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1.What is DivyaBodhanam?

A little brief about DivyaBodhanam:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IndianOrthodox/message/30376 by (Susan Eapen, Thiruvananthapuram Sept 2011 )
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IndianOrthodox/message/17152 by (Saly Babu Jacob, Abu Dhabi - July 2007)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IndianOrthodox/message/15431 by (Fr.C.C. Cherian - Feb 2007)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/IndianOrthodox/message/3884  by (ICON Moderators - Sept 2002)

It is a theological training program for the laity in the church.

Each student has to register at Kottayam Theological Seminary individually. The fees is Rs. 120/-
Basically there are 10 books (not difficult) each about 100 pages or so. Each book has about 4 units. We study each book.
Its available in Malayalam and English. This is for the first level called POCE (Proficiency in Orthodox Christian Education).
It’s a lay training program for the faithful.There are other more advanced courses (a diploma course and graduate course) also available.
The link below has more information about Divyabodhanam from the Church website.

For each book –
We need to write a summary of the book and upto 4 essays on specific topics and send to Kottayam Theological Seminary.
When the course is complete, they will award a Diploma certificate.
They have convocation every 2 years in Kottayam.

Please Register for the course if you haven't.
It requires some commitment with time and effort, and if you can spare it, it will be worth the effort.

2.Why is DivyaBodhanam needed?

It is creditable to get a diploma from the Church, but more than that -
Many times we do not have a proper answer for the many things we see around us in the Church? As a result we are alienated from the Church. Does Christ really want me to do that - is a persistent question we have.

By going through the process of Divyabodhanam, we will have a good foundation about important topics in the faith like New Testament, Old Testament, Sacraments, ministries of the Church, Traditions, Liturgy and many such, taught by reputed teachers of the Church like Fr. T.J. Joshua, Fr. K.M. George, Fr. Mathew Vaidyan, LL Mar Osthathios etc.These matters of faith are of utmost importance for us to find clarity in the life in Christ. When we are clear in our minds, we will be able to better explain to those around us and we will be "always ready to answer those who ask us about the reason for the hope we have" as commanded by St. Peter in 1 Peter 3:15

Thus we will be armed with the weapons needed in our spiritual war which is life and will be able to feed the right spiritual food to the next generation. Thus generations will be blessed.

3.How will Divyabodhanam help us?

1) Better understand the Bible as the true inspiration for all we do in the Holy Church.
2) Understand the teachings, ministries, sacraments, Liturgy and history of the Church much better.
3) Enable us to become better participants of the Church and teach our kids.
4) Train us in our mission in the world as Christians, as children of the Church.
5) Better answer questions, doubts, allegations about the Church coming from within and outside.
6) Become builders and owners of the traditions of the Church.
7) Use the tools of counseling, positive thinking effectively, and live and grow as better citizens of the Church, the society, the country.

The Divyabodhanam has over the years been instrumental in bringing up many lay leaders in the Church, who have been beacons of light for the upcoming generation, who work hand in hand with the clergy in building the Lord's Church.

In Albany, we are in a situation where we do not have the physical presence of a shepherd always. This is a very dangerous situation for the faith. Many around us like to fish in such muddy waters and if we are found wavering in the faith - lets just say - a lot of bad things can happen. If there are a few people with the background of Divyabodhanam in the Albany area, it can greatly help the parish, the Church and our next generation in the long run. They can become the leaders who strengthen the parish, the diocese and the Church tomorrow and through the Church the wider society.

But for this some work, effort, time and energy is needed from all. We hope everyone takes this seriously, keeps some time aside and works through this course. Hope this effort is able to bear some good fruits in the land, and in the Church and we pray that this effort does not go waste.

4.How are the DivyaBodhanam sessions/classes conducted?

DivyaBodhanam classes will be held mainly via skype and the session will be for 1 hour. The topics to be covered and the associated books along with the time/date of the session will be sent via email or udpdated on this website couple of days prior to the Class/Session day.

The skype id used for the Skype session will be mat430123
Please add this id to your skype contacts, after you login and then you will be put on a group call at the time session.

