By: Jesse Herriott
Mar Enoch Veron Ashe was consecrated to the Bishopric by several Bishops from the Mar Thoma Orthodox church January 25th 1997 by Bishop David C. Strong, Bishop Michael Melchezidek, and a few other prominent names in the Mar Thoma Orthodox faith. Also, he was affirmed by the Most Rev. “Abba” Pappa Joe Vredenburg. Here is some background information on this immenent scholar:
“In 1996, a young Pastor named Veron Ashe joined the Federation of St. Thomas Christians. Fr. Ashe came under the jurisdiction of Mar Narsai and soon proved himself to be a proficient scholar of the orthodox tradition. Fr. Ashe established his congregation as St. Mary of Magdala in Fresno, California. He had previously been an overseer of several other churches in the United States and the West Indies. On January 25th, 1997 he was consecrated as a bishop by Mar Narsai with co-consecrator Mar Melchizedek (Greek Orthodox). Fr. Ashe was given the name Mar Enoch, and he immediately began working to strengthen his congregations into the orthodox faith.
Mar Enoch was very zealous to re-appropriate the Syriac tradition. At the pro-cathedral of St. Mary’s, he instituted an English translation of the Holy Qurbana according to the rites and customs of the West Syrian tradition. He was befriended by the late Mar Makarios and Chorepiscopa Fr. K.C. Mathew (Malankara Orthodox Church) both of whom instructed Mar Enoch in the Syriac liturgy and history. His Grace Dr. Thomas Mar Makarios, was the Senior Metropolitan of America and Metropolitan of Canada and Europe for the Indian Orthodox Church. Mar Makarios brought Mar Enoch to Kerala, India in 1997 to meet with H.H. Baselios Mar Thoma II, Catholicose for the Malankara Orthodox Church. During this same trip, Mar Enoch traveled to Thozhiyur where he met H.E. Joseph Mar Koorilose of the Malabar Independent Syrian Church.
After returning to the United States, Mar Enoch organized conferences at his pro-cathedral. Among the guest lecturers were Mar Makarios, who instructed the clergy on Oriental Orthodox spirituality. This friendship continued for many years. Mar Enoch named his jurisdiction “The Mar Thoma Orthodox Church.”
In 2003, H.E. Mar Koorilose (Thozhiyur Sabha) was the distinguished guest at St. Mary’s and established an ecumenical center with Mar Enoch. He was attended to by Deacon Avi Penhollow and Dr. Jacob Mar Mathew Olasael. Mar Koorilose traveled to Santa Cruz to meet with the head of the Federation of St. Thomas Christians, Mar Narsai, who was supportive of these new relationships with the Thomasine Churches of India. The American Church continued to govern itself independently, but enjoyed the visits of the foreign hierarchs.
Deacon Avi Penhollow, was ordained a priest in 2004 and served parishes in California and Denver, Colorado. During his time serving at St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, he traveled to Kerala in the Fall of 2003. There he met with several hierarchs of the Indian Churches including his friend Mar Koorilose of Thozhiyur. Dr. Jacob Mathew Olasael was his host and took Fr. Penhollow to many of the holy sites of the St. Thomas tradition” (Thomas Apostolic 2009).
Bishop Ashe is your ordinary, down to earth kinda guy. In his own words, at a conference he preached for Jamal H. Bryant on April 4th 2010 at his Holy Week Revial, Questions with No Answers, Bishop Ashe says that, “If you pass by a Ruby Tuesdays and you see a guy at the bar having a glass of wine don’t trip cuz it just might be me”(Ashe 2010).
So what is his story, one might ask? In the past couple of years, Bp Ashe has been successfully battling Megatoxic colon cancer, and many other unfortunate events of which we will not delve into on this blog. He has come out of all of those trials victorious, and now he is back with a vengeance. Bp Ashe has a new faithful staff and is back traveling the circuit.
In the past he has been linked with the Master Prophet E. Bernard Jordan, and Bishop Pearson, who are both controversial figures in the Pentecostal world, and he has yet maintained his own level of relevancy and importance by not getting swallowed up in any of their affairs. (For the record, Jesse Herriott.com supports all 3 of those Bishops!).
Growing from Prophet Veron Ashe, as he was known by in the old days, to his connections with Dr. and Prophetess Connie Williams, to being known as “Mar Enoch” and being duly consecrated as such; this man had definitely done it all. He is a new voice in the Neo-Pentecostal world! He blends the traditional Orthodox fathers with modern day hermeneutics and homolletics that’ll make your momma rediscover God all over again. Oh, and did I mention he quotes St. Jerome)?….
What more can you say about the guy? Personally, I think he’s really smart, and if a lot of people really listen to him, and others like him, the “Church” I think he could really add to our conception of Western Spiritual “Churchainity”…(I mean Christianity (:-D).
The American Church of The East (2009). Missions Growth & American Succession. Retrieved from http://www.thomasapostolic.com/history5.html . April 28th 2010 11:17am
Ashe, Verone Bishop. (2010). Questions with No Answers. [Youtube Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/ veron ashe