Re: Facts about the establishment of Catholicate of east
- Dear Mr. Mathew G.M.,
Since you mentioned that you haven't heard these things, I would like to write the two kalpanas in which Holy Father had asked explanations from Augen and Devalogam.
52/74 number Kalpana which was sent on Jan. 30, 1974 :-
In this Kalpana Holy Father had asked Augen for clarification or explanations for the below 13 points.
1. We, the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, universally believe that there is only one throne as per the Bible and that it is St. Peter's throne. The Patriarch of Antioch and all the east decorate that throne. But the Catholicose states that there is a throne for St. Thomas and he, the Catholicose decorates that throne.
2. Traditionally and canonically Patriarch of Antioch is the supreme head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church. But the Catholicose declared that Catholicose is equal to Patriarch.
3. Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church is part of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church. But the Catholicose proclaims that Malankara church is an independent church and its name is Indian Orthodox church and its supreme head is Catholicose. This is a discovery to disobey the Patriarch.
4. St. Thomas doesn't have a throne. That is basically and canonically wrong. Catholicose claims that it is an internal matter. It is not just an internal matter. But it is a problem regarding the faith and priesthood of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church.
5. The Catholicose define that the relationship with the patriarch is just a friendly relationship. This is against the true canonical definition "keeshvashakkam".
6. Catholicose didn't receive our delegate which is a position that was continuously present for centuries in India. Not only didn't he receive our delicate but also tried all possible ways to sent him back.
7. You changed the Amologya by omitting the part of promise of "keeshvashakkam" to the patriarch of Antioch and all the east who is the supreme head of the church. You used this changed Amologya for the ordination of Metropolitans in Kollenchery in 1966 and still using the same for ordinations.
8.You are not cursing and abandoning Leon papa's Chaldean synod declaration of dual nature of Jesus Christ, in your ordinations. (Anathema of Leon Papa's Chaldean Synod declaration)
9. You added wrong and non-canonical advises and history in Sunday school syllabus. Thus you are teaching the wrong history and giving these innocent children the wrong basic information about the church.
10. You declared through press agencies and in public meetings that you are seated in the throne of St. Thomas and is equal to Patriarch. You declared this in the 1972 managing committee meeting, in 1972 September 26 to U.N.I. representative at Kottayam,and in 19th shathapthy of Mar. Thoma at Niranam.
11. You are claiming authority outside your authority limitations which is given by the synod.
12. 25-5-1973 managing committee passed a decision that they will believe that The Patriarch of Antioch and all the east Himself is cutting His relations with Malankara if He consecrates any member of the Malankara church. This decision was passed in a managing committee meeting that was presided over by you. This decision is unnecessary and noncanonical. Above all you are questioning the authority of the Apostolic Throne of Antioch over Malankara church.
13. The letter you sent to us on Aug. 7, 1973 is totally arrogant, without any courtesy and improper for your position as Catholicose.
We want you to give us an explanation for all the above within one month after receiving this Kalpana.
It was the secretary of the synod who replied on 5-3-74 stating that the Catholicos had handed over the Patriarchal Kalpana to the Synod, requesting to discuss the same in his absence; and that the Synod, presided by Mar Ivanios found that all the allegations were baseless, and that the authority to frame allegations and to take decisions rests with the Malankara Synod and not with the Patriarch.
196/74 number Kalpana dated 15, July 1974.
We received your reply which was sent by Malankara Episcopal secretary with your covering letter, for our Kalpana number 52/74 that we sent on 30-1-1974. We were expecting a reply directly from you. We don't mind you consulting with anyone for sending us the reply. We don't have any intention of sending you a reply as you sent to us on 5-3-74. We need an explanation from you for the below points before taking any further steps regarding you.
1. In the 4th page of our Kalpana we have made it clear to you that establishing a throne in the name of St. Thomas is against the faith and tradition of our church. We wish to know whether you are claiming that the grace of mercy come from the throne of St. Thomas if you create a throne of St. Thomas.
2. We asked you for explanations for our points 2, 3, 5.All these years as a true faith the Church had accepted the Antiochian Patriarch as the supreme head of Malankara Syrian Church. But now we feel that you have taken the attitude that Catholicose is the supreme head and the Patriarch has no place in its hierarchy.
3. As the 9th point in our previous Kalpana we got some points that you are teaching some lessons in the Seminary that are against the faith and the authority of the Church. Below are those points.
(a) You are teaching that it is not necessary to confess to priests. We can confess direct to God personally or in group without the intermediation of a priest.
(b) You are teaching that, the basic faith of our church that Baptism is for the relief of Birth sin is wrong.
(c) You are teaching that limiting the number of Holy Sacraments to 7 is wrong.
4. You allowed affiliating the Seminary to the Serampore University of Culcutta, which is well known as a protestant university.
5. We regret that in spite of our repeated advice you continue to teach the same, disregarding our authority over the Malankara Church.
We request you to give us an explanation for all the above within 10 days after receiving this Kalpana.
(Note-Most of the professors of the Seminary was qualified only in protestant advices and had no knowledge about our church. One of the professors was criticizing St. Peter badly.)
Without giving any explanation for the above points, Mathews Mar Ivanios, Mathews Mar Athanasius Daniel Mar Philaxinus, and Theophilus Mar Saverios together sent the below letter to Holy Father on 3-8-74.
