MGOCSM: Through the Years

The Malankara Orthodox Church has been able to uphold its strong Christian values and maintain the traditional Orthodox faith for many years, through the education and fellowship of its youth; one such forum promoting Orthodoxy is the MGOCSM.   Originally this organization was established in January 1907, in Chennai, India, as the ‘Syrian Student Conference’ to meet the spiritual and fellowship needs of high school and college students. After progressive growth throughout India, in 1960, the organization’s name was officially changed to the Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Student Movement in honor of our patron Saint Mar Gregorios of Parumala. The MGOSCM flourished through its many units and through the Student Centers in Kottayam and Trivandrum.  During the 1980’s, the MGOCSM further expanded to the shores of the United States as the children of the emigrated Orthodox Christians came of age. After 1992, under the leadership of our former Diocesan Metropolitan, Matthews Mar Barnabas, a more structured and unified group emerged leaving us with the current legacy of the MGOCSM. Over the past 50 years, this dynamic movement has been a beacon for Orthodox Christian students worldwide, as they try to exemplify its official motto: Worship, Study, and Service.

At our parish, the youth yearning for spiritual growth and fellowship, took an active role in establishing a unit of the MGOCSM as early as 1987. Several of the St. Mary’s teenagers of that time, rose to provide leadership roles at the diocesan level for successive years and assisted in its various activities, such as publishing The Lighthouse and Youth Voice. A great contribution of the MGOCSM of the early years was that it instilled a strong foundation of Orthodox Christian faith and values in the youth of the American Diocese. It also produced able and great leaders for our parish, the Church, and future generations.  As a group of capable young leaders, the MGOCSM of our parish has worked impressively through the succeeding years and passed on the baton of its outstanding ideals.

The current members of Saint Mary’s Bronx MGOCSM actively involve themselves at the diocesan level and through the parish activities, striving to uphold the motto of Worship, Study, and Service. Our MGOCSM has hosted and participated in retreats, Bible studies, one day conferences, leadership training sessions, Christmas celebrations, and the annual Family and Youth conferences.  Orthodox traditions within our church are promoted through active participation in the Malayalam and English liturgical services and members serving as positive role models for the younger children.  Without hesitation, MGOCSM members provide assistance for any activities of our church and its spiritual organizations.  The youth are involved in church maintenance especially on its annual clean-up day. Various fundraising events such as, bake sales and basketball tournaments are held to assist local and international charities, including those in India. Compassionate members offer their time for activities for the local community, such as holding food and clothing drives, making packets for the needy, and community clean-up programs. Several activities are held to promote fellowship, and to show appreciation to our parents and to our clergy.

The MGOCSM youth have been the building blocks for the growth and expansion of the mission of our Orthodox Church, each playing a distinct and critical role in that process.  Particularly as young women and men growing up in America, the MGOCSM allows us to further develop and put into practice the lessons learned in childhood.  It provides a supervised forum for Christian fellowship, cultivates a strong committed character and promotes leadership qualities.  The vision of the MGOCSM at St. Mary’s, Bronx, should continue to grow beyond its current activities, so as to further exemplify the Christian qualities through Worship, Study, and Service.  Like Parumala Thirumeni, by putting our faith into action we can be better ambassadors of our Orthodox faith and culture wherever God places us.

As we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of our parish, we thank God Almighty for His presence in our lives and for the endless blessings on St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, Bronx and the activities of its MGOCSM.  We thank Mother Mary for her intercession on our behalf.  Our gratitude extends also to our Metropolitan, His Grace Zachariah Mar Nicholovos, all other bishops, and clergy of our Church, particularly our Vicar and President, Rev. Fr. A. K. Cherian.  Their prayers and guidance sustain our MGOCSM.  We are also indebted to our parents and teachers for their guidance and loving support. We are thankful to our members. Their strong faith and commitment have led to the success of our organization. .  On a final note, let me recall the words of our patron Saint and intercessor, “Remember God in everything. Let no one grieve because of you. Never let go of an opportunity to do something good. Only those things will remain with you till the end.”

Alyssha Marie John, MGOCSM Secretary