A Correspondent

NEDUMBASSERY: Metropolitan Kozhiparambath Elias Mar Athanasius who returned from Damascus after receiving `Susasthikon' from Patriarch Ignathios Zaka I was accorded a reception at the Cochin International Airport on Tuesday morning. He arrived here by the Qatar Airways flight.

In a show of devotion and belief, hundreds of faithful thronged the airport premises to receive the newly consecrated Bishop.

He was accompanied by Jacobite Church Synod Secretary Metropolitan Joseph Mar Gregorios.

Lonappan Nambadan MP, Jose Thettayil, MLA, district panchayat president P.S. Shyla, CIAL General Manager Jiji Ramesh, church spokesperson Varghese Kallapara, block panchayat president K.J. Issac, Sunday School Association deputy director C.Y. Varghese were present.

He was later taken in a procession to his parish Mar Sabore and Afroath Church at Akaparambu where he was received by Vicar Poulose Arackaparambil and trustees P.V. Gerogekutty and J. Jacob.

Elias Mar Athanasius was consecrated as Bishop by Catholicos Basselios Thomas I Bava of Jacobite Church at Patriarchal Centre in Puthencruz on January 1, after which he left for Damascus.

In his address to the faithful, he vowed to function in accordance with the teachings of the Catholicos Thomas I and for the uplift of the downtrodden.

He further promised to strengthen the ecumenical movement.

He reminded the believers of Patriarch Zaka I's call to respect the Indian Constitution and the democratic norms enshrined in it.

He called for the settlement of all outstanding issues through consensus and by upholding the faith of the church.

Plea to Government

Meanwhile, he urged the Government to allow at least Catholicos Thomas I, Synod Secretary Joseph Mar Gregorios and himself to perform `Doopa prayer' at the tombs of the Metropolitans in the Thrikkunnath seminary in Aluva during the `Orma Tirunal' on January 25, 26.

He was accorded a civic reception by the Nedumbassery grama panchayat at the entrance of its office.

Metropolitan Mar Athanasius was also accorded a warm reception at Simhasana Church, Thuruthussery, where he had been residing to serve as the manager of the school. Later, he left to Puthencruz to meet Catholicos Thomas I.