News: Church row takes new turn
- Church row takes new turn
By George Jacob
KOTTAYAM Aug. 11. The crisis in the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
appears to have taken a decisive turn with the Managing Committee
owing allegiance to Catholicos Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews II, which
met here the other day, deciding not to recognise the validity of the
consecration of 10 bishops, including the senior most bishop in
Indian Christendom, Bishop Abraham Mar Clemis, and the Catholicos
Baselius Thomas I of the Patriarch faction.
The Managing Committee, which took several important decisions on the
basis of the Supreme Court directive that they have the right to
decide on "who are all the incumbents'' of the various dioceses, has
also approved the list of 22 bishops including the four who had
crossed over from the Patriarch faction and also on 25 dioceses,
including four new ones. The dioceses of Angamali and Kandanad have
been bifurcated, Thrissur has been added and a new dioceses,
Mavelikara has been newly created.
The 10 bishops who have been `blacklisted' by the Orthodox Church
also include Joseph Mar Gregorios, Juhanon Mar Philexinos, Thomas Mar
Thimotheos, Benyamin Mar Osthathios, Geevarghees Mar Policarpos,
Kuriakose Mar Eulios, Markose Mar Koorilos and Mathews Mar Ivanos.
Bishop Abraham Mar Clemis, who has been serving the Knanaya Orthodox
Church for more than half a century as the bishop and had served as
Malankara Metropolitan for a brief period earlier, has the
distinction of being excommunicated by the former Catholicos,
Baselius Ougen. According to the Orthodox Church spokesman, the
decision not to recognise his consecration was nothing unexpected as
he had not declared his allegiance to Catholicos Baselius Mar Thomas
Mathews II. Knanaya Church sources, however, pointed out that Mar
Clemis was much senior to the Catholicos in the church hierarchy.
The four bishops who had crossed over to the Orthodox Church from the
Patriarch faction and have been recognised by the Managing Committee
are Bishop Abraham Mar Savarios (Angamali), Thomas Mar Athanasios
(Kandanad), Juhanon Mar Milithos (Thrissur) and Zacharias Mar
The recommendations of the Managing Committee will have to be
ratified by the Synod, but it is only a formality. According to
sources, a total overhauling of the administrative structure is in
the offing in the Orthodox Church and this process would be completed
within six months.
They also said the publication of the list of bishops `blacklisted'
by the Church did not amount to a closing of the doors on any peace
moves still in process, since the decisions could be revoked by the
authoritative body if the `blacklisted' persons expressed their
allegiance to the 1934 Constitution and Catholicos Mathews II.