My fervent prayers for you all during this 8 day Holy Lent season of
our Mother of God, the Queen of my heart.
I believe that the Holy Spirit can create a situation some day to
achieve true peace and harmony in our Holy Church no matter who stand
Or work against it. I couldn't stop reading the message appeared
lately in the ICON (IOC Forum) which I hope,came out of a sincere heart.
Please read and say a prayer for the Holy Church:-
SHARE & LIVE AS BROTHERS TO ACHIEVE CHURCH PEACE
I recently read a news paper article which narrated how with passage
of time the society accepts even apparently illogical things as part
of life and suffer in silence than think of ways to change the same.
So also, in Malankara Church, most have written off chances of a
reconciliation/peace/unity in the church. What remains is vague
wishes and half hearted prayers for peace. But realities around us
calls for keeping on trying for a reconciliation between both
factions before another show down like Thrikkunnathu Seminary
perunnal or Perumbavoor Church Tragedy.
I am aware that very many suggestions/formulas had been mooted and
negotiated over the century by various leaders and courts even by
Chief Ministers and the Supreme Court (including the one arrived at
after fasting by our Metropolitans at Kolencherry church) and none
has succeeded in achieving the ultimate goal. How ever with humble
prayers I share a model/suggestion for reconciliation and peace in
the church hoping that, may be the last key in the bunch may open
Cherai near N. Paravoor in Ernakulam Dist., is a sleepy village and
is famous for its beach which has become an important tourist centre
off late. St. Marys Orthodox (Jacobite) Syrian valia Palli situated
in cherai gave birth to two great sons of Malankara Sabha, Late
Lamented HB Poulose Mar Baselius II & HG Poulos Mar Severios of Kochi
Diocese. Both bishops were ordained in the former Patriarch faction
but since peace in the church in 1958 till his demise in 1967, HG
Poulos Mar Severios remained a staunch warrior for the united church
where as then HG Poulose Mar Philaxinos (Kandanad diocese)
spearheaded the Antiochian Movement and ultimately became the
Jacobite Catholicose. At present the small parish is divided in the
same lines with one group remaining in Patriarch faction and another
lead by Mulerical family of HG Severios remaining in the Catholicate
What is special about the parish is that, there is perfect harmony in
the church with the same church and property shared by both group in
a peaceful way. The orthodox faction have their service in the
morning from 6 AM to 8.30 AM or so and Jacobite faction takes over
after that. The priests of both faction jointly attend any functions
in church or members houses. Recently the church was renovated
jointly spending lakhs of rupees.
Why not take this as a model for the whole church? Why not develop a
formula for SHARING (NOT DIVIDING) in a most Christian way the
closed/disputed churches built by our fore fathers and remains our
Please refer to a recent posting by my good friend George Varghese
from Chennai where he shared his agony and doubts as a child on
division in the church in Bangalore (Message no. 20952 dt.
25.08.08 -Two Churches unified as one A beautiful emotion ) Where
in he writes "For me, it was very difficult to comprehend this
division. How can we as Christians, get the services and resources
from our fellow Christians, both rich and not-so-well-to-do, and then
watch some of them moving out of a newly built
church, just because they are called Jacobites."
I also recall a earlier posting by Rev. Fr. KK John, Philadelphia
expressing his feelings on not being allowed to enter into his
native parish and the cemetery to offer dhoopaprarthana at the tombs
of his dear departed (Message No. 19107 dt. 03.02.2008 - Is there any
benefit for our protest?)
There are also many other churches like, Mulamthuruthy Mar Thoman
Church, Perumbavoor Bathel Sulokko church, Kunnamkulam Arthat
St.Marys New Church, etc
where both factions share the church for
I put down my views of a broad frame work for the arrangement.
1. Instead of trying for uniting the factions which is futile with
out meeting of minds, recognize the two factions as two units of the
church, each free to continue with their Convictions/Constitution &
Administrative set ups (Similar to the 3 Reeths-Latin, Syrian,
Malankara-co-existing in the catholic church in Kerala)
2. (a) In case of churches where there is no factions/disputes,
the custody of the churches/institutions will remain with the
present occupier. With this, issues of roughly 90 % of the churches
will be settled.
