Featured post

A Guide to the Sacrament of Holy Confession

Five Steps for a Good Confession

1. Examine your conscience.
2. Be sincerely sorry for your sins.
3. Confess your sins.
4. Resolve to amend your life.
5. After your confession, do the penance the priest assigns.

What do I do when it is my turn to confess in front of the Priest?

The person should kneel before an priest, the appointed representative of God. The priest, like anyone else, is also a sinner; but he is empowered by ordination to absolve sins. Then, he/she should draw the sign of cross and should say one of the prescribed prayers before confession.

Prayer Before Confession:

I confess to God the Father Almighty, and to His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Holy Spirit, in the presence of Virgin Mary and all angels, prophets, seventy-two emissaries, twelve apostles and four evangelists, and confess in the faith of the three holy synods of Nicea, Constantinople and Ephesus, trusting in the honorable priestly authority conferred upon you, priest, by which you bind and retain sins. I have sinned in thought, word and deed. I repent my sins. You are the master and I am the servant. Accept me as the prodigal son. I have sinned against heaven and against you. I believe that you have authority to bind and retain sins and that you are the mediator between God and me. And I pray that you deliver me from all my sins by your priestly authority that I may obtain forgiveness. I pray that you remember me before God, in your prayers and in the holy Qurbono. Then list your sins

If time does not permit saying the prayer in the priest’s presence, say: “In the name of the Father, the Son and the holy Spirit, I confess my sins.” Then list your sins

The penitent must admit all sins, both great and small, one by one. If a sin is inadvertently omitted, the person must confess it when it comes to mind. The silence or concealing a sin is in itself a sin. After necessary counseling, the priest says the prayer of absolution. At the end of the absolution, when the priest says and draws the sign of cross on the forehead (in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) the penitent should say Amen three times.

Note: Prayers can be found at the end of both the Malayalam Qurbana Kramam as well as the English Service Books.

Examination of Conscience

1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. Do not make any idols

* Do I give God time every day in prayer?
? ?* Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?
?* Have I been involved with superstitious practices
?* Do I seek to surrender myself to God’s Word as taught by the Church?
?* Have I rejected any Church teaching or denied that I was a Christian?
? ?* Do I put my trust in superstitions, good luck charms, rather than God alone?
?* Are there other “gods” in my life? Money, Security, Power, People, etc.?

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

? * Have I been angry with God?
? * Have I used the words “God” or “Jesus” in anger or irreverently?
? * Have I wished evil upon any other person?
? * Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?
? * Have I used foul or ugly language?
? * Have I wished evil on another?

4. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

? * Have I deliberately missed Holy Qurbana on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation?
? * Do I arrive at church late or leave early?
? * Do I try to be reverent and pay attention during Holy Qurbana or prayers?
? * Do I avoid unnecessary work on Sunday?
? * Do I make Sunday a day of prayer or rest?

5. Honor your father and your mother.

? * Do I respect and obey my parents?
? * Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?
? * Have I given my family good religious example?
? * Do I try to bring peace into my home life?
? * Am I willing to help around the house or must I be nagged a hundred times?
? * Do I try to get along with my brothers and sisters? Am I a tattletale or bully?
? * Do I give a good example, especially to younger siblings?
? * Do I respect others in authority: priests, elders .

6. You shall not kill.

? * Have I physically harmed anyone?
? * Do I try to love all people, born and unborn?
? * Have I abused alcohol or drugs?
? * Did I give humiliation to anyone, thereby leading them into sin?
? * Do I say cruel things, or make fun of others to hurt their feelings?
? * Do I say mean things about others behind their backs?
? * Have I stopped speaking to anyone? Do I encourage others to do bad things?

7. You shall not commit adultery.

? * Do I seek to be pure in my thoughts, words and actions?
? * Do I treat my body and other people’s bodies with purity and respect?
? * Do I look at television shows, movies, or pictures that are bad?
? * Am I modest in my speech and the clothes I wear?

8. You shall not steal.

? * Have I taken things that were not mine from a store or another person?
? * Do I waste time at work, school or at home?Do I pay my debts promptly?
? * Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?
? * Have I destroyed or misused another person’s property for fun?
? * Do I return things that I borrow? In good condition?

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

? * Have I lied?
? * Have I gossiped? Harmed someone’s reputation?
? * Have I spoken behind someone else’s back?
? * Am I critical, negative, or uncharitable in my thoughts of others?
? * Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?
? * Am I honest in my school work?

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s. 

