Do Muslims believe in angels?

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Belief in angels is a major component of Islamic belief.The Qur’an says,” The Prophet [Muhammad} believes I what has been revealed to him by his Lord, and so do the faithful.each one believes in God and His angels.His Books and the prophet” (Sura 2.285).Belief in the angels is included in the characteristic of piety (Sura 2.177).Although angels are generally considered to be invisible, they are said to have been created from light and to have wings (Sura 35.1).The angels are “bearers of {God’s} throne” and sings God’s praised {Sura40.7}.They are also active as intermediaries between God and Human being, begging forgiveness for those who have fallen {Sura 42.5}.

They are guardian angles: God “has power over His creatures, and appoints guardians to watch over them.When creatures, and appoints guardians to watch over them.When death comes to one of you, our messengers take away his souls”{Sura 6.61}.each person is said to have two angels ‘who keep the account, one sitting on the right, one on the left.” These angels will report every word on the day of judgment {Sura 50:16-28}

The Qur’an mentions four archangels: Gabriel, Michael, Israfil, and the Angels of Death, sometimes called Azrael.gabriel is the one who reveals God’s word to the prophets and who revealed the Qur’an to Muhammad {Sur 2.97}.Presumably, Gabriel is the angels who reveal God’s plan to Zechariah and to Mary {Sura 19.7-9,17-21}.Islamic tradition also names Gabriel as Muhammad’s guide when he ascends to heaven.Azrael, the angels of death, is the one who sounds the trumpet on the last day, the day of resurrection.On that day eight angels will carry God’s throne when he comes for judgement {Sura 69.15-18}.

According to the Qur’an, human being rank higher than the angels, because God has given them the gift of knowledge {Sura 2.30-33}.When God” asked the angels to bow in homage to Adam, they all bowed but Iblis” {Sura 2:34}, who said, “I am better than him.You created me from fire and him from clay” {Sura 7.12}.So Iblis is thrown into hell with all those who follow him {Sura 7.13-18}.This story is similar to the tradition about the fall of Satan.


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101 Question and Answers on Angels and Devils Cover





Why are these different styles of crosses?

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The cross that we know best has a longer vertical piece and a shorter crosspiece.This is called the Latin cross because it becomes popular in the Latin-speaking parts of the Church a few centuries after Christ.Although the Latin cross and the crucifix are two of the most common forms of crosses, there are other forms as well.

Each has a slightly different history and message, but they all represent the crucifixion of Jesus.Here are some examples.

Latin Cross





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The evil eye- what is that? Is it a demon?


The evil eye is not a specific demon but a quality that makes human beings demonic.In many cultures people who are thought to have the ability to cast the evil eye are greatly feared and various amulets are worn to protect people from their evil power: Even the Jewish Talmud, compiled between 200 and 500 CE, recommends wearing a little scroll of the priestly blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 around one’s neck as a protection against the evil eye.

In the Bible evil is the sin of envy.the envious person sees the prosperity of others and strikes them with the evil eye.In Jesus’s story about the labourers in the vineyard, those who worked the whole day are envious of those who worked only an hour and received the same pay.The vineyard owner asks them:”is your eye evil [i.e., envious]  because I am generous?” ( Matt 20:15). So in Jesus list of the evils that come from the human heart, the evil eye is often translated as “envy” (see Mark 7:22).But while those who have too little are prone to envy, there is a corresponding affliction in those who have much. What they have is never enough, so the evil eye in them is greed and miserliness. The law warns the people not to be greedy (to have an evil eye) in their actions toward the poor in the sabbatical year when they are supposed to forgive all debts (Deut 15:9). If they are stingy and neglect to do this, God will hear the cry of the poor and punish the greedy. Tobit gives a similar warning to his son Tobiah: “Give alms from your possessions and do not let your eye begrudge the gift when you make it” (Tob 4:7, 16).

