- In olden days the faithful believers came forward to assist the
Priests in Churches for the Holy services and they did it as a part
of their life in faith. Later the faithful people who were not
having sufficient income become the sextons (Kapiyar) and the Church
leaders helped them with some financial assistance and that made the
situation to drag them as almost at the level of the helper/servant
of the priests. Later the post of sexton becomes the post of the
people who needs a financial assistance and then the people and the
society degraded the post of the sexton. So people find that to become
a sexton of the church is not a status symbol and that made the
majority to be away from that post (Paid Kapiyar).
In outside Kerala people are not short in assisting the service, as
many are available for executing the assistance in Holy service, they
are doing the work of a sexton in the church as a service, but not
doing any labor work for the priests.
We need to change the status symbol of the sexton from the present
position as it has been misinterpreted. Sexton is an important
person in the Holy service and it should be recognized respectfully.
So we need to select sextons for the Church and to be trained in the
seminary and those who are trained should be appointed in the
churches with a decent salary and they should not be at the level of
a servant to the Priests. This is what we need to do. If the
service is satisfied and if the sexton is suitable then he should be
given a chance to become the deacon and priest in future. And the
service as a full time sexton for one year in a Church should be
mandatory to become the candidate for the seminary. That could also
help to upgrade the post of the sexton in our Church. The sexton
can lead for the prayer meetings and that may enrich the spiritual
growth in the Churches. Sexton can teach in the Sunday school, Divya
Charly V. Padanilam, Houston, TX.
- Dear and Respected Brethren,
This refers to the posting of Mr. Charly V. Padanilam in Digest No- 3137. In
our Churches in India, we have sextons with the beginning of the Parishes.
In Kerala, the sextons have some other responsibilities also in addition to
assisting the Priests during the worships. They are supposed to collect the
monthly subscriptions, ring the Church bell in the morning and evening etc.
The duties and responsibilities varied from parish to parish. In Malayalam,
they are known as Kapiyars, and from my childhood time, the elders and
youngsters alike used to address him as Kapiyarachen, as a mark of respect.
Kapiyar literally means 'one who rows with the priest' and it heard that the
term came to Malayalam usage from the Portuguese Language. All the sextons
in India are paid employees of the Church. Their salaries are usually
fixed/upgraded by the Parish General Body. (Tips paid by the parishioners
are additional income of the Sextons) But it is a must to see that they are
well paid to maintain their families and hence the pay scales of each and
every parish are to be revised, if the current and existing pay scales are
inadequate. There is no problem to get a Sexton whenever a Parish might
require. I don't think there is a misinterpretation for the position of
Sexton. In many of our Churches in Kerala, the authorities have allowed the
Sextons to undertake some or other jobs without disturbing his own
assignments to the Church. Presently Pre-Seminarians are not selected from
Sextons and they are supposed to spend one or two years in the Dayaras of
the Diocesan Metropolitans to get all sorts of training. Only those who have
gained the training with a Bishops Palace/Dayara/Aramana, will be admitted
to our Seminaries as the new Seminarians.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril.