Re: News - Jacobite Church In Serious Problems
- "susan" wrote: >But what about the curses of priests and high priests that we are threatened with?
What curse Susan? There is no curse when you demand people collectively to practice what we preach. Curse happens when we make it personal. Attack the sin. Not the sinner. When we attack the sin, we are attacking the devil. But, when we attack the sinner, we are attacking God; because God is the final judge.
There is news in every media about the Jacobite Church. Malayalees all over the world wakes up everyday morning watching the news cycles about stories about those red robe clad monks. Do you think those red robe clad monks who are just the puff of a wind like us are the ones ridiculed by non-Christians when they see these news in the media. They ridicule the Church and by extension the Lord who was crucified for us.
I am not personally attacking any one, but the collective failure of all of us including those ascetic people who are in the front leading us. Ascetic life is supposed to be a life of forsaking the pleasures of this world and becoming a sacrifice in this world for and on behalf of the Lord. Instead they bring shame to the Lord who gave them that red rob. And they have no courtesy at least to remove that Holy vestment when they participate in these kinds of ungodly activities. Believe me, they are playing with the blood of Jesus Christ when they this.
Each and every post appearing here on this subject, including mine is yet another nail on the body of Jesus. I understand that, but I wanted to remind all you who are so excited about what is happening in the Jacobite Church that we cannot escape from our own responsibility for the problems in the Jacobite faction.
The person at the center of this controversy was a monk living in the Northern part of Kerala with the least of education and with the most of " other talents". His aim of becoming a monk apparently was to become a "somebody" in the Church, which he was unable to achieve otherwise. By the by, these days most of these ascetics behaves that way, therefore, he is not an exception.
But, he faced challenges one after the other to meet his ambitions. So, what he could not achieve by his education and credentials; he achieved using his "other talents". Church had many opportunities in the past to avoid this conflict by giving him some positions. We did that in the past, where many of our esteemed Fathers gave up positions to retain peace in the Church. All those instances it worked very well and those who were given positions became staunch supporters of the undivided and autocephalous Malankara Orthodox Church later.
This man too would have become one like that. But, instead we rejected him and humiliated him and we condemned a whole section of our own people who joined us after the 1955 or 58-court verdict as beggars; which made these people angry to react in this fashion dividing the Church. And he has created a lot of other clergy too of his same caliber. He bribed the Patriarch to get his position. His clergy bribed him to get ordained. It is like the earlier Sub Inspector Selection in Kerala police. Candidates should bribe politicians to get position. And once the candidate becomes Sub Inspector, he will recover the money from common people by subverting the law and creating lawlessness.
This whole problem will be resolved if those who chose to do Lord's work refrain from seeking positions. People are thinking that they are more capable than others, fundamentally challenging all commandments Jesus gave.
The Lord who made the stutterer Moses to liberate his people from slavery in Egypt, the Lord who considered a shepherd boy David over his educated and intelligent brothers to lead his nation; is capable of making the least educated, the least intelligent, the least handsome person capable of running the Church. Or we have the example, which the 11 Apostles chose to select a successor for the deceitful Juda. "And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. Acts 1: 26"
Hope that the clergy and others aspiring for positions in Church will give a thought to this.
Ronnie Daniel, Toronto, Canada
- To begin with, I fully endorse what Ronnie wrote.
