Re: Peace in Malankara Church
- Dear List
This is a message received for Dr. Babu Paul I.A.S, in the St. George
Syrian Orthodox Church, Cheppaud community regarding the same subject.
The latest order of the court at least should help us to leave
courthalls once for all. Unfortunately most of our "leaders" interact
at the top intellectual level of society only with our own members
and are therefore denied the opportunity to appreciate the dismal
impression we create among other communities.
Having been closely associated with church affairs from early
childhood, as an unnoticed observer/listener, as student leader and
later as a fairly wellknown member of the church with access to the
unlisted number of the Supreme Head of the church I must say that we -
both sides- have displayed utter lack of imagination at critical
points in the recent history of the church.I had personally suggested
to Catholicose Marthoma MathewsII and his senior lay leaders, before
the Division Bench took up the case, to offer to court what the
Supreme Court has now decreed. Had they listened this loss of face
could have been avoided. They were overconfident!! And they paid the
price. In 1991 the Holy Father had suggested separation of the two
factions as communities with full intercommunion, the mainstream of
Devalokam was in favour, so was the late Mar Paulose II of blessed
memory, but as a congregation we either did not understand what the
Patriarch meant or rejected the opportunity. In 1995 the Patriarch
welcomed the verdict, but both sides broke off talks and litigation
continued.THE PATRIARCH IS NOT TO BE BLAMED FOR THIS STALEMATE AT
ALL. We in Malankara will have to answer before God.And this includes
The Devalokam group had, I am told, a meeting of their synod and
working committee and they have constituted a committee to pursue the
process of reconciliation.We have our meeting coming up next week.
The basic question is whether the two sides would opt for
confrontation or consensus. Let us hope that there would be a
consensus which would lead to lasting peace. The present opportunity
may well be the last we get to settle the matter in a Christian
spirit: at least the last chance of the present generation.
God has ensured that this church would retain both the Patriarch and
the internal temporal autonomy. It is wellsettled law in this country
that none can change the 1934 Constitution against the scheme
envisaged by the Supreme Court and so the place of the Patriarch
cannot be changed from what it was when the Court upheld the
Constitution. Nor can we on our part claim to be members of the
Malankara Church without accepting this Constitution, as almost all
our Metropolitans have already done before legal authorities so as to
enjoy the benefit of status quo, which, incidentally would cease to
be operative once the process set out now is through.None could have
bargained for a more balanced verdict than what has been handed down
by the Supreme Court, first in 95 and now in 2001.
Let us respond with prayers.
My active connection with the church is limited to the Trivandrum
parish as of now, but my prayers cover the whole church.
Let us dedicate this Nativity Lent for reconciliation.
Shall we read I Cor 6 every day from now till Easter?
--- In SOCM-FORUM@y..., "Thomas Daniel" <daniel_reji@h...> wrote:
- We all hear about the peace process in Malankara through various media, including TV news channels and news papers. Our Patriarch in an interview expressed Moran's desire to achieve peace in Malankara. At this point, we invite discussion from our members on the Pros and Cons of the Peace process. Your comments and suggestions are valuable in the process for achieving peace in Malankara and would help the authorities of both factions in moving forward with the peace initiatives.We invite discussion in the following, but not limited to, subjects:1. Can peace be achieved in Malankara?2. Ways to achieve ever lasting peace.3. How to achieve co-operation from every individual of the church, especially those who are associated with direct conflicts, for achieving peace.4. Suggestions for changes in the administrative set up in Malankara to achieve ever lasting peace.5. Pros and Cons of the peace processes.ModeratorsSOCM Forum
My answers is purely based on my view and limited experience based on the vision I have. Please do not stone me if I am wrong and welcoming all to correct me for a lasting peace… I would prefer to worship God in Spirit as Jesus Christ informed to the lady in Samria. Siddhardah, once the king who left the world (kingdom/palace and everything he had) and he became BUDHA, as true sacrifice made him Budha. A sacrifice or crucification in daily basis is required to follow Jesus Christ as well as per Bible. Our forefathers show us that Jesus is the only way of salvation by following a true sacrificial life ( Eg; Kothamangalam Bava/Parumala thirumeni/ Manjinikkara Bava and so on). We are responsible to tell the masses that God the father given his son Jesus Christ as “ the way “ to eternal life because God so loved the world so that whosoever believe in him should not perish ( St.John 3-16). Now the question is whether we are showing our fellow brothers/sisters that Jesus is the only Way ? Pls permit to provide answers for the below questions…
