The marriage aid scheme for the poor instituted by the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church testified the social commitment of the Church, said Governor R.S. Gavai.

The Governor was inaugurating the 89th birthday celebrations of Catholicos of the East Baselios Mar Thoma Didymus-I and disbursement of marriage aid to 35 poor families at Parumala on Thursday.

Lauding the social welfare initiatives of the Church, the Governor said more than a 1,000 youngsters belonging to poor families had benefited from the scheme for which the Church had spent Rs.160 lakh.

Delivering the benedictory speech, the Catholicos said Christian habits were fast disappearing from society.

‘Need for introspection’

Alcoholism and smoking are spreading among the youth. “A true Christian is one who strictly follows the way of the Cross. It is high time followers of Jesus Christ made an introspection,” he said.

Geevarghese Mar Osthathios, senior Metropolitan of the Church presided. Oommen Chandy, Leader of the Opposition, Youhanon Mar Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Niranom diocese, Youhanon Ramban, Parumala Seminary manager, George Joseph, Church secretary, Alexander Karackal, former Church secretary and Sobhana George, ex-MLA, spoke.

A free medical camp was held under the auspices of St Gregorios Hospital on Parumala Seminary premises as part of the week-long festival at St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Church on Thursday.

The pilgrimage processions to the tomb of St. Gregorios at Parumala will be accorded a reception on their arrival on the seminary premises on Friday.

A meeting to commemorate the death centenary of Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius, founder of Parumala Seminary, will be held at 11 am. The 107th feast of St. Gregorios will be celebrated on November 2.

Minister for Public Works P.J. Joseph will inaugurate the Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Students Movement annual meet at 11 a.m. on November 2. The church festival will come to a close with the holy Rasa in the afternoon.