, when they exist, take second place and the interests of the other have first place.

We often regard ourselves as infallible and are encouraged in this attitude by the systems under which we live. In a religious community one admits that "my sin is the cause of all this in the world". Then the question of purification becomes very important and this purification can only take place through our Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, through the relationship to the Holy Trinity.

In the religious life we refuse to recognize any other savior than the Lord, any other spirit than the Holy Spirit, and any other god than the Father. This is a very radical position, radical enough to hold its own over against the radicalism of this world; that radicalism in which, to a large degree, we share.

Community of Saints

The third component is more serene. It does not have the tensions that exist between the reality of this world and the reality that is asked by God and Holy Scriptures; it is the community of the saints. We forget the saints. They are heroes; they are fools. In their spiritual life for God they are people who are ready to be called crazy. The saints who contemplate God do not have the kind of split personality that many of us have. One of our biggest problems is that we are so split apart, so disoriented, that we no longer see the relationship and the unity between the many divisive elements that we try to hold together. A very important element in the community of the saints is unity. They are one in the Lord; they are one around the Lord. They prefigure the Kingdom which we hope and pray for.

This element of unity so necessary in the unity both of the family and of the life of the religious community is the unity of the community of the saints; that is what we are really looking for. This unity is an expression of love. Where there is disunity there is a failure of love. Those who love each other do not find that their differences lead to schism, to division, to separation and to antagonism. Here, it seems to me, are the components of the life of the confessing community; together they show us the confessing community at its most dynamic and in its truest form.

Source: The Word Magazine, September, 1981 Pages 6-7,  St. Mary Orthodox Church - Cambridge, MA

The Woodsman and the Leprechaun

by Michael Josephson,

Long ago, a woodsman saved the life of a leprechaun and was given one wish. The woodsman thought for a long time and finally wished that each of his three daughters find a good husband.

But the leprechaun was full of games. "How am I to know what's good in your mind? I'll give them husbands, but you can name only one quality and it's got to be the same for all. What'll you have? I can make them clever, strong, beautiful, rich - you name it."

The woodsman said, "Then give me men of good character."

The leprechaun wasn't done playing. "And how am I to know what good character is?"

"Do you have children?" asked the woodsman.

"I do," said the leprechaun.

"And do you love them?"

"More than life itself."

"Then give my girls the kind of men you want for your children."

"Ah," the leprechaun said, "then you shall have honorable men with kind and loving hearts. And I'll throw in a strong conscience too."

The woodsman was a shrewd man and a good father. He knew the well-being and happiness of his children depends on the quality of their relationships. The quality of their relationships depends on the quality of the people they are with.

But what if the woodsman was asked what one quality he wants in his own daughters? As a wise father he would again ask for good character. Whether it's in one's spouse or oneself, cleverness, good looks, and money are nice, but in the end the most essential quality of a good life is good character.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

More inspirational articles can be found in Malankara World

Bad Manners at Church

by Bishop George V Murray SJ
Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio

[Editor's Note: Last week, we discussed the role of Laity in our Holy Qurbana. We stressed the importance of participating in the Qurbana actively. To balance the discussion, I am providing an article written by a Catholic Bishop about conduct of laity in church. ]

During the last 10 years or so, I have noticed a precipitous decline in behavior at church. For some reason, that decline seems to have accelerated in recent months. Here are some of the horror stories I have experienced or been told about in our diocese.

Last week, while celebrating Confirmation at one of our parishes, I noticed two young people standing in the back of church necking. (No, I am not kidding!) A number of adults were standing around them and some behind them but no one said a word.

When I visit parishes on weekends, I often see parishioners chewing gum in church and even coming to Holy Communion chewing gum. At one parish, a woman came to Communion wearing a sweater that said “World’s Sexiest Grandmother.” At another, I watched a teenager, who was sitting with her parents, texting throughout the Mass. One priest told me of a man who came to Communion while speaking on his cell phone.

When I have spoken to some of these people after Mass and asked them about their behavior, I usually have gotten the same response. “I’m sorry; I forgot I was in church.”

I think it would be helpful for us to recall to mind where we are when we are in church. A church is the house of God, a temple of the Lord. It is the place where we come to seek peace, quiet and refreshment from the Word and Sacrament of God. When we are in church we should remember that we are in God’s presence and as such, should focus our attention on worship.

The Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. It is not a symbol of Christ. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us:

The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch. (CCC, 1324)

Because we are receiving Christ, we should not be chewing gum or talking during Mass, or checking email or texting. Instead we should ask the Lord for his forgiveness and his grace, listen to the Scriptures and worthily receive Holy Communion in order to live lives worthy of our calling as sons and daughters of God.

As adults, we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to teach our young people what is appropriate behavior. A good place to start would be at our parish church. In that way, we can all deepen our prayer and draw closer to Christ as we walk On the Road to Jerusalem.

Humor: God and Lawn Care

God said: St. Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.

It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

Grass? But, it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.

They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

Yes, Sir.

These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

You aren’t going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It’s a natural cycle of life.

You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

No!? What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

And where do they get this mulch?

They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

Enough! I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

‘Dumb and Dumber’, Lord. It’s a story about....

Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

Family: Communication Isn't the Key?!

by Katherine Britton

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13

Wedding-hopping is a weekend pastime at this stage of my life. I’ve bounced through half a dozen weddings this summer, yet I’m struck by how different each has been from every other. Each couple has a different story that shone through their choice of venue, vows, and – of course – bridesmaids dresses. What I’ve loved most about the differences, however, is the unique wedding homily that each pastor has imparted. One homily in particular has stuck with me, because it upset a few of my presuppositions.

During one ceremony, the young minister told the story of his last trip to premarital counseling before his own wedding. Their mentor asked a familiar question: “What do you think is the key to a loving, healthy marriage?”

His wife paused for a moment. “If you’d asked me six months ago,” she pondered, “I would have said communication. But now, I think it’s something different. I think the real key is forgiveness.


Yep, that sounded about right after I thought about it. I had been married just two weeks at that point, but my sin nature had already made unwelcome appearances in our house. Communicating a sinful attitude to my husband didn’t change it into a right attitude. Nor did communicating that I was upset with an omission on his part move me past frustration.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

The minister continued by pointing to the greatest example of forgiveness – that of Christ forgiving His wandering bride. Where He would have been justified in communicating his anger and walking away from her, He chose a different method entirely. The key wasn’t communication, although He told her of His love and what pained Him. He didn’t wait for her response. Instead, He loved His bride enough to forgive her everything, even though it cost Him everything.

I am that bride. I need that forgiveness.

It’s not that communication is worthless, or that dialogue isn’t an expression of love. On the contrary, scripture is full of commands to encourage and exhort each other in love. In rare moments, communication even lets my husband – or my sister, or my best friends, or my fellow church members – completely understand each other’s perspective. But that only goes so far.

Unconditional love manifests itself in that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Yes, the sinner, that’s me. I need that forgiveness just as much as anyone, and I need Christ’s example to be able to forgive others. It’s a two-way street that points out our own flaws even as we decide to overlook those of others. Humbling, isn’t it?

Intersecting Faith & Life: How many times are we tempted to remember little annoyances that those closest to us have committed, the details they forgot to take care of, or the times they simply crossed our whims? Yet we have been forgiven so much more than that. I pray that as you interact with the people closest to you today, you will remember that “as far as the east is from the west, so far as He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)

Further Reading

Colossians 3:12-17
2 Corinthians 2:5-11

About the Author:

Katherine Britton is the News & Culture Editor. Devotional courtesy of

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Malankara Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church in North America
The 26th Annual Convention and Family Conference

Thursday, July 21- Sunday, July 24th, 2011
Hudson Valley Resort & Spa, Kerhonkson, New York

For more details and registration information, visit

Recipe of the Week: Spicy Peanut Noodles

Spicy Peanut Noodles? Whoever thought up this recipe had their thinking cap on, that's for sure. Peanut noodles? What a combination. Very unique. Try 'em... you'll like 'em. Recipe for Spicy Peanut Noodles.

More Recipes and articles on Nutrition and Food | Articles on Health

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Malankara World is different. Malankara World's focus is on our families. Our mission is to help every member of our families. Since family is a microcosm of church, it will have everything that a church focused website will have. But there will be more. We will cover issues that are important to families. What are the things that keep our members awake at night? Is that about their children? taking care of old aged parents? Relationship with their spouses? Breakdown of marriage? Health issues? Balancing work, family and spiritual life? Managing stress?

We will use a combination of technology and harnessing the resources of our people within our church to do that. What we hope to do with Malankara World is to strengthen our families. First, we want to teach them about our faith. What is different about Orthodoxy? We want to start bible and Sunday school classes for all ages through Malankara World and a series on our qurbana. Later we will have support groups for different age and interest groups.

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