1. Can peace be achieved in Malankara
My answer is YES not only in Malankara wherever we are, provided we are true follower of Jesus Christ otherwise if we wait till the end of the world , nothing will happen and the people will die without knowing the true gospels. For that we need to understand what is the precise definition of Christian rather narrowing ourselves to ‘Jacobites or Orthodox or Marthoma or Catholic…
a) Lukose 9. 23 - And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. ( A person who is denying himslef and take up cross daily)
b) Galatians 5.24 - And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. ( Those who crucified the flesh with affections and lusts)
If we are not longing to make ourselves as mentioned in the above verses , then we are basically not Christians but we are something else. This is the reason 70- 80 % among us are drunkards, power-hungry flocks and have full knowledge of court cases but does not have any idea of True Gospel. !!!
2. Ways to achieve ever lasting peace
First and foremost steps to find lasting peace in Malankara is NOT by convening a meeting to settle properties issues or Court cases prevailing in courts but
1. To establish a Gospel mission – Independently - with members from Jacobite & Orthodox peace loving people led by preachers from both factions as independent unit to both churches. ( To avoid another power pocket )
2. Preach what is the essence of Bible and how to leave a Christian way of life. If we cannot follow Jesus same as the lord forgiven the soldiers who pierced him in the cross , If we cannot love the enemy then we are not Christians. ( This is not visible in our church flocks and thus any small issue would end up with severe consequences followed by court cases)
3. If priests cannot or doesnot have time to preach gospels in true spirit , then the independent Gospel unit has to depute people to have preaching session in that church.
4. Now there is misconception slowly establishing among us that “Charity’ is the way of Salvation. If we are true follower , please let us understand that charity will be automatically our part of life and also to understand that salvation is free gift of God . Now let us see verses from James 1 – 27 (Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. ( Charity is only a share of pure relegious life, but to keep unspotted from the world is also equally important which is not visible in us)
5. Lot of our brothers/sisters, parents, children demised without knowing the true fact mentioned in Romans 8 – 11 that a Christian must have the spirit of God to be dwell in him while living in the world to make us to transform . ( 8-11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.) We are all equally responsible for this and therefore, preaching Gospel is prime important to us. ( Refer Richman & Lazar –Story- Lazar’s name is proclaimed since his name is in the book of Life )
6. We, Keralites have a mentality of individuality and if we think in this context, it is better to depart each other ( Jacobite & Orthodox) with helping hands as brothers by sharing/buying new property with common goal which had happened in Malabar area earlier. Court cases has to be withdrawn one by one with a goal of Zero court cases . Also, in spirituality , the ultimate judgment has to come from GOD only and not from Supreme court.
7. There was a Kalpana by Koorilose thirumeni of Niranam Bhadrasanam that , No drunkards should allowed to be part of any church committee, but it is not clear whether it is achieved in any of our congregation since the knowledge of Gospel among us is limited to traditionalism which will not help us once we face death. Nobody in the world or Court cases or verdicts can help us except Jesus Christ who is the only way, truth and life at the time of Death.
8. If we see the situation of Syria and Iraq etc and the fate of Christians, this is the time to unite ourselves in Christ with a harmonious co- existence.
3 How to achieve co-operation from every individual of the church, especially those who are associated with direct conflicts, for achieving peace
Independent , Gospel mission has to spread their activity all over the churches to make the people know real meaning of true Christian life at least 3-4 years , then only there is any point of any discussion. Seed will grow only in Ploughed land. If we put see on barren land then the effort will be futile.
