His Grace Mar Yohannan Yoseph, Bishop of India has visited Muscat, Oman, arriving on 10 December 2012 at Muscat International Airport. The formation of a mission congregation in the Omani capital was conceived by His Beatitude Mar Aprem, Metropolitan of Malabar and All India approximately two years ago and stewardship of this mission assigned to His Grace Mar Yohannan Yoseph, Bishop.
During the initial planning stages four families were identified through the coordination efforts of Mr Francy Davis Chettupuzhakaran. By December 2012, 30 families of the Church of the East were identified and registered as living and working in Oman.
A core committee planning the Bishop’s inaugural visit was formed. The Bishop was warmly welcomed by faithful in a reception at the Premium Plaza Lounge, a meet-and-greet facility at the airport upon his arrival. It is noteworthy that the Oman Observer newspaper also covered the visit.
During the visit discussions were held concerning the prospects of the formation of a mission parish including planning for relevant arrangements to be made. Thereafter, a fifteen-member parish committee was elected with the blessing of His Grace the Bishop along with an eight-member Women’s Auxiliary. Two parish trustees, Mr Dennis Chirammel and Mr Francy Davis were also elected. A full list of elected committee members was made available to members of the newly formed mission.
On 12 December, the Holy Qurbana was consecrated commencing at 10.30am. Rev’d Sachin Timothy accompanied by Mr Blesson Antony came from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates to assist in the service. Vicar Matthew of the Mar Thoma Church of Oman and Vicar Ninan Koshy of the Jacobite Orthodox Church were also present. The service was followed by lunch in a nearby hotel.
Although nearly all attendees taking part in the visit of the Bishop of India were from Kerala, India, Mr Gordon Gabriel, an Assyrian from Iraq who is working in Muscat also met with the Bishop.
While in Oman His Grace Mar Yohannan was also the Chief Guest at an Ecumenical Christmas Carols Service in Muscat.
His Grace Mar Yohannan Yoseph departed Muscat on 17 December en route to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates for Christmas services for the existing Mart Mariam Parish of the Assyrian Church of the East.
The Oman mission parish of the Assyrian Church of the East wishes to express its thanks to Rev’d Mathew P. Thomas, Vicar of the Mar Thoma Church of Oman, Ruwi and Rev’d Dr Barry P. Dawson, Pastor of the Protestant Church of Oman (PCO) for their invaluable assistance with visas and other arrangements as well as all those who worked to make this initial visit a resounding success.[nggallery id=409]