? *Am I jealous of what other people have?
? *Do I envy other people’s families or possessions?
? *Am I greedy or selfish?
? *Are material possessions the purpose of my life?
? *Do I trust that God will care for all of my material and spiritual needs?
? *Am I thankful to God and my parents for what they have given me?
? *Do I share the things and poor people?


1. Take part in the Divine Liturgy (Holy Eucharist) on Sundays and important Festival and Feast Days.
2. Observe the Fasts and Feasts prescribed by the Church.
3. Refrain from restricted food and wed-locks on Wednesdays and Fridays.
4. Refrain from wed-locks during Fast and Festival days.
5. Confess before priests appointed by the Church for the forgiveness of sins.
6. Receive Holy Eucharist on a regular basis.
7. Give tithes, offerings, dues, and alms to the Church.

Prayer after confession

O Lord Jesus Christ, our great Physician, and Fountain of mercy, behold me now in Your presence, the blind to receive sight within from You, to be healed of all my sickness and to be made rich in my poverty. I believe that You have accepted my confession and are pleased to acknowledge my supplications; that You have forgiven me and cleansed me from my sin. Ever do I render thanks to You, O Lord, and Your praise is at all times upon my lips, in accordance with the multitude of Your loving kindnesses. I beseech You, by Your grace, to confirm me in my purpose and promise that I may never return unto sin; and to grant me triumph over all my temptations that I may love You alone upon earth, and my spirit may be exalted in Your praise until that day when I shall see You in Your heaven above for ever more. Amen.

What do I do after confession?

Take time to say the Nicene Creed and also read Psalms 51. As part of the completion of the Sacrament of Confession please plan to receive the Holy Communion.

Featured post


KOODOSH EETHO (Sanctification of the Church)