4.Suggestions for changes in the administrative set up in Malankara to achieve ever lasting peace
Currently politicians or similar type of people are in the high rank of all administrative set up. The authority in church or anywhere is a lust similar to Liquor, drugs etc if we cannot consider it as a service . Thus those who are true followers of Christ in words and work has to be part of the administration in any churches. Those who have the mind of God will truly find a solutions for problems if not we again end up in the veranda of Courts.
5. Pros and Cons of the peace processes.ModeratorsSOCM Forum
No comments on this.
It is a valid/good subject for group discussion. First of all, there is no short-cut to a permanent solution to the conflict. The only way, both the parties must come into the path of what Jesus taught us “love your enemies and be prepared for compromise and sacrifice. One thing is very clear, the 2 groups can never merge together and become one church. Both the sides need to realize this fact and accept each other as 2 independent churches. If 2 bothers are fighting in a joint family, we allow both of them to separate and live peacefully in 2 houses rather than forcing them to stay in one house with daily fight.
The conflicts are mainly centralized to few churches and there are many churches under both sides where there is no fight. We need to clearly identify those churches where the serious conflicts remains and take the parish members of both the groups into confidence to reach an amicable “separation”. This attempt should be carried out through a “third party mediators” acceptable to both the groups. Only the parish members of that particular parish should be allowed to take part in the negotiations and discussions. If the leaders of both the groups (Bishops and/or Catholicose) get involved in the negotiations, it would be difficult to reach into any solution. A situation to be created for the parish members to decide on how to settle their own parish. The mediators could be eminent personalities, whom both the group and the parish members can trust for a fair decision.
Being the followers of Jesus Christ, giving up a church property to other group for the sake of “peace” would bring only prosperity and blessing. This realization by both the parties would lead to all the problems.
Any attempt to merge the 2 groups into one and to do some patch up may lead give some “breaking news” to the media but difficult to bring a long lasting solutions to the conflict.
C V Baby
- Toady I watched MOSC Catholica HH Paulose II's Qurbana held at Parumala Seminary and I have noticed that in the 1st Thubden it was said "all Pathriarkeeses Aboon Mor Ignathios and Moran Mor Basselious". That means MOSC considers HH patriarch of Antioch is not equal but inferior to MOSCC Catholica, which at any cost not acceptable to the Jacobites in Malankara. In such a situation unity is impossible. At the same time it will be highly unlikely that MOSC accepts it as another "Reeth" under the Patriarch of Antioch similar to Malankara Catholics under Pope because they consider themselves as another independent Oriental church .Interestingly, in the Kukilion, MOSC equals Mor Gregorious with Vattasseril Divannasyios as Paulose Catholica sung " Ninnevarichoru thatannun Mor Gregorious and Mor Divannasios" in Prumala pally on Gregorious day of Nov 3. Anyway that is their prerogative how to consider Parumala Mor Gregorious.So there is only way that is separation. As mentioned in the previous message, more than 80 per cent of the churches in Malankara are already separated; completely under the control of either MOSC or Jacobites and the other has role or right in the churches the other administers. Then why the so called "no separation only unity" in around 20 per cent of the churches.But again an enduring peace will be depended on the preaches and actions of MOSC. Incidents of the past two decades shows that MOSC trust only in court not in conciliation or mediationJoshy Paul#1040
I am George Varghese who has my heart on this topic for some time and some of the early members of the forum like Daniel Reji, Mathew GM would recall my writing on this topic in various forums from as early as 2001.
What is permanent is only Christ and to Him is and what I believe is the key teaching of Orthodox Christian faith is the need constant encouragement within both groups and in the interaction between both groups on what could reinforce our faith for His Glory.
