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And He said to them, Do not be alarmed You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified, He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him [Mark 16:6]


The Holy Week Service 2014 Detailed Schedule, please read below in Weekly News Bulletin








Rev. Fr. Dr. Chirackal Varki (Varki Achen) left for heavenly abode on March 26, 2014 at the age of 83. He was born in Kuruppampady, Kerala, India. He was the eldest of four boys, among siblings of four boys and four girls. His surviving brothers are C.P. Abraham, C.P. Paulose, and C.P. Mathai. His surviving sisters are Aleyamma Mathai, Mary Jose, and Lily John. His oldest sister, Annamma Mani, predeceases him. He was the son of Chirackal Varki Paily and Aleyamma Paily of Chirackal House, Kuruppampady.


He graduated from Mar Gregorios Memorial High School Kuruppampady. He was ordained as a deacon in the Malankara Orthodox Church at age 17, by H.H. Geevarghese Mar Baselious I, Catholicos of the East at Kottayam Pazhaya Seminary. While in Seminary, he also attended C.M.S. College Kottayam and then studied at the Thevara Sacred Heart College, Ernakulam and graduated with a BA degree.


In 1957, Varki Achen immigrated to the United States to attend Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, where he obtained a Masters in Divinity. He also earned a Masters in Social Work and Masters in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, and obtained a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology. In 1964, he married O.P. Mariamma of Omathil House, Amayannoor, Kerala, daughter of late O.T. Pothen and Aleyamma Pothen. He is survived by two children, Elizabeth Varki Jobes, husband Theodore, and Paul Varki, wife Roslyn, and five grandchildren, Taylor Jobes, Sarah Jobes, Sophia Varki, Mirabel Varki, and Max Paily Varki.


Varki Achen was a board-certified Clinical Psychologist for 40 years working at various state hospitals in the Philadelphia region, including Norristown, Haverford, and Byberry. He was dedicated to serving those who suffered from mental illness. During those years, he also maintained a private practice in the Delaware Valley.


On January 11, 2002, he was ordained as a priest of the Malankara Orthodox Church at Alwaye, Kerala by the Metropolitan of his home Diocese Ankamaly, His Grace Paulose Mar Pakomios.


Varki Achen was a devoted member of the clergy leadership of the Saint Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Church in Bensalem, PA. During his 57 years of service to the church, he provided leadership and support to the Malayalee community throughout the Northeastern United States.


Rev. Fr. Dr. Varki was loved by all. He will be remembered for his love of family, keen wit, devotion to God and the church, and his service to those with mental illness. He will always be in our hearts.




Varki Achen


Dear Brother/ Sister in Christ,


A great loss for our church family indeed! But ideally every death is a gain! We have one more mediator in the Heavenly Abode!


March 26 is a memorable date for our church family, because two of our ordained clergies were called to eternity on this date- Rev. Dn. Markose Mani (2011,march 26) and Rev. Fr. Dr. Paul Varki (2014, March 26).Its quite surprising, but let us relay on God's will and His everlasting love.


On Monday, March 24th, Varkiachen has received the sacrament of Healing from Nicolovos Thirumeni and Yesterday (March 26) morning Very.Rev. Yohanan Sankarathil Corepiscopa and myself has given Varkiachen the Holy Communion. His end time was quite and peaceful. As servant of the Lord and a strict family man, he has written a legacy with justice, mercy and humility (Micah 6:8), May his soul rejoice in the heavenly abode with the saints and righteous and May his memory be eternal in the church.


As a church family, we are observing a 7 day mourning  (Wednesday March 26, to Tuesday April 1) for our Spiritual Father. Therefore, we are canceling some of the major events  of the church like;


- Friday Holy Qurbana on March, 28th
- Lenten Retreat on Saturday,March 29th
- Prayer fellowships
- Sunday School and other activities on Sunday

Tentative Plan for Varki Achn’s viewing and Funeral

1.     Thursday, March 27, @ 7 PM – 8 PM, at church: Planning Meeting for Achen’s viewing and Funeral.

-         MC + Board + All Spiritual organization & Ministry Leaders.