Happy New Year! Am I nuts! Greeting Happy New Year on the first Sunday of November, then really I must be crazy. But some of you may know why we wished happy New Year today. Because today is the first Sunday of the Church Calendar year; we call this Sunday Koodosh Eetho, which means sanctification of the church. We are also commemorating the perunnal of St. Gregorios of Parumala. Unfortunately we do not realize the purpose and meaning of many of the arrangements, many of the important days, rituals, feasts that are important for us. And that’s the unfortunate part; we do not know when we are celebrating the all saints day / all apostles day. But we do know when and how to celebrate Halloween; that’s again “the all saints day”. We make deliberate efforts to celebrate Halloween, we throw parties, we dress up, we invite friends and family- because it’s fun; but is it appropriate to commemorate the feast days of the Church. Of course yes! What I’m trying to say; it has nothing to do with Halloween celebration, please; but I’m trying to present how this Sunday is important to us; and how the Sundays are arranged in the Church Calendar. How many Sunday’s are there in a year? 52/53 Sundays depending on the day a year starts. As I said the Church Calendar starts on the Sunday that falls between October 30th and November 5th, which is called Koodosh Eetho. The Sundays are arranged beginning from Koodosh Eetho to the 7/8th Sunday after Sleebo. Again, we need to know that the entire church calendar is divided into 6 / 7 cycles; just like the seasons in a year.. I. Sanctification of the Church* to Christmas (Yeldho) II. Yeldho to Epiphany (Dan’ho) III. Dan’ho to the Beginning Sunday of Great Lent (Kothine) IV. Kothine to Easter Sunday (Kymtha) V. Kymtha to Pentecost VI. Pentecost to the Transfiguration VII. Sleebo to Sanctification of Church (Koodosh Eetho) Knowing this arrangement will help us to better appreciate and understand the logical connection between different feasts, days of the church, gospel readings and what the gospel messages are intended to be. Moreover, there are general themes for each cycle; for example, theme for the first Cycle is confession, affirmation and purification, which helps us to prepare to welcome the Savior on the Christmas day. I’m not sure whether we teach this in the Sunday school. But the bottom line is, this needs to be on your fingertips. Otherwise, you won’t be able to appreciate or understand the logical connection between different feasts/ days of the church, gospel readings and what the gospel messages are intended to be. Coming back to the Gospel reading for today, from ST Mark 8: 27-33. The first part depicts St. Peter’s declaration; and on the way to a village Jesus “asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” If he asks the same question today in 2013, there will be millions of different responses. I was going through a blog that describes what people say about Jesus today. “There’s the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases; who argues for the family values, pro-life and at the same time owning firearms, against gun controls, against food stamps and so on. “There’s Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, demonstrating for minimum wages, lenient on pro-choice and so on. “There’s Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life’s problems “There’s Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals. “There’s Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone “There’s Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes run faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls. “Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him. “There’s Gentle Jesus –”There’s Spirituality Jesus–”There’s Revolutionary Jesus—”There’s Guru Jesus—”There’s Boyfriend Jesus—”There’s Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you. 2000 years back Jesus asks this question to his disciples. “Who do people say I am?” They gave him ‘others’ opinion; some think you are John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets and so on! Jesus further asks this question seeking some personalized answers from his disciples as a group; I mean he was seeking for the understanding and affirmation of Apostles as a faith community; “Who do you say I am?” He was not happy with “they say…Someone says…kind of responses; rather seeking their affirmations; looking for a “we say, we believe- kind of affirmations. Peter, the first among the Apostles, he opened his mouth, representing the other Apostles, representing the church; declared that you are the son of God! You are the Messiah. “Who do you say I am?” No other question will ever be as important to us, as this one question. This kind of a situation is true for us too. We always depend on jargons, philosophies and text book definitions to answer this question. But Christ is straight away rejecting ‘second-hand’ testimonies! What is your affirmation as a faith community, as the church; this is what Jesus looking for. Remember, he is not asking for your personal opinion; Ningalkku Njan Aranu? He clearly seeking the opinion of the disciples as a Group; he is not asking for Perter’s opinion, or Mary’s opinion. But as a faith community; who do you say I am? We have affirmed our faith in him on the Baptism day; we repeat our faith every day though reciting our Creed; but this is the time to reaffirm our faith together as a community. “Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: God in the flesh, the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim good news to the poor, the Lamb of God, come to take away the sins of the world; our savior and liberator Jesus Christ. If you further read, from verses 31-33; just after Peter’s affirmation Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection; But Peter do not understand what he talks about; Then Jesus rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things, but on human things”. This may be confusing; therefore, I request you all to read further Mark 8 up to the last verses. You will further understand Peter’s declaration was indeed a confession; and this declaration and confession leads to holistic purification. This kind of an affirmation, confession and purification helped St. Peter and his fellow Apostles to take up the cross and follow their master. In verses 34 Jesus says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”. And the Apostles denied themselves and took up their cross and followed their Master. Again, this is true with Parumala thirumeni. He denied his self, took up the cross and followed his master. In Christian life; you can see the Salvation is free; but discipleship is costly. Self-denial is the cost of discipleship. We call Parumala thirumeni a saint; not because he is a wonder-maker; not because he can do miracles in people’s lives. Rather he did things, served God’s people, not in the actual estimate of others; not in the estimate of human norms; but he counted everything in the estimate of God. Jesus Christ idea of a New Testament Saint is not the one who proclaims the Gospel merely; but one who becomes broken bread and poured out vine in the hands of Jesus Christ for others’ lives. Parumala thirumeni was indeed was a broken bread in the hands of lord for the sake of others. We are also called to be living a saintly life; deny our self and submit ourselves in the hands of God for the sake of others. But we remain as ourselves (as …) because we fail every day to pay the cost of Christian discipleship. As I said earlier, Koodosh Eetho means sanctification of the church. But it is not about the sanctification of church buildings! Rather, this Sunday is meant to call for reaffirmation, confession and purification of ourselves; the members of the church. Only through repentance, confession, affirmation and purification one will be able to prepare to welcome God on Christmas Eve. As we read in the Beatitudes/ the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see the Lord”. I hope this year you can appreciate why the church calendar starts with purification; what it aims for; this cycle of the calendar year, constantly reminds us to purify ourselves to prepare for the birth of our lord Jesus Christ. May the almighty father help us to re-affirm our faith as a community, and confess and purify ourselves to prepare for the birth of our lord, to see lord, to feel the real heavenly joy on the birth of Savior; may the Holy Spirit help us to ‘deny self’ and pay for the cost of discipleship; and follow the master by taking our cross and to be faithful to the Christian way of life! Amen.



Featured post

Holy Qurbana Video on 35th Inception Anniversary

By the Grace of God, on January 11th, 2014, St. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church (Malankara), New York celebrated her 35th inception anniversary.