The Book of Proverbs even warns against eating with an evil-eyed person; his stinginess will make the food indigestible (Prov 23:6-8). Such people are so greedy that they are stingy with themselves, not only refusing to give to their neighbors but also neglecting themselves (Sir 14:8-10).This effect of the evil eye is described as devouring one’s own flesh. When the people are attacked and besieged by their enemies, even the most refined among them will devour their own children and will have an evil eye against their surviving loved ones, snatching even this horrible food away from them (Deut 28:54-56). The evil eye is truly demonic!

St Basil, a fourth-century doctor of the Church, wrote a homily against the evil eye of envy and greed. He declares that demons use this evil eye for their own purposes. He warns that envy, not only of someone’s wealth but even of the wisdom and virtues of others, is demonic. The cure for this is to become honorable ourselves: doing good, a with justice, enduring with patience. The acquisition of n virtue is Basil’s defense against the evil eye.

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Devasagayam Pillai, Servant of God.

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Lay Apostle and Martyr (1712-1752).


Devasagayam was born at Nattalam, near Nargercoil, Tamil Nadu, (India), in 1712 in a Hindu Nair family and his full name was Nilakandan pillai.History does not give any clear information about his parentage.It is common;ly believed that his father belonged to a Potti-Brahmin or Nair caste of Travancore.It is fairly certain that he was the scion of a rather well-to-do family and enjoyed a high social status.

Young Nilakandan had his primary education in his village school where he learned Malayalam, Tamil and sanskrit.being an intelligent youngster, he studied Hindu philosophy, especially the Upanishads. He was trained also in martial arts. Although he had inherited great wealth, he did not have the pomp and show usually associated with the rich. His own servants and the needy of the area always found in him a friend and benefactor. In due time he married a young Nair girl, Bhargavi Amma. Their married life was quite happy.

Disaster struck Neelakandan’s family in tragic events like sickness, loss of property, money etc. All his cattle were destroyed and natural calamities took away some of his relatives. They were convinced that it was all due to the anger of God and hence offered special pujas (Sacrifice) to placate the anger of the gods and goddesses. But Neelakandan found no peace in his mind. King Marthanda Varma of Travancore made him his minister and asked him to supervise the work and act as the trustee of the new temple which was dedicated to god Neelakanda Swami. The minister put his heart and soul into the work and did it with exceptional dedication and honesty.

India had commercial relationship with the Middle East as well as East Asian countries. Hence many commercial centres came up in the coastal region. The Dutch wanted to capture some of them and in 1741 they attacked Eraniyal, one of the most important commercial centres. King Marthanda Varma rose to the occasion and in the ensuing battle the Dutch lost at Colachal.

Neelakandan Pillai was introduced to the Catholic faith by Eustachius de Lannoy, a Dutch military officer, apprehended as a prisoner by King Marthanda Varma during the Colachal war. Subsequently Marthanda Varma took De Lannoy into his army and, with his help, modernized his army.

In 1745 Nilakandan Pillai was baptized by Fr Giovanni Baptista Buttari, sj, the parish priest of Holy Family Church, Vadakkankulam. His baptismal name was Devasagayam (Tamil rendering of the biblical name Lazarus, which means, God’s help). From then on, he walked 18 miles every day to attend the Holy Mass. He prayed for the conversion of his wife. After a period of doubt and hesitation she too received baptism from Fr Baptista Buttari and was christened Theresa (Tamil: Gnanappu).

Around this time, a persecution broke out against the Christians and a few Christians gave up their life for Christ and thus became martyrs. However, Devasagayam Pillai survived. He refused to perform the duties of his former faith and freely mixed with the Christians, who were considered as untouchables and unclean. This was a grave offence in Travancore. To add to this the new Christians started preaching the Christian faith and many became Christians. On 23 February 1749, Devasagayam Pillai was arrested and was taken to the court where Brahmins accused him of blasphemy against the Hindu gods. For these offences the king Marthanda Varma gave order to shoot him. He was shot dead on 14 January 1752 at Kattradimalai (now Devasagayam mount) after three years of imprisonment and cruel torture, which he bore with firm faith, deep love and great courage for Christ. Devasagayam Pillai was 40 years old at the time of his martyrdom. He had lived as a Christian only for seven years and three of these, he had to undergo constant persecution. After his death, the soldiers threw his body in the open for dogs to eat. But the body remained untouched for seven days. Some merchants found the revered body of Devasagayam Pillai and informed the parish priest of Kottar, Tamil Nadu. The parish priest with the help of some of the faithful buried him in front of the main altar of St Francis Xavier’s Church, Kottar.