2.     Friday, March 28 :Prayer Fellowship

         Location:  Varkiachn’s Residence

         Time: 7 PM – 8.15 PM

3.     Saturday, March 29: Private Viewing and Service:

        Location: St.Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Church,4136 Hulmeville Road,Bensalem,PA 19020.

        Time: 4 PM – 6 PM: Family

                 6 PM – 7.30 PM: SGMOC church family.

4.     Sunday, March 30: Public Viewing & Funeral Service

        Location:  St.Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Church

        Time: 2.30 PM – 8.30 PM

5.     Monday, March 31: Viewing, Funeral service & Burial

        Viewing & Funeral Service: St.Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Church (9 AM – 11 AM)

        Interment: SGMOC Cemetry,Rosedale Memorial Park,3850 Richlieu Road,Bensalem,PA 19020.( 11.45 AM )

        Funeral Lunch: St.Gregorios fellowship Hall, Bensalem (12.30 PM)



Peace & Comfort,

Fr.Shibu Venad Mathai

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Sixth Cathicos


January 26 is the memorial feast of the sixth Catholicos of Malankara Orthodox Church, H.H. Moran Mar Basalios Mathoma Mathews II. This most charismatic father of our Church departed for heavenly abode on Thursday the 26th of January 2006, at the Devalokam Aramana, Kottayam at the age of 91 years. Mortal remains of His Holiness are interred at Mount Horeb Asram in Sasathaamkotta, Kerala. Thirumeni had leaded the Church for fifteen years from 1991 to 2006. H.G. Mathews Mar Coorolos was the Diocesan Metropolitan of Kollam diocese of the Church for long 38 years before he was enthroned as Catholicos in 1991. Both as a Metropolitan and a Catholicos, Thirumeni had conquered the mind of entire Malankara.




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Very Rev. K. Mathai Corepiscopa - Kottayam


Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost – August 4, 2013
[Main theme: St. Mark 6: 7-13]


The disciples, Jesus called were ordinary men, but their assigned task was extraordinary. The functions of the twelve disciples were to be with Him and to work for Him. A believer who believes in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior and is baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, and follows the teachings of Christ and His Apostles is a disciple. We become true disciples by obeying His commandments. Love is first commandment for the disciples to obey.


Click Here for the Full Article


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Mar Ivanios


With the Hope of resurrection, would like to inform you about the heavenly departure of H.G.Geevarghese Mar Ivanios,the Metropolitan of Kottayam Diocese of the Malankara Orthodox Church. Thirumeni entered into eternal rest today (April 12th) at 7.30 AM (Indian time) at Karipal Hospital, Kottayam. Thirumeni was well known for his prayer life and spiritual leadership. He was instrumental in establishing Njaliyakuzhy Dayara which became the modern Mount Athos of the Malankara Orthodox church. He served the church as the professor of Orthodox Theological seminary and the President of the St. Thomas Vydika Sangam, an organization for the clergies of the church. As a Metropolitan he was very particular for the spiritual discipline and growth of the Kottayam Diocese. His prophetic voice always became a corrective force against the evil trends in the church and the society. Thirumeni stands parallel with Pampadi Thirumeni for his devotion and human love. He had visited the United States many times, inspired and encouraged many youth for a dedicated devotional life. As Thirumeni moves into history, we, visibly miss one more bishop with true vision and devotion. May his soul rest with the righteous and the just in the heavenly abode. May his prayers be a refuge for us before God Almighty.


His Grace was born in 1940 at the Keeyath family, Othara. After his schooling, he did his BSc from Fathima Matha College, Kollam. Further to that he took his post graduation in Hebrew and Syriac Languages from Mansfield College, England. Also he took a Masters in Theology from Oxford University. Meanwhile, he learnt Sanskrit and Latin.

He was ordained a deacon in 1963 and a priest in 1973, respectively, by His Grace Mathews Mar Kurilos. Thereupon, he worked as the Vicar of Karappuzha Chappel. In 1979, HH Marthoma Mathews I, ordained him to the rank of a ramban.

His Grace was ordained an episcopa in 1985 at St Mary’s Church, Puthiakavu, Mavelikkara. Since then, he is working as the Bishop of Kottayam Diocese. He was ordained as a metropolitan in 1991.

