A. C. Solomon Raj

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The Right Reverend Doctor[1]
A. C. Solomon Raj, CSI
Ayyagaru
Bishop – in – Medak
Solomon Raj 1.jpg
Native name మహ గనుడు యే. సి. సోలమన్ రాజ్[2] అయ్యాగారు
Church Church of South India (A Uniting church comprising Wesleyan Methodist, Congregational, Lutheran, Calvinist and Anglican missionary societies – SPG, WMMS, LMS, Basel Mission, CMS, and the Church of England)
Diocese Diocese of Medak
See Medak
Appointed 12.10.2016[2]
Predecessor T. S. Kanaka Prasad, CSI
Successor Incumbent
Orders
Ordination As Deacon on 6.10.1992,
As Presbyter on 5.4.1994[3]
by Bishop Victor Premasagar, CSI and Bishop B. P. Sugandhar, CSI
Consecration 13.10.2016[4]
by The Most Reverend G. Dyvasirvadam, CSI, then Moderator (Principal Consecrator) and The Right Reverend Thomas K. Oommen, CSI, then Deputy Moderator (Co-consecrator)
Rank Bishop
Personal details
Birth name A. C. Solomon Raj[2]
Born (1961-03-18)March 18, 1961[3]
Telangana
Nationality Indian
Denomination Christianity
Residence Medak
Parents Mother:
Smt. Esther Rani,
Father:
A. C. Dayanand[5][6][7][8]
Occupation Priesthood
Previous post Pastor
Education B.Com. (Osmania),
B.D. (Serampore),
M.Th. (Serampore)[3]
Alma mater Giriraj Government College, Nizamabad, (Telangana)[8]
United Theological College, Bangalore, (Karnataka)[8]

The Right Reverend Doctor[1] A. C. Solomon Raj (born 18 March 1961)[3] is the seventh successor of Frank Whittaker and eighth[9] Bishop in Medak of the Protestant Church of South India Society and shepherds the Diocese from the Cathedra of the Bishop housed in the CSI-Medak Cathedral in Medak Town, Telangana, India. On 12 October 2016,[4] the Church of South India Synod headquartered in Chennai, appointed Solomon Raj to assume the ecclesiastical Office of the Bishopric of Medak and was consecrated the next day on 13 October 2016[10] at the CSI-St. George's Cathedral, Chennai,[8] ending four years[11] of sede vacante in the Diocese of Medak which was without a Bishop during the intervening period of 2012–2016.[12]

Solomon Raj is an eloquent speaker[13] with near native fluency in Telugu, Hindi, and English. His sermons centre around the eschatologies of the end times focusing on Christ. He spent nearly a decade[14] undergoing spiritual studies under Old Testament Scholars[14] E. C. John, CSI and Gnana Robinson, CSI at the United Theological College, Bangalore, an affiliated seminary of the Senate of Serampore College (University), India's first[15] University {a University under Section 2 (f)[16] of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956}[17] founded by the Baptist Missions led by Joshua Marshman, William Carey, and William Ward.

On 8 April 2017, Solomon Raj was conferred with a honorary doctorate (D.Min.) by the Protestant Regional Theologiate, the near-Ecumenical Andhra Christian Theological College (ACTC), Secunderabad led by The Right Rev. G. Dyvasirvadam, CSI, the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of ACTC and The Rev. T. Matthews Emmanuel, CBCNC, then Principal of ACTC in the presence of Bishop Emeritus John S. Sadananda, CSI, the Master of the Senate of Serampore College (University).[1]

Studies and ministerial formation[edit]

Telangana[edit]

For early schooling and pre-university studies, Solomon Raj enrolled at the educational institutions established by the Christian missions, the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society and studied at Bellampalli, Nizamabad and Secunderabad and took a basic degree from a State-run institution in Nizamabad. Solomon Raj first schooled at the CSI-Wesley Boys School on Colonel Prenderghast Road in Secunderabad[8] and later pursued collegiate studies at the Giriraj Government College in Nizamabad[8] leading to B.Com..

Karnataka[edit]

Spiritual studies[edit]

During the Bishopric of the Old Testament Scholar, the Cantabrigian Victor Premasagar, CSI, Solomon Raj was admitted as a ministerial candidate of the Diocese of Medak to discern his avocation towards priesthood and spent a year assisting Presbyters during 1987–1988 in the Diocese of Medak that was predominantly Wesleyan Methodist[6] with a couple of Anglican churches[6] in the urban pastorate.