I had been thinking not to write anything concerning the unity and faction fight in the church, because as far as I am concerned it is lost battle, and I am on the loser�s side. But I cannot be hard-hearted at the same time. By default January 20-27 has become a yearly rejuvenating time for all faction votaries on both sides. To me it is a shame that both parties of the Church are showing their strength in Alwaye in abject opposition to all Christian values. While both parties put the whole blame on the Government headed by a fellow-Christian, the same government posted 754 police personals, metal-pipe barricade, and so on at the cost of heavy burden on the Government. I saw a YouTube drama where Thomas I was blatantly blaming the Kerala Government for all the ills in the Church. He was saying �The government is hatching plans to destroy us; praying let not such a fate befell anyone in future and for this reason to mark our protest I am not going to the tomb.� Some people think it was a good gesture and expression of his remorse but the fact was that he was inciting the sentiments of ignorant faithful to rise against the government. Do we have a moral right to blame the government when the whole problem is anti-biblical and anti-Christian and even now if there is a slight Christian virtue remain in the heart it can be easily put at rest. This is an occasion to both declaring to the world �We are Christians without Christ among us, our faith and mission are confined to grab tombs, mud and mortar buildings and maintain alive, fight, hatred and litigation, we love servitude to foreign forces more than our own brethren until the end of the world.�
I saw a video clip in you tube. In one was the Catholicos Bava conducted incense prayer at the tomb of the fathers. His demeanor was dignified. He was telling, �We always stand for peace� while walking out of the tomb. But the overzealous gathering while extolling the founding father St Thomas, the throne and HH the Catholicos, in high-pitch slogans, were cursing Syrians. Why should we curse Syrians? By doing so, we are cursing, Christ, Mother of God and St Thomas - for they were real Syrians. May be, some insane or shortsighted bishops connived with our own people and caused dissension in the Church. We must distinguish between original Syrians of Jesus� time and the present day Arab-Mongolian mix, the self-styled Syrians. We ought to be thankful to the Syrian fathers who sacrificially worked for the betterment of the Church. Let us not curse the whole nation for one man�s fault. HH Catholicos in his speech at the centenary mentioned this point and expressed gratitude to them; hats off; that is the right course. I am firmly of the opinion that no outsider, be it political, social or religious; force could have enslaved us and ruled over us, had our brethren the sense of community-oneness. Aside our Church fight, which is the creation of a few Syrian individuals such as Patriarch and his close supporters ordinary faithful, whether Syrians, Europeans or Chinese, are our brethren; so let us not utter slogans against our brethren in Christ. As always it our own people misuse Patriarch to satisfy their ego and lust of power.
A violent minority from both sides want the crisis to go on for their own profit. Dr. Radhakrishnan in his autobiography wrote, �There is no soul in the multitude; it is a donkey head.� This is very true concerning our Church. Many of them are sentimental because of their limited or the lack of direct dealings with the present �Syrian� conducts. The spirituality of our majority is largely confined or limited to �hero worship of the departed, tomb-capture, and fighting with the brethren.� They are disinterested to study impartially and keep the interest of Christ in life. Both parties� leadership needs blind followers rather than fair-minded, impartial and Christ-centered people, and that is the travesty.
I must confess, in the early seventy�s, I was a worst fanatic who virulently fought for the sovereignty of the Patriarch over Malankara and a blind follower of Now-Thomas I. I am one of the four basic founding members of the St Mary�s Church, at Miller�s Tank bunk Road, Bangalore. Today all of us are out from there. But I read from various authors on both sides and the authors before the schism. My deeper understanding about the Church and its mission, the unchristian-unfair and the step-motherly treatment of the Middle easterners, I bid farewell to fanatism. I record for clarity an incident took place in Bangalore; I was blindly extolling the Syrian bishops, late HB Catholicos, Palouse II in a friendly chat told, �Edo, Syrians are good only to see from a distance, not good for close contacts.� That was a true statement.
For those bishops who opted for unity in Christian spirit the situation is none too good. Certain vested interest groups led by bishops and clergies from both parties exploit every possible avenue to discredit and discourage them. It is because of sheer resilience and reliance in the Lord�s promise they still continue, not to mention the sorry plight of priests who accompanied the bishops in the name of unity. In a new culture where money-minded bishops do all the functions of priests such as baptism, marriage and burials, of course, the priests are not a necessity at all in these days; who bothers about them!
What I see is, both parties are in the same predicament; deep down in the hearts both groups are against unity; deep down in their conscience fear of possible unity any time in future; for this very reason both are competing each other consecrating more and more bishops. While the Orthodox faction follow certain laid down procedures the other faction is a single man�s show. Thomas wrote in his so-called �2003 constitution� �a bishop candidate must be a PhD or at least studied for it.� He flouted his own constitution to consecrate his aides. Simony (bride) Mar Clemis mentioned is utterly true. Most of the new incumbent bishops are thoroughly against unity and that is what the leadership wants. He also demands a share from the bishops who visits USA and Gulf countries. I reliably know also that a bishop refused to give account of his earnings and to pay the tribute, was severely threatened with even disrobing.