From 1971 onwards, he is teaching at the Orthodox Theological Seminary, Kottayam and has authored a book, “Hridaya Sudhikaranam”. His Grace is also a known guru in meditation!

* There will be a special prayer service on behalf of HG on Friday & Sunday in the liturgy.Please participate.

- Fr. Shibu Venad Mathai

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Mar Barnabas

Our parish has had very close association with Barnabas Thirumeni from the time we acquired the Torresdale Avenue, Philadelphia church building in 1994. Later on, he laid the corner stone of our new Church building at Bensalem, Pennsylvania in 2007 and was the chief celebrant at the consecration ceremony in 2009. Thirumeni was one of the first contributors to our Church building fund and gave us a generous donation. This Memorial page is published in honor of our cherished Barnabas Thirumeni with reflections, memories and tributes to this saintly shepherd. We dedicate this Memorial page to the feet of our dearly esteemed father who joined with the cloud of Saints.


Please Click on the Link below or follow the Menu Path Tributes to read the full Memorial Page:


H.G. Mathews Mar Barnabas - Memorial


Worship Hours

Sunday Worship Hours

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Holy Qurbana
9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

11:00 AM- 12:00 AM

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Bensalem, PA 19020
Phone: (215) 639-4132

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Friday April 11,2014 6.30 pm - Fortieth Friday

Evening Prayer, Holy Qurbana & Devotional


Sunday April 13, 2014 8.30 am - Palm Sunday

Morning Prayer followed by Holy Qurbana & Hosanna service


Monday April 14, 2014 6.30 pm

Evening Prayer & Devotional


Tuesday April 15, 2014 6.30 pm

Evening Prayer & Devotional


Wedenesday April 16, 2014 - Pesaha 6.00 pm

Evening Prayer, Pesaha Service & Holy Qurbana


Thursday April 17, 2014 6.30 pm

Evening Prayer & Devotional


Friday April 18, 2014 - Good Friday 8.30 am

Good Friday Service, Nercha Kanji, Evening Prayer & Night Vigil (8 pm)


Saturday April 19, 2014 - Holy Saturday 10 am

Canonical Hours followed by Holy Qurbana, Evening Prayer (6. 30 pm)


Sunday April 20, 2014 - Easter 8.30 am

Morning Prayer, Easter Service & Holy Qurbana











During our contemporary period of time, there are many people who vehemently criticize the eastern tradition of prayer, which is the foundation of spiritual life. The basic reason for the same is the ardent affinity of the people for the western pattern of Christian prayers and their tendency to blindly adopt such practices. Also it is because people do not try to learn the nature of the eastern pattern of prayers from their practicing experiences. Believers are more fascinated by the western style of prayers, as those prayers are short and filled with more emotional or ecstatic expressions. The prayers of Eastern Church are more arduous and exhaustive. These prayers do not lead the person for a quick emotional experience. So the eastern prayer practices fall not attractive to many believers. With this background, I am writing this message to give an insight about the eastern practice of prayer and its importance.


I am born and brought up in a Marthomite Family. Till my age of eighteen years I was given with a spiritual training, which adopts the practices with western type of prayers and sermons. The western style of prayers and sermons were logically gracious, benevolent and emotionally satisfying. Those involved an exhortation for living a victorious Christian life. Those also associated a theme and calling to defeat the evil and to nourish in goodness. While we hear the sermon it incubate a desire in us to lead a new good life. But after a while, these desire of a good life fade away from us. It was a type of spiritual experience with which we cannot grow spiritually to full extent of our desire. This tradition did not teach why the temptations come to our mind and what is the way to overcome it. Though it teaches us that we need a good spiritual goal in our life, it does not teach clearly how we can reach the acme of our intent of spiritual life. Though we can defeat the evil so far we are in the emotional state, it cannot lead us for a persistent conquest even after the emotion desists.


I realized the fact that the decisions we make in our life by our own will power will not suffice for solving our problems in our spiritual life. It was an experience by which we continuously pray to God to keep us away from encountering spiritual problems, however, when we are forced to face such a situation we may crumble and fall into desperation. Also the motivation of the prayer was to supplicate our own needs to God and gain those in our worldly life. The western prayers do not emphasize to gain a spiritual strength by prayer and to attain a purification of our mind by that strength of prayer.


