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Announcing the launch of - AndrewY - 23-07-2008

Dear all,

I would like to announce the launch of my new website on the Oriental Orthodox tradition:

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This is the first (as far as I'm aware) pan-OO website.

I currently have two resources uploaded:

1. A presentation on 'Nor Tsaghik': an Armenian Orthodox Resurrection melody written and composed by St Nerses the Grace-filled

2. Synopses on four OO Fathers: Sts John Chrysostom, Severus Ibn Al-Muqaffa, Besa the Archimandrite, and Abouna Elia.

Two more resources on the way shortly, and hopefully many more to come in the future!

If you would like to contribute in any way to the site, your input is most welcome (or needed, rather). Please feel free to contact me at mail[at]


- Fr Gregory - 24-07-2008

As Andrew has announced, a new Oriental Orthodox website has been launched by him. It is an impressive website, even in its early stages. It clearly has the potential to be a major resource of valuable material ? not only text, but images, music, and video.

I encourage all members of the Forum to look at this new website and to check it regularly as it grows ?in stature and wisdom?.

I am sure Andrew would welcome any comments or suggestions, not to mention material which might be suitable for inclusion on the website.

I have been greatly impressed by Andrew in my contacts with him leading up to the launch of this remarkable venture, and will be doing everything I can to assist him extending the range of material available. This has been a heavy labour for Andrew, and in the midst of the probably heavier burden of university studies.

Can I encourage you all to give him as much support as you can?

In Xto

Fr Gregory

- John Charmley - 24-07-2008

Dear Andrew,

congratulations on a site which looks beautiful and which will offer a most valuable resource to those wanting to become familiar with our tradition.

I would echo Fr. Gregory's comments and hope that as many of us who can will, in our way, be of service to you and the Church here.

In Christ,


- AndrewY - 28-07-2008

I kindly thank Fr Gregory for his kind words of encouragement and his efforts to help recruit contributors. He has been very supportive indeed.

Thank you to John also who has kindly offered to begin writing an article on St Cyril of Alexandria's exegetical career!

I was hoping someone could help advise me on a rather sensitive matter addressed on my FAQ page. I have received some rather vehement resistance from a Syrian Orthodox acquaintence of mine who was displeased with the manner in which I accounted for the situation with the Orthodox in India (though his response really does surprise me as I tried, and IMO successfully at that, to be as objective about the matter as possible)...does anyone have any recommendations as to ways I could ammend what I have written that will not alienate a Syrian Orthodox audience?


- admin - 28-07-2008

Dear Andrew

I think that it is probably impossible to please all the people any of the time in regard to the situation in India.

I have been threatened with being reported to Pope Shenouda by a Syrian Orthodox who I had known many years because I would not take sides.


- AndrewY - 28-07-2008

My remarks on the matter were misconstrued as actually lending support to the Indian Orthodox Church.

I am thinking of replacing "Indian Orthodox Church" in the list of OO Churches with "Orthodox Catholicate of India" and erasing the footnote reference completely. I am reluctant though because I fear that whilst it's ambiguous enough to solve the problem with the Syrian Orthodox, it will in turn provoke much confusion for others. What do you think?


- Fr Gregory - 28-07-2008

Dear Andrew

Entering the minefield of Orthodox politics, even inadvertently, is rarely pleasant and never edifying. As a friend commented to me when we were discussing one or other intra-Orthodox fight: ?How inspiring to see how these Christians hate one another!?

There is no easy solution. Anything is capable of causing offence to those who are eager to be offended. However, you might like to add something like (and this is another phrase I hate!) a ?mission statement? to the section of the website dealing with which are the Oriental Orthodox Churches. For example,

?This site seeks to promote knowledge and understanding of the spirituality of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. It is not concerned with, and as far as possible will not include any material on, jurisdictional or administrative disagreements within those Churches. Where it is necessary to describe a situation in which there is disagreement, this will be done as accurately and courteously as possible. While corrections or clarifications are welcomed, this site will not be used to promote or maintain disharmony within the Oriental Orthodox family.?

Your current paragraph on the Indian situation is:

?The Indian Orthodox Church (a generic term I use to denote the Orthodox Christians of India) is, unfortunately, split into two ?groups? (for lack of a better term), one of which remains under the jurisdiction of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and the other of which has asserted its independence from the Syrian Orthodox Church. Whilst both groups maintain communion with every other Oriental Orthodox Church, the former group has cut communion with the latter on account of this jurisdictional contention. We pray that the Lord will resolve the unfortunate tension and friction between these two groups in due time.?

It might be revised along the following lines:

?The Indian Orthodox Church (a generic term I use to denote the Orthodox Christians of India) currently exists in two jurisdictions: one under the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and the other which sees itself as independent from the Syrian Orthodox Church. Both groups maintain communion with every other Oriental Orthodox Church. However, Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch is not currently in communion with the other Indian jurisdiction because it disputes its claim to independence. We pray, as should all Orthodox Christians, that the Lord will heal this division and restore unity to His Church in India.?

Do not allow this minor irritation to distract from or diminish your sense of the great importance of your work! Your Syrian Orthodox correspondent has been far more gently handled by you than he would have been by me. There is nothing at all wrong with your original description of the situation. I trust your correspondent feels satisfied that, given the log in his eye, he feels he has found a speck in yours!

In Xto


- AndrewY - 30-07-2008

Dear Fr Gregory,

Thanks for your continued encouragement and help!

My concern with the mission statement is that it will bring more attention to the division.

