A Brief History
Marth Mariam Samajam (MMVS) is the Women's wing of the Malankara Orthodox Church of India, it is also known as the St. Mary's Orthodox women's League of India. MMVS is one of the major spiritual organization of the church dedicated towards the female members. It is spread throughout the world and is functioning in all parishes of the church.
The organization was founded in 1920 aimed at the spiritual progress of women. The founders named it "Marth Mariam Samajam"after the Blessed Virgin Mary whom they accepted as their interceding saint. It was started under the patronage of the Late Very Rev. M.C.Kuriakose Ramban and with the leadership of K.M Annamma and co-workers.
St. George Malankara Church Vancouver BC is a very small parish with few members and limited resources. Due to the vast geographical area, people are spread across wide distances which makes the operation very difficult. Despite all challenges the Samajam is very active in supporting the church activities such as; conducting product sales during Agape or any other events held by the church, bake sales, fundraising program, preparing children for cultural events, participating in local events etc. to name a few. The members belong to all age groups, unmarried youngsters, young mothers to grandmothers are working together towards a common goal.
The Samajam members are actively involved in making their members ever more loyal to the faith and practices of the church by holding prayer meetings, bible study etc. under the guidance of the Achen. Our Samajam members are also actively participating and sharing their views on the administrative matters of the church and at one stage we had an elected committee member on the church administration board. Our Samajam members actively participate in Retreats, Bible Classes and Competitions held both on Diocese and Parish levels. They have won several awards and recognitions. Our first MMVS Secretary was Mrs. Annamma Philip.
The Office bearers of 2019 are:
Vice Principal: Sijo Kuriakose
Secretary: Ms. Evelin P Varghese
Joint secretary: Ms. Annie Thomas
Treasurer: Ms. Sherly Mattamel
A Brief History
Prior to the official formation of the Orthodox Christian Youth Movement, during the first half of the nineteenth century, a spiritual organization called Yuvajana Sangam was working effectively along with other organizations like Sunday school, suvishesha sangam etc in then parishes.
In the year 1933 a parish–centered Syrian Yuvajana Sangam, (youth league) was formed with the active leadership of Joseph Mar Severios Valakuzhyil Episcopa (President) and Rev Fr TS Abraham (secretary).
The historic conference in 1936 held at Mavelikara broadened the vision of the Yuvajana Sangam and the Sangam was established as the official wing of the Church with Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Philexinos (Puthenkavil Kochu Thirumeni) as president and Clergy P E Daniel (Later Daniel Mar Philerinos) as general secretary.
In 1958 at the annual conference held in Puthupally the forum officially accepted the title ‘The Orthodox Christian youth movement’ and initiatives were taken to start a monthly publication with the title Orthodox Youth (now published with the title Orthodox Yuvajanam). The Movement continues its spiritual journey with broader visions and effective Christian youth leadership.
The Orthodox Christian Youth Movement (OCYM), the Youth-wing of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church continues its journey to witness Christ in the Church and society. It contributes to the goodness and progress of the Church and community in the three-fold path of worship, study and service. It aims at molding the minds and visions of the youth against the background of the contemporary issues.
The OCYM movement in our church is in its infancy, we have fewer youths and much larger challenges in organizing and managing events based on the group’s motto. Efforts are being put to revitalize the youth movement.
A Brief History
Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Student Movement (MGOCSM) is the student wing of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Chennai being an educational hub where many Malayalee’s went for studies, in the early part of this century, few visionary students and senior leaders of the Orthodox church felt the need for an organization to bring together the students from the various colleges and high schools with a view to enhance their spiritual life and to create sense of fellowship even when they are away from their home town. Thus, they founded the Syrian Student Conference in 1907 and first conference was convened on January 1st, 1908 at Tiruvalla, Kerala, India. Ever since, Annual conferences have been a regular feature.
Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Student Movement (MGOCSM) is the oldest Christian Student Organization in India. It is the student wing of the Indian Orthodox Church, officially known as the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church with Headquarters at Devalokam, Kottayam, Kerala, India.
The motto is Worship, Study and Service.
It is the re branding of The Syrian student conference, the parent organization, assumed its present name MGOCSM in 1960.
Here in Vancouver the unit is expected to meet every Sunday after the Holy Qurbana, however does not always happen due to people’s non-availability. The sessions comprise of prayer, bible reading, devotional songs, classes/speeches, quizzes, personality development programs, games, entertainment programs etc. Various other activities which do justice to the motto are also organized.
Some of them are:
- Classes on faith, liturgy and traditions of the church.
- Educational orientation classes and personality development programs.
- Providing study materials, uniforms and other scholarships to financially backward students.
- Awards for academic excellence.
- Providing clothes, medicines and financial aid to the needy.
- Annual grants to selected orphanages and charitable institutions.
- Arts and sports competitions for Sunday School students, during Onam Holidays.
- Annual tours to various Christian centers and other important places.
- Quiz and Light Music competitions.
- Publishing Newsletters and Magazines (for circulation among members only).
- MGOCSM helps students to review the Sunday school topics, discuss the disturbing thoughts, and doubts they carry, enlighten through seminars and conferences etc.
It is our earnest effort to revive this unit in the future and make it more successful.
Church Building Plans
It has been a long-cherished dream of the members of the St. George Malankara Orthodox Church, BC to have their own Church building and premises here in the Great Vancouver region. Having our own premises gives us the ability to conduct our liturgy at the scheduled times and dates, in the manner required by our traditions and customs, while also offering us the ability, flexibility and control in conducting the activities of our various spiritual organizations.
