In The Lives of Saints Ioasaph and Barlaam, two Christian saints from the IV century, we read about their martyrdom. King Abenner, who hated Christians for their belief in Christ, threatened to kill them if they did not renounce their faith. His hatred was particularly aimed at monks. While some Christians agreed to his decree, others refused and fled to the mountains. Others chose to endure martyrdom.
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Thomas’s converts were fully integrated into south Indian society
The Thomas Christians were fully integrated into south Indian society for over one thousand years. Their spirituality and culture was not so far removed from their Hindu heritage, as the Ramban Song reveals. Even their prayer rituals reveal a common Hindu heritage. Nonetheless, their missionary zeal was not enough to convert these people to Christianity.
In addition, the Acts of Thomas records that the first converts in India were Jews. Although there is some controversy over whether the Apostle founded the Church of India, archaeological evidence shows that Jewish communities lived along the Malabar Coast in the first century.
St. Thomas’s followers pledged fidelity to the Syriac patriarch of Antioch
The Syriac patriarch of Antioch is an important figure in the early history of Christianity. He led a community of Christians that was the first Christian community outside of the West. The patriarchate of Antioch has long been a prominent role in Pauline Christianity. Its bishops still bear the names of the founders, and there are currently five patriarchs of Antioch in the world.
Historically, the patriarchs of Antioch were elected by a faction of the Syriac Church. One faction recognized Theophanes and elected Cyril VI Tanas as patriarch. Another faction refused to recognize the patriarchate and elected Sylvester of Antioch in his place. Both patriarchs have followers. The Syriac Catholic Church and Greek Orthodox Church acknowledge both of them.
St. Maphryono was a Moses-like figure
Moses was born in the thirteenth century BC and was the son of Yocheved and Amran. He was raised in the royal palace and received the wisdom of Egypt. He was a boy like other Egyptian boys. He was eventually abandoned by his mother and sisters, but his sister watched over him. She gave the baby the name Moses, which means “to take up from the water.”
In the eighth century, the monk St. Basil was elevated through all of the priestly orders within a short period of time. This prompted him to be enthroned at the holy church of St. Sophia in 806.
St. VattasserilThirumeni was a tiger-slayer
Saint Vattasseril Thirumeni was born on October 31, 1858, in Kottayam, Kerala, India. He received his early education at the CMS Middle School and completed his schooling at Kottayam’s CMS High School. He was ordained a subdeacon by the Moran Mar Pathrose Patriarch in 1876. His life was devoted to freeing his people from slavery, and he spent his entire life fighting for freedom.
Thirumeni was a scholar and theological educator. He spent much of his time in prayer and silent meditation. He was very diligent in studying the Bible. He read three to four passages a day. He also avoided spiritual hypocrisy. His life is a testament to the power of prayer.
Maphryono died on ‘Kanni 19’
Maphryono was born in a village near Mosul, and was consecrated in 1678. He was joined by his brother and two other monks in the mission to India. The mission was initially attracted by Mor Thoma II of Malankara.
Maphryono was a martyr
There are various types of orthodox saints, and each one has their own calling and characteristics. Each one of them lived by scriptural virtues and fought the “good fight” for the faith. In their particular case, Maphryono was elected by eastern bishops and ordained by the Patriarch. Maphryono’s seat was Dayro d-Mor Mattay in Mosul.
Today, Maphryono is celebrated as a martyr by Orthodox Christians. The day she was killed falls on the Feast of the Annunciation, so her service is usually held on a day prior or after the Feast. According to tradition, Mary was a slave of a Jewish governor in Thessalonica. She refused to attend a synagogue with her mistress. She was then locked up in her cell, starving to death. Her mistress later ordered her body to be thrown off the roof of the house. Christians then buried Mary’s body and later built a church over her grave.
Maphryono is a living saint
In 1748, the Patriarch of Antioch consecrated Maphryono, the Maphryono of the Malabar Church. He later published a book, titled “The Malabar Church: A Brief History of the Church in Malabar,” detailing his responsibilities and experiences as the Maphryono of the Malankara Syrian Christian Church. After his consecration, Maphryono began his tour of fourteen churches in Travancore, concluding in the north.
The Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, Mor Ignatius Zakka-I, declared Maphryono a living saint. This Patriarchal bull requires that the name of the holy fathers be commemorated on the fifth TUBDEN (Diptych) of the church. The Patriarch was present when the Synod Secretary read the Patriarchal bull to thousands of faithful.