Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society
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|Founders||George Alexander, Deacon Subin Varghese, Boaz John (Technical Adviser)|
|Type||Non-governmental organization, scientific and charitable society|
|Origins||Orthodoxy Beyond Limits|
|Rt. Rev. Dr Chorbishop Kyriakose Thottupuram of Chicago|
|K C Jacob|
The Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE (OCP) is a society for the promotion of Orthodox Christian unity and faith established under the Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act of 1955. Formerly known as Orthodoxy Beyond Limits, the society's name changed in 2010 and it was registered in July of that year.
OCP accords equal importance to Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches; according to its mission statement, it "firmly believes that both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches are the true heirs to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ, which was the Church of the apostles and the Holy Fathers." The society's slogan is "The United Orthodox Christian Witness".
OCP began as 'Orthodoxy Beyond Limits' in the month of June 2007. Inspired by Kyriakose Thottupuram of Chicago, George Alexander, Subin Varghese and Boaz John formed the OBL forum. The forum website was inaugurated by Mor Gregorious Gabriel of Trivandrum and Chorbishop Kyriakose Thottupuram in July 2007 in Chicago. It was initially a forum for Orthodox Christian news encompassing the Byzantine and Oriental Orthodox Churches. A board, consisting of a chancellor, chairman, vice-chairman, and secretary, was constituted. In 2010, Orthodoxy Beyond Limits was renamed as Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society and registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act. K. C. Jacob became chairman, and a 10-member governing board was formed.
The OCP delegation met Metropolitan Abba Seraphim and a British Orthodox Church delegation in February 2008, which helped the society forge relationships with the British Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. A meeting with the head of the Holy See of Cilicia and a delegation was held in 2010, paving the way to a meeting with the Syriac Orthodox delegation. In February 2011, an OCP delegation met with a Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan delegation from the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch to Malankara and other pilgrims in Kerala to commemorate the 79th dukhrono (memorial feast) of Saint Ignatius Elias III of Manjanikkara. The OCP delegation consisted of Indian Malankara Orthodox Church members and members of the Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite) Church in India, the first official meeting of representatives of both churches since the schism between the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
In October 2013 OCP Society secretary George Alexander made an official visit to Ethiopia, meeting with Ethiopian Patriarch Abune Mathias, Holy Trinity Theological College dean Abune Thimotheos and Ethiopian Orthodox Church developmental commission chair Abune Samuel. Alexander also met Greek Orthodox Archbishop Petros, archbishop of Axum and all Africa. The visit was organized by Jossi Jacob, a faculty member at Holy Trinity College in Addis Ababa. Alexander made an official request to the patriarchate to organize a second Addis Ababa Conferee and interviewed Ralf Lee, a convert to the Ethiopian Church and a faculty member at Trinity College.
On 1 February 2014 an OCP Society delegation received Coptic, Armenian, Indian and Ethiopian Orthodox Church representatives at an Indian Malankara Orthodox Church ecumenical conference, urging greater Oriental Orthodox unity and the creation of a permanent secretariat for administration. In May 2014, Alexander was invited to speak at the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy mass-media conference in Thessaloniki. He urged unity between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches and called for an international Orthodox mass-media centre.
An OCP Society delegation met with Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch on the Apostolic Throne of St Peter in Antioch and All East, in Puthenkurish (headquarters of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India) on 7 February 2015. In the month of April 2015, His Holiness Baselios Paulose II (Catholicos on the Apostolic Throne of St.Thomas and Metropolitan of Malankara) and the delegation from Indian Orthodox Church received Dr Rubin (Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Delegate of Yerevan and All Armenia) 25 April, Saturday 2015. During the month of September 2015, an OCP Delegation met Metropolitan Mor Mairam Philipose, Primate of the Eglise Syro-Orthodoxe-Francophone Church (a minor Oriental Orthodox Church based in Paris- France). Metropolitan Mar Mariam Phillip was presented with the OCP icon of St. Gregorious of Parumala. The Icon is venerated by the Eglise Syro-Orthodoxe-Francophone Church community in France.
