Mumbai: To mark the All Soul's day and revive a practice they started 10 years ago, the Orthodox Malankara Syrian Christians plan to do a special mass by a senior priest at Sewri Christian Cemetery, along with other priests going to each grave and praying for the departed soul, a choir service this Sunday. The tradition had to stop due to Covid restrictions.
Unlike the Catholic community which observes the same in November, the Malankara Christians observe it two Sundays prior to Ash Wednesday. Members of the community go to the graves of their departed ones, offer flowers, pray, remember them and spend some time around them. Many also take along what was liked by the loved one and keep it at the grave.
Masses were stopped during Covid
"The present masses is something we started 10 years ago but was stopped during Covid. The idea was to go there and pray for the souls of each one. Priest from other Churches also come and pray at each of the graves. This time again we plan to observe it in a big way," said Thomas Varghese, a member of the community. Similar masses are held in Kalyan and Navi Mumbai where the population of the community is sizable. "We go to a cemetery in Kalyan because I reside in Kalyan. Malankara Orthodox believe in intercession which some other denominations of the Christian faith do not believe in. When we pray for them, similarly they also pray for us," said Thomas Phillip another member of the community.
At Sewri, this time a senior priest - Reverend Thomas Kurian is expected to do the Holy Qurbana (Mass). "Qurbana is a Syrian word for Mass. For the last 10 years we had started this at Sewri Cemetery but due to Covid it was stopped. My own uncle, cousins are buried there. This time the day will be observed without any restriction and a number of us intend to go there," said Varghese.
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