The bishops� main agenda is visiting foreign countries to raise funds and live well; for this, they make the outside dioceses a muddle. Too many bishops are a burden to the Church. In the early centuries when the church underwent persecutions, becoming a bishop was wedding martyrdom. But now the situation is just the opposite, office of bishop is the most coveted position one can ever conceive. Imagine the plight of the Church! A bishop visits USA, purportedly to raise funds for a diocese in Kerala, people and certain Christian organizations give a lot of money, not to mention the warm reception, goes back to Kerala on certain pre-assigned program, returns to US next week as if something is greatly missing in his absence to cover the remaining areas and then after a week goes to Kerala for another exigency and very next week returns to Us again for a third time in two months. Many of us the permanent US residents working hard to survive find it impossible to visit the native place once in five years, whereas the visiting bishops born with silver spoon in the mouth find it easy to visit US and Gulf countries three times in two months! How much he might have spent for three trips in two months, where from the money come and how much the diocese is benefited? I wish HH the Catholicos will dare establish some code of conducts to the bishops and priests. Orthodox Church should also come out clean; either obey the 1995 SC verdict, if they honestly believe Church is one, declare the Patriarch as the Spiritual head and invite him for a dinner/dialogue or declare complete independence like the Marthomites and forfeit the legal claims; putting the legs in two boats, that is, why shy away to publicly state what they declared in SC, will not work-safe and never solve any problem.
Coming to the point, Mr. Ronnie wrote, HB Thomas I has many talents and the failure of the Orthodox magnates to recognize his talents is the root of all present maladies. Nehru once said about JD Naidu, �A perverted genius.� That is very apt in the case of HB. I too believe that the modern PhDs oftentimes behave most foolishly. I have interacted with many clergies who boast about their theological education but in reality many of them are good for nothing. �Knowledge puffeth�, says St Paul. It makes people arrogant. It is such people who never accept other people�s talents. Doctorate of many clergies are fake, and if at all very few are genuine, their subject was some other than theology, that is, worth nothing for the priesthood. A Psychology Ph D can be employed in counseling industry, A Nuclear Science Ph D may be a good nuclear scientist, but such are no way better that a priest without any of that. Had the orthodox leadership or its caucus had the good sense after the SC 1995 verdict the face of the Church would have been different now! Thomas I alone need not be blamed for the problems.
Now concerning the revelation of Thukalan Clemes, his claim is correct. Fabricating benami Kalpanas of chastisements and excommunication is an old Ernakulam culture. HB Paulose II, Catholicose of Patriarch faction, a saintly man, wrote long back, �Late Catholicos Mor Baselius Paulose II, in his letter dated 28/09/89 to Patriarch, refers the Church as, �The unfortunate mother.� He wrote, �Our Church is far behind of all churches that were separated from us. Their only capital was, �Mudak Kalpana� from us. Despite repeated divisions we still pursue the ways of confrontations. Some people think they cannot prove fidelity to Patriarch or please him without scandalizing Catholicos. This faceless group is the reason for my distress and curse of this church. They can get any type of bull from the Holy throne. Content of messages from Holy throne is distributed in Ernakulam city even before reaching me.� Can you guess whom HB was referring, none else than Mor Dionysius of Ankamaly. He succeeded in making the life of HB miserable and putting all what he perpetrated on Mor Athanasius because he did not succumb to corruption. Mor Athanasius was consecrated in 1991. Those who made Bava�s life miserable started extolling him as �Lighthouse of Malankara� after his departing, people unaware of actual behind the curtain dramas started worshipping him (Now Thomas I) and yet it is the short-sighted Orthodox leadership who made him formidable, a big hero. An empire built of falsity and against the will of God must crumble; that is the law of natural justice, it will happen in his own life time; that is the will of God.