Please note some ground rules for this sessions to work smoothly -

1) We will be in an AUDIO group call on skype once it starts,(once everyone logs in, Sunil (mat430123) will add you to the group call - please       click on "Answer" once the pop up appears)
2) The class will also be broadcasted live on ustream. Please visit the channel is http://www.ustream.tv/channel/focus-ne
3) Mute the ustream mic so that we have video (only) on ustream [with some delay] and audio like a conference call on Skype
4) When Achan is speaking, please mute our own Skype mics also and unmute only at the time when you have to ask question or speak otherwise
5) Keep on the topic when we speak and not on other issues concerning the parish or church etc.
6) If you get disconnected, please just log back in and you will be reconnected automatically most of the time, else mat430123 will add you back in.
7) If you have to leave in between, you may please just disconnect whenever you wish, but try to keep the entire hour aside for this.
8) If you have issues logging on or any other issues, call Sunil @ 5183573143 and we will try to work through it.
9) Also please note that this ustream+skype arrangement does not work with Ipad or Mobile Devices yet.
10) After each UNIT session was completed, please finish the summary in 1 page and email it to Sunil (Mr. Mathew Samuel) with subject like "Unit 1 done". The summary can be in plain text, MS Word or pdf format. If you are using Malayalam, please write it out in malayalam, scan it and send it via email or you can hand it over to me in person. It is mandatory to provide the summary in order for us to keep track of the progress/worth of all these sessions

We also plan to record the skype sessions, so that it is available to those who could not attend. Please contact the Webmaster: webmaster@stpaulsalbany.com to get the recorded sessions on CD.

If you have any questions on the sessions or how to login or anything about our church and its activities please feel free to contact the
webmaster at : webmaster@stpaulsalbany.com

5.How to write 'Summary' for each Unit?

It is basically only putting in words what we understood from the Unit. If we break it up, it gets very simple:
We have 6 chapters in Unit 1:
Writing a summary can be as simple as - listing the lessons of the unit and writing a couple of lines about each (as we understood).

As an example:

Divyabodhanam POCE -Book 1 - In the Fullness of Time - by Rev. Fr. T.J. Joshua. Introducing the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles

Unit 1 : Introduction to the New Testament - a Summary

In this unit, a brief background is given about the Old Testament and its relevance.....etc<a couple lines about the entire unit>

The relations between the New Testament and the Old testament
<What is the relationship between OT and NT, why is OT significant>

The Historical and cultural background
<Who were the different people living at the time of Christ, what was the history of Israel, their worship styles, education etc>

Jewish historical background of the New Testament
<What history of Jews do you learn in the book?>

Religious background of the people of Israel
<what was their religious background?,expectation of the Messiah>

Geography of Israel (at the time of Christ)
<different regions, climate etc>

Formation of the New Testament
<when did the authors start writing? why? which books got written when? what were the criteria to include in the New testament canon>

(You may use your own words, and of course, you can make it as elegant and as rich as you want, there are several other things you may find in the book which you may add, and you can have an introduction, conclusion etc, but if you find answers to the above, more or less, you should be right about there with your summary and it should easily get you the 1 page write up you need). It is okay, if you go over a page or two.

Remember, the expectation is NOT on our mastery in writing skills, but in how much we learnt from the Unit.
Remember to send Mr. Mathew Samuel(Sunil) - mat430_2000@yahoo.com

6.Who is conducting the DivyaBodhanam sessions/classes?

Our training will be led by, Rev. Fr. Sujit Thomas, from Rockland NY via skype and will also be followed up locally(in Albany NY area) co-ordinated by Mrs. Mili Ajey

Mr. Mathew Samuel(Sunil) will review the class progress and send reminders about the summary and the essays needed for the classes.

7.Class/Session Timings and Topics

Class 1 - May2nd, 2012 (Wednesday), 9:00pm EST

The newly ordained Rev. Fr. Sujit Thomas will be taking the class with permission and blessings from our vicar Rev. Fr. Ittanpillai and acting vicar Rev. Fr. Jobson K. The first book is "Prakashathilekku (Puthiya Niyamathilekku oru Ahwanam)" in Malayalam or "In the Fullness of Time(Gospels and Acts - an Introduction)" by Rev. Fr. T.J. Joshua (who is also called the golden tongued son of Malankara because of his gift as a speaker and Gospel worker). The session will be for 1 hour and the UNIT 1 - "An introduction to the New Testament" will be covered.

