Family’s fine banquet for bishop Joseph Mar Barnabas

A BISHOP dressed in his pure white robes and eye-catching headwear made for an unusual sight at a Border retirement village yesterday.

Bishop Joseph Mar Barnabas had travelled from India, where he is part of a Christian church considered to have been established by Jesus’ disciple Thomas in AD52.

Retired doctor Abraham Mamootil, with his wife and daughter, hosted the bishop at their home in Murray Gardens Retirement Village in Albury.

As they straightened the table cloth and prepared a steaming home-made banquet, the Mamootils spoke of the honour it was to entertain the spiritual leader in their own home.

“It’s a big thing in India when the bishop comes to your place, it’s a very important thing,” Dr Mamootil said.

“It’s like the Pope is coming to visit.

“He will usually only come to your home if there is an emergency.”

The Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Malabar is one of the oldest denominations of Christianity.

Bishop Mar Barnabas heads its dioceses of Adoor, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.

He is visiting Australia during Lent and will return home in the next few days after starting a new congregation in Wagga.

“It’s important for me to visit because they are my people and we have a great relationship,” he said.

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