The people of the locality always considered him a true and authentic martyr and often visited his tomb and received many favours through his intercession. At the request of people and clergy some attempts were made in the second half of the eighteenth century to introduce his cause of canonization. Unfortunately, the documents were lost in transit but nothing came out of it. Later, through the initiative of bishop Arockiasamy, then bishop of Kottar, the process of canonization of Devasagayam Pillai has been taken up. On 7 September 2008 Devasagayam Pillai was declared a Servant of God during a Solemn Mass held at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral Church,Kottar.

“Why should I run away like a coward? Is it not a grace to become a martyr? If Christ gave his life for my sake, why should I not give mine for Him?”

“O Jesus, my Saviour, You suffered in order to save mankind; forgive my sins and forgivce my enemies.Jesus, I offer myself totally to you.Mary my Mother, intercede for me.”  -Last prayer of Devsagayam before his martyrdom.

This excerpt is taken from the book: Fragrances of Holiness in India. Available here.

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Saint Euphrasia Eluvathingal


Rose was born as the first child of Antony Eluvanthingal Cherpukaran and Kunjethy Chalissery, on17 October 1877 at Edathuruthy, near Trichur, Kerala, (India). As the eldest child, Rose was the darling of everyone, When she grew up she made a total self-surrender to God.But once when she mentioned,”I want to be a nun,” the hopes and aspirations of her father were all of sudden shattered and received fierce and forbidding looks and was blamed for her stubbornness.But she had a mind of her own and would not budge.” I made the vow of chastity at the age of nine, I must and will fulfill that solemn promise”, she said Girls’ education in those days was quite neglected and was generally only up to the 3rd or 4th standard. In most cases, it meant only learning the rudiments of reading and writing. But candidates to the religious life had to undergo elaborate training in a boarding school at their tender age. The discipline of the boarding school would serve as a test of their aptitude for the religious life.

Rose entered the boarding school attached to the Carmelite convent at Koonammavu, near Ernakulam, in 1866. Young Rose loved her life in the boarding school. Learning of Christian doctrine and prayer had a prominent place in their training.

Rose joined the Congregation of Mother Carmel (CMC) in 1896 at Ambazhakad. On 9 May 1897, Rose became a postulant and received the religious veil of the Congregation. And she also took a new name, Sr Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 1897 she had a severe attack of rheumatism. However, she was cured of the illness and resumed her duties without allowing herself any exception. On 10 January 1898, she received her religious habit. Along with her sacrifices, incessant prayers, sufferings and bodily ailments, she also experienced the devil’s powerful temptations, criticisms, rash judgments, and misunderstanding. She suffered a veritable martyrdom for the holy souls in purgatory and for the conversion of sinners.

On 24 May 1900, Sr Euphrasia made her religious profession at the Carmelite convent, 011ur, near Trichur. After her profession, Sr Euphrasia was assigned to help the novice mistress and the infirmarian. She had a special inclination to do very humble duties since she saw in them God’s will. As she was sickly and weak she was sent to Ambazhakad for a short period of rest. Illness became her constant companion. She fell a victim to fever and felt severe pain all over her body. Although there seemed to be no hope of complete recovery, she returned to 011ur and resumed her work.

In May 1904 Sr Euphrasia was appointed as novice mistress and continued in that office for nine years. All saw in her an exemplary religious. She exacted meticulous observance of the rules from her novices and was even criticized for being too strict. Later on, she had to suffer much from those who resented her corrections. She wrote to her spiritual director, bishop John Menachery: “I derive immense benefit when I hear anyone speak ill of me. My soul has learnt how to turn every incident into good.” In painful situations, she ran to the Eucharistic Lord and the Blessed Mother for comfort and consolation.
In 1913, she was appointed superior of the Carmelite convent at 011ur, which proved to be for her a martyrdom. But she herself was a living example of observance of the Rule. Though the convent was not financially sound, she saw to it that the Sisters received wholesome food an care. She had a special knack of caring for the sick.

