Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society

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Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE
Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society.jpg
Logo
Founded 2007
Founders George Alexander, Deacon Subin Varghese, Boaz John (Technical Adviser)
Type Non-governmental organization, scientific and charitable society
Focus Pan-Orthodox Christian unity, conciliar unification of the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, Building a common concilliar platform for all Orthodox Churches
Location
Origins Orthodoxy Beyond Limits
Area served
Worldwide
Slogan "The United Orthodox Christian Witness"
Website theorthodoxchurch.info

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.[1] 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" and "Let us unite together, let us pray together and let us act together for the Unity of Orthodoxy."[2] The society's slogan is "The United Orthodox Christian Witness".

History[edit]

An OCP Delehation with Patriarch Abune Mathias of Ethiopia
OCP Treasurer Abraham P Koshy with His Eminence Makarios of Jerusalem Patriarchate
Discussion with Syro-Franchphone Orthodox Church delegation
OCP Delegation honouring Metropolitan Mar Elias of Brahmavar
OCP Delegation with Fr Mesrob Sarkissian of the Armenian Orthodox Church of Lebanon
OCP Delegation with Fr Mesrob Sarkissian
OCP Treasurer with Bishop Youseef of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate
Group of men, one holding a plaque
OCP delegation meets with Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II in Puthencruz
Man speaking at a podium
OCP Secretary George Alexander speaking at the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy conference
Four men holding an icon of three saints
OCP Society honouring the Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy
Blue church
Cathedral of Metropolitan Alvares Julius in Colombo, rediscovered by an OCP initiative
Group of people behind a table with icons
OCP presenting Christine Chaillot the Defender of Orthodoxy Award
Men behind a table; some sitting, others standing
OCP delegation receiving Oriental Orthodox prelates
Prelates seated before a large audience
Ethiopian Orthodox prelates honored by OCP at Addis Ababa conference
OCP delegation meeting Mor Kuriakose Severios, Chief Metropolitan Archbishop and Primate of the Knanaya Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese
Six men standing behind icons
Metropolitan Mor Timotheos Thomas of the Syriac Orthodox Church receives an OCP delegation

OCP began as Orthodoxy Beyond Limits in 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.[3] 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. 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, rigorous field work research initiatives and so on.

Organizational structure[edit]

Two men holding an icon
OCP Secretary George Alexander with Archbishop Abune Samuel, head of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Developmental Commission

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 OCP delegate council consists of representatives from Orthodox churches worldwide. As advisers and ambassadors, they make recommendations to the executive council. A panel of advisers acts as correspondents and consultants of OCP, promoting its mission. OCP associates are external supporters without voting rights.

OCP has a number of departments: External Church Relations, Public Relations, Finance, Publications, Church Research and Studies, Charity and Social Welfare and Technical Support. Executive council and advisory board members, ambassadors and associates serve the departments as needed. The departments hire employees, also as needed. OCP members are Orthodox Christian professionals from a number of disciplines worldwide, representing Orthodox Churches, who contribute their time and resources. Membership is offered to practicing Orthodox Christians of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Ruling hierarchy[edit]

Ruling Hierarchy of Orthdooxy Cognate PAGE

  • Chancellor: Rt. Rev. Chor-bishop Kyriakose Thottupuram of Chicago
  • Chairman: Lejit George (2007–2010), K. C. Jacob (2010–present)
  • Vice-Chairman: Subin Varghese
  • Secretary: George Alexander[4]
  • Treasurer: Abraham P. Koshy
  • Executive council: Thomas P. John, Mariamma Jacob, Boaz John, Soney Cherian, Jacob Mathew
  • Representative churches: Coptic Orthodox Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, Greek Orthodox Church (Church of Greece) Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and All East, Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All East, Armenian Orthodox Church, Indian Orthodox Malankara Church, Serbian Orthodox Church, Russian Orthodox Church, Romanian Orthodox Church, Orthodox Church in America, Indonesian Orthodox Church Ecumenical Patriarchate

Activities[edit]

OCP Media Network[edit]

The OCP Media Network (the world's largest Pan-Orthodox Christian Portal since 2007), 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. OCP Media Network broadcast large volume of news and events on the persecution of Christians worldwide.

