A bishop is considered to be the successor to the Apostles in the service and hierarchy of the Church. Therefore the bishop is believed to serve in place and as a type of Christ for the Church but in Orthodoxy no bishop is considered to be without wrong. They are responsible for maintaining the unity of the Church throughout the world by insuring the truth and unity of the faith and practice of their diocese. The metropolitan is responsible for these factors as well but they are also head of the parishes which is part of their diocese or archdiocese. The metropolitan is the go to for all lower orders of clergy. In Orthodoxy, no divide service can be conducted without a ruling bishop's authorization and all former Orthodox Metropolitans upheld these codes strictly.
His Grace, Metropolitan Zachariah Mar Nicholovos was born on August 13, 1959 to the famous Poothiyottu family in Mepral. His boyhood name was Cheriyachen. He has three brothers and one sister.
He studies in different schools in Kerala until he finished his High school. The first two years of his college education was in Malabar Christian College. He received his BA (English) from the St. Joseph College, Devagiri (Calicut University). He continued his studies in Theology at United Theological College, Bangalore and received a Bachelors of Divinity and a Masters of Theology.
His Grace Metropolitan Kuriakose Mar Coorilose ordained him to the Holy Diaconate on January 4th, 1986 and to the Priesthood on May 16, 1990 at his home parish St. John’s Church, Mepral. His Beatitude Mar Baselios Paulose II tonsured him as a monk on August 5, 1993 at Moovattupuzha. His Holiness Moran Mar Ignatius Zakka Iwas I, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, consecrated him as Metropolitan on August 15, 1993.
Metropolitan Mar Nicholovos served as the Ecumenical Secretary of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church and taught as a professor at the Malankara Syrian Seminary at Mulanthuruthy. His ecumenical activities led him to serve as a member of the Syrian Orthodox – Roman Catholic Dialogue Commission. His Grace remains very active in the Ecumenical and Inter-Religious movements. Metropolitan Mar Nicholovos was appointed as the Assistant Metropolitan of the American (Northeast American) Diocese in 2002.
His Grace currently serves as a Central Committee member of the World Council of Churches, and as a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, New York.
On February 26th 2011, following the retirement of His Grace Metropolitan Mathews Mar Barnabas, His Holiness Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose II appointed Metropolitan Zachariah Mar Nicholovos as the ruling Metropolitan of the Northeast American Diocese.
The history of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of the East in the U.S.A. begins approximately in the mid 20th century. During this period, a number of prominent priests and laity came to the U.S.A. for higher studies and training. We do not have much information about the people who came over during that time period, but we do know that His Grace Mathews Mar Coorilos Metropolitan (late H.H. Moran Mar Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews II) stayed at the General Theological Seminary in 1963 and returned to India in 1964. Mar Coorilos celebrated Holy Qurbana occasionally during his stay here. At the same time, Rev. Fr. K.M. Simon of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the U.S., came to take charge under the Patriarchate of Antioch. After Mar Coorilos left for India, Fr. Simon continued celebrating the Holy Qurbana in various parts of Northeast America. This service was ecumenical in nature, and all Malayalees, irrespective of cast and creed, participated and enjoyed the hospitality of this group. In the beginning, these services were conducted occasionally, but later, more frequently.
In 1965, the United States' legislation passed a new bill which cleared the way for thousands of professionally qualified individuals to make their way to America. Many Malankara Orthodox Christians, who were in search of a better life for themselves and their families, came to the United States during this time. After 1970, the Malankara Orthodox Church gradually began to take root in many of the major US cities. Many of the new congregations were faced with uncertainties regarding the fate of the Church in America. As time passed, the growing number of clergy and laity proved that the Malankara Orthodox Church would be a permanent body in the United States. The question of ecclesiastical authority and how this body should be structured was a chief point of concern among the clergy and other church officials. Despite the hardships taking place within the Church, "pioneer" priests worked hard to establish parishes in order to serve the needs of the growing number of Malankara immigrants to the United States.
The year 1976 was a very important year for the Church, especially here in America. The Holy Synod decided to establish more dioceses to better administer the flock in various parts of the world. At this time, the numerous churches in America were placed under the authority of the Metropolitan of the Bombay Diocese, Thomas Mar Makarios, who had spent time in America as a student. Under the leadership of Mar Makarios, the Holy Synod made a momentous decision and granted the parishes in America their own Diocese, creating the American Diocese. Mar Makarios was given authority of the American Diocese and the enthronement of the newly elected Metropolitan Mar Makarios was held at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, under the authority of the Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews I, on July 14, 1979. The enthronement was well attended by many leaders of the Orthodox Churches, as well as representatives from various other denominations. Notable during this time was the grand celebration of Saint Thomas Day by parishioners and church leaders across the nation at Union Theological Seminary, NY. During the tenure of Mar Makarios as Metropolitan, the Diocese saw growth in a dramatic fashion and the number of parishes grew to almost fifty strong. Along with this, the dedicated service of the priests in America added to the unity, prosperity and growth of the Diocese.