Class 2 - May23rd, 2012 (Wednesday), 9:00pm EST

Review all topis in UNIT 1 covered in the previous class
Go thru the uncovered topis of UNIT 1:
Lesson 5: Geography of Israel
Lesson 6: Formation of the New Testament

Please read UNIT 2 - "Synoptic Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles"
Lesson 1: Apostolic Proclamation
Lesson 2: The Gospels
Lesson 3: St. Mark's Gospel
Lesson 4: St. Matthew's Gospel
Lesson 5: St. Luke's Gospel
Lesson 6: Acts of the Apostles

Please complete the UNIT 1 summary by May 31st 2012

Class 3 - June 13, 2012 (Wednesday), 9:00pm EST
Review all topis in UNIT 2 covered in the previous class
Go thru the uncovered topis of UNIT 2
Read the Synoptic Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles (as much as possible)
Read and concentrate on topics like:
St. Mark's Gospel, who was the author? to whom was it written? why was it written? When was it written?
St. Luke's Gospel - what is the main message? What was the source of the Gospel?
St. Matthew's Gospel - why is it called the Church's Gospel?
Acts of the Apostles - why is it called the First History of the Church?

Please complete the UNIT 2 summary by July 7th 2012

Class 4 - July 25th, 2012 (Wednesday), 9:00pm EST

Please read UNIT 3 of Book 1
Read the Synoptic Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles (as much as possible)

Class 5 - Sep 12th, 2012 (Wednesday), 9:00pm EST

Continue Unit 3 of Book 1

Class 6 - Sep 26th, 2012 (Wednesday), 9:00pm EST

We will continue with Unit 3 and will deal with the "Kingdom of God" idea a little more

Class 7 - Oct 10th, 2012 (Wednesday), 9:00pm EST

We will being Unit 4

Class 8 - Oct 24th, 2012 (Wednesday), 9:00pm EST

We finished Unit IV, but decided to spend another session on the Gospel of St. John. For those who did not login, these slides achen prepared are really great information:http://www.slideshare.net/stthomas8/part02-14874530

Class 9 - Nov 7th, 2012 (Wednesday), 9:00pm EST

We focus on St. John's Gospel once again tonight in our last session on Book 1.

Class 10 - Nov 21st, 2012 (Wednesday), 9:00pm EST

Next class is on Nov 21st Wednesday starting Unit 1 of Book 2 which is titled the "People of God" by Fr. C.C. Cherian. (Fr. C.C.Cherian, I recently learned, has been also the secretary of the Paulose Mar Gregorios Foundation, which is doing much needed task of collecting and bringing out the innumerable literary work of that world renowned genius from Malankara, also known as Gregory of India (http://paulosmargregorios.in/)

8.Resources - Notes/Documents/Presentations on Divyabodhanam and/from various classes:

Book 1
The Malayalam version of the entire Book 1 - Prakashathileke by Rev. Fr. T. J Joshua

The English version of the Unit 1 of Book 1 - Prakashathileke by Rev. Fr. T. J Joshua
Pages 9 - 23 : https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3EZlPXlzKMMbnlvdVJyUmZCMGc/edit
Pages 24-32  : https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3EZlPXlzKMMRnlaX0JJTzJkZWs/edit

The English version of the Unit 2 of Book 1 - Prakashathileke by Rev. Fr. T. J Joshua

The presentation for the Unit 1 of Book 1 is at : http://www.slideshare.net/stthomas8/book-1-part01

Sample Summary of Unit 1 of Book 1 by Mr. Mathew Samuel - View Here

English - Unit 3 part 1:

English - Unit 3 Part 2:
Unit 3 Malayalam (It has the entire book)

Unit 4 materials:

Unit 4 Part 1
Unit 4 Part 2

Book 2

Book 2 People of God - Cover and Table of Contents:

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