Kottayam: His Holiness Moran Mor Baselios Marthoma Paulose II introduced several noteworthy changes in his tenure as the Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. He was committed to a life of providing succour to the helpless. His vision encompassed all walks of life. He prayed for the sick and helpless people and worked for their well-being.
He took initiatives to wipe out the evils of alcoholism and substance abuse and promote gender equality. He even addressed contemporary challenges including internet addiction.
He always insisted that the church was meant to be with people in misery. The social commitment was reflected in the establishment of the St Gregorios International Cancer Care Centre at Parumala at a cost of more than Rs 100 crore. He also launched a free cancer care programme for the poor.
He spent his birthdays in orphanages, conveying a message of austerity at the same time.
His contributions to gender equality were second to none. He paved the way for women to the decision making bodies of the church. Women found their voice in the affairs of the church after he allowed them to vote in major parishes along with men.
He worked to stem the tide of suicides. The human empowerment division of the church worked in the field of suicide prevention by offering psychological counselling centres. He focused on creating awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol and intoxicating drugs.
His social genius was evident when he targeted internet addiction among youngsters as well as adults. He exhorted the faithful to observe ‘cyber fasting’ on Good Fridays. He launched a community-wide austerity drive to nudge the people away from excessive consumerism. More recently, the church started offering monthly pensions to widows in need.
His contributions in the field of ecumenism made him a notable figure in the international arena. He worked to promote cooperation with the Oriental Orthodox churches. The cooperation among Armenian, Ethiopian, Greek, Russian and Coptic Orthodox Churches was a major development of this century.
He strengthened the relationship with the Catholic Church when he visited Pope Francis in the Vatican.
Courtesy : Manorama Online