Rev. Fr. Alexander James Kurien Celebrated Holy Liturgy of Thanksgiving Commemorating the Silver Jubilee of his Ordination to the Priesthood on Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rev. Fr. Alexander (James) Kurien, a priest of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and a senior staff member of the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C. celebrated the 25th anniversary of his Holy Ordination to the priesthood on Sunday, July 1, 2012 at St. Gregorios Orthodox Church 4136 Hulmeville Road Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Very Very Rev. Fr. Yesudasan Pappan Chor Episcopos, Rev. Fr. Shibu Venad Mathai, Rev. Fr. Joice Pappan, Rev. Dn. Geevarghese (Abu) Koshy, and twenty five plus altar boys of all ages joined Alexander Kurien Achen in the altar to celebrate the Holy Qurbana. Over 500 friends and families from throughout the United States attended the Thanksgiving Holy Qurbana and follow-on ceremonies.

The public meeting began with a prayer and welcome speech by Rev. Fr. Shibu Venad Mathai, vicar of St. Gregorios Orthodox Church 4136 Hulmeville Road Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Ciby Abraham and Gregory Varghese were masters of ceremony. They read felicitations from Baselios Marthoma Didymus I, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, President Barak Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Mammen Mathew the Chief Editor and Managing Director of Malayala Manorama, Ex-Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, Ex Secretary of State Colin Powell, Metropolitans of dioceses of the Indian Orthodox Church: Nicholovos, Eusebius, Geevarghese, Pachomius, Athanasius, Yuhanon, Clemmis, Theopilos, Yulios, and Thimotheos. In addition, they read “Greetings, Patriarchal Blessings and Prayers for many more years” from: 1) Greek Ecumenical Patriarch, Constantinople, Turkey – His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew; 2) Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow, Russia - His Holiness Patriarch Kirill; 3) Georgian Orthodox Church, Tbilisi, Georgia – His Holiness Patriarch Ilia II; 4) Armenian Orthodox Church, Ejmiatsin, Armenia - His Holiness Catholicos Karekin II; 5) Syrian Orthodox Church, Damascus, Syria - His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka I.

Representatives of various organizations and churches across the United States highlighted Achen’s 25 years sacrifices and unconditional service to the American and Indian communities, various churches, and families. Sunil Samuel, Saju Varghese, Kallelil Kuruvila Appachen, Korason Varghese, Shalom Mammen and Arun Philip, Abraham Joshua, Seema and Philps Thomas, Jos Thomas, Dr. Alex Polachirackal, Paul Mathai, and Dr. Swamidos spoke at the event.

In recognition of his services, Very Rev. Fr. Yesudasan Pappan Chor Episcopos and Rev. Fr. Shibu Venad Mathai clothed Alexander Kurien Achen with “Ponnada”. They also clothed Ajitha Kochamma (Anna Kurien) with a “Ponnada” in recognition of her 25 years of sacrifices in Achen’s ministry and their 25 years of married life. The public meeting ended with a prayer by Fr. Joice Pappan. The thanksgiving celebration continued with an authentic Malayalee Luncheon. During the Luncheon, the congregation surprised Achen and Kochamma with a 25th wedding anniversary cake. The unconditional hospitality of the members of the St. Gregorios Orthodox Church 4136 Hulmeville Road Bensalem, Pennsylvania from the “City of Brotherly Love” was the primary reason for the amazing success of the overall celebration of Achen’s anniversary. The overall function ended at 3 pm.

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