While the Jacobite Syrian and Malankara Orthodox Christians may not be united in who is their temporal leader or who is the visible chief prelate or which clause and which constitution that needs to be followed , what unites us is the faith we are called to confess in our Holy Creed - 'One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church"
We have lost a great crowd of people that out of conflict that went to Protestant affiliation discarding this teaching in the Marthoma and a great group under the Roman catholic affilition. I have two questions.
1. Can we have a discussion on where we as individuals can suggest to hold us together in the common faith of the Oriental Orthodox commune (consisting of Syrian, Indian, Armenian , Ethiopian , Eritrean and Coptic)?
2. Are there any clergy or lay men willing to take the steps to atlaest show interest in Point 1 from both sides willing to step forward ?
I am a lay man with many shortcomings but very intrested .
Dear All,Peace in Malankara Church is a dream of all. However, how we are going to achieve such a peace is the question. For most Jacobites, like me, want to continue under the Patriarch for administrative as well as for spiritual, but for some IOC, do not want any connection to the Patriarch, except a nominal connection, named 'spiritual head' which do not mean anything in reality. I don't believe any of these two preferences have recently been changed for most of the people, whether it is Jacobites or IOCs. So how can we achieve peace in such a scenario? The only way to achieve peace in this scenario is to keep the present administrative setup of Jacobites directly under Patriarch as per 2002 Constitution and accept IOC as a separate 'Reeth' under Patriarch where IOC will be an autonomous church under their Catholicose with the Patriarch as their spiritual head without any administrative privileges as per the 1934 constitution.If we can achieve this, probably we can avoid a lot of the current issues, including street fights and Roadside 'upavasam'. These types of street fights of two factions of the church are damaging the image of Christians in Kerala, and of course that of Christ himself!. If mutually accepted, there should be an agreement to use those disputed churches and cemeteries by both factions ('Reeths') on a turn or in need use.Peace by uniting:For most Jacobites the unity achieved in 1958 gives a lesson: Although the Jacobites were of Majority before the unity, another split in a decade or so reduced the number of Jacobites in most churches. Most churches which were controlled by Jacobites before became IOC churches. Each so called unity has only destroyed the Jacobite church and IOC has only gained in such so called 'unities'. IOC is so efficient in teaching the so called nationalism in Orthodox churches, to the extent where the youths value their church's national independence and separation more than Christ himself. These types of teachings may creep into Jacobite youths if there is another such unity happens without proper agreements. A unity under 2002 constitution by IOC and JSOC will be impossible under the Supreme court cases.If a peace similar to 1958 happens, in my opinion, Jacobites may lose more members to IOC over time and the only remaining churches who would ever want to be under the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church would be those of Thronal churches and EAE. Why I am skeptical about such a unity? The reason is we may achieve such unity and be happy in the beginning, but in reality, if the church is united according to 1934 constitution, in future, even the 1934 constitution which gives nominal position to the Patriarch currently may get amended to make the church independent of Patriarch or SOC. This has been a discussion among them for a while now. The name Patriarch or Syriac Orthodox will be unheard in Malankara in about two generations if such unity happens. If we think from the side of IOC, I think it is not good for them to have a major population who wants to be part of SOC and under the Patriarch creeping into their administration. That may only be headache for them as well as JSOC. That can only result in another split in near future, whether we wait for another generation or not. Also, remembering Vattasseril thirumeni as saints for Jacobites and Aluva thirumeni as saint for IOC may not be acceptable. These things can only generate another round of litigations within the church. I don't think we want such things happens in a united church.Peace in Malankara without uniting the factions:For Jacobites and for IOCeans (who wants administrative freedom from Patriarch), I believe the only way to achieve unity is by uniting and remaining as two separate churches, one directly under Patriarch (JSOC) and the other autonomous church under Catholicose of Kottayam with a spiritual head, the Patriarch. In such scenario both factions can receive and give communion and sacraments without obstacles from each other and spiritually grow in unity, although are under different administrative set up.There are still issues with this set up, but can be solved. The