Founder: Mar Joseph Powathil, Archbishop of Changanassery

A monk is a real pilgrim, he is not of this world, but finds himself within it. Monasticism is often equated with asceticism, but it is too much to restrict it so, even though a monk is true ascetic. A monk is a true prophet; he bears witness to the life and teaching of his Master, he even courts martyrdom for that sake. A monk is, in fact, a man of the Gospel, a man who thirsts after salvation in the risen Lord.

The roots of his life are fixed in repentance and faith; his life is a perpetual metanoia (conversion). His prayer is, “Iso-M’siha”  (Jesus Christ) came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of the sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me as the foremost, Iso-M’siha (Jesus Christ) must display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life (1 Tim 1: 15-16). In fact, a monk is a “symbol of salvation” in this world of distractions.

When we consider the long history of the Church both in the West and in the East, we become more and more convinced of the important role of monasticism in the building up of an individual Church. We envisage a community, strictly based on the principles and values of “costly discipleship” (LG 44), which was in vigour in the early Syriac Churches, a community dedicated solely to the study, celebration and proclamation of its original Apostolic, Ecclesial life; in the case of the Syro-Malabar Church, a community which considers the Mar Toma Margam, “the way of Thomas”, as its rule of life.

This Community ought to recognize the “identity” of the individual Church to which it belongs, in her liturgy, discipline, spirituality and theology and must be bent on living it and bearing witness to it in all possible ways.  Moreover, it has to help its mother Church to rediscover her identity and thus to build upon that basis with creative intuition.

Hence the tasks ahead of the new monastic community members in the Syro-Malabar Church are many and varied. First of all, they have to lead an authentic liturgical life according to the genius of this individual Church and work as a sign and leaven. Not only that they live the authentic liturgy of this Church, but also that they ought to take measures to provide ample facilities for others to experience the same. Simultaneously they have to engage in serious research study of the sources, which are numerous and bring them all to the reach of the ordinary faithful in this Church. In this research, one ought to lay special emphasis on biblical, liturgical, patristic, historical and disciplinary sources. Moreover, they have to take initiative to organize and develop proper and authentic Syro-Malabar liturgical music, art and architectural style. They may also launch a long-term program of publishing literature on Syro-Malabar theology, liturgy, spirituality, history and so on. Ecumenical, Pastoral, Charitable and Humanitarian works, which flow from their ecclesial zeal, shall also have proper place in their life programme.



The Ashram Community with First Formator Rev. Sr Roselit SABS

Restoration and renewal of the ecclesial patrimony require the study of the genuine and authentic sources of the Church. Nobody loves a thing, which one does not know. Hence, the study of the history of the Churches, especially of Saint Thomas Christians, the details on the liturgical heritage, writings of the Fathers and of the early Church, and so on should be done with special interest. This study will help to rediscover the ecclesial roots and identity.

Monastic life in the Syro-Malabar Church, therefore, is an intimate following of Jesus Christ under the principle of “costly discipleship” by bearing perfect witness to the Liturgical Spirituality of Mar Toma Margam.

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