Thursday, January 24, 2008

Reflections on Mar Makarios Thirumeni

This is a very nice reflection from one of our members, Dr. Geoffrey Gyrisco, PhD who is seen in this picture (on the right) serving as a deacon at Holy Qurbana with Fr John Brian.

Pray for Mar Makarios, who, having survived a severe motor vehicle accident on January 5th, continues intensive care treatment in England.

From: Geoffrey M. Gyrisco
Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Since I was blessed to meet Mar Makarios Thirumeni several times, it seems appropriate to say a few things about him, so that more members of our congregation may know of his work. Though late in years and frail in body, he possessed great spiritual strength, a keen mind, and traveled extensively across a diocese that at one time comprised all of the U.S., Canada and Europe, as well as making frequent trips to India. Unlike other bishops--who lived, worked and traveled in regal grandeur--Thirumeni's staff to administer the vast diocese comprised perhaps three persons, and he traveled with a single assistant.

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in America, Canada and Europe was not he result of a planned missionary effort. Rather, Christians from Kerala, in southern India, arrived in America, and then began establishing congregations in far flung cities. Thirumeni did much to organize these widely dispersed congregations into a diocese.

I will never forget how at the annual church retreats, though gentle in manner and seemingly frail in body, (and indeed a broken arm seemed to take a very long time to heal) he spoke with an exceptionally keen mind and a strong voice.

Thirumeni was a strong supporter of mission work, in a church where many question its outreach to those who did not originate in Kerala, in southern India. He recognized that the precious jewel of early Christianity, preserved in the hills and coasts of Kerala, in the mountains of Eretria and Ethiopia, the mountains of Armenia, and the mountains of Syria and Lebanon, deserved to be shared with many persons of diverse backgrounds. In particular, he was a strong supporter of our mission here in Madison, Wisconsin, and of its largely Eritrean and Ethiopian membership.

He possessed an exceptionally keen spiritual mind. On one occasion, when many achens had spoken for a very very long time, and the congregation was very very hungry, he spoke last, and connected our physical hunger to important spiritual matters in a powerful 7 minute homily.

Our patriarch, the Catholicos of India and all the East, relied heavily on Thirumeni. When a sad legal dispute within our church, which had been the subject of court cases for over 90 years reached the Supreme Court of India, the Catholicos sent Thirumeni to New Delhi to find a lawyer to represent us. Thirumeni had not lived in New Delhi in 30 years, did not know anyone, and did not know where to turn. An influential Hindu family recognized him, although a Christian, as a man of great holiness, and took him in. They also provided the connections to obtain the legal representation we needed.

I am sure that more profound things could be written about this great man. These are a few that come to my mind.

Let us pray that the Lord will be merciful to Thirumeni and all of us. This tragic accident is a reminder that the work that Thirumeni has begun is soon to be passed on to all of us.

Holy Transfiguration Mission
Madison, Wisconsin

  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian
  • Friday, January 11, 2008

    First Qurbana at New Chapel Location (with map)

    The First Qurbana at Maruroopa Palli (Holy Transfiguration Chapel) 621 N Sherman Avenue in Madison, Wisconsin were held on January 6, 2008 and included readings and songs for Holy Nativity and the Blessing of Water. Christopher, Haben, Markos and Mikas all assted Fr John Brian in a truly blessed liturgy. Remarked on elder, "This is what an Orthodox Chapel should be like." Naomi, one of the youngest present, said, "I could hardly believe a whole church was in there!" Regular Sunday services start at 9:30am. The chapel is on Madison Metro City Bus route 2 and only 6 minutes from the North Hub and 10 minutes from the Capitol Square. It is wheelchair accessible. Other services and events will be held. Join our email list to be kept up to date - send an email to: (photos by TBP/JBP)

    621 N. Sherman Avenue is just north of Commercial Avenue (and before the railroad tracks) on the north side of Madison's Isthmus (Maple Bluff). The gray area in the upper right of the map is the Dane County Airport. The blue on the left is Lake Mendota. As you can see on the map, Hwys 113 and 151 are near. If you need directions, please call or email us. (Map courtesy of Map Quest)

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  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian
  • Saying Farewell to St. Dunstan's

    December 23, 2008 marked the day of the last services of our mission chapel at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church Parish Hall. St. Dunstan's had been the host of our humble mission effort even before Metropoltian Thomas Mar Makarios accepted our congregation and priest into the Mission Society of St. Gregorios of India (Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church) July 2001. The top row show the Fr John Brian and the deacons (servers) Haben, Christopher, Mikas and Markos. The "Moving/Cleaning Team" that helped move the chapel items and cleaned the parish hall included: Banchi, Cienna, Dave, Eric, Fr. John Brian, Rachele, Robb, and Teresa Kochamma. (photos by JBP and TBP)
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  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian
  • From Office Suite to Chapel

    Our new chapel was remodeled from an office suite. Upper left is the completed chapel from the doorway. Each of the successive shots are from the same doorway. Center top is the space with a wall dividing the suite. The upper right is after the wall was removed. The bottom row shows one step before completion, day before first services, and zuhoyo at the blessing of water first services January 6, 2008. Mission members volunteered their time for the remodeling. The "Remodeling Team" included: Christopher, Cienna, Haben, Fr. John-Brian, Mulu, Rachele, Robb, and Teresa Kochamma. (photos by TBP/JBP)

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  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian