I recognize that the forum members who put forth recommendations such as the one below have the best interests of the church and the community in mind. However, we should recognize that recent innovations such as transfers for bishops contradict ecclesiastical traditions. I am not suggesting that we adhere to every tradition without question; but before we innovate it is important to understand long-standing traditions that go back to the apostolic era.
A Bishop symbolizes our Lord who is the Bridegroom of the Church. A diocese to which the bishop is consecrated is considered betrothed to the bishop. Hence once a bishop of a diocese he remained so until his departure from the temporal world. In the past, this was also the reason why Patriarchs were elected from monks and not from among the bishops - this practice continues in the Coptic Church to this day. The bishop's duty is to minister to his diocese and take care of its spiritual needs. The diocese in turn is responsible for lovingly attending to the bishop's limited worldly needs.
A similar dynamic applies to the relationship between a priest and his parish. In another email thread a forum participant had asked why not let priests marry after their ordination. The church's position follows a similar line of reasoning.
Today these relationships are often far from the ideal. This distorted reality makes it easy for us to accept concepts such as transferring bishops much like a government servant. Transferring priests from one parish to the other has already become accepted practice just in the last decade or so in many of our dioceses.
I am not voicing an opposition to innovations per se. However, I hope that we understand the perspective of our fathers who instituted and kept these traditions for over two millenia before we discard them in our ignorance. We also have to be careful that we maintain the harmony of our traditions and practices and continuity with the apostolic church and its heritage which we proudly claim to be heirs to.
Thomas Joseph, Ph.D.
--- In SOCM-FORUM@yahoogroups.com, Thomas Oommen wrote:
> Dear Varkey Titus,
> Your suggestion for Bishops Transfer is highly welcome for the
growth of the church which will force our Bishops to consider and
work for the Malankara sabha as a whole rather working only for a
particular diocese. Term should be fixed to 3 or 4 years.