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Letter to Metropolitan Dr. Joseph Mar Irenaeus

Congratulatory Message to Metropolitan Dr. Joseph Mar Irenaeus, at the occasion of his enthronement as the new Malankara Mar Thoma Metropolitan on 2 October 2007.

01 October 2007

Geneva, 1 October 2007

Your Eminence,

 It is with great joy that I received the message that you will be enthroned as the new Malankara Mar Thoma Metropolitan on 2 October 2007 in a divine and historic function. Your Eminence, it is with profound happiness that I take this opportunity to extend to you our hearty congratulations, prayers and best wishes on the occasion of your enthronement as the 21st Mar Thoma Metropolitan to occupy the Holy Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas after the reestablishment of the episcopacy in the 17thcentury. In fact, this historic event is a moment of very great joy for the whole Church, especially the members of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church who are scattered in many parts of the world.

Your Eminence, you bring with you a wealth of experience, rich heritage and tradition to this exalted position. I fondly remember my visit to your historic ancestral home at Maramon village from where four generations of Malankara Mar Thoma Metropolitans were enthroned as the heirs of the Holy See of St. Thomas over the past centuries. Almost a century later, it is you now being called by divine grace to follow in the foot steps of those great ecclesiastical luminaries from your own family who have provided leadership to this ancient and historic church in Asia. May God almighty continue to bless you to be instrumental in nurturing the spiritual fervour, evangelical zeal and social commitment of the Mar Thoma Church which has a unique ethos and tradition.

We thank God that He has enabled you to give leadership in church and society in various ways over the years. Your contributions to the ecumenical movement have been significant. Your leadership as President of the Kerala Council of Churches, President of the National Council of Churches in India and President of the Christian Conference of Asia has been remarkable. You have participated in and provided leadership at various global ecumenical events, including the WCC assemblies in Canberra, Harare, and Porto Alegre. Your commitment and passion for peace and reconciliation efforts and your deep involvement in peace monitoring missions in conflict and violence affected areas in North East India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia have been appreciated and valued by the ecumenical family. Your ability to recognise the spiritual essence of pastoral care, and your gift for nurturing and sustaining friendship and fellowship with people from all walks of life across religious or ideological boundaries has been proven as unique. Your concern and compassion for the poor and the needy in society epitomised in your deep involvement in social development, emergency relief and rehabilitation initiatives during times of humanitarian crises, have on several occasions been appreciated in the ecumenical family and beyond.

May I also take this opportunity to remember the contributions of your predecessor, the 20th Malankara Mar Thoma Metropolitan Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom who gave profound leadership to the Mar Thoma Church and the ecumenical movement as a whole over the past several decades. As he relinquishes his office due to old age and declining health, I thank God for his life and witness and pray for God's divine grace upon him.

Your Eminence, I pray that the Lord may grant you abundant blessings to fulfill the mission entrusted to you and face the challenges of this world as you shepherd your entire flock, scattered over many parts of the globe.

Again, my prayers and best wishes.

Yours in His Service,

Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia
General Secretary