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Ordination jubilee celebrations begin

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, SEPT. 21. The scenic Marine Drive and an enthusiastic gathering of more than 50,000 people provided the perfect ambience to the beginning of the silver jubilee celebrations of the ordination of the head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Ignatius Zakka I Iwas.

Huge gathering

The faithful had begun to converge on the Marine Drive early in the afternoon for the programme that began after 4 p. m. The huge canopy that was erected on the Marine Drive ground was overflowing with people eager to have a glimpse of the spiritual head of the Syrian Orthodox Church. Dignitaries were taken to the dais, 10 feet high, with the help of an elevator even as the Patriarch arrived on a motorised chariot to spirited greetings from the faithful.

The meeting was inaugurated by the Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, who said that he was happy and proud to be part of the celebrations. He recalled that the previous two visits of the Patriarch had raised a lot of heat and dust but after the visits they had died down.

Welcomed

Earlier, Joseph Gregorios, Metropolitan welcomed the gathering. Baseliose Thomas I, Catholicos, said in his presidential address that it was not to raise controversies or to make quarrels that such occasions should be used.

Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, head of the Syro-Malabar Church conveyed his greetings on behalf of the Catholic community in the State.

The Industries Minister, P. K. Kunhalikutty, the Minister for Fisheries, Dominic Presentation, Sebastian Paul, MP; K. V. Thomas, T. M. Jacob and Saju Paul, MLAs; O. Rajagopal, former Union Minister of State for Railways; the UDF convener, P. P. Thankachan; the SNDP Yogam General Secretary Vellappally Natesan; Philip Mathew, chairman of the Press Trust of India and businessman, Yusuf Ali, were among those who participated in the public meeting.

See also page 5

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