Holy Qurbono was held at St. Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Church, Lynbrook, New York, under the leadership of Archbishop of the Syrian Orthodox Church in Eastern USA, H.E. Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim, Archbishop of the Malankara Archdiocese in North America, H.E. Mor Theethose Yeldho, Arcbishop of the Knanaya Archdiocese in North America and Europe, H.E. Mor Silvanos Ayub, and Metropolitan of the Mumbai Diocese, H.G. Mor Alexandrios Thomas. Along with our Vicar, Rev. Fr. Geevarghese Jacob, this auspicious occasion was blessed with the presence of our previous vicars, Rev. Fr. Mathai Puthukkunnathu, Rev. Fr. Rajan Peter and Rev. Fr. Varghese Manikat and our former associate vicar, Very Rev. Varkey Mundakal Corepiscopos. Archdiocean Council Secretary, Very Rev. Mathews Edathara Corepiscopos, Archdiocean Clergy Secretary, Very Rev. Geevarghese Chattathil Corepiscopos, Very Rev. Issac Paily Corepiscopos, Rev. Fr. Varghese Malayil, Rev. Fr. Varghese Paul, Rev. Fr. Jacob Joseph, Rev. Fr. Paul Thotakat, Rev. Fr. Jerry Jacob, Rev. Dn. Joel Jacob, Rev. Dn. Esia Bahdi, Rev. Dn. Belson Kuriakose, Rev. Dn. Shiryl Mathai and Rev. Dn. Vivek Alex, along with faithful from the New York/New Jersey area were present to witness this blessed event.

Featured post

Manjinikkara Perunnal





80th Dukhrono of

St.Ignatius Elias III



In the Manjinikkara Church the mortal remains of the holy Patriarch of the Antioch, Mar Ignatius Elias III, is preserved. He died here while on a visit to India in 1932. Later, this place developed into a pilgrimage centre.








Long Island Sub-Regional Sunday School Retreat On April 1, 2017

Long Island Sub-Regional Sunday School Retreat On April 1, 2017 at St. Mary’s Church, 49 Union Pl, Lynbrook, NY 11563. Hosted by. Sunday School Association of Long Island Regional Churches of Knanaya & Malankara Archdiocese.

Great Lent Week 3 Update


I pray that you are doing well.

“The debts and sins of the human race that arose through the transgression of Your commandments at Eden, are being forgiven through lent. The doors of Paradise are opened through this lent for the salvation of Adam. Daniel observed the lent and he overcame the lions. Hananiah and other children survived the flames of fire by the lent. Elijah ascended to heaven in a fiery chariot. Joshua, son of Nun, made the sun and moon in the skies stand still. Blessed is he who observes the lent and fasting with joy. Salvation and a joyful bridal chamber open for him. Lord, open your merciful door to us. Do not give us times of hardship. Where will we knock if you close your doors before us? Have kindness towards us who are created in Your Image. Do not forsake us. Do not cast us from your presence because of the stench of our transgressions.   Have mercy on us O Lord who emancipated us by Your lent. O Messiah who fasted for us, praise be to You, to Your Father, and to Your Holy Spirit. Accept our lent and prayer, and have mercy on us in this world and in that to come.”


I wish you all the blessings of a Holy Lent!


Bijo Achen

Great Lent 2017


Once again, the church invites us to begin the season of the Great Lent. The lent starts with the service of reconciliation. God is merciful to us and forgive our offenses when we show mercy to others and forgive those that have hurt us. To say sorry for a wrong doing or to forgive those that have hurt us is difficult and often our pride don’t allow it but without it we can’t say we are Christians, we can’t pray “Lord have Mercy”. May we be reconciled with each other as we begin this Lenten Journey. My dear brothers and sisters, forgive me a sinner, if I have hurt you in anyway by my word, action or thought. Please pray for me!

A few reminders..

1. Great lent prayers in English? are attached to this post. If you would like the malayalam/manglish prayers please let me know.
2. Saturday evening prayer will start at 6:30pm.
3. The Gospel Quiz, on Saturday, will be over St. Mark chapters 1-3
4. Upcoming tentative church service schedule


English Prayer Book (Click here to download the PDF file)

Date Day Time Service
March 04 Saturday 6:30pm Evening Prayer
March 11 Saturday 6:30pm Evening Prayer
March 18 Saturday 6:30pm Evening Prayer
March 21 Tuesday 6:30pm Mid Lent – Holy Qurbono
March 25 Saturday 9:00am Holy Qurbono
March 25 Saturday 6:30pm Evening Prayer
April 01 Saturday 10:00am Childrens Retreat
April 01 Saturday 6:30pm Evening Prayer
April 08 Saturday 9:00am Holy Qurbono
April 08 Saturday 6:30pm Evening Prayer & Adults Retreat
April 09 Sunday 8:30am Palm Sunday Service
April 09 Sunday 6:30pm Evening Prayer
April 10 Monday 7:00pm Evening Prayer
April 11 Tuesday 7:00pm Evening Prayer
April 12 Wednesday 6:30pm Pessaha Qurbono
April 13 Thursday 7:00pm Evening Prayer
April 14 Friday 9:00am Good Friday Service
April 15 Saturday 10:00am Holy Qurbono
April 15 Saturday 6:30pm Evening Prayer
April 16 Sunday 8:00am Easter

The Feast of Ascension – Swargarohana Perunnal : May 4th

The Feast of Ascension – Swargarohana Perunnal

13118943_878973078879560_748091894996496140_n 13151608_878973095546225_8654827240341844096_n
Holy Qurbana by Fr.Bijo Mathew
St. Mary’s Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church, Lynbrook, New York.