In June 2016, George Alexander, honored renowned Author Benyamin with the OCP Order of Three Saints. George also presented Mr Benyamin with the copies of Pan-Orthodox books, The Orthodox Dilemma (First edition) and Collected Writings (Second Edition). Benyamin expressed a genuine interest in the books. They also discussed problems of Christians in the Middle East. Abraham P Koshy – Treasurer & Director of Finance of the Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society met Archbishop Makarios of Qatar(Jerusalem Patriarchate) at the ancient St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Niranam in Kerala, during the last week of July 2016. In the Second week of August, Abraham P Koshy also met Bishop Youssef – Primate of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States. In the month of August 2016, an OCP Delegation visited Fr Mesrob Sarkissian, who is the Armenian Orthodox Catholicosal Vicar of UAE & Qatar (Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church). The OCP delegation met Fr Mesorb at the Holy Martyr’s Armenian Orthodox Church in Abu Dhabi. This was the second meeting of OCP delegation with Fr Mesrob (first meeting was held in the year 2009). A second visit was made in the same month and Fr Mesrob and the Church community were presented with the unique Indian Icon of St. Peter and St Thomas. An OCP Delegation met His Holiness Abune Mathias – Patriarch of Ethiopia and a delegation from the Church of Ethiopia at Catholicate Palace in the month of November, 2016. A request on Pan-Oriental Orthodox unity was submitted to the Patriarch.
In the first quarter of 2017, George Alexander was invited for a talk by the Indian Orthodox Community in Sharjah, where he spoke the need of Pan-Orthodox unity. In the month of October 2017, an OCP delegation visited the St. Phillips Russian Orthodox Church and Cultural Center in the Emirates of Sharjah. Fr Osipov received the delegation and discussed various topics including the current Pan-Orthodox scenario.
During the first quarter of the year 2018, secretary George Alexander was received by Serbian Patriarch Irinej. The Serbian Patriarch was presented with OCP Pan Orthodox icon-collage, OCP icons of St. Peter and St. Paul and St. Gregorious of Parumala. The secretary also visited Public Relations and Information services dept. of the Serbian Patriarchate, School of Fine Arts and Conservation, Orthodox Faculty at University of Belgrade, St. Stephens Slansi Monastery, Ćelije Monastery, and Lelić Monastery.
Hierarchy and Organizational Structure
The OCP Society is registered as an NGO under the Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, 1955. An executive council is elected from the general body every three years. The council consists of a chancellor, chairman, vice-chairman, secretary, treasurer and five elected members. The Executive Council is followed by OCP Foundation, Delegate Council, OCP Secretariat, OCP Departments and External Observatory Council.
Activities and Areas of Work
Meetings and Visits
The OCP Society delegation conducts visits, interviews and meetings with the hierarchy of the various Orthodox Churches and organizations. This has become an important part of the OCP activities since its establishment in 2007.
News Broadcasting and Journalism
The OCP Media Network provides news, articles, information on the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, resources on Orthodoxy and photographs of Orthodox churches. It is updated regularly with news, photos, articles and events from the Orthodox world and provides equal importance to Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. The OCP Media Network also broadcasts large volume of news and events on the persecution of Christians worldwide. The OCP News Service provides exclusive coverage from the world of Orthodoxy. OCP Media Network is the world’s largest Pan-Orthodox Christian Portal and currently holds the 12th position among the top 60 Orthodox Blogs & Websites worldwide as per the survey conducted by Feedpost.