Malankara Church is autocephalous. Catholicose is free to take decisions in spiritual, materialistic (loukeeka), and priestly matters. Patriarch is trying to destroy its autonomy. It is wrong that He sent his delegate here. His delegate consecrated some here, and conducted Yakobaya Association. Patriarch consecrated bishops for Malnkara Church. Patriarch has no authority to ask explanation to Catholicose. By the above reasons Patriarch has violated the constitution of the Malankara Church, thus losing his rights and authority over the Malankara Church.
Thus the catholica fraction took an attitude that the Patriarch has the authority to consecrate the catholicose but no authority to question the mistakes. Anyway the Patriarch who is responsible to take care of the Church and its faith and rules, which is founded by Jesus Christ, waited lovingly and patiently. But they didn't change their arrogant attitude. So Holy Father sent a Kalpana to Catholicose on 10-1-75.
15/75 number Kalpana which was sent on Jan. 10, 1975 :-
Blessings to the Catholicose of East Mar Augen 1,
We are enclosing few papers which helped me to come to a conclusion that you, Mar. Baselios Augen 1 is trying hard at the best of your ability to establish new traditions and faith against the true faith and vision of the ancient respected Holy Church under the Holy See of Antioch and all the east. We have decided to assemble the Universal Holy Synod to discuss and decide about all the points explained in the notice included herewith. So it seems that we have to control your authority as a Catholicose for the benefit of the church and its members. So we, the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East being the supreme head suspends you from using any authority in spiritual and church matters as Catholicose from the date you receive this Kalpana.
Catholicose replied on 24-1-75 that the Malankara Episcopal synod has decided that the Patriarch had lost all his prerogatives (authority and rights) over Malankara. So I humbly inform you that your kalpana number15/75 dated 10-1-75. Cannot take into consideration.
On April 4, 75 Holy Father sent Kalpana to all metropolitans of catholica fraction suspending all of them.
303 /75number Kalpana which was sent on June. 23, 1975 :-
His Holiness forwarded the decisions of Universal Synod 1975, to Catholicose and requested the Catholicose once again to repent and retrace. He sent the same to all the Metropolitans of Catholica fraction.
360/75 number Kalpana which was sent on Aug. 21, 1975 :-
Since they didn't give any reply Holy Father excommunicated Catholicose.
361-367/75 number Kalpana which was sent on Aug. 21, 1975 :-
Since they didn't give any reply Holy Father excommunicated all the Metropolitans of Catholicose fraction.
I hope that I could give you a proper explanation.
(CLARIFICATION:-In one of my articles my name is mentioned as Leena George Thekkekara and in others as Leena Mathew. First one is my official name and my premarital name. Mathew is my husband's name. )
Dr. Leena Mathew
- Dr.Leena and others interested,
It is not my job to point out your non sequiturs but I wonder how you inferred that I believe "that there won't be any change in policies of an institute as long as it is run by the same sect of people" because I would have thought that it is emphatically clear from my sentence you quoted that "policies do change". What I was merely pointing out was that the nature of the University i.e., ethos remained Protestant. And from your earlier messages I gather that you believe MSOT seminary is "better off being on its own". While I don't entirely agree with that, I believe your opinion stems from the concern over the Protestant nature of University. In the `Kalpana' you quoted in one of your previous messages, HH the Patriarch asked for clarification to Baselios Augen I for "affiliating the Seminary to the Serampore University of Culcutta[sic], which is well known as a protestant university". To me it looks like His Holiness was concerned over the Protestant nature of the University to which a Syriac Orthodox Seminary is affiliated to. And as far as I know their ethos haven't changed.
I thank you for taking the trouble to contact the proper authorities regarding the syllabus and affiliation. Shri Joshy Pauls clarification was similar. Though what I learnt from my own enquiry was that before the BD course commences a foundation course on our faith, liturgy and addenda is taught to the priests-in-training of our church and after completing that they advance to the regular 4 year BD program with a University prescribed syllabus with no dilutions. So, unless you have categorized everything that is being taught at the MSOT seminary as syllabus my information is inaccurate.
The Orthodox seminary was affiliated in 1964 and 38 years have passed since His Holiness asked for clarifications in 1974. I do understand that we were pre occupied with the schism for many years. Surely it is time to think, at least, of a Theological University with Orthodox ethos as a long term goal. You asked, "Who told you that they are not planning it?" Well, do you know if there is any long-term vision of that sort? Usually it has been our practice to announce things we plan to do with a lot of hue and cry and I didn't hear about this one. Maybe I wasn't paying attention when it was being announced. I am well aware of our "achievements" as you put it and I am not criticizing any of it rather I congratulate our HB Thomas I, Catholicose of India, and all the associated people on their steadfastness to bring glory to our Church. But I do hope it didn't come at the cost of our spiritual growth.
Theological studies in India are not easy and the Church has a certain responsibility to make it better. From what I understand MSOT seminary doesn't offer Masters or Doctoral courses. Maybe we can start from there. Maybe my opinion to put Theological University on a higher priority as one of our Church's goals is a minority one and, as you put it, is not one which is passed by the Holy Synod with "two third majorities". But even in a top-down structure like ours I believe the voice of an ordinary faithful do matter and airing opinions on this forum gives me an opportunity to engage in meaningful opinion building process.
Lastly on a personal note, my query whether you were related to me was to make us not "strangers". Though a simple yes or no might have sufficed, I do understand your reservations for giving out personal information even though I gave out my personal information. But being 22 and a student (oops! I did it again: P) makes me relax over my own privacy concerns.
Hope I've been polite, courteous and clear.
Zach George Arapura