A small diaspora congregation of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church observed the Joint Ecumenical Sunday of the Communion of Churches in India (CCI) in Geneva on 24 January.

CCI is a unique ecumenical union constituted as the visible organ for common expression of the life and witness by the founding churches, the Church of North India, Church of South India (CSI) and Mar Thoma Syrian Church. They recognise themselves as belonging to one Church of Jesus Christ in India, even while remaining as autonomous churches, each having its own identity of traditions and organizational structures. All three are member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC).

A concrete witness of the visible unity of these churches is through sharing a common lectionary so that congregations across the world are united in worship and witness. Individual congregations belonging to these three Churches celebrated 24 January as Ecumenical Sunday across the globe.

The observance of Ecumenical Sunday in Geneva included the celebration of the Holy Communion by Rev K. Jameson, vicar of the Switzerland Congregation of the Mar Thoma Church. Rev Dr Peniel Rajkumar, WCC’s programme executive for Interreligious Dialogue, who belongs to the CSI and is responsible for church relations with the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, preached. The theme for the service was “United in Christ’s Love”.

“It is significant that this Ecumenical Sunday of the CCI follows the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. To be united in Christ’s love in today’s world is a call to unity in humility, hospitality and solidarity. Only then can we bear a witness which is in creative fidelity to the gospel of Christ” said Rajkumar.

Jameson, who is based in Dublin, Ireland as the vicar of the Nazareth Mar Thoma Church, said, “Today’s service gives us the opportunity to witness through worship what it means to belong to the one body of Christ. In a world of divisions and disappointments it reminds us that this body, though broken, is yet made whole through Jesus Christ, the one broken for our wholeness”.

The Swiss congregation was inaugurated on 9 September 2001 in Geneva by Rt. Rev. Dr Zacharias Mar Theophilus, the late Suffragan Metropolitan who passed away recently. A short prayer of remembrance was organised after the service to offer thanks to God for his life and witness.

Ecumenical movement mourns death of Zacharias Mar Theophilus (WCC press release of 28 December, 2015)

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