- KK Johnachen, Philadelphia
- Johnachen wrore: "Orthodox Church should also come out clean; either obey the 1995 SC verdict, if they honestly believe Church is one, declare the Patriarch as the Spiritual head and invite him for a dinner/dialogue or declare complete independence like the Marthomites and forfeit the legal claims"
AFAIK what Hon.SC says is that "By eastablishing Catholicate in Malankara in 1912, By issuing the A-14 Kalpana and by accepting the 1934 constitution, The power of Patriarch in Malankara has reached a vanishing point, however he still continues as the head of Global Syrian church which Malankara Church also belongs". What Jacobites in India are doing is that they are conveniently swallowing the first part and highlighting only second part. In fact SC did not give any new power. What SC did is that it recited the first article of our constitution. Our forefathers included that article in our constitution by hoping that it will create a unity in Malankara church.
Our church and Syrian church are members of Oriental Orthododx church. A church named Global Syrian church does not exist physically. There are West syrians, East Syrians and Malankara Syrians. In West Syrian Church, there are 5 people who claim they are Patriarch of Antioch. Each one heads each Church. So where is the Global Syrian Church? The Church mentioned in the first article of our Constitution is purely ornamental. SC also accepts it that is why it says "by accepting the 1934 Constitution, power of Patriarch reached Vanishing point".
Recently i was speaking to a Jacobite friend. He told me that the current Unity talks with K P Yohannan are happening with the blessing of Patriarch. When Syria faced internal war, it was K P Yohannan who helped Patriarch to settle abroad. In return Patriarch is trying to accommodate K P in their church. The faith of K P is poles apart. That is not at all a problem for Patriarch. As John achen rightly mentioned, the Jacobites are doing slave work to Syrians. Catholics see Pope as their spiritual head. However it is possible for any bishop to become Cardinal and any Cardinal to become Pope. Indian Jacobites constitute a big majority in Syrian church. It is impossible for a Indian Jacobite to become Patriarch. If the Syrians have some respect for our Jacobites, then they would have reframed their constitution such that Indians can also become Patriarch.
Patriarch has explicity said that they are no longer "Jacobites" and they are "Syrian Orthodox". However Patriarch has no problem when people here use that misnomer name. He often address people here as "Jacobites".
We made Unity in Malankara by accepting Patriarch in 1958. At the end Patriarch insulted St. Thomas and we have to see that. If we look at history there was a Maphrian under Patriarch in Persia. There was a big church under Maphrian in Persia. What happened to that church? Patriarch did more interference in that Church. Maphrian has to quarrel with Patriarch for his rights. The quarrels keep on continuing which made that church to vanish. My humble opinion is that if we bring unity in Malankara Church by giving more power to Patriarch, then we will end up in fresh problems.
- Dear Litto,
I was expressing my honest feeling, not for an argument for arguments never end and never reach us anywhere. Christian love and biblical virtues are quite different. The problem is that the present generation is born into and wired into schism. What you wrote is based on your reading of post-schism authors and partial knowledge. Your reading of SC verdict is not complete or you depend on wrong commentators. You wrote there are patriarchs claiming �Patriarch of Antioch.�� Say, �Gopal�� has a son named �Krishna��. When Krishna grew-up comes to know that there are 10 people with the name �Gopal�� in his town. Does that mean Krishna does not who is his father or some other Gopal is his father? There are 5 patriarchs in the same name; which is not a defense. Indian Orthodox should know which Patriarch of Antioch is mentioned the 1934 constitution, lack of that awareness is one of the root problems. Had you followed the proceeding in the SC this confusion would have been avoided. Still my position is, follow the same position in the SC and outside. That is the only solution to the century old problem.
Bringing up new issues would further complicate the matter. Our criteria should not be based on what �Jacobytes�� do or say. I was mentioning the in the context of the origin of problem of separation. Regarding repulsion of the nomenclature �Jacobyte�� I have written in the past. They invent new new ideas to provocate the Orthodox and eternalize the split; and we are being preys to their evil designs if we cite them as models.
