LETTER – 6
10 june 1993
THIS IS ONLY TO REPORT TO ALL CONCERNED THAT BY THE GRACE OF GOD, I AM PROGRESSING REMARKABLY WELL IN THIS CATHOLIC HOSPITAL WHERE EVERYONE IS MOST KIND AND TAKES GOOD CARE OF ME. OUR PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY MR. & MRS. THOMAS AND KORAH VARGHESE ACHEN LOOKING AFTER MY NEEDS.
AS YOU KNOW, I HAD A STROKE WHILE TRAVELLING FROM OXFORD TO COLOGNE on may twentyninth for attending a very important five-day symposium with leading world physicists on the foundations of theorotical physics held june 1-5 at the high energy physics institute of the university of cologne, which i was very sorry to miss.
i was carried directly to this hospital by our people, from the cologne airport. i was actually supposed to stay in the guestroom of this hospital. for qurbana in cologne for our people on pentecost sunday instead i was admitted to the emergency clinic that was going on, saturday at seven thirty p.m.
At first, after observing ecg irregularity, the doctors suspected cardiac problem. i was in intensive care for twentyfour hours. heart is still under observation and so far normal. there is total paralysis of the left half of the body, but, god be praised - no impairment of speech or any brain functions. i am typing this message with my one (Right) hand which is normal. paralysed left side already beginning to improve with slight motor function coming back to left knee and shoulder. getting very good physiotherapy will probably have to stay in this friendly, well equipped and well run catholic hospital. for another week or more and then move to a rehabilitation centre in germany for a few weeks. i am still hoping to get back to india by mid - july if the lord permits.
it may interest you to know that the staff in this 300 bed hospital is very international. the lady who cleans my room every day is a bosnian muslim with three children of her own; the chief physician dr. george, from trier, germany is kind, unusually friendly and competent. the assistant doctor wieberova, from poland, is very kind and caring. there are ten or so malayalees working here including three roman catholic sisters from kerala. one of the nurses attending me is a turkish muslim girl doing one year of voluntary service here. invariably everyone is kind to me.
i am not yet well. enough to receive many visitors or talk for a long time. neither is it good for me to receive many telephone calls. the best way to contact me is by the above fax number. kindly pass on a photocopy of this message to bawa thirumeni and also to the seminary. i have no objection to your publishing the information. please ask someone at the seminary to contact me by fax and give me all news. i had written to them shortly before i fell sick.
with warmest greetings.
paulos mar gregorios
LETTER – 7
Dec. 4, 1994
Mr. Rajan George
Delhi - 21
I can walk only with great concentration, and if anyone touches my body, I lose balance and fall. It has happened to me several times, but only with my people, who always try to show me that they want to help, but never looked after me during my entire sickness. Nobody has come to ask me whether I need any special treatment or help. I have managed my own treatment. I called together my priests in the Delhi area, and asked them to find someone who could look after me. They did nothing. I found someone from outside my community, a Hindu who was good, but my people drove him away saying that he had chicken pox and shut him up in my own house. I was as helpless as before.
I wrote this much since you asked. I have many complaints about my people’s failure to help me in my work or to look after me in my sickness. I am still suffering because of my people’s lack of care for a man who has worked hard for them and who is now unable to use his left hand for the past 18 months or more.
To you, I would give the humble advice to understand before you judge. You will be doing me a service if you can tell all our people that I am a bad man, and that they should not try to help me. Then I would not have to fall or wet myself so often.
Ps. You may show this letter to any priest or laymen according to your discretion. Let them also find out how bad I am!
LETTER – 8
17 - 3 - 1995
I wish most humbly to communicate to you a decision which I have arrived at, after great deal of prayer and soul searching.
As you all know, my health is still not very good. I have to protect myself from excessive stress and strain.
I have also gradually lost my confidence in the leadership of the Church, and I find it difficult to associate myself with many of the present leadership’s decisions and ways doing things.
I therefore herewith tender my resignation, which will take effect from May Ist 1995, from my membership and all offices in the Holy Episcopal synod, from membership and offices in the Association Managing Committee, and from membership in other administrative bodies like the Standing Committee of the synod. I have never accepted my appointment as the secretary of the Holy synod, because of irregularities in that office not yet rectified. I resign also from being Metropolitan of the Diocese of Delhi.
If His Grace Job Mar Philoxenos is appointed as acting metropolitan of Delhi from may Ist 1995, I shall hand over to him all signatory and other powers and responsibilities as soon as such appointment is made and communicated to me.