In the ensuing year, the Diocese of Medak sent Solomon Raj to the fully-ecumenical[18] United Theological College, a Protestant Regional Theologiate, in Bangalore where he pursued propadeutic studies during 1988–1992[14] during the Principalship[14] of the leading Old Testament Scholar The Rev. E. C. John, CSI, a direct student of Old Testament's Master Specialists, Gerhard von Rad and Claus Westermann at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. During the subsequent convocation of the University held in 1993, Solomon Raj was awarded a Bachelor of Divinity degree by India's first[15] University, the Senate of Serampore College (University), Serampore, West Bengal during the Registrarship of the New Testament Scholar, The Rev. D. S. Satyaranjan, IPC.

Between 1988–1992,[14] in addition to the faculty at the seminary in Bangalore which comprised the Religious scholar, The Rev. G. D. Melanchton,[14] AELC, the New Testament scholar The Rev. K. James Carl,[14] SALC and other notable faculty, Solomon Raj was also benefited by the scholarship of the visiting faculty from the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate-Dharmaram College[18] and the St. Peter's Pontifical Seminary, also in Bangalore. Incidentally, the Homiletics Scholar The Rev. P. Surya Prakash, CSI, also hailing from the Diocese of Medak joined the college faculty in 1991, exactly a year before the final year of studies of Solomon Raj. Seminarians studying during that period included The Rev. Annie Watson, CSI[14] while The Rt. Rev. B. D. Prasada Rao, CSI[14] The Rev. H. R. Cabral, CSI[14] The Rev. Jonadob Nathaniel, CSI[14] and The Rev. Daniel Sadananda, CSI[14] were pursuing postgraduate courses.

Bishop Solomon at CSI-Church of St. John the Baptist, Secunderabad in 2017.

Advanced spiritual studies[edit]

After a period of pastoral ministry, the Diocese of Medak once again re-sent Solomon Raj to the Protestant Regional Theologiate in Bangalore to upgrade his academics where Solomon Raj pursued a postgraduate course in spirituality specializing in Ethics during 1999[19]–2001[3] leading to Master of Theology during the Principalship[14] of the Old Testament Scholar Gnana Robinson, CSI a direct student of Old Testament's Master Specialist, Klaus Koch at the University of Hamburg, Germany. Solomon Raj's postgraduate thesis was entitled Can violence be a means of achieving social justice? An ethical evaluation of the Naxalite Movement in Telangana and was subsequently published in the Bangalore Theological Journal.[20] During the ensuing annual convocation of the Senate of Serampore College (University) held in 2002, Solomon Raj was awarded the postgraduate degree, again during the Registrarship of the New Testament Scholar, The Rev. D. S. Satyaranjan, IPC.

Ecclesiastical ministry[edit]

The CSI-Medak Cathedral where the Cathedra of the Bishop is located.

On completing spiritual studies in Karnataka, Solomon Raj was ordained as a Deacon on 6.10.1992[3] in the Church of South India Society (comprising Wesleyan Methodist, Congregational and Anglican missionary societies – SPG, WMMS, LMS, CMS, and the Church of England) by then Bishop Victor Premasagar, CSI and began his ecclesiastical ministry in the pastorates within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Diocese of Medak. Subsequently, after a two-year ministry, he was ordained as a Presbyter on 5.4.1994[3] by the successive Bishop B. P. Sugandhar, CSI.

Pastoral[edit]

Solomon Raj as Presbyter served in all the three ecclesiastical District Church Councils of the Diocese of Medak and has been Vice-Chairperson of the Diocese of Medak for three terms, 2003-2007, 2007-2011 and 2013-2017.[19]

Before assuming the Cathedra in 2016, Solomon Raj was Presbyter – in – charge[21] at the CSI-Holy Trinity Church,[11] Bolarum, Secunderabad and had also led the Diocese of Medak as its Vice-Chairperson[5] under the guidance and mentorship of the Systematic theologian, The Most Reverend G. Dyvasirvadam.[5]

The CSI-St. George's Cathedral, Chennai where Solomon Raj was consecrated on 13.10.2016.

Bishopric[edit]

In 2012,[12] Bishop T. S. Kanaka Prasad, CSI had to relinquish[11] the Cathedra as per an ecclesiastical communique from the Church of South India Synod in Chennai resulting in sede vacante during which time the Medak Diocese was overseen from Chennai by the Church of South India Synod led by then Moderator and Systematic theologian, The Most Reverend G. Dyvasirvadam, CSI.

After nearly five years of ecclesiastical oversight of the Medak Diocese, the Church of South India Synod appointed A. C. Solomon Raj to shepherd the Diocese, consecrating him on Thursday, 13.10.2016[8] at the CSI-St. George's Cathedral, Chennai[8] where he was principally consecrated[11] by the Systematic theologian, G. Dyvasirvadam, CSI, then Moderator and co-consecrated[11] by Thomas K. Oommen, then Deputy Moderator in the presence of other Bishops including The Right Reverend Sister Eggoni Pushpalalitha, CSI Order of Sisters, Bishop – in – Nandyal and The Right Reverend Daniel Thiagarajah, CSI Bishop – in – Jaffna.