Regarding the Patriarch�s power reaching a vanishing point by the acceptance of 1934 constitution is well received and I always wrote in favor of complete administrative independence. We must distinguish Spiritual and administrative or the Spiritual and temporal aspects and not mix together. HH Catholicos is the final authority for all administrative and temporal matters; no unity should ever take place compromising that liberty. I have a CD made from the office of the former Catholicos HH Mathews II; where he explicitly says, �Patriarch is my older brother��- think if it was by age or anyone else from among the five patriarchs you mentioned- or pointing to a particular Patriarch; �I will be happy to sit in the second position when HH is present.�� The Present HH Catholicos, spoke in the Family Conference in USA, we have a video clip, and �We are willing to give all the constitutional prerogatives to HH Patriarch.�� I have published that happy announcement in ICON immediately after the conference. Do you think HH was not clear which Patriarch he mentioned? I believe HH meant well and the large majority from both sides appreciate it but HH is being pulled back by influential lobby. I said only to follow-up those admissions and declarations, KK Johnachen.
Thank you and God Bless you,
KK Johnachen, Philadephia
- Dear Georgeachen,
Your comments, save and except the repartee concealed in it, are well received. You asked, �You people could not win over those thumping majority on the other side, isn't it the fact?��Yes, it is a fact. Not only we could not win over, but also we are labeled as �traitors, cheaters, defectors�� and with many such adjectives; as is well known to you. They say these because to them the Church is two, not one. Your wording, �You People��indirectly makes the same sense that Church is not one but two. This is the great difference between me and them. But I hope you will agree that we took a brave stand which not many even dare, against all odds such as ridicule, threat, intimidation, enmity from relatives, no entry into cemeteries, etc but people seldom appreciate what we are undergoing. I wonder how you expect from me what the learned bishops could not do (win over)! I am not a "stalwart" as you said, but accept it in humility as a Shakespeare�s word-pun. If you think earnestly and honestly, you will understand that �winning over�� them was not the duty of those who left them but the duty of Orthodox leaders. They failed in it because they never imagined that the other party had a �thumping majority�� in the first instance and secondly, the Orthodox leaders never imagined that now HB Thomas I had a following of thumping majority or at least he was capable of mustering a majority; in other words, they grossly underestimated HB Thomas I. They were inclined more to ridicule Patriarchal faction leaders than earnestly attempting to win their co-operation; the supposed strength being the victory of SC verdict. But the reality was either both lost or both won. This is what in a few words Mr. Ronnie mentioned. Leave the case of priests, as I said before, priests are no longer a significant influence factor in both groups, in the case of the bishops who came for unity are still not well received in many quarters. Ego-centric forces from within are creating problems for them so that they must quit, not stay; I am sorry if you do not know what has been happening in Kandanadu about Mor Athanasius, Trichur about Mor Milithios and US about Mor Nicholovos (just over a saga). Haven�t you read many �yellow-publications� detestable indeed, managed by certain so-called priests rebuking them both in and out of place fabricating and manipulating stories? None of them are given positions they are worthy of. Why the US diocese was divided into two? If it were not because of LL Barnabas thirumeni and some well-meaning faithful leaders (MC members), Mor Nicholovos would have been nowhere in US. Certain US and Kottayam leaders were hatching to oust him, was it not? Many priests and bishops who were once inclined for unity withdrew because of behind the scene dramas of some high level Orthodox Kottayam caucus. Many of the members in Patriarchal faction are still in favor of unity but what they say is; �Look at the sad plight of those already went saying unity; what unity they experience, what is the definition of unity,� etc? This is one reason why many priests from other side hesitate to come out openly. I am not sure if you know or not, back in 1997-98 more than 37 priests from Kottayam diocese and equal or more number of priests from Ankamaly diocese in complete opposition to then Mor Dionysius with written statement and signatures met and discussed LL HH Catholicos Mathews II and HH agreed to make a statement in the leading news-papers that HH accepts HH Patriarch with all Constitutional prerogatives, but that never saw light. I never claimed I am able to convince others in my favor. You know we have limits and within that, I have been putting my efforts for the sake of unity; in fact, the aim of the recent publication under reference is one such attempt. For sure, many of my acquaintances changed their rigid stand. The only visible result so far is gaining enmity from the activists in both groups. Anyone who works for unity and concord in a situation such as ours (church) has to enlighten the shortcomings of both sides; that is the only option for an impartial person. One who sees the other as enemy and vindictively hiding one�s own short-falls and extolling self-goodness is against unity. All leaders and activists need blind supporters, not those who talk the truth impartially. For example, one sentence I wrote, which is under reference, has provoked you and certain other orthodox members. (1) One Mr. Litto Niranam wrote many points as reasons against unity. I wrote a reply-explanation and sent to ICON. (2) Mr. Alexander Cheriyan ICON message #33917, says, my posting was thought provoking and yet he knows me only as �Mr. John Kunjukunju,� not as a priest, despite the fact that I am writing in the ICON even before I joined the Orthodox side. He asked many questions but I do not want to further obfuscate the matter with another reply. (3) One Mr. Santhosh Chacko, by message #24488 in SOCM forum in reply to my posting in ICON which we discuss now called me �ex-Jacobyte priest��and said among other things that I hate HB Thomas I, etc. But that is far from truth.