I resign also as Chairman of St. Thomas Orthodox Vaidika Sanghom, since I have never been able to give as much time as I wanted to give to that Sanghom.
I would like to retain my responsibilities as Principal of the Orthodox Seminary, Kottayam, until a new Principal is appointed or until I am asked to hand over charge to someone else. I would also like to continue with the programmes of Sophia Society, Niti Santhi Kendra and Sarva Dharma Nilaya in Delhi.
I may be permitted to stay at the Delhi Orthodox Centre, until such time as I am able to move permanently to another residence of my own. If the Church wants to grant me a retirement allowance, I shall humbly accept the same.
For the time being I will continue to be President of the Parumala Mar Gregorios Memorial Charitable Trust in Thalacode and to be responsible for institutions like the Mar Gregorios ITI and the St. Mary’s Boy’s Home, related to that Trust.
I will also retain my present position in the Mar Gregorios Foundation in Kottayam, since that Foundation is dedicated to the promotion of my writings and ideas. I would like to serve as Chairman of the Mar Gregorios Charitable Fund in Delhi, since the money has been collected using my name. I need some means for helping people in need.
Please pray for me that I may continue to be faithful to the Lord who has called me to serve Him.
Your humble brother in the Lord
Paulos Mar Gregorios
LETTER – 9
May 10, 1995
My Dear .........
I am here in Florida USA, undergoing a two week treatment in Cranio Sacral Therapy at the Research Institute of Dr. John Upledger, a member of the US Government’s special team for Alternative Therapy. It is one of the newly emerging therapies for people with chronic back problems. It seems the method has so far been successful in more than 80% of the cases. It is my last chance for a permanent cure, and since they had already tried everything possible in Delhi Hospitals, and they had covered up Allopathic ignorance by simply diagnosing it as Polymyalgea Arthritica, and putting me on steriods, which is now ruining my bladder control and diabectic sugar control; life became rather impossible in Delhi since there was no one in the Diocese who could look after my treatment needs. I felt very much like an orphan and did not want to fall a victim to the Church’s callous lack of care for its bishops - Pachomius Thirumeni was the last victim of that carelessness.
It was a great risk to undertake the long trip to Miami unaccompanied. And I did pay the price. In Rome after I had boarded the Alitalia plane for Miami and taken my seat in Business Class, the Captain of the Flight told me that I was physiologically unfit to travel. They offloaded me in Fiumicino Airport and took me to a hospital. I had been drenched with urine, resulting from my bladder incontinence, which had become quite bad with the Steriods. I could have gotten through the transit in Rome all right if they had given me the facilities to change planes without making me stand very long, and also making me climb up the many steps to the big Miami plane no my own. Anyway all they did in the hospital was to take away my clothes and sterilise them, and also wash and sterilize my body also. They gave me a change of (horrible) clothes and whisked me to the NewYork plane that was leaving at 1230. What with a three hour wait in Kennedy Airport, after immigration and customs clearance, I got to Miami at 2130 hours. Our Achen was waiting for me and I got to my hotel room at 30 minutes past midnight, after having been on the road for more than 48 hours. I had not been able to take my insulin and other medicines all day Sunday; in Palm Beach Gardens, I slept for some 15 hours and woke up totally without energy and quite helpless. The Achen here, Fr. Joy Pyngolil and others have been taking good care of me. I began my treatment on Tuesday, and even after only one session, I already feel better. There is every possibility that I will be healed here in two weeks.
I have laid down all my church administrative duties as of May 1, 1995. I have not given charge to Mar Philoxenos, because I had no instruction to do so from the Synod. ........... But my view does not count in our Church; it is easy to spoil a diocese, which has been built up with great self-sacrifice on the part of our people and priests. perhaps I have also contributed something to the building up of the diocese and its 30 churches. I plan to stay on at the Delhi Orthodox Centre, and continue to work with Sophia Society, Sarva Dharma Nilaya and Niti Santhi Kendra. I may also develop some new projects, in order to continue to use my limited talents and experience.
If I am well in the next few weeks, I have a major lecture to deliver at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee, and read a paper in a Toronto meeting in the first week of June. According to present plans I should be back in Kottayam by June 14th and stay for two weeks, to do some things for the Seminary. Whenever the authorities in the Church feel that somebody else can do the Principal’s Job better, they would not have to dismiss me; just appoint another person, and I will readily hand over charge.