Mother Euphrasia ceased being the Superior in 1916 but continued to stay in the same convent. Slowly her health started deteriorating. She became extremely weak due to a paralytic stroke. She spent hours and hours before the Blessed Sacrament in the Church immersed in prayer and praying the rosary. She had an extraordinary devotion to the passion of Our Lord. She used to say to the visitors: “Gazing at the crucifix, shedding tears of compassion and praying have become the main occupation of my life.”

It was with the utmost eagerness that Sr Euphrasia waited for her end. Even when she had to bear her infirmities of old age, there was no sagging in her zeal. On 26 August 1952, she made her confession for the last time to Fr Louis, cmi. She was paralyzed and being unable to speak, she wrote on a piece of paper, “give me the last sacrament,” which was administered without delay. Sr Euphrasia passed away on 29 August 1952 at the age of 75.

After her death, many miracles took place through her intercession and the cause of her canonization started in 1987. She was declared a Servant of God on 22 October 1988. On 3 December 2006, she was beatified by Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, the Major Archbishop of Syro-Malabar Church, at 0llur.

Jesus was the supreme reality in the life of Blessed Euphrasia and she found meaning and value of her life only in her relationship with him. She wrote to her spiritual director: “When I think of the sufferings of the Lord who shed his blood and died on the cross, I feel that a day without any suffering is empty; please pray to God and obtain for me some suffering.”

This excerpt is taken from the book: Fragrances of Holiness in India. Available here.Untitled design (1)

History of the San Thome Church.



Theodore, a sixth-century visitor from Europe, spoke of the San Thome church as “a church of striking dimensions, elaborately adorned and designed”.

Pilgrims from England, sent by King Alfred, seem to have visited it in the year 883.The world-renowned traveler from Italy, Marco Polo, traveled here in 1292 A.D. and speaks of it in his journals.

There are reports on this church by Oderic of Pordenone(Papal Legate) in 1325, by John De Marignolli in 1349, Nicolo de Conti, another Italian visitor, between 1425 and 1430.

A certain Joseph, from Cranganore, went to Italy and Portugal in 1501.After seeing the splendid churches of Venice, he said that the San Thome Church was comparable in splendor to the church of St John and St Paul in Venice.

However, when the Portuguese arrived in Mylapore, they found the San Thome Church in ruins, except for the small chapel, which contained the tomb of St Thomas.They rebuilt the church in 1523.

In 1893, under Bishop Henrique Jose read De Silva of Mylapore, this structure was demolished and the magnificent ‘Gothic’ church was built.The tomb of St Thomas is at the heart of the structure.

The blessing of the church took place on 1 April 1896 and Bishop A.S. Valente, Patriarch of the East Indies consecrated the main altar.In 1956 the church was declared a Minor Basilica.In the Basilica stands an ancient statue of Our Blessed Mother, Mary.The three-foot-high statue is called “Mylai Matha’ in Tamil or our Lady of Mylapore in England.It was before this statue that the world famous missionary, St Francis Xavier, whose body is exposed for veneration in Goa, used to pray, during his four months’ stay in Mylapore in 1545.

The basilica consists of two structure, the tomb chapel below the Basilica and the Museum-cum-theatre.The new underground chapel, with a separate access outside the church structure, allows pilgrims to pray at the tomb and tourists to visit it without disturbing the functions of the church.

The museum exhibits artifacts connected with St Thomas and the Basilica, and the theatre screens a short video on the life of the Apostle.

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A close look at the person and personality of St Thomas the Apostle

“The Seven Churches” Founded by St Thomas.