Secondly, you say, �We, the Orthodox Church, have already expressed our willingness for having Unity and Peace established within the holy Church.� I surely agree with that contention but that was not enough. Both former and present Catholicoses were in favor of meeting HH Patriarch. Before 2002 it was not so difficult because the present HB was not very popular at that time. In fact, the laxity and inaction on the part of Orthodox was the reason that made Mor Dionysius HB. We all know that he is a law unto himself. Orthodox faction should have moved a petition in the court to declare invalid the 2002 manifesto which they call constitution and his illegal election as �Niyukthan.� That would have prevented the Patriarch to consecrate him as catholicos, which he cherished for a long time. Since seventy�s Patriarch is biased against Orthodox faction for obvious reasons but a sincere approach in Christian love would have changed the situation. LL HB Poulose, former Catholicos of the other faction was in the bad books of HH. My contention is that, leave aside the legality nad logic replace it with love and forbearance, the Orthodox faction HH must have direct contacts with HH Patriarch and bring to light what the other side is all about. When we content that HB Thomas I is a stumbling block, and truly is, what is needed was not to keep quiet and allow him to flourish but to strongly work to destabilize such people. Let me clarify again that inviting or accepting Patriarch would not tantamount to handing over temporal powers. These are two different things, strictly guided by the SC verdict.
Achen wrote, �Your suggestion to forfeit the legal claims on Church property is dubious. We make no claim on the properties of the Church of Antioch.� I do not know why it is dubious. There are differences between churches in Syria/Middle-East and Malankara. Did anyone go to Middle-East to help out the Church there at any point in history? Did any Syrian claim our churches? I think not. It is our own people who claim the churches. We have 1934 Constitution, where Patriarch of Antioch is the Supreme Head or Primate of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. Syrians do not have a constitution saying, �Catholicos of the East is their Supreme Head, or sub-head or Deputy to Patriarch of Antioch�� and so on. If there was a clause like that, things would have differed. 1934 Constitution specifies certain rights and privileges to the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch over Malankara Church. Again, Patriarch is not directly responsible for the disputes after 1995, of course his weakness has contributed to it. Comparing two different things reveals most of the people including some priests are unaware of the real issues and what guides them is simply the emotional schism. Inviting Patriarch or accepting him publicly is simple obedience to the 1995 verdict; not doing that is disobedience. Did not the SC verdict say that Church is one, Church should be governed by the valid 1934 Constitution and the Supreme Spiritual Head is Patriarch of Antioch and that his temporal administrative power reached vanishing point, etc? Some people now ask which Patriarch! Most of our parishes are made by the sweat of the people; their ancestors shared them and they rest in the cemeteries. This is the sentimental side of the dispute. Such a situation does not exist in Antioch/ Middle-east. I do not further explicate for fear of escalating the already existing misunderstanding but be sure the situation will be unpredictably different if the Orthodox faction amend the 1934 Constitution removing the first 2 clauses and submit that in the SC. I am sure the leaders know the after-effects. Well, why should we recite the name of Patriarch in the Tubden, when we cannot invite or accept him as the spiritual head of the Church? Is it not a contradiction? Why the Church knowingly maintain a contradiction?
Thank you and God Bless you,
KK Johnachen, Philadelphia