Research and Publications
Dept. of Church Research and Studies is engaged in research in the fields of Pan-Orthodox unity, Orthodox Christian history, archaeology, mission, art, and allied areas. The OCP published its first book, on Orthodox Church management titled Orthodox Church of the East in the Twenty First Century: Challenges and Opportunities, in 2008; a copy is in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church National Sunday School Library. In 2014, the Society published their first pan-orthodox book: Collected Writings on Orthodox Christianity: Various Aspects of Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. OCP members contribute articles to national and international print and web media. In April 2016, OCP Society published their landmark work, titled The Orthodox Dilemma. A third revised edition of Orthodox Dilemma was published in 2018. Copies of Orthodox Dilemma were presented to the libraries of the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate and Orthodox faculty at Belgrade University. The book opened to rave reviews and became the first book to call for an extensive global conciliar platform for all Orthodox Christians. In 2018, OCP published ‘Western Rites of Syriac-Malankara Orthodox Churches’ another landmark work which evolved as a result of nine years of intense research through OCP-MARP initiative.
Centre for Orthodox Studies
COS is constituted under the Dept. of Church Research and Studies of Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society. The major aim of COS is to act as an apex body to monitor various research and learning projects and programs as well to act as a centre of learning and development. The beginning of COS was in the form of OCRC (Orthodox Christian Resource Centre) in 2007, alongside the launch of OCP portal. OCRC acted as a platform to for ‘Orthodox apologetic’ learning and an accessing space for various Orthodox Christian documents. In the month of August 2018, the OCP Executive Council decided to rename OCRC as COS. Research on Western Rites of Syriac-Malankara Orthodox Church began in 2009 under the Metropolitan Alvares Julius Research Project (MARP). In 2013, OCP Executive Council approved a web portal The Metropolitan Alvares Julius Research Project (MARP) publish research about Alvares’ life and mission and Western Rite Orthodox resources. MARP is an exclusive project and trade mark of OCP which is under the department of Church research and Studies of the OCP Society. In 2018, MARP was revamped with extensive changes. The new web portal was launched; a research board was constituted and released a new publication. The Orthodox Christian Educational Institutions (OCEI) project, introduced in May 2013, is an online effort to catalogue Orthodox Christian higher educational institutions worldwide. Oriental Orthodox Church Portal (OOCP) is another project under the care of COS
Charity and Social Welfare
The society’s department of charity and social welfare has reached out to the needy since its founding in 2007, with funding in India for education and health needs.Funds are collected from donors and distributed to the concerned for health and educational assistance.
The OCP Foundation was begun in 2014 to honor individuals, organize human-resources-development activities, event management and sponsorship and to foster inter-orthodox cooperation and dialogue. The foundation has honored large number of individuals, churches and organizations.
OCP Society has been supporting Orthodox minority missions through online campaigns and news publishing. Missions in Africa, Indonesia, Philippines and Pakistan.
OCP Society maintains fraternal relations and strong networking with several Orthodox Churches, Orthodox institutions, and individuals.
The society advocates for the Christians of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church and their third Patriarch, Abune Antonios, and OCP Secretary George Alexander wrote an article entitled “Detained Patriarch, Persecuted Christians, and a Dying Church”. The society observed Save Eritrea, three days of fasting and prayer, and its activities have received support from Metropolitan Abba Seraphim and the British Orthodox Church. In 2015 the OCP Media Network released a photo of Abune Antonios under house arrest, the most recent update on the leader of the Eritrean Orthodox Church. In the Second Quarter of 2017, the Society published a number of important updates on Patriarch Abune Antonios and the Eritrean Orthodox Church through OCP Media Network.
An Independent Pan-Orthodox Christian NGO movement Since 2007, OCP Society became one of the first ever independent NGO movement committed to global Pan-Orthodox Christian Conciliar Unity. It has become a unique movement providing equal importance to Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Society urges dialogue and cooperation between Eastern, Oriental, Non-canonical, Old believers, Old Calendar, Traditional and New Generation Orthodox Churches. There exist few organizations that urges global cooperation and dialogue between all Orthodox Churches. Since 2007, OCP Society has engaged in several Pan-Orthodox Christian activities, which include meeting various Orthodox delegations, publishing books, campaign for persecuted Christian minorities, attending conferences and implementing rigorous field work research initiatives.