Of the seven churches founded by St Thomas in Kerala, 2000 years ago, Kondungallur and Kollam Churches in the Sea Port cities, were destroyed the ports.New churches were established on the beaches subsequently.The church of Niranam, Playaur and Kottakavu/Paravur still exist at the same sites after renovation.The Nilackal Church has now come up at an alternate location.The church here was destroyed in the civil war of 1314 A.D.


1.Kondungallur:(Cradle of Christianity in India).





3.Kottakav (Paravur)



4.Kokkamangalam-Cross Menhir



5.St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church Niranam




6.St Thomas and St Francis Xavier Kollam




7.St Thomas Church, Nilackal.




Location of the Church in Kerala

A close look at the person and personality of St Thomas the Apostle

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Praying in Christ

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For all the challenge silence presents in prayer, it teaches us that prayer is essentially God’s gift.Prayer is the gift of the Spirit which Jesus pours out in our hearts. The Spirit does not just draw us into companionship with Jesus. As we learn from St Paul (Romans 8), the Spirit is also central to Jesus’ own relationship to the Father, and so prayer in the Spirit also expresses our union with Christ as members of his Body, able to turn to the Father and say, as Jesus said, Abba, Father. And in this way, we discover the completeness of the union to which we are called in Jesus Christ, by our baptism which makes us members of his Body in more than just a metaphorical sense. For in the prayerful movement of the Spirit we come to share in the loving exchange of life that unites the Father and the Son. This is not a permanently comforting or peaceful state; it is often disorientating. For as responsible agents we need to be de-centered and re-centered on him, and not on ourselves. In prayer we discover ourselves, our consciousness, will, and love rediscovered as received from him.This is what makes Christian prayer different. It is not just about our relationship to the source of existence, an existential experience of our human

This is what makes Christian prayer different. It is not just about our relationship to the source of existence, an existential experience of our human created ness, what I called our Godwardness at the start of this book. Rather, it is the discovery that this orientation and inwardness has a particular shape and structure, which is defined for us by our knowledge of Jesus Christ, and the knowledge of the Father we have through faith in him. To use a modern expression, Jesus ‘frames’ and ‘models’ a completely new style of Godwardness, in which we pray to God not as a reality over against us at a distance, but one in whom we discover ourselves sharing a new life, the life of Christ himself. This is what the disciples discovered in Christ, and what the early Christian writings about the Passion and Resurrection explore in terms of a new access to the Father, a new realization of the Fatherhood of God in the Sonship

This is what the disciples discovered in Christ, and what the early Christian writings about the Passion and Resurrection explore in terms of a new access to the Father, a new realization of the Fatherhood of God in the Sonship of Jesus-a Sonship he shares with us in the power of the Holy Spirit.We make this our own by our faith in him, our hope and Christ, we grow to our full stature in the image and likeness of God (Eph. 3.8-19).

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Tis Book explores various ways of Praying and how these leads into deeper, quieter form of prayer.png

Why attend Mass on Sunday?

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In the Acts of the Apostles, we read of the celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday.”On the first day of the week, we met to break bread” (Acts 20:7),

But the early Christians did not participate in “the breaking of bread” as a matter of obligation.Their Sunday observances consisted more in keeping the day holy by avoiding sin than in taking part in a religious service or abstaining from physical work.A second-century writer, Justin Marty says:”If there is any perjuror or thief among you, let him mend his ways….in this way he will have kept a true and peaceful Sabbath of God.”

In 321 Emperor Constantine promulgated laws prohibiting public work on Sunday.From the Council of Laodicea (370) came the first Church law prescribing workshop and abstaining from physical work in order to keep the Lord’s day holy.The Council of Orleans also dealt with the same subject.

Since the mass is the highest act of homage to God, it naturally becomes the central act of worship on Sunday.Embodying the tradition of Sunday Mass, the old Code of Canon Law laid down as an obligation incumbent on the faithful that they should attend Mass and abstain from servile work on Sundays and feasts of obligation.

On this subject of the Sunday obligation Vatican II says:”By an apostolic tradition which took its origin from the very day of Christ’s resurrection, the Church celebrates the paschal mystery every eighth day: with good reason this, then, bears the name of the Lord’s day or the day of the Lord.For on this day Christ’s faithful should come together into one place so that, by hearing the word of God and taking part in the Eucharist, they may call to mind the passion, the resurrection and the glorification of the Lord Jesus”

The Revised Code of Canon law states:”On Sundays and other days of obligation, the faithful are obligated to assist at Mass.They are also to obtain from such work or business that would inhibit the worship to be given to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the due relaxation of mind and body” (Canon 1247).

One should attend Mass on Sunday not because of the law prescribing it, but because of the reason for which there is a law.The law points out to us a grave obligation, that of setting apart at least one day in the week, in keeping with the Old Testament tradition, to offer worship to God.

There are two main reasons for the Mass obligation on Sunday.

  1. The Mass being the renewal of the offering of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary is the highest act of worship man can offer to God.It is the highest form of adoration, propitiation, and Thanksgiving .hence the Mass is the most appropriate means of offering worship to God on the Lord’s day.
  2.  Moreover, a man by his very nature, that is, in the way God has made him, is dependent on fellow-men and, for his part, has obligations towards them.He should worship God, therefore, not only as an individual but also as a member of society, as a social being.this aspect of worship to is fulfilled when the faithful”come together into one place” to attend Mass.The Mass thus become a communal act of worship where one joins with other in offering worship.

The Sunday mass is, therefore, a grave obligation binding on all the faithful unless prevented by a legitimate reason, such as illness, a great distance from the church, and unavoidable official duties.

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Why Do Catholics Say The Rosary?


Repeating the same prayer or formula many times is a practice in some religions.It is thought that repetition makes the prayer more effective.The idea of repetition prevails in the use of mantrams and tantric formulae.

Among Christians too there arose from the early Middle Ages the practice of repeating especially the Lord’s Prayer.The Irish monks, who came as missionaries to the European continent, required that the lay brothers in their monasteries should say fifty psalm or fifty Our Father for a deceased monk.The practice of reciting Our Father instead of the psalm was taken up by the laity too.The fifty Our Father became the ‘psalter of the Laity’.To count the prayers, a string of beads were used, from which originated the custom of Rosary beads.

There is the story that in a vision the Blessed Virgin revealed the Rosary to St Dominic (1170-1221), founder of the Friars preachers or Dominicans.However, it was by a gradual process that the Rosary, as we know it now, took shape

Following the pattern of recitation of fifty Our Fathers, there evolved towards the end of the 12th century the corresponding to the 150 psalms of the Old Testament Psalter.In the early part of the 15th century, a Carthusians, Dominic of Prussia, helped to popularize the recitation of Kalkar, divided the Hail Marys into decades, inserting an Our Father at the commencement of each decade.Meditation on the mysteries, while reciting the Hall Marys, was a feature added to the psalter.A book of 1483 by a Dominican, Our Dear Lady’s Psalter, speaks of fifteen mysteries.

Finally the Rosary, as now being used, was officially established in the Church by Pope St Plus V (1566-1572) by his bull of 1569.It was two years later, on 7 October 1571, that the Christian forces of the Holy League, under the command of the Spanish admiral, Don John of Austria, gained a decisive victory over the Turks at the battle of Lepanto, a victory ascribed to the power of the Rosary.The Feast of the Holy Rosary, on 7 October, was instituted as a feast of the universal Church by Pope Clement XI (1667-1669).

The Rosary is a simple, practical and devotional form of prayer to Our Lady that has evolved from Christian throughout the Catholic world.It combines both vocal and mental reflects on the divine mysteries.

Of saints who had a great regard for the Rosary and sought to popularize it, mention may be made of St Louis Grignion de Montfort (1673-1716).His book The Secret of the Rosary is well known.

It is significant that both at Lourdes and Fatima Our Lady appeared with the Rosary and particularly at Fatima urged the pious recitation of it.In this way, she reveals her predilection for this particular type of prayer and sets the seal, as it were, on what had spontaneously originated from the piety of the faithful.


This excerpt is taken from the book: 50 Questions about Catholicism.

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