After further exchanges with my Syrian Orthodox acquaintance, it would seem that the specific statement of mine at the root of his displeasure is that concerning the Indian Orthodox Church remaining in communion with the Church in spite of the Syrian Orthodox Church's ex-communication of her. He has taken this as an affront to the Syrian Orthodox Holy Synod's authority and has pointed to the example of particular Coptic clergy in the United States who have followed the Syrians on the matter and in turn refused communion to the Indians. I naturally responded by pointing to the many clergy who maintain communion with the Indians, and emphasised the fact that the mixed reaction of clergy only goes to reinforce the fact that, on an official level, communion is indeed maintained until the respective Synods of the various other OO churches, or a universal Synod, take one stance or another. He couldn't really dispute much with that; his tone changed dramatically and his last word on the matter was, in effect: "Listen, i'm telling you that your comments are going to alienate a substantial segment of the Oriental Orthodox Church, no doubt myself. Do with my warning what you will."

As much as your modification of the relevant footnote (in similar fashion to the one Fr Simon kindly suggested) is better worded than mine (and as such, a better alternative in any event), I do not think it will do much in the way of alleviating our Syrian friends? concerns.

Any further thoughts you may have on solving this problem in light of the above contextual clarification would be appreciated. I will wait for any further response before making any final change.


- admin - 30-07-2008

What you need is for a couple of buttons for people to identify themselves before they reach the mission statement. One could say 'I am Syrian Orthodox' and the other 'I belong to a different Orthodox community' and then have two different mission statements with the site showing whichever one is appropriate.

Being serious, it is very sad that this issue remains unresolved. The fact that the Ethiopian situation with relation to the Coptic Church has been recently smoothed over, and in our own experience here in the UK we have witnessed Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox worshipping together, shows that these matters can and should be sorted out. And in the town where we worship there seems to be intercommunion of all Indians who are more concerned with supporting each other here than supporting controversy back home.

But isn't it the same with all dialogue? With the one between the EO and OO for instance. The whole situation surely could be resolved if some bishops were locked in a room and told they weren't coming out until they had dealt with the issue. Both the EO/OO one and the Orthodox in India.


- AndrewY - 31-07-2008

Yes, Peter, sad indeed! Especially when both jurisdictions have so much to offer. I recently asked an Indian Orthodox acquaintence if he could provide me with a translation of a certain hymn I was seeking. He very cynically remarked that the Indians were too busy translating litigation to bother translating religious material.

On a brighter note: two new additions to today:

1. A prayer for the youth by John the Deacon.
2. A synopsis on the life and person of bessed John the Deacon.

I have been told by an Armenian friend of mine that so many Armenian holy men, including John the Deacon, have been due to be canonised for a long time, but that the Armenian Church has unfortunately been constantly distracted by other issues such as consolidating its flock after all the persecution and dispersion of the Armenians.


announcing the launch of - kirk yacoub - 01-08-2008

As a Syriac Orthodox Christian I suppose that I must put forward my point of view. It does seem that those of you contributing so far to the problem of Oriental Orthodoxy in India have not fully looked into the matter, something which is not to be blamed because of the length of the dispute and its complexity.
Not taking sides is wrong. A brief resume of the history of the conflict will tell you that the Patriarchs of Antioch who have dealt with the situation in India have shown great patience and for decades left more than enough time and space for the so-called Indian Orthodox Church to sit down with the Syriac Orthodox Church and work out a viable settlement. It has been the Indian Orthodox refusal to accept the Patriarch's offer of discussions over a period of years which led to the impasse. The only condition that our Patriarch gave to have discussions was that the Indian Orthodox stopped pursuing the Syriac Orthodox Church through the courts - they even tried to prevent the Patriarch from visiting India! The fact that after decades of wrangling and occasional peace formulas that the Indian Orthodox always reneged on, and in spite of provocations and persecution through the courts, the Patriarch still held out his hand for discussions should show anyone who was really behaving in a Christian manner.
Prayers should be directed so that the leaders of the Indian Orthodox
Church stop its endess pursuit of the Syriac Orthodox Church through the courts in India, and should stop its interference in the Syriac Orthodox Church in the USA and Europe. These prayers should be directed to guide the Indian Orthodox back to the Patriarch for the discussions so long overdue.
Regarding mission statements, it would be better to incorporate the gist of the above so that everyone can see that we pray for those who do wrong.

I would quite willingly go into full details of the dispute in India, but it fills me with such despair that I feel it better to offer the above mentioned prayers.

Kirk Yacoub

- Greg W. - 01-08-2008


I found your website the other day and am thrilled that you're doing this. May God speed your work!

Your brother in Christ,

P.S.: I'm on my way to being received into the Indian Orthodox Church. For what it's worth, sorry for the mess.

- AndrewY - 05-08-2008

Dear Kirk,

I appreciate you sharing your perspective. I used to be an active participant in another forum where there have been quite a few head-on collisions between Syrian Orthodox and Indian Orthodox over these sensitive matters, and I found it rather confusing in my attempt to follow the aftermath to be honest. The reason I would prefer not to take sides is precisely because I do not have any real means of being able to assess the arguments presented by each side. Most of the relevant material seems not to exist in english for one. An additional reason for which I would rather not take sides is that there has been a mixed reaction amongst non-Syrian/Indian clergy on the matter.

If there was a way I could avoid mentioning the issue all together I would, but it's inescapable that I should do so and it seems only reasonable that, in light of the above, I should strive to take the most displomatic and neutral stance possible. I hope you understand.


- AndrewY - 05-08-2008

Dear Greg,

I'm glad you like the site! Please pray for it.


- AndrewY - 05-08-2008

Dear all,

I recently uploaded my first in-depth article: click here to read.

I really hope others will begin to contribute so as to counterbalance the weakness of my own material.