Holy consecration and inauguration of St.Thomas Orthodox Syrian Church, Sastan to be held on May 17-18
Udupi: The 100 yearsold renovated St. Thomas Orthodox Syrian Church,Sastan is all set to be Consecrated and Inaugurated on May 17th and 18th, 2022.
The Consecration shall be led by His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews III Malankara Metropolitan And catholicos of the East, the Supreme head of the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Syrian Church. His Holiness will be assisted by Dr.Yakob Mar Elias (Bishop, Brahmavar Diocese),Dr.Yakob Mar Irenios (Bishop, Kochi Diocese) and Dr. Geevarghese Mar Yulios(Ahamadabad Diocese).
Programme Schedule :
On 17th May the main festivities will begin with agrand welcome procession for Catholicos at Brahmavara at 3.00 PM. At 05.30 pm Consecration prayers will begin.
On 18th May, the second part of the Consecrationprayers will begin by 06.30 am, followed by Holy Mass at 08.00 am.
Hore Kanike procession
A grand ‘hore kanike’ procession was held from Govt Higher Primary Schoolgrounds, Mabukala-Hunagacutta to the church premises on May 15. The procession ceremony started with a prayer . Alfred Banz welcomed the dignitaries and devotees. The event was flagged off byRev. Fr. M.C. Mathai, Vicar General, St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral Brahmavar. Rev. Fr Lawrence D’souza, Rev Fr Lawrence David Crasta, Rev Fr Abraham Kuriakose, Rev Fr Noel Lewis, Rev. Fr Joseph Chacko, Rev Fr Nelson Machado and other dignitaries were present. Rev. Fr. M.C Mathai talked about the significance of ‘hore kanike’.
Addressing the gathering he said that the land and all its fruits were given by God. It’s our way of recognizing Him as the provider of all things. It’s also a way of giving thanks for all the blessings that you are receiving. All our income came from God. So, we can think of the offerings as away of giving back in gratitude for what we received. He read out scriptures from the old testament (Genesis Ch 4) and explained that Abel brought the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock and Cain simply brought some of his ordinary crops. Abel’s offering pleased God and God was not pleased with Cain’s offering and was rejected because of his impure heart. Hence, he called upon devotees to be pure in heart and make the best offerings to God.
Devotees from various churches,and local organizations of different communities brought offerings in decoratedvehicles. The procession was accompanied by chande, music, brass band, Kambala Kona and various folk troupes.As the procession reached thepremises of the church, Vicar General Rev Fr M C Mathai , parish priest Rev. FrNoel Lewis and all the priests formally received the ‘Hore Kanike’ from eachward and blessed the offerings. St.Thomas Orthodox Syrian Church, Sastan with parishionersbelonging to more than 230 families , is the second largest Church ofBrahmavara Konkani Orthodox Community under the Holy See of Indian (Malankara)Orthodox Church which was founded by St. Thomas, the Apostle in 52 AD.
The Patron Saintof the parish is St.Thomas, the Apostle of India and all of the East; the founder of the Indian (Malankara)Orthodox Church, whose blessed intercession has been witnessed through thenumerous miracles that have happened here over a period of time. The church has provided ample opportunity toits parishioners over the years to worship, to strengthen their bond and toserve the community.
The BrahmavarKonkani Orthodox Christians majorly are descendants of migrants to the Coastal areaof Karnataka from Goa and Maharashtra. A significant proportion of ChristianKonkanis trace their origin to the Apostolic Tradition of St. Thomas and St.Bartholomew. There is a tradition that Christianity existed in and aroundBrahmavara , due to the apostolic activities of St. Bartholomew.
Post 16thCentury it is said that Native Apostolic Christians in Goa and CoastalKarnataka and elsewhere embraced the Christian denomination propagated by missionaries from west In 1880 due to the rift in the churches in Goa,Coastal India and Cylon many of thefamilies and faithful joined Fr.Alvares seeking his leadership in this crisis.