(b) In churches where disputes/cases exists.
- In case of closed churches with custody with receiver etc, an
arrangement for joint custody & sharing of service time will be
entered into and churches opened. A slot of 2.30 Hours for service on
Sundays will be given to each faction (out of 2 slots of time from 6
am to 8.30 am and 8.30 am to 11 am)
- In cases where church custody is already with one faction, but
there is a minority who has disputed the custody, the other faction
will settle for time slot for service.
Based on agreement signed both at the church level and parish level,
cases will be with drawn.
3. In order to develop communication and good will between the two
units, and God willing lead to a total unity in a future date,
following measures will be taken.
a) Two unit will accept each other as brothers and layman/priests/
bishops of one unit will be welcomed in the churches of other units
in same way a brother will be welcomed in another's house. A
monitoring committee at Central level of say 7 members from each unit
of the Church will suggest steps to further the co-operation and
oversee the co-ordination/reconciliation/unity efforts.
b) In major pilgrim centers during the church feasts etc, the faction
with custody will seek participation of priests and bishops from
other side also. Exchange programmes for faculty/students between
theological colleges / a joint publication house for church
publications etc will be explored.
c) A quarterly retreat of synod members of both units will be
arranged. Priests of diocese in same area will also have joint
retreats. Also the annual conferences of the student/youth/woman
organizations will be arranged jointly.
I feel that time cannot be more appropriate. The Association of
Orthodox Church is meeting in September and HH the Syrian Orthodox
Patriarch is expected to visit the Church soon after. If the
Association can take a decision for direct talk for reconciliation
with the other faction and the two Supreme Heads HH The Patriarch and
HH The Catholicos meet as brothers and start the process of
reconciliation, it will be the beginning of the end of the century
old friction in the Church and a new chapter will be opened in the
history of the Indian Churches.
There are knowledgeable, experienced Church/ Association/Managing
committee/Synod members reading the postings in ICON. I leave this
humble suggestion before them to consider/improve/add on/ACT or
REJECT as too idealistic/ impractical or simplistic.
I dream of
- A favourable Association decision for direct discussions and a
meeting between HH The Patriarch and HH The Catholicos.
- Our Bava Thirumeni and synod members being invited to the
Kothamangalam Perunnal on October 3rd.
- Orthodox church reciprocating by inviting HB Catholicos and Synod
Members to Feasts at Parumala in November '08 & Devalokam in January
- And a peaceful perunnal in the renovated Trikkunnath seminary
Church with the Synod Members, priests and members of both units of
the church freely and jointly participating with out creating road
blocks and headaches to the Government and the general public.
- Joint celebration of Death Centenary of HG Pulikkottil Joseph Mar
Dionesius II Thirumeni of blessed memory, the head of church before
the disputes started a century ago, in July 2009 in Pazhaya
- And ultimately the walls of egos/personality clashes and mistrust
of centuries breaking down like the Berlin walls, heralding a new
dawn of peace and Christian witness.
In the process of reconciliation, one side may feel sacrificing too
much or being wronged or even cheated." Here I agree with the views
Rev. Fr. KK John expressed in the above referred message that
fighting for a tomb (Church) is most un-bliblical and unchristian and
we should leave it and bring peace
.. even as St Paul puts it, "Why
do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves
be cheated?" 1 Corinthians .6.7.
Let us enjoy the broader picture described in Psalms 133 of " How
very good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity"
Let us turn the wish and dream in to reality by EARNEST PRAYERS for
Intervention of Holy spirit and CONCRETE ACTION with spirit of
brotherhood. Let us pray for the intercession of St. Mary, the Mother
of God , St. Thomas , Apostle of India and other saints of the church
for working of miracles and ultimate unity in the Holy Church.
I quote below the immortal lines .
He drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!
(Edwin Markham - Out witted )
With prayers and earnest appeal to the leaders of both the units of
the church to draw that circle of love which takes everybody in ! ,
Let the hearts be opened, let the walls of hate be fell, let the
doors of our closed churches be widely opened for the faithful and
let the sound of bells & voice of glory for the Mighty One be heard