The consecration of Solomon Raj in Chennai makes him the second Bishop from the Diocese of Medak after Frank Whittaker, CSI[22] to have been consecrated as Bishop at the St. George's Cathedral, Chennai and the third Bishop – in Medak after H. D. L. Abraham, CSI[23] to have been consecrated as Bishop at a Cathedral other than the Cathedral in Medak. After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh State in 2014 into Telangana and the residuary Andhra Pradesh, Solomon Raj is the second Bishop to have been consecrated in the new Telangana State with the first Bishop being The Right Reverend K. Reuben Mark, CSI of the adjoining Diocese of Karimnagar also in the new Telangana State who was consecrated on 4 May 2015[24] well after the formation of Telangana State.

Ex-officio endeavours[edit]

Near-Ecumenical[edit]

Solomon Raj has been a member of the Board of Governors representing the Diocese of Medak in the near-ecumenical[25] Andhra Christian Theological College, Secunderabad comprising a few Protestant Societies that include the Methodists, the Lutherans, the Baptists and the Church of South India (Anglicans, Congregationalists, Wesleyans), since the present period of the Old Testament Scholars The Rev. T. Matthews Emmanuel, CBCNC and The Rev. Ch. Vasantha Rao, CSI. In early 2016[26] when the annual convocation of the Senate of Serampore College (University) took place in Secunderabad[26] in the presence of the Old Testament Scholar John Sadananda, CSI[26] the Master[26] of the University, after a gap of nearly three and half decades with the earlier convocation having been held in Secunderabad in 1979[27] during the period of the Old Testament Scholars,[28] The Rev. Victor Premasagar,[28] CSI and The Rev. G. Babu Rao,[28] CBCNC, the Diocese of Medak through Solomon Raj as Vice-Chairperson of the Diocese and as member of the Board of Governors of the College had substantially contributed to the logistics ensuring the successful holding of the convocation.

Fully-Ecumenical[edit]

Church unity[edit]

Bishop Solomon leading the faithful in Secunderabad in 2017.

The Diocese of Medak of the Protestant Church of South India Society is represented on the fully-ecumenical Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Federation of Churches[29] where Solomon Raj as Vice-Chairperson and now Bishop continues to represent the Diocese of Medak in the federation consisting of the Catholic Church (Latin rite and Syro Malabar rite), Orthodox Church, Protestant Church, the Charismatic Church and, the small and indigenous Churches.

At every periodical meeting of the federation held at the St. John's Regional Seminary (Theologiate),[30] Solomon Raj has been active participant working towards Church unity[30] along with fellow Clergy from the Catholic Church, The Most Reverend Doraboina Moses Prakasam, RCM, The Most Reverend Gallela Prasad, RCM, The Most Reverend Innayya Chinna Addagatla, RCM and from the Assemblies of God[30] and other Churches. Incidentally, Solomon Raj's mentor and guide, the Systematic theologian, The Most Reverend G. Dyvasirvadam, CSI has been the President of the fully-ecumenical Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Federation of Churches.[31]

Scriptural[edit]