In 1991, the Diocese came under the direct control of a Malankara Metropolitan who was assisted by Mathews Mar Barnabas, our present Metropolitan. For one year, the Diocese continued in this manner, until control came under the full authority of Mathews Mar Barnabas. The enthronement ceremony was held in March 1993 on a grand scale at St. Mary's West Sayville under the authority of the Catholicos of the East, Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews II, and was attended by representatives from across the Diocese.
Under the leadership of Mar Barnabas, the Diocese has grown both spiritually and physically. Most notable of all Mar Barnabas' accomplishments is the development of spiritual organizations, such as MGOCSM and Sunday School. He gave both organizations a national structure and administration. In 2002, Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, a young, talented leader and orator joined the Diocese as the assistant to Mar Barnabas. With his assistance, the Diocese has grown even further.
The Church as a whole, has developed specific ministries to cater to the challenges our faithful face. These ministries provide seminars, bible studies, retreats, conferences and so much more to assist our faithful in their journey as an Orthodox Christian.
The Diocese continues to seek ways to stay true to her motto of 'not to be served, but to serve', by developing more ways serve to our faithful through these ministries.
We invite you to click on any of the ministries of our Diocese and find out how we can serve you!
The Orthodox Vacation Bible School (OVBS) has been a longstanding educational outreach program of the Malankara Orthodox Church. It provides our younger generation with an opportunity to learn more about the basic tenets of the Orthodox faith through participation in a fun and interactive program that takes place over a series of days.
OVBS focuses on deepening the knowledge and experience of the Orthodox faithful and embraces the teachings and traditions of Orthodox Christianity: Scripture, saints, feasts, prayers, worship and music. Also, the curriculum will attempt to teach and engage participants in the following areas: classroom lessons & discussions, memory verses (from Bible and/or parts of Orthodox tradition â€“ especially prayers), songs/hymns (liturgical & non-liturgical), Orthodox worship/prayer, activities, arts & crafts, recreation, and more.
The clergy of the Northeast American Diocese gather together twice a year under the prayerful leadership of the Metropolitans for retreat, prayer, meditation, confession, discussion and fellowship.
During the Great Fast, the priests and deacons of the Diocese remain in retreat for one weekend with the Metropolitans. It has become a recent practice to also gather in the fall season for the clergy conference to discuss and share new initiatives for the spiritual growth and progress of the faithful Malankara Orthodox Christians in the Northeast American Diocese.
It is worthy to note, that it was under this Clergy Association, the Campus Ministry movement was formed and was set into motion to reach out to our students at various college and university campuses.
Women have many roles and a need was beginning to rise to help young women in their daily lives while maintaining a strong foundation in Christ. H.G. Zachariah Mar Nicholovos understood this need and gave his blessing to proceed with the first-ever young women's conference which was themed, "Daughters of the King in the Northeast", in short DKNE. DKNE reached over 200 women of various age groups that attended the conference: single/married, high school/college/professional and it began to address their needs in different stages of life. Women understood that each of them are a Daughter of the King and our Lord is with them daily. The conference left a positive impression for all the women that attended.
The success of the conference led to the institution of a new ministry by His Grace called G.R.O.W. Ministries (God Renewing Orthodox Women). The objective of G.R.O.W. Ministries is to help women grow in Christ throughout all the stages of their life and have a personal, life-changing relationship with God. This ministry is essential in that it provides a support system for young women while also educating them in the Orthodox faith.
By the Grace of God, the Family and Youth Conference of the Northeast American Diocese, has been flourishing year after year under the eminent leadership of our Diocesan Metropolitan, His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos.
The Family & Youth Conference is organized to promote the spiritual, cultural, and social development of the members of the American Diocese. The presence of our Metropolitans, Priests, and Deacons from our diocese, is a great blessing to the conference. For those who need counseling, we have our own certified Pastoral Counselors on the conference site. The prayers, sermons, devotional addresses, bible studies, retreats, holy confession, etc., contribute to the spiritual enrichment of the participants. There are various sessions that help provide a great opportunity for meditation and contemplation. The melodious choir (youth & adult) help add a heavenly environment in which the participants of the conference learn to cherish and love.
Mariam Samajam Is the Women's Association of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. It is one of the major spiritual organizations of the Church which was founded in 1920 under the leadership of the Rev. M. C. Kuriakose Remban and K. M. Annamma of blessed memory, and many others.
The Church has a central committee for this spiritual organization that encourages Church-wide and Diocese-wide conferences, retreats, seminars, and other related programs for the spiritual nourishment of the women of our Church. Aside from a centralized committee of the Church, the Northeast American Diocese has an exemplary group of dedicated women under the able leadership of the Metropolitans and Vice President.
Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in the United States
FOCUS is a spiritual organization that caters to the spiritual needs of the older youth in the American Diocese.
Officially established by the Diocesan Metropolitan's Kalpana in September of 2005, it has slowly begun to take root in many of the diocese's major cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, and Houston. We are working hard to establish units in many other places so that young professionals and couples over the age of 23 can come together for spiritual growth and renewal.
സെന്റ് മേരീസ് മലങ്കരഓര്ത്തഡോക്സ് വെസ്റ്റ് സെയ്വിൽ ന്യൂയോര്ക്ക്
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