I think that some day ......... should come here for treatment. So few doctors in this country or in ours have even heard about the Upledger Institute. But it is a proven success, and I will send you details if needed. I hope your own health is good.
If any part of this letter is of interest to others, you may publish the ......
All good wishes and blessings
Paulos Mar Gregorios
LETTER – 10
DR. PAULOS MAR GREGORIOS
15th July 1996
Shri Rafael Varghese
My dear Sanjay,
Blessings to you. I have been thinking of you often, and miss you very much. It seems my responsibilities here in the Church (especially Reconciliation) will keep me pinned to Kottayam for a while yet. I have no idea when I can come to Delhi, though I know that the Centre is completely orphaned with both Kochuthirumeni and Philip Achen away. Have you recently had a look at my car? Without a driver it is also orphaned. Please go and see what shape it is in.
Have you gotten to like your present job? I am not sure that it should be your life career. Have you tried to think about what Trans National Corporations are doing to our culture, to our independence, and to our economy? You should do some reading and reflection on this and share your thoughts with me.
I am sure you are making enough money for your needs now. I suggest that you also think about the poor and the needy. I suggest that you open a special Savings Bank account, exclusively for charity, and deposit in it - to begin with - a day’s salary every month; do not use this money for any personal need; find out people who are really in need and help them. Later on you can increase your monthly contribution to a tenth of your salary. This will turn out to be the best thing you have done, for yourself, and for the Lord. I trust that you will take this advice seriously, and act right away. Do not worry about the money you will need for Manju’s wedding, for mummy’s health and so on. All that the Lord will take care of.
Write to me some time, sharing your thoughts and anxieties. Keep up your bible reading and daily prayers. God be with you always. Blessings to Mummy and Manju.
Paulos Mar Gregorios
(From: Prayatna (MGOCSM Delhi Diocese News letter), No. 4, Sept. 2003)
LETTER – 11
January 1, 1992
My Dear Friend,
It is about time that I produced one of these round robins. I have been guilty of negligence or something like that in the matter of personal correspondence.
The New Year has come. It seems difficult to wish Peace and Joy to the whole of humanity in 1992 and to have faith that the wish will come true. I wish that God may grant you both inner joy and peace even in the midst of humanity’s many afflictions, anxieties and problems. To rejoice in the midst of many sufferings both one’s own and other’s, is perhaps better for us than a life without problems.
As for myself, only a few changes. I am a few years older than I was when I wrote my last circular letter, but I think old age could be a blessing if only people would let others rest. This year I will, God willing, complete three score years and ten.
I have laid down my responsibilities, such as they were, as a President of the World Council of churches - in Canberra in February 1991. It was not a particularly creative situation for me - WCC leadership was afraid that I was not conforming to their expectations, and of course I had the same worries about the WCC. Before I joined the staff of the WCC in 1961, I thought the organization was too Western and too Protestant. But afterwards I learned to appreciate it as something unique - quite an unparalleled forum for reflecting on global human problems at the peoples’ level, and sometimes to do something about these problems. With little money it achieved some big things in this sphere. Mostly because then they had the expertise to bring the experts and peoples’ representatives together. I got a big education from all this and I am very grateful.
As for the unity of the churches, the WCC promoted better understanding between the Orthodox and the Protestants, helped transform the Roman Catholic Church, and served also as a forum for the Protestants to act globally. At times it provided such forum for the Orthodox also. Without the WCC, we Orthodox would have been too isolated from each other. Thirty years of association with the leadership of the WCC has taught me many lessons. I think I may be wiser now than thirty years ago, but certainly I am not very optimistic about the Christian Ecumenical Movement, Whether globally or in India.
I devote more time these days to inter - religious work. I am now on the Council for the World Parliament of Religions (Chicago), and was privileged to give the inaugural address at the 1990 opening ceremony in Chicago for the four year long centenary celebrations of the first so - called World Parliament of Religions (1893), where Swami Vivekananda made a big splash in the West. 1993 is going to be a big year for inter - religious relations - special events in more than thirty countries.
I am also Executive President of the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace, as well as Patron of the International Religious Foundation and the Council for the World’s Religions. These three are organizations founded and funded by the controversial Revd. Sun Myung Moon of Korea. He is also head of the Unification Church, which claims to continue the unfinished work of Jesus Christ, but is not accepted as a Christian Church by most Christians including myself. Many allegations are made against Mr. Moon and the Moonis as his disciples are called, pejoratively most of these charges have been found to be totally baseless. The authoritative outsider study by British Sociologist Ms. Eileen Barker, Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the London School of Economics, seems to be little known to people.
