The Scholarship for Benevolence and Reconciliation | Fr. Dr. K. M. George


…Rev. Dr. V.C. Samuel who passed away in Bangalore, had an international reputation as a theologian and church historian.

Only those who got to know Samuel Achan closely can understand the extreme gentleness of his character and the depth of his scholarship. He never allowed his intellectual and linguistic abilities to cloud his Christian character and personal relationships.

He was never interested in gaining positions in the world using his God-given talents.

So our society, which focuses on various types of jatas and gossip, did not understand the noble personality properly.

Selfless and pure attainment of knowledge is the embodiment of holy living. [[is another form]]. Full of erudition, the sanctity of life, and the unblemished love of humanity, Samuel Achan became equally adorable to his disciples and friends from other denominations because of these rare qualities.

Fr. Samuel, who worked for ten years as the Dean of the Orthodox Seminary in Kottayam, his early research and studies helped resolve the 1,500-year-long fundamental schism between the Western and Eastern churches.

His research in the 1950s at the prestigious Yale University in the United States was about the Synod of Chalcedon of 451.

It was at this ancient synod that a significant split between the Western and Eastern churches took place. The Roman and Greek Churches, which were the leading churches in the Roman empire, joined in the interpretation debates about the personality structure of Jesus Christ on one side and Eastern Churches such as the Coptic and Syrian Churches on the other side.

Fifteen centuries later in the ecumenical age, when Christian churches began to unite, old history and controversies became problematic.

The theological position taken by the five Eastern Churches known as “Orthodox in the Orient” (Orthodox Churches in Egypt, Syria, Armenia, Ethiopia, and India) against the Chalcedon Synod was expertly reinterpreted by Father Samuel only.

As a result, Byzantine Orthodox Churches such as Greek and Russian, which supported the Synod, and Oriental Orthodox Churches, which opposed it, have almost completely entered into the unity of faith.

Since then, Fr. Samuel’s studies and dissertations played a crucial role.

In fact, along with theological controversies, the political tug-of-war of the rulers of the Roman Empire, the aesthetic conflicts between the patriarchs, and the cultural and linguistic conflicts all contributed to the schism of the Christian churches.

All this is clarified by Fr. Samuel in his famous research book “The Revised Chalcedon Synod”.

The knowledge he has gained through his relentless research has contributed to the wider unity of the Christian Church and is not limited to academics, but also provides insight into our cultural and political currents.

Fr. Samuel had a deep knowledge of ancient classical languages such as Syriac, Greek, and Hebrew and modern European languages. Father Samuel was the owner with a clear personality without any trace of erudition.

Constantly exploring the possibilities of good relations between Christian congregations and between different religious communities, he researched and compared the activities of the Ramakrishna Mission in Calcutta and encouraged interfaith dialogue.

Undertook a deep study in Syriac as a disciple of Elias Mar Julius Metropolitan at the Manjanikara Seminary and as a colleague of Malpan and of the former Patriarch of Antioch, His Holiness Jacob III.

After studying at the Aluva U.C. college and Madras Christian College, he obtained a master’s degree in philosophy and did his doctoral research at the famous Yale University in the United States.

Principal of the Holy Trinity Theological College under the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Professor at the Theological Colleges Serampore and Bangalore, and Dean of Studies at the Kottayam Orthodox Theological Seminary for ten years, Fr. Samuel has had many disciples all over the world.

His was a mind that penetrated into the depth and intricate details of historical events.

His historical researches and studies on the mission of the Christian Church in India provide unique insight.

Fr. Samuel who emphasized on Indian cultural background and religious harmony. Samuel advocated for the unity and independence of the Indian church.

He was of the opinion that the relationship between the people in the homeland and the neighborhood should be given priority over the relationship with the distant churches.

Fr. Samuel never hesitated to take an uncompromising and critical stand for principles.

Fr. Samuel has always been a good guide for students of history.

He strongly criticized all forms of authoritarianism that did not respect the diversity of cultures and languages.

Literary translations from the original languages in the liturgical texts were found to be inappropriate for our time and context, and nobody’s permission was sought to change them accordingly.

This erudite priest who did not show excessive allegiance to scholastic doctrines and hierarchies always practiced good human relations and a humble demeanor.

Due to his energy and transparency in character, Fr. Samuel was respected by all who knew him, natives and foreigners alike.

This excellent priest lived in the spirit of Christ and used his deep learning for the good of mankind and the reconciliation of societies.

Therefore, that image will remain indelible in the minds of people who knew him.