major issue is going to be the cross jumpers. There are a lot of priests and bishops who are not happy with their superiors and may look for a jump to the other side. I know in IOC there are some priests and bishops whether it is the recent transfer issues or personal issues, are looking for a side change. Also, there are some JSOC priests and bishops who are looking for an opportunity for switching sides. These issues are prevalent even in US and Europe as in India because of the ongoing issues with their authorities. If such peace is achieved, these types of opportunists may take advantage and may try to switch side. If such switch-side happens that will lead to the start of another round of litigations, because of those who are still loyal to their authorities in those churches/dioceses. In effect, we may not see a complete peace in the Malankara church.Solution: Make a strong agreement before such peace process, to prevent cross jumps both at the clergy level and laity level. Whether it is a laity or clergy, both churches should not encourage cross jumps at any cost, with an exception of marriages where the girl has to follow the church of the guy's.Unfortunate Recent Movements: I was happy when Patriarch expressed His desire to achieve peace in malankara. But was saddened to hear about H.H's plan to cancel a meeting with IOC Catholicose because of false rumors spread in social media and news channels, that created confusion among JSOC members. Some Jacobites in India took such a meeting of Patriarch and IOC Catholicose for personal revenge and to spread rumors that Patriarch is distancing from JSOC church and its Catholicose. How can Patriarch achieve unity or peace by distancing from JSOC or its Catholicose and instead meeting with IOC Catholicose? This was NOT the plan of Patriarch as H.H clarified in interviews. Peace means peace for every one, including IOC Catholicose, JSOC Catholicose and Patriarach and all the members under them. By keeping one of these person or members away, no one can achieve peace! Those spreading false news like those of 'Duplicate Almayavedhi' and those supporting them in social media do not seems to be proponents of peace.Let us pray that peace in Malankara is achieved in such a way that all Orthodox members in India are equally satisfied!Santhosh Chacko
- The Indian Orthodox Church always demand unification of the churches or rather merger of the two churches into one church. This will in effect be a takeover of the assets of the SJ Church by the IO Church as the latter have no interest in the fate of the prelates, priests and the lay people.; what they teach and profess in matters of faith, tradition including the position of patriarch and the history of the church.will be the rule.Consider the case of a husband and his wife united by the church through the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony After some years of blissful married life they fell apart. The husband in due course of civil law married another woman and he has a few children. The wife also followed suit and got married and gave birth to three children. The church records showed that they are still husband and wife as the church do not recognize civil marriage. A new vicar who took charge of the church began to study meticulously the condition of every family.. The case the husband and wife of our story came to his knowledge of the vicar. And he without sparing any time approached the husband and wife pleading them to reunite as the husband and wife leaving aside the begone as begone. Those who advocate the merger of the two churches are very much like vicarI am unable to comprehend the attitude of the advocates of unification. Now in Kerala. Latin, Sero Malabar, Sero Malankara Roman Churches co-exist. The other churches have no animosity towards these three churches. Mar Thoma Church co-exists with Evangelical Church. I O Church or SJ Church does not have any enmity towards Mar Thoma Church. Thozhiyoor Church or Chaldian Church. In the same way IO Church and S J Church can also co-exist and be like brothers in Jesus.The maxim YOU LIVE AND LET OTHERS LIVE should come into play.V T John ID 3085
- Respected Believers,
1 Corinthians 1:10-13 should be required reading for all those who promote division in the Holy Church. St. Paul writes, "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"
As our Holy Church and Holy Bible clearly teaches, we are not called to live for St. Paul, St. Peter, St. Thomas, or any other Disciple and we are not called to live for Jerusalem, Antioch, Devalokam, Puthenkurish, or any other location in the world. We are called to live for our Lord Jesus Christ. All our Holy Saints would attest to this. Arguing over thrones and positions are fruitless political exercises and will only help to destroy unity and future generations in the Holy Church along with torpedoing our spiritual life, our family life, and our own peace of mind. There is absolutely no point in continuing this Godless culture and sacred tradition of litigation, Church break-ins, Church closings, and road-blocking protests for additional generations.
