Whippany, NJ – For nearly a decade, H.E. Mor Titus Yeldho of the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church in North America has been working tirelessly to establish a seminary on the premises of the Archdiocesan Headquarters for the education of his clergy and faithful. In the meantime, since 2010, the Archdiocese has convened an annual week-long Deacon’s Camp for the purpose of inculcating the ideals of Christian fraternity and fidelity to the Orthodox Faith and Orthodox practice among the young men who serve on the altars of its churches across the continent, from New York to California and from Saskatchewan to Texas.
In keeping with the vision of the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches that each of the member jurisdictions participate regularly in one another’s ecclesiastical life, H.E. Mor Titus and the organizers of this year’s Deacons Camp – which ran from January 1 through January 7 – invited several speakers from the Coptic Orthodox Church to join their own priests and scholars in addressing the camp’s participants on theological and pastoral topics ranging from Making the Gospel Incarnate in North American Culture, to Discipleship & Leadership in Ministry & Spiritual Life to The History and Development of the Syriac Orthodox Liturgy. The participants were also trained in liturgical chant. In addition to H.E. Mor Titus, speakers included: Rev. Fr. Bijo Matthew, Rev. Fr. Joseph Varghese, Rev. Fr. John Rizkalla, Rev. Fr. Faustino Quintanilla, Rev. Fr. Varghese Paul, Rev. Fr. Michael Sorial, Rev. Dn. Shiryl Mathai, Professor Nicholas Siniari, and Dr. Sinu John.
His Eminence Archbishop Titus expressed his happiness that the Archdiocese could do its part “to provide a venue in which its young clergy could pray together, live together, and fellowship together as one body that shares the same values and interest in ordained ministry and the Syriac Orthodox Faith and Tradition”. The Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches strongly supports the idea of theological education by and for Oriental Orthodox Christians, and hopes and prays that it can serve to facilitate the cooperation of the member jurisdictions to this end in the future.