Achievements of OCP-MARP
An OCP delegation visited the Brahmavar Orthodox community, (a reunited Latin Catholic Christian community which is part of the IMalankara Church) in November 2009. A report with a number of resolutions to the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Indian Orthodox Malankara Church was published in the Glastonbury Review and online. This contributed to the re-establishment of an episcopal diocese for Brahmavar after 87 years. In September 2010, MARP Head and Chief Research Officer Dr. Ajesh T. Phillip found Orthodox Christians of St. Gregorius of Parumala in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu. An OCP delegation visited the community the following month and published information about their faith, history and living conditions.
Philip rediscovered the Sempatti St. James church, (founded in 1890 and which belonged to the Independent Catholic Western Rite of the Malankara Church), in 2013. The church was lost in 1956–57. He also rediscovered the old visitors diary and document written by late lamented Metropolitan Thomas Mar Dynosious from St. James Independent Catholic Church, Sempatty in 2014. In December 2013, Dr. Philip and Metropolitan Dioscoros Yuhanon of the Chennai diocese of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church visited the community and church in Chempatty and met with its caretakers.
In December 2014 MARP rediscovered the lost Cathedral of Alavres Julius in Colombo, once the main church and headquarters of the Latin-rite Indian Orthodox Malankara Church. The church had missions and congregations throughout South India, Sri Lanka, portions of Northeast India and abroad. Secretary George Alexander visited the Church in Colombo during the month of September 2015. Although the church building is in good condition, it is under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church of Sri Lanka. Dr. Ajesh Rediscovered of Tablet (Tablito) used by Western Rite Orthodox Prelates from the Holy Epiphany Church (Muvarsar Alayam) in July 2015. The OCP Secretariat announced plans to research its constitution, present status and historical connection to Syriac-Malankara Churches.
Research and Studies on Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society
A presentation and lecture on the Pan-Orthodox activities of Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society was held at the Westphalian Wilhelm University Münster (W.W.U.) on 19 September 2014. The Conference was part of the inter-university study program on "Christianity in Asia" European Summer School – Intensive Study Program (I.S.P.). The lecture was made by Ms Maria Sidiropoulou (M. Th. Student – Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (A.U.T.H.) – Greece. OCP thus became one of the first ever Pan-Orthodox organization to be researched and studied at academic Universities.
Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Relations
The OCP Society maintains cordial relations with non-Orthodox churches. In 2015, OCP secretary George Alexander met with prelates of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches and visited churches and convents in Sri Lanka. In the month of June 2016, Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE delegation visited His Eminence Archbishop Stephen Vattapara, Metropolitan-Primate of the Anglican Church of India (An Independent Anglican Church in India) whose lineage begins from Archbishop Joseph René Vilatte (Mar Timotheus I), who was consecrated by Metropolitan's St. Alvares Julius, Mar Athanasius Paulose and St. Gregorious Geevarghese (Parumala Thirumeni) of the Malankara Church. Several non-christian communities have cooperated with various research projects of OCP Society.
Orthodox liturgy celebrated after 59 years at the Mission of Metropolitan Alvares Julius in Dindigul
The OCP vice-chairman presenting an icon of Theotokos to a priest during a visit to the Brahmavar Orthodox community
- "Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, 1955".
- "The OCP Mission". The OCP Society. 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
- "OCP Timeline".
- "OBL Forum Delegation Meets Metropolitan Abba Seraphim".
- "OCP Delegation meets Syriac Orthodox Metropolitans".
- "Holy Brahmavar". The Glastonbury Review. No. 119.
- "The Lost Orthodox Christians of St Gregorious of Parumala in Dindigul - Orthodox Christian Resource Center". Theorthodoxchurch.info. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
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