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  • Thomas Mundukuzhy
    (PLEASE NOTE: The following is the continuation of CATHOLICATE HISTORY AT A GLANCE series. I publish this series to promote our Orthodox MISSION with a
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2006
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      (PLEASE NOTE: The following is the continuation of
      CATHOLICATE HISTORY AT A GLANCE series. I publish this
      series to promote our Orthodox MISSION with a
      CATHOLICATE VISION. I hope and pray that this would
      help our growing generation to understand the true
      nature and history of CATHOLICATE so that they could
      stabilise their faith and tradition in Catholicate
      Orthodoxy. I also hope that this would help to bring
      lasting peace in the Church. Though it was announced
      earlier to publish this in a book form (because of
      several requests), it was delayed due to some
      practical and technical reasons. Now arrangements have
      been making to print the book as
      soon as possible. The plan is to distribute copies to
      those who are interested before April 2nd, i.e. the
      day we observe CATHOLICATE DAY this year all over the
      world. Those who are interested for copies of this
      very valuable book to study the CATHOLICATE OF ST.
      THOMAS may contact me at veryrevtpm @... as we
      are planning to print only limited copies. The book
      will have 73 mini chapters, 8 topics in appendices,
      few pictures and a message from His Grace Job Mar
      Philoxenos Metropolitan of New Delhi Diocese).

      DARK CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON

      In 1970, Patriarch Ignatius Yakoub III sent a letter
      to the Catholicos dated 27th June, questioning the
      priesthood of St. Thomas, which read as follows:

      “A long time before your letter, I saw another letter
      heading ‘Throne of St. Thomas’ and was really
      surprised at that. Since the establishment of the
      Catholicate in the 4th century, none of the
      Catholicoses or Maphriyans have used this title.
      Secondly, St. Thomas has not founded any throne, which
      may be termed as ‘Throne of St. Thomas’. As is
      evident from St. John’s Gospel (20:21-24), he was not
      a priest. How can he be a high priest without being a
      priest? How can he establish a throne without being a
      high priest? Therefore, no historian ever says that
      he ordained anybody as bishop or founded a throne of
      Catholicos.”

      This letter was discussed by the Malankara Synod,
      which unanimously rejected the Patriarch’s views. The
      peace attempts in the Church were soon back to square
      one. The Patriarch hastily decided to consecrate
      Remban Mar Aphrem Abudi as bishop, a Syrian national
      who was staying in Malankara at that time, and
      appointed him as a delegate to Malankara. When he
      tried to interfere in the Malankara Church affairs,
      members of the Malankara Church petitioned to the
      Government to cancel his visa and deport him.
      Rejecting his appeal, the Government of India
      cancelled his visa and deported him in July 1973.
      Patriarch retaliated by consecrating more bishops in
      Malankara ignoring the Malankara constitution and its
      directives. This was a planned plot to form a parallel
      church within the Malankara Church, an innovative
      strategy, as the history would stand witness. The
      Catholicos filed a case in the Kottayam District Court
      in 1974 seeking the following:

      1. Prevent the bishops ordained by the Patriarch from
      entering the 1064 parish churches;

      2. Declare that the assets of the Church belong to the
      Catholicate and their administration is vested in the
      Catholicos.

      Court admitted this petition and passed an interim
      order preventing the bishops ordained by the Patriarch
      from entering the 1064 parishes in Malankara.

      This dissident group still supporting the Antiochian
      Patriarch of Syria formed a Congregation of their own,
      separating from the mainstream of the indigenous,
      independent, Malankara Oriental Orthodox Church of
      India. Note that both groups follow the same faith and
      practices. Nonetheless, the Patriarch group started
      another legal maneuver to haunt the Church. The
      litigation is for authority: whether the Church should
      be under the Catholicos -- the head of the indigenous,
      independent, autonomous, autocephalous Church of
      India, or under the foreign Patriarch of Antioch. The
      division in the Church became a reality by 1974 when
      the Patriarchian and the Catholicate factions
      excommunicated and expelled each other. Malankara
      Synod expelled Mar Clemis and Mar Philoxenos, two
      bishops consecrated by the Patraiarch. Patriarch in
      turn, summoned Mar Philoxenos and installed him as the
      Catholicos (Mapriyana) under him on 7th Sepetember,
      1975.

      The litigation went all the way to the Supreme Court
      of India. The Supreme Court of India rendered its
      verdict on this matter on June 20, 1995, favoring the
      Catholicos.

      (TO BE CONTINUED.....)

      Very Rev. Thomas P. Mundukuzhy Cor Episcopa



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