Thus nearly 5000families in and around Brahmavar became part of an independent catholic missionrite founded by Fr. Alvares under theMalankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
The reason behindjoining specifically the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, was the fact that itwas the only Apostolic IndigenizedChurch established in India in 52 AD by St. Thomas, one of the twelve disciplesof Jesus Christ. In 1887, Fr.Alvares, travelled from Cylon and arrived atKallianpur , near Udupi, a village in South Kanara District. He moved out fromthere to a nearby village, Brahmavar, and built a small temporary thatched chapel dedicated to “ Our Lady ofMiracles” eventually came to be known as St.Mary’s Orthodox Syrian cathedral.St.Thomas Orthodox Church through the ages.
The Orthodoxfaithful belonging to St.Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral living in Sulkudru,Balkudru,Airody, Mabukal, Sastan, Kota and Karkada were facing difficulties tocross the river Sita and commute to Church in Brahmavar. Considering this plight, in 1920, a piece of land was bought in Sastan during the time ofSaintly Fr.R.Z.Norohna And in 1925, a thatched roof Chapel was built byRev.Fr.P.G.Koshy, in order to provide these faithful a place to offer Holy Mass and prayers. In 1938 Rev.Fr.K.T.Varghese became the Parish Priest. The Parish gradually grew and prospered, and in 1960,under the leadership ofRev.Fr.K.T.Varghese renovation work of the Church with red stone and tile roof started In spite of the extremely poor agrarian background, Rev.Fr.K.T.Vargheseand parishioners showed great foresight and had tremendous efforts in building the Church. It is said with saving and storing of “Mutti-thaandhu” (a handful of rice) by each and every parishioner over the time and with the sweat of their own labour, the church was built.
In the following years many other infrastructure developments were carried out. In1986,Rev.Fr.T.M.Kuriakose took charge as the Parish Priest.
In 1989, the then Diocesan Bishop, H.G.Zechariah Mar Dionysius (Metropolitan of Madras Diocese)visited the Parish and blessed the new cemetery. A youth office and a the atrical stage were built during the decennial celebrations of the youth association in 1994. In 1999, Rev.Fr.T.M.Kuriakose started the association for women. On 11th& 12th January 2000, the Church celebrated its Platinum Jubilee on a grand scale. The then Diocesan BishopH.G.Yakob Mar Irenaios (metropolitan of Madras Diocese) led the Jubilee celebrations. His Grace also inaugurated the Parsonage and Church office on12thJanuary 2000.
Rev.Fr.T.M.Kuriakose, the Parish Priest along with Very Rev.Ramban Fr.N.J.Thomas, the Vicar General and other Asst. Vicars of the time, Rev.Fr.P.A.Johnson and Rev.Ramban G.M.Skaria took the leadership to host such a first-time mega-scale event of the Parish. In 2000, Rev.Fr.P.A.Johnson took charge as the Parish Priest. The Church andall the spiritual associations grew immensely, as the Holy Mass was now offeredon all the Sundays and a full-time Parish Priest for the Sastan Church was nowa reality. Between 2010 and 2011, for a period of six months, Rev.Fr.Bobby George served as the Parish Priest.
On August 2nd 2011, Dn.Noel Lewis was ordained as a Priest in this Church. In September 2011, Rev.Fr. Noel Lewis took charge as the Parish Priest. On 8th December 2013, a Community Hall for social gathering was inaugurated by H.G.Yakob Mar Elias (Metropolitan of Brahmavar Diocese). His Holiness was the first ever Catholicos to visit the Parish and was welcomed with great grandeur.
The much awaited foundation for the construction of the new church building was laid on December 10th 2017, by the Diocesan Bishop H.G.Yakob Mar Elias (Metropolitan of Brahmavar Diocese). Since then all parishioners have toiled day and night and assisted in construction work of the Church. The renovation has now been completed during the tenure of Parish Priest Rev. Fr Noel Lewis. The renovated Church building has a blend of Portuguese Gothic, Kerala and Modern architecture. Thus elegance and purposefulness both are well maintained. The beautiful front elevation, with rising in the middle, is a reminder ofPortuguese architectural influence over the Konkani Christians of Mangalore. Steel Flag Post with Golden coat brings in the feel of Classical Indian/Kerala architecture, thus resonating the Indian-ness of the Malankara Orthodox Church.