The Twentieth Century Schism In The Malankara Church Part 9
Fr. Cherian George Poothicote
(Zachariah Mor Nicholovos, the former Metropolitan of the Malankara
Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America)
Dept. of History of Christianity, M.S.O.T Seminary
The Patriarch seeing the necessity of having new bishops consecrated
two new bishops, Mar Athanasius and Mar Severius.
The climax of the tension between the Patriarch and Mar Dionysius was
reached with the excommunication of Mar Dionysius VI on 8th June 1911
on the following charges.
1. The properties belonging to the church were not managed and
utilised in the best interests of the church.
2. Mar Dionysius, keeping in view of his personal interests,
functioned in complete freedom and authority which was not in the
best interests of the Holy Church.
3. In order to secure such freedom and authority, Mar Dionysius
kindled feud and dissentions in the church.
4. Mar Dionysuis endeavoured to exercise absolute power in an
independent manner as if there was no higher authority.
5. Mar Dionysius did not obey the legal and rightful higher authority.
6. Mar Dionysius behaved and acted in a false and prejudicial manner,
which belittled the honour and reverence due to the Patriarch and the
Holy Throne of St. Peter and abetted such actions by others.
7. All the above acts violated the provisions of the Shalmosa
contracted by Mar Dionysius at the consecration in the presence of
Holy Trinity, Saints and angels, the Holy Sanctuary and the dreadful
On the above charges, Mar Dionysius VI was "excommunicated deposed,
and de-robed" from the position of metropolitan.
A few days after receiving the letter of excommunication, on 27th
June 1911 Mar Dionysius convened a meeting of the managing committee
members at M.D. Seminary chapel. The meeting was attended by Mar
Dionysius himself and Mar Alvares Julius a metropolitan consecrated
from among the people who joined the Syrian Orthodox Church from
among the Roman Catholics and many of the lay and clergy leaders who
had sympathy towards Mar Dionysius. This meeting decided to call for
an Association. The Association convened had a majority of the
supporters of Mar Dionysius because most of the parishes did not sent
representatives as it was convened by the excommunicated
Metropolitan. This so called association was held on 7th September
1911. It passed a resolution to the effect of supporting the
excommunicated Metropolitan and removing the two trustees from the
trusteeship and appointing two others to their places. At the same
time the Malankara association was convened as per instruction of the
Patriarch. This Association meeting was held on 31st August 1911. And
was attended by the Patriarch himself, Sleeba Mar Osthathios and
three Indian Metropolitans. This meeting elected Mar Coorilose as the
Malankara Metropolitan and prayed to the Patriarch to make the
appointment to that effect. After appointing Mar Coorilose as the
Malankara Metropolitan as per the request of the Malankara
Association, the Patriarch left India with a heavy heart because of
the split and the disputes which were kindled by the obstinate nature
of one bishop.
Conted: Part 10
T. C Chacko
St. Mary's Church