25,000 members of the laity participated
KOTTAYAM: It was a rare occasion for the faithful of Malankara Orthodox Syrian church when seven new metropolitans were consecrated at a colourful and pious ceremony at the Mar Elia Cathedral here on Wednesday.
The much awaited ceremony commenced after the morning prayers at the specially constructed sanctum on the western side of the Mar Elia Cathedral, the official chapel of the Supreme Head of the church, Catholicos Baselius Didymos I, with the Catholicos and the Catholicos-designate Paulose Mar Milithios leading the prayers.
Other bishops and senior clergymen in addition to nearly 25,000 members of laity participated in the ceremonies.
The first phase of the special consecration ceremonies commenced midway through the Holy Mass and concluded with each of the metropolitan-designates taking the oath of allegiance to the faith, the Church and the Supreme Head, the Catholicos.
This was followed by the crucial ‘Kaivaipu' ceremonies taking the metropolitans into the rare assemblage of ecclesiastical Heads starting from the 12 disciples.
The ceremonies came to a close with the newly consecrated bishops being raised to the air with the call of “Oxios”.
The new bishops have assumed the following names: Juhanon Mar Demetrayos (formerly Juhanon Ramban), Juhanon Mar Thevodoros (Nathaniel Ramban); Yakoob Mar Elias (Yakob Ramban), Joshua Mar Nichodomos (Juhanon Ramban) Zacharia Mar Aprem (Zacharia Ramban); Geevarghese Mar Julios (Geevarghese Ramban) and Abraham Mar Seraphim (Abraham Ramban).
With Wednesday's consecration ceremony, the number of bishops in the Orthodox Church has gone up to 33, including the Supreme Head and retired bishops. Catholicos Didymos I who assumed the throne at the age of 84, also earned the record of sorts as he was the first to consecrate 14 bishops during his tenure.
This is after a gap of 53 years that the Mar Elia Cathedral lay witness to consecration ceremony
The consecration ceremony was followed by a quick public reception to the new bishops.
Mathews Mar Savarios, T. J. Joshua, Jacob Kurian, Mohan Joseph, Jose K. Mani MP, and V. N. Vasavan MLA spoke.
Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy released a souvenir published to mark the occasion.