THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Christian community in the country should imbibe more from Indian traditions and culture, Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson said on Friday. The biggest challenge faced by the Christian congregations in the country today, he said, was the failure to produce true disciples of Christ.
Thomson was delivering the memorial lecture organised by the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church to mark the birth centenary celebrations of Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios.
‘’Why shouldn’t we recite the Gayatri mantra in churches? If we can’t recite it there, why can’t we include it in our prayers,’’ he said, quoting translations of the Gayatri mantra in both Malayalam and English. ‘’Christians should imbibe Indian traditions deeply,’’ he said.
“The reason why Christianity has failed to take deep roots in India is because of the impression that Christians here are the ‘representatives’ of a foreign institution,” he said. Archbishop Mar Gregorios was a ‘sanyasin’ in the true Indian tradition who believed that the Christian thought was an integral part of Indian culture, Thomson said.
Finance Minister K M Mani, who inaugurated the programme, remembered Benedict Mar Gregorios as a good shepherd, an institution builder and a social leader who strived for communal harmony. An individual who stood on the uppermost rungs of the Church hierarchy, Mar Gregorios was respected by people belonging to all religions.
“He was a Karmayogi who strode way ahead of his age. He left his imprints on the social, spiritual and cultural spheres of the state,’’ Mani said.
Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, presided over the function.