Meetings and visits[edit]

Two men holding an icon in front of an altar
The OCP vice-chairman presenting an icon of Theotokos to a priest during a visit to the Brahmavar Orthodox community

The OCP Society conducts visits, interviews and meetings with delegates from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church in Lebanon, the British Orthodox Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church. An OCP delegation visited the Brahmavar Orthodox community,[5] (a reunited Latin Catholic Christian community which is part of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church) in November 2009. A report with a number of resolutions to the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Indian Orthodox Church was published online and contributed to the re-establishment of an episcopal diocese for Brahmavar after 87 years.

Group of people standing under palm trees
OCP delegation with Metropolitan Abba Seraphim and members of the Eastern Christian Links
Group of people standing at a U-shaped table
With Catholicos Aram I and an Armenian Church delegation
Smiling group of people holding icons
Meeting with the Syrian Orthodox patriarchal delegation to India

The OCP met[6] with 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 Syrian Orthodox delegation. In February 2011, an OCP delegation met[7] 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 Syrian 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 in 2015 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 a 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 small 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 His Grace 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 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.

Projects[edit]

In 2013, the society's executive council approved two projects. The Metropolitan Alvares Julius Research Project (MARP) aims to publish research about Alvares' life and mission.[8] The Orthodox Christian Educational Institutions project, introduced in May 2013, is an online effort to catalogue Orthodox Christian higher educational institutions worldwide. Related areas, such as Byzantine studies, Coptology and Armenian, eastern Christian and Hellenic studies are also included.

Research and publications[edit]

Dept. of Church Research and Studies is engaged in research in the fields of Pan-Orthodox unity, Orthodox Christian history, archeology, 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. It became the first book to call for an extensive global conciliar platform for all Orthodox Christians.

Charity[edit]

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.

OCP Foundation[edit]

The OCP Foundation was begun in 2014 to honour individuals, organize human-resources-development activities, event management and sponsorship and to foster inter-orthodox cooperation and dialogue.

Major achievements[edit]

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 coöperation between Eastern, Oriental, Non-canonical, Old believers, Old Calendar, Traditional and New Generation Orthodox Churches. There exist few organizations that urges global coöperation and dialogue between all Orthodox Churches.

Rediscovery of Orthodox community[edit]

In September 2012, MARP chief coordinator Ajesh T. Phillip found Orthodox Christians of St. Gregorius of Parumala in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu.[9] An OCP delegation visited the community the following month and published information about their faith, history and living conditions.

Philip rediscovered the Chempatty church, founded in 1890 and belonging to the Independent Catholic Rite of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church, in 2013. The church was lost in 1956–57. In December 2013 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. The OCP Society planned a new mission and chapel in the area.

Rediscovery of cathedral[edit]

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. The OCP Secretariat announced plans to research its constitution, present status and historical connection to the Malankara Orthodox Church.

Research and studies on Orthodoxy cognate PAGE[edit]

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 programme on "Christianity in Asia" European Summer School – Intensive Study Programme (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.

Other initiatives[edit]

Eritrean campaign[edit]

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.

Ecumenical relations[edit]

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 Indian Orthodox Malankara with the knowledge and permission of the Patriarch Ignatius Peter IV of Antioch and All East.

References[edit]

Five men standing around a prelate
Metropolitan Mar Aprem of the Assyrian Church of the East in India receives an OCP delegation
Liturgy celebrated by five men
Orthodox liturgy celebrated after 59 years at the Mission of Metropolitan Alvares Julius in Dindigul
Two prelates, one presenting a publication to the other
Jossi Jacob receiving an historic Greek publication from the first Addis Ababa conference in 1965 from Archbishop Petros of Axum and Ethiopia on behalf of OCP
Three men sitting in a room
OCP Secretary George Alexander at the residence of the Ethiopian Patriarch
An OCP delegation with Metropolitan-Primate Stepehne Vattapara of the Anglican Church of India
OCP Secretary with Sisters of the Divine Saviour (Salvatorians) in Colombo
Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey of the Anglican Church of Sri Lanka Receives OCP Secretary
Rev Jayaraj with OCP Secretary George at St Pauls Anglican Church in Colombo

External links[edit]