KERALA

Paean to a spiritual leader

BIRTHDAY GIFT: The 10-minute album has a song on Mar Chrysostum  

Radhakrishnan Kuttoor

PATHANAMTHITTA: "He is a spiritual leader, dynamic enabler, prolific orator, voracious reader, pungent writer, tactful negotiator, valiant defender of the law, compassionate at heart and a wonderful team man who respects diversity of opinion, but does not easily compromise on principles," says a special album brought out by the Department of Sacred Music and Communications (DSMC) of Mar Thoma Church to honour Philipose Mar Chrysostum, head of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar, to mark his 90th birthday, which falls on April 27.

An embodiment of love, compassion, humility, and simplicity and with a rare kind of subtle humour, Mar Chrysostum has carved a niche for himself in the hearts of people cutting across barriers of religion, caste, creed and colour.

The 10-minute album with sing-along music (karaoke) contains a song on Mar Chrysostum. "In Greek, `Chrysostum' means `man with a golden tongue' or `golden-mouthed man,' and the album is our humble birthday gift to the Mar Thoma Metropolitan, says Fr. Sajan P.Mathew, DSMC director, who himself has scored the music to his own lyrics.

The idea was conceived by the DSMC president Joseph Mar Iraeneus Suffragan Metropolitan. The album is priced at Rs.50. The profits will be donated to the `housing scheme for the poor' launched by the Church as part of the Navathy celebrations, said Mar Iraeneus.

Zacharias Mar Theophilus Suffragan Metropolitan, who heads the Navathy project, says the Church will construct 1,600 houses for the poor homeless people, above religious considerations, within the next one year as part of the Navathy celebrations.

The Navathy Ganam will be played at all 1,160 parishes of the Church in different parts of the world during the year-long celebrations from April 27, 2007 to April 26, 2008, said Fr. Sajan.