Acknowledging that we live in one of the most expensive and least affordable real estate markets in the world, and that we have a small and relatively new membership base, the parish members, through fervent prayers, active fundraising and prudent financial management, have over the years, saved up and invested wisely to afford future members of the Church the ability to have their own premises. While the work continues, we thank all the elders, Vicars and Bishops who have facilitated this vision over the years.
The Path Thus Far
Over the years, the Parish has been keeping aside its operational surplus and proceeds of fundraising events such as Agape, Carol singing etc. as a Church Building Fund. With generous donations by Church members and well-wishers within the Malayali community in the Greater Vancouver region, the Church Building Fund grew over the years, but it was never sufficient to afford the purchase of our own church. However, in August 2015, the Church was able to complete the purchase of a half acre plot of land at 10492 140 Street, Surrey, BC, with the intention of rezoning the residential plot for Public Assembly use. While the rezoning work was underway, following the approval of the proposed nearby Light Rail Transit project, the value of the land increased significantly, attracting developer interest and suffocating the rezoning opportunities.
Seeing an opportunity, the Church decided to sell that plot when a suitable offer was received from a Developer. The hunt for a new plot of land that had feasibility for rezoning started concurrent to looking for any existing churches available for sale. After consulting with the City of Surrey on over 60 potential sites, the 1.15-acre residential lot at 15141 72 Avenue, Surrey, BC was finally chosen, having the highest feasibility of rezoning and a reasonable purchase price. The sale proceedings for 10492 140 Street, Surrey, BC and the purchase proceedings for 15141 72 Avenue, Surrey, BC were then completed on 25th July 2017 and 28th July 2017 respectively.
The Rezoning proceedings were initiated with the City of Surrey even before the purchase was completed, and as a result, the 1st and 2nd Reading were completed on 9th April 2018 and Conditional Approval (3rd Reading) was received from the City of Surrey, after a Public Hearing on 23rd April 2018.
Following the Conditional Approval, our Thirumeni, H.G. Dr. Zacharias Mar Aprem carried out the Foundation Stone Blessing and Sod Turning ceremony at the site on Sunday, 15th July 2018.
The plans, as approved conditionally by the City of Surrey, includes a new building with an Assembly Hall on the upper level and a daycare on the lower level, adjacent to the existing residence that will continue as a caretaker residence or parsonage. The Master Plan, subject to approval in the future, leaves an option for a bigger and permanent Church building (with a community hall in the lower level).
The Next Steps
The Parish, led by the Building Committee, continues its work towards receiving Final Approval (4th Reading) along with the Building Permit, and is hopeful that with the Blessings of the Lord, we can complete the Rezoning process in 2019, to be able to then focus on starting the Church Building construction soon afterwards. Concurrent to this, fundraising initiatives, both within the parish Membership and from outside will continue to generate sufficient funds to start the construction. We continue to appeal to all members and well-wishers of the Church for their prayers and generous support toward this dream.
The Building Committee
While the members of the Parish have always worked towards a Church Building, a formal Building Committee was created only in 2013. The Building Committee was then reconstituted by the General Body on 7th December 2014, and an initial mandate was approved by the General Body on 8th March 2015 – this mandate was then revised on 20thSeptember 2015.
The Members of the Building Committee are;
Kurian Varkki - Trustee
Shaji Mathew - Secretary
Cherry Itty Verghese - Convenor
A Brief History
This is a spiritual organization functioning in all the parishes of the Orthodox Church throughout the world. It takes care of the spiritual nurturing of the children, by bringing them up in the knowledge and fellowship of Jesus Christ and His Church.
The classes range from Pre-primary classes to the 12th class. As in secular schools, class ten concludes the secondary level and a certificate is awarded –Sunday school final Certificate (SSFC) to the successful candidates. Higher Secondary course is for another two years. We follow a curriculum, jointly prepared and published by the Oriental Orthodox Churches which is revised from time to time.
The vacation Bible School conducted during the mid summer holidays (OVBS) is a very vibrant wing of the O.S.S.A.E. we publish separate text books, devotional materials, song books and cassettes for the OVBS every year.
We have an efficiently running Sunday school program under the leadership of our Vicar. Our founding member of the Sunday school program is Mr. Kurian Varkki who in the early stages, single handedly organized, planned and conducted the Sunday school. With the passage of time many others volunteered and the number of teachers increased thus making this a wonderful place for the children of our church.
Our Sunday school program follows the official curriculum of the Indian Orthodox Church. We believe that Sunday school plays a vital role in empowering the children with the knowledge of God and helps appreciate, understand and take pride of being an Orthodox Christian. The classes provide children who participate with the basic understanding of the Holy Bible, the faith and beliefs of the Orthodox Church and the history of our church. In addition the children are also exposed to the hymns of the Holy Eucharist and prayers.
Annually we conduct OVBS (Orthodox Vacation Bible School) which is open to all denominations in the Vancouver region. For OVBS we get close to 100 students of all age groups, the event is conducted between 3 – 5 days and various levels of competition is part of the exercise. People generously donate to pay for the gifts of winning students and the event ends with a gala dinner for all attendees and their parents, friends’ teachers, judges and specially invited guests.
Our students have won several prestigious awards at the local and regional levels. The parents, teacher and church members take active participation in helping the Sunday school to remain successful.
Our present Sunday School Pricipal is Mrs. Jessie Ninan.