2016 Easter Celebration. Chief Celebrant H.E. Mor Titus Yeldho

2016 Easter Celebration. Chief Celebrant H.E. Mor Titus Yeldho  

Photo Credits: Mr. Obaby Vettimattathil


Message from Fr. Bijo: Great Lent – Week 5

Almost all our young children (and adults, including me J) have seen the movie FROZEN. In it, two sisters struggle in their relationship with each other and in finding acceptance. At one point the older sister, Elsa, runs away from her village and away from her younger sister, singing these words: “Let it go, let it go … turn away and slam the door… And I’ll rise like the break of dawn …”

“Let it go” is a powerful message on our journey to the cross. We struggle with letting things go. Letting go doesn’t mean we give up or forget the past. Remember, “Falling down is part of life. Getting back up is living” You may have fallen down but get up and start living a new you. Today, God is asking you to let it go..

Let go of the past that you cannot change
Let go of the hurt that people have caused you
Let go of the anger that is consuming your thoughts and actions
Let go of someone or something that has been holding you back
Let go of the sins you once made. God has forgiven you

Let it go! let it go! Turn away and slam the door so you can take a step forward… a step towards healing. Remember the words of God through prophet Isaiah: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” May this lenten journey help us to put away the old and focus on the new!



Great Lent Gospel Planner

Great Lent Gospel Planner

 Please Contact Fr. Bijo if you have any questions or concerns

Monday February 8, 2016 Matthew 1 – 3
Tuesday February 9, 2016 Matthew 4 – 6
Wednesday February 10, 2016 Matthew 7 – 9
Thursday February 11, 2016 Matthew 10 – 12
Friday February 12, 2016 Matthew 13 – 14
Saturday February 13, 2016 Matthew 15 – 16
Sunday February 14, 2016 *   Leper Sunday
Monday February 15, 2016 Matthew 17 – 18
Tuesday February 16, 2016 Matthew 19 – 20
Wednesday February 17, 2016 Matthew 21 – 22
Thursday February 18, 2016 Matthew 23 – 24
Friday February 19, 2016 Matthew 25 – 26
Saturday February 20, 2016 Matthew 27 – 28
Sunday February 21, 2016 *   Paralytic Sunday
Monday February 22, 2016 Mark 1 – 3
Tuesday February 23, 2016 Mark 4 -6
Wednesday February 24, 2016 Mark 7 – 9
Thursday February 25, 2016 Mark 10 – 12
Friday February 26, 2016 Mark 13 – 14
Saturday February 27, 2016 Mark 15 – 16
Sunday February 28, 2016 *   Caananite Woman
Monday February 29, 2016 Luke 1 – 3
Tuesday March 1, 2016 Luke 4 – 6
Wednesday March 2, 2016 Luke 7 – 9
Thursday March 3, 2016 Luke 10 – 12
Friday March 4, 2016 Luke 13 – 14
Saturday March 5, 2016 Luke 15 – 16
Sunday March 6, 2016 *   Crippled Woman
Monday March 7, 2016 Luke 17 – 18
Tuesday March 8, 2016 Luke 19 – 20
Wednesday March 9, 2016 Luke 21-22
Thursday March 10, 2016 Luke 23 – 24
Friday March 11, 2016 John 1
Saturday March 12, 2016 John 2 – 3
Sunday March 13, 2016 *   Blind Man
Monday March 14, 2016 John 4 – 5
Tuesday March 15, 2016 John 6
Wednesday March 16, 2016 John 7 – 8
Thursday March 17, 2016 John 9 – 10
Friday March 18, 2016 John 11
Saturday March 19, 2016 John 12
Sunday March 20, 2016 *   Palm Sunday
Monday March 21, 2016 John 13 – 14
Tuesday March 22, 2016 John 15 – 16
Wednesday March 23, 2016 John 17 – 18
Thursday March 24, 2016 John 19
Friday March 25, 2016 John 20
Saturday March 26, 2016 John 21
Sunday March 27, 2016 *   EASTER SUNDAY – CHRIST IS RISEN.