Though the western style of prayer lead us for a deep emotional experience, I found it cause many problems in our spiritual life as we cannot persistently live in this emotion. So I was unsatisfied with my prayer life.


However, by this time, I was given with a different type of spiritual experience also of the Eastern Church tradition of prayers. My father's sisters were married to Orthodox families. Whenever they visited our home, it was a practice that they call all to assemble together in the evening and early morning and pray the formulaic prayers of eastern tradition. The practice of kneeling while praying also I learned from these prayer practices. So, both type of prayers were taught and practiced in my home. Especially, during the Great Lent period, it was very punctual in our house to pray the full-prescribed prayers of the Holy Lent. Whenever I felt lassitude with the western style of prayers, I used to practice the eastern tradition of prayers, which gave me more satisfaction. I started experiencing a more spiritual joy in my life.


When I was enchanted to these traditions of prayers, this practice grew up in me for observing prayers at canonical hours and personal mystical prayers. I realized that it caused for more punctuality in my life. This experience encouraged me to observe the Fasts. When the Fasting and Prayer merged together, it caused a strong yearning in me to worship in the tradition of Eastern Church. Eventually, I had the desire to take Holy Communion and to become a member of Eastern Church. So God gave me that fortune to live according to the eastern practice of prayer and worshipping.


Attributes of the Eastern Church Pattern of Christian Prayer:


1. Through the practice of prayers at canonical hours, learned to be in the contact of God continuously all the time.


2. The daily cycle of prayers at canonical hours caused for a punctuality and careful observance in the life.


3. It was learned that we should defeat evil continuously by prayer. The evil forces are the ones leading the people to evil life. To overcome the evil we need a continuous prayer life. Sobriety cultivated by the power of prayer lead us to defeat and obliterate the evil and tempting thoughts.


4. It was learned that to nourish in goodness, we need a continuous prayer practice and receive the strength from God through prayer.


5. Continuous Prayer and Fasting lead for the purification of our mind. More than a victorious life we have to live in the humility of obedience to God through continuous prayer and fasting and worshipping.


6. With our self will power or by an instant emotion we cannot attain sanctification. Seeking ecstasy has an end in itself.


7. Western pattern of prayers can cause an external change to control our life, but it cannot lead us for an internal purification. It was learned that the prayer, fasting and worship lead us for a guard of the mind and internal purification.


The Eastern Church prayer patterns not only lead us to the goal of spiritual life and bring about humility for the obedience to God but also that in itself is the step-by-step way to reach the spiritual goal of contemplation by the Grace of God. The goal is to acquire, through purification and Grace, the Holy Spirit and salvation.


[With gratitude to Rev. Fr. Santhosh K. Joshua, Earlier Vicar of St. Thomas Orthodox Church, Washington, USA for making available this message of Thirumeni.]


[Original in Malayalam : Translated By Rajan Mathew, St. Gregorios Church, Philadelphia, USA]








Photo Courtesy: Micheal Mani











Photo Courtesy: Micheal Mani






Christmas 2012


It's the most wonderful time of the year!!! Come, join the SGMOC family on Sunday, December 23rd at 1 pm (after Holy Qurbana and lunch) to enjoy a SPECIAL CHRISTMAS TREAT.


Our TALENTED KIDS, PARENTS and TEACHERS will be presenting various programs praising and glorifying the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many volunteers and teachers have spent a lot of time and effort preparing for this event. Please support their hard work and dedication.


This is 'OUR' show. Hope to see you there!!!


"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace"

Aswathi John & Reny Biju
Coordinators, Christmas Program.




To read Articles of Barnabas Thirumeni, Please Click the Link below:









SGMOS Patron Memory Feast And Catholicate Centenary Celebrations Photos are uploaded in the Photo Gallery. Please follow the Menu Link Below:

Photo Gallery --> Parish Feast 2012 --> Patron Memory Feast And Catholicate Centenary

Photo Courtesy:
Alexander Thankachan
James Chacko
Michael Mani
Lyn Kurien