New York, NY
Christians celebrated the Indian Christian Day with prayers and tears in light of the great calamity faced by the Christian community in Manipur. The celebration, which was supposed to be held on July 3, the day of St. Thomas, was held a day earlier at the Cathedral Hall of the Malankara Catholic Church in Elmont, New York. It was a rare gathering of Indian Christians from across denominations, regions, and languages who lived in greater New York. Church Fathers, priests, and dignitaries arrived with blessings and greetings.
Bishop Mar Joy Allapat of the Syro-Malabar Church pointed out that even in America, there is no certainty of what will happen in the future. “After Manipur, some people said Kerala would be the next target. Christianity arrived in Kerala much before Europe Embraced it. However, today our brothers are facing difficulties back home in India. Historically we have faced persecution. However, Bible speaks about being strengthened in the face of persecution. As the Bible says, we are like sheep in the middle of wolves. Therefore, let us unite and encourage our brothers in Manipur,” the Bishop added.
Rt. Rev. Dr. C.V Mathew of the Evangelical Church spoke about the Manipur situation and wondered aloud why the Indianness of Christians is being questioned. He implored the authorities to respect the constitution that guarantees the religious freedom of every citizen. He also encouraged the people to unite and support those in harm’s way. Rt. Rev. Johncy Itty of the Episcopal Church applauded the organizers of the Indian Christian Day, pointing out that we would never give up faith because of persecution.
Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations President Koshy George (Fiacona) pointed out that it has been decided to celebrate St. Thomas’s Day, July 3, as Indian Christian Day everywhere. The day before, the celebration took place in Boston, and on July 3rd across India as well.
George Abraham, who expressed a vote of thanks, pointed out that those who are from Kerala do not know much about civil wars. We don’t know the condition of being chased away from home and worried about the future in the corner of some school or abandoned building. He encouraged everyone to help those who are driven into such a situation in Manipur.