The Bible Society of India Telangana Auxiliary was bifurcated from the Bible Society of India Andhra Pradesh Auxiliary and inaugurated on 2 February 2016[32] and takes forward the work of the Bible Society of India in translating and distributing the scriptures. The Bible Society of India has also published the complete Bible with the Deuterocanonical books[33] making the scriptures available even to the Catholics. On 5 June 2016,[32] Solomon Raj, as Vice-Chairperson of the Diocese of Medak participated in the installation mass of the new Auxiliary Secretary, The Rev. P. K. Praveen Prabhu Sudheer, CSI held at the CSI-Wesley Centenary Church in Secunderabad in the presence of the Old Testament Scholar and Bible Society of India General Secretary, M. Mani Chacko, CSI.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c 53rd Graduation Service Booklet of the Andhra Christian Theological College, Secunderabad held on 8 April 2017, p.11.
  2. ^ a b c Namasthe Telangana, మెదక్ చర్చి నూతన బిషప్‌గా సోలమాన్ రాజ్, October 13, 2016. [1]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Church of South India Synod - Medak Ministerial Details. [2]
  4. ^ a b The Hans India, Rev Solomon Raj is new Bishop of Medak church, Friday, 14.10.2016.[3]
  5. ^ a b c John B. Carman, Chilkuri Vasantha Rao, Christians in South Indian Villages, 1959-2009: Decline and Revival in Telangana, William B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, 2014. [4]
  6. ^ a b c P. Y. Luke, J. B. Carman, Village Christians and Hindu Culture, Lutterworth Press, Cambridge, 1968, pp.15, 17, 24.[5]
  7. ^ John B. Carman, When Hindus become Christian: Religious Conversion and Spiritual Ambiguity in Jerald D. Gort, Henry Jansen, H. M. Vroom (Edited), Religions View Religions: Explorations in Pursuit of Understanding, Rodopi, Amsterdam, 2006, pp.241-264.[6]
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h The Hindu, Hyderabad, Rev. Solomon Raj first Bishop of Telangana, Thursday, 14.10.2016. [7]
  9. ^ Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad, Rev. A. C. Solomon Raj is 8th Bishop - in - Medak, Church of South India, 14.10.2016. [8]
  10. ^ General Secretary's Report, Church of South India Synod, 2017, pp.5-6.[9]
  11. ^ a b c d e George Conger, Four year wait for bishop ends for Central Indian diocese, Anglican Ink, 20.10.2016.[10]
  12. ^ a b The Asian Age, Two CSI groups fight for control, 10.6.2012
  13. ^ Indian Christian Secular PartyRev. A.C Solomon Raj speech during party launch[11]
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m K. M. Hiwale (Compiled), Directory of the United Theological College 1910–1997, Bangalore, 1997. Past students of the graduate course, p.77.
  15. ^ a b Sankar Ray in Business Line, 11 April 2008 Almost a century later, the charter was endorsed officially under the Bengal Govt Act IV of 1918. Internet, accessed 30 November 2008. [12]
  16. ^ Under section 2 (f) of the UGC Act, 1956 a University means a University established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act or a State Act, and includes any such institution as may, in consultation with the University concerned, be recognized by the Commission in accordance with the regulations made in this behalf under this Act. The UGC took the opinion that the Senate fell under the purview of Section 2 (f) of the said Act since The Serampore College Act, 1918 was passed by the Government of West Bengal.[13]
  17. ^ "UGC Act-1956" (PDF). mhrd.gov.in/. Secretary, University Grants Commission. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  18. ^ a b fully-ecumenical that is Protestant, Catholics and Orthodox included. Shared Search - Souvenir of the inauguration of the academic collaboration between the United Theological College, Bangalore and the Dharmaram College, Bangalore, 1975, Bangalore, available at the Archives in the library of Karnataka Theological College, Mangalore.[14]
  19. ^ a b 70 years of God's Faithfulness: CSI (Medak Diocese) UK Telugu Christians Souvenir commemorating the 70th year of the formation of the Church of South India, 2016.[15]
  20. ^ A. C. Solomon Raj, Can violence be a means of achieving social justice? An ethical evaluation of the Naxalite Movement in Telangana, Bangalore Theological Forum, Volume 33, 2001.[16]
  21. ^ Peoples Reporter, Volume 28, Issue 24, December 25, 2015 - January 10, 2016, p.13.[17]
  22. ^ Life (magazine), Church Union in South India, 1 Dec 1947.[18]
  23. ^ Rajaiah David Paul, Ecumenism in action: a historical survey of the Church of South India, Christian Literature Society, Chennai, 1972, p.159. [19]
  24. ^ CSI Synod News, New Bishop consecrated and installed in CSI Karimnagar Diocese, Monday, 18 May 2015. [20]
  25. ^ near-ecumenical comprises a few Protestant Church societies.
  26. ^ a b c d Senate of Serampore College (University), Address of the President of the Senate.[21]
  27. ^ Religion and Society, Volume 26, Issue 2, 1979, p.77
  28. ^ a b c H. S. Wilson (Edited), The Church on the Move: Essays in honour of Victor Premasagar, Christian Literature Society, Madras, 1988, p.vi. [22]
  29. ^ Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Federation of Churches. [23]
  30. ^ a b c Anthoni Raj Thumma, Telugu Church leaders call for “visible signs” of Christian unity . Matters India, 22 February 2016.[24]
  31. ^ Andhra Christians oppose state board for Church properties, 12 September 2015.[25]
  32. ^ a b Bible Society of India, Telangana Auxiliary. [26]
  33. ^ Good News Bible with Deuterocanonical books, United Bible Societies, 1979. [27]

Further reading[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Bishop T. S. Kanaka Prasad, CSI
Member, Board of Governors,
Andhra Christian Theological College,
Secunderabad

2012–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Church of South India Diocese of Medak Ecclesiastical Titles
Preceded by
Bishop T. S. Kanaka Prasad, CSI
CSI-Bishop – in – Medak,
Medak

13.10.2016–
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
The Rev. K. Zaccheus, CSI
Presbyter – in – Charge,
CSI-Holy Trinity Church,
Bolarum, Secunderabad

2012–2016[1]
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
The Rev. B. D. Premsagar, CSI
Presbyter – in – Charge,
CSI-Garrison Wesley Church,
Trimulgherry, Secunderabad

2009–2012
Succeeded by
The Rev. S. P. Vidyasagar, CSI