Our God is the Father of genuine unity, peace, and love, not co-existence. Satan is the author of division and hatred and he is always opposed to genuine love and unity. Co-existence is what the secular and fallen world preaches. Co-existence in this case would be a continued division of the Holy Body of Jesus Christ and it would only breed more quarreling over supremacy and poisonous arguments between the faithful.
During Patriarch H.H. Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II's Apostolic visit to Kerala, open dialogue should take place between a small group from each side with Moran serving as the mediator for the purpose of complete unity and restoration of the Holy Church. The Jacobite side would ideally include Holy Synod Secretary H.G. Joseph Mor Gregorios, H.G. Thomas Mor Thimothios, and H.G. Issac Mor Osthatheos while the Orthodox side would ideally include Catholicose H.H. Paulose II, H.G. Dr. Yakob Mar Irenaios, and H.G. Zachariah Mar Aprem. Both sides could also include a couple of respected Priests and laymen if needed, although it would be best to keep the more divisive personalites away from the discussions.
My humble suggestion for the unity of the Holy Church in Malankara to become a reality, Patriarch H.H. Aphrem II should declare H.H. Paulose II as the Catholicose of the united Holy Church in Malankara. Patriarch H.H. Aphrem II and H.H. Paulose II together should visit several Churches from both sides throughout Kerala to create an atmosphere of peace and goodwill among the faithful.
The Jacobite and Orthodox Holy Synods should be combined into one united Holy Episcopal Synod. Led by Patriarch H.H. Aphrem II and Catholicose H.H. Paulose II, the united Holy Episcopal Synod would meet together and elect a Jacobite Metropolitan to be the next Catholicose Designate, who would ideally be the aforementioned respected H.G. Joseph Mor Gregorios, H.G. Thomas Mor Thimotheos, or H.G. Issac Mor Osthatheos. After the Catholicose Designate is elected, the united Holy Episcopal Synod should make sure that each Bishop is assigned to one Diocese each as a Metropolitan or Assistant Metropolitan. A Synod Secretary should also be elected by the united Holy Episcopal Synod to serve the Church. All court cases would be stopped permanently and all closed Churches would be opened. All Clergy, especially our Thirumenis, would be invited and welcomed into all previously unvisitable Churches to promote the unity and peace of the Church.
I strongly believe that this would lay the foundation for a genuine and lasting peace in our Holy Church. If our hierarchy remain united and instruct our people in a Christian way, then our people will be obedient. But if our leaders care more for their own power and possessions and misuse the people, then peace in the Church will be made more difficult. Our leaders must sacrifice their love of power and money if they genuinely love God and His Holy Church. If the Holy Church remains divided, we will continue to see and experience even more pathetic scandals involving disgraceful characters like Moosa Gurgan, K.P. Yohannan and Believers Church, etc.Too much time has been lost uniting in the police station and in the court fighting each other. Now is the time to unite together as one united Holy Church and fulfill the mission of living and spreading the Gospel and the love of Christ as we are called to do.Let us continue to pray for the peace and unity of the Holy Church and for our suffering brothers and sisters in Syria and all over the world. May the prayers of all our Saints, especially our blessed Mother St. Mary, St. Paul, St. Peter, St. Thomas, St. Yeldho Mor Baselios Bava, St. Gregorios of Parumala, Manjinikkara Bava, Pampady Thirumeni, and H.H. Ignatius Zakka Iwas I of blessed memory, lead to genuine unity and peace in Malankara in the very near future and lead to the end of all the wars and sufferings experienced by our faithful in the Middle East.I welcome all feedback regarding this issue as I strongly believe that our earnest prayer and open, positive dialogue is the way to achieving the dream of real unity and peace. Our leadership, especially Thirumenis of both Jacobite and Orthodox sides, can benefit from such ideas and hopefully will take action to make the dream of lasting peace and unity in Malankara a divine reality in the very near future.With Prayers,Saju Skaria, London