I find these organizations doing more useful inter-religious work than the WCC or the Vatican, or any other body I know. I am quite happy to be associated with these and other related organizations, without any involvement in the Unification Church itself. Many of my friends misunderstand me at this point, but such misunderstanding has in the past not stopped me from associating with odd fellows like the communists or the Rastafarians. I respect people’s right to misunderstand: sometimes it seems a desperate need for some to do so. But I also think that it will be healthier for them to understand more correctly. Neither the WCC nor the Vatican’s Pontifical Council on Inter - Faith Dialogue nor, for that matter, the World Conference of Religions For Peace (Geneva) has been able to give me sufficient reasons for their taboo against Moon - related organizations. It seems rather strange that while there is a mushrooming of Inter - religious organizations, they cannot cooperate with each other. And most of them are committed to world peace and intercultural harmony!
In my diocese I have now an Assistant Metropolitan, His Grace Job Mar Philoxenos, who now does the administration and pastoral care for people in the 50 parishes and congregations stretching from London to Lucknow much better than I could have done. But that does not, alas, decrease the volume of my work for my own church. I am still Principal of the Orthodox Seminary in Kottayam, and now also Secretary to the Holy Episcopal Synod. I have to go to Kerala (3000 kilometers to the South of Delhi) practically every month. And it seems I have to travel abroad for various international conferences about 10 times a year. I still give sometime to the 120 poor children in Kerala and about the same number in the poor quarter of Delhi, of all religions (ages 6 to 16) whom we feed and educate. All that adds up, and I will be 70 this year; I am still disabled from the prolapse two years ago of my two vertebrae in the lumbar region. God gives me by His infinite grace the strength to go on. He may also, if He so pleases, give me, sometime in the future, also more competent assistants in Delhi and Kottayam. I would like retire from my administrative responsibilities at the end of this year, if God wills.
And the shape of the world is not particularly cheering. For the oppressed and exploited, hope recedes continually; frustration mounts in intensity; mindless violence bursts forth in self - destructive anger. The might of big money, military muscle and the technological money - making mind, seems to take over, while justice and democracy always continue to recede. The cry of humanity for Peace with Justice is muzzled and muted. People and nations are bought off for a mess of pottage. Even in what was once Socialist Soviet Union, today people will do anything for bread and sausage. Socialism has become a taboo word in many countries. Peace movements, to which I once devoted a lot of my time, are not in fashion any more. Terrorism and war alone seem never to run short of money or recruits. The night of evil is daunting indeed.
And what has happened to socialism and the hope for social justice? The first socialist state of history has committed suicide. There is no superpower left to take up the cudgels on behalf of the millions of victims of oppression and injustice in the world. Gorbachev, the great statesman who made history take a tour de force, has not only managed to create an amazing mess in so many economies, but also has left the poor without an armed and strong defender. Perhaps that is all for the good. The oppressed had been enfeebled by too much dependence on the Soviet Union. Now they will have to organize themselves and learn to learn more on people’s power and God’s power. If they do not, eventually the oppressor too is bound to suffer, because fascism seems to be around the corner in many countries.
Socialism will survive, because it means the quest for peace with justice and dignity for all. It will have to take untried forms, and depend less on state power. Eventually socialism provide the base for a new civilization which replace our present godless, secular, urban-technological civilization. As for Gorbachev, his failures are as tragic as his achievements are great.
We now need to lay the foundations for a more democratic global community of nations where no nations or group of nations is able to dominate, oppress or threaten the others. We must move boldly towards a world without weapons of mass destruction and with a global structure caring for the life-environment on this planet. The same global structure should provide also for adjudicating and peacefully setting all international conflicts; as well as for justly adjusting global trade terms and technology transfers, without making science - technology or information a saleable commodity in an unjust market. “Intellectual property” should be a shocking concept for decent intellectuals, as well as for ordinary people. Science’s once great claim to be public will have to be strongly reaffirmed. As we make some progress in these, other things to do will become more evident.
My basic mood is still one of tempered
optimism. I refuse to be afraid of bullies, whether they, be Asian,
American of European. God is still in full charge, and the way of Christ
is to resist evil with good, not afraid of being clobbered in the process.
I have now a Fax – cum - Telephone Answering Machine in Delhi. It will be good to hear from you from time to time. Please pray for my work and keep writing to me: It brings a lot of encouragement. May God bless you and give you the sense of His presence.
Yours for Peace with Justice
Paulos Mar Gregorios