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An Indian Patriarch of Anthioc

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  • thomas_pa1
    Considering the huge difference in number between Syrians and Indians following the Alexandrian Christological tradition (Oriental Orthodox), why there was no
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 7, 2002
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      Considering the huge difference in number between Syrians
      and Indians following the Alexandrian Christological tradition
      (Oriental Orthodox), why there was no Indian born Patriarch of
      Anthioc? Is there any Canon which states that a Patriarch must
      be elected from a person of Syriac ancestry?

      Thank you,
    • J P
      Dear �����Oommen Kappil����� alias �����Thomas_pa1����� of Malankara Ortodox (dissidents) church, Thanks for your advice. There is nothing wrong in being an
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 11, 2002
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        Thanks for your advice.  There is nothing wrong in being an Indian as the Patriarch of Antioch.  But I think, now it is not the occasion to discuss this untimengly proposal and more particularly from a member of a dissident faction who always tries to oppose the Patriarchate of Antioch.  In our ancient Syrian Church, except in the most unavoidable circumstances, a Patriarch or a Catholicos have no retirement.   So we will consider it in the appropriate time.  Anyhow thanks for your kind advice.


        For the Ortodox (Indian or Syrian ?) group with headquarters near Kottayam; Patriarchate of Antioch is foreign, even though this dissident group still uses the Holy liturgy (with some changes recently), vestments  etc of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch.  A clear hint to spread hatred against the Syrian Patriarchate of Antioch has been given by this group’s leadership on various occasions and in recent times this has again been reconfirmed during the decision to declare late Wattasseril Thirumeni as a saint of the dissident Ortodox group of Malankara.   Whatever be the claim of this Ortodox group, it is very clear that, what they wanted is a completely independent organisation with no connections with the Holy See of Antioch.  This has been clearly recorded in all the histories published by the dissident Ortodox group of Kerala. 


        But this is not the case of the Malankara Yakkobaya Suriyani Orthodox Church. Our Holy Church still proudly follows the Holy liturgy etc. of the Syrian Church of Antioch and we will continue to do so. So as the time arises our Holy Synod will consider, who must be our Patriarch of Antioch & the Catholicose / Maphriyono of the East, and the Holy Church will be administered according to the Hudaya Canon.  So please don’t worry about our future. 



        thomas_pa1@... wrote:

        Considering the huge difference...........
      • drthomas_joseph
        This issue is being raised here not with bonafide intentions but to sow discord. Neverthless, I will answer it because it is a question that has come up even
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 11, 2002
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          This issue is being raised here not with bonafide intentions but to
          sow discord. Neverthless, I will answer it because it is a question
          that has come up even among members of the Patriarchal faction and
          will continue to come up.

          Here are some excerpts from the constitution of the Syriac Orthodox
          Church (applying to the Church in the Middle East and its diaspora)
          approved at the Holy Synod of September 22-26, 1998,

          Article 32 The Patriarchal Assistant and Patriarchal Vicar must
          telegraph His Beatitude the Catholicos and the Metropolitans in order
          to select a Metropolitan to act as a Patriarchal Locum Tenens.

          Article 37 The Patriarchal Locum Tenens will summon His Beatitude the
          Catholicos and the Metropolitans, who are members of the Holy
          Synod, to elect the new Patriarch within a period not to exceed
          fifteen days.

          Article 40 His Beatitude the Catholicos, the Metropolitan of the
          Knanaya Archdiocese, the Metropolitans of the churches of the
          Antiochian Apostolic See in India, and the Metropolitan of North
          America of the Malankara Archdiocese will participate in electing the
          Patriarch, but may not be elected.

          Thus, even though the Catholicos has a position of pre-eminence at
          the election of the Patriarch, it is true that a metropolitan from
          Malankara cannot be elected Patriarch. There are good reasons for the

          1. The Patriarch is a spiritual and temporal head of the church in
          the Middle East. He is only a spiritual head of the church in India;
          even the Patriarch faction (for all the noises we make) will not go
          very far in giving the Patriarch any real temporal authority (and I
          must add that I agree with that since I think if anything it
          diminishes that position). Just as we do not want a person outside
          our culture and not resident among us, even if he be the Patriarch,
          to exercise full temporal authority over us and be involved in day to
          day administration, we cannot expect Syriac Christians in the Middle
          East to accept the temporal authority of an outsider. In an Islamic
          society where the Christians are reduced to the status of "dhimmis"
          and governed by laws exclusive to each community, the leadership of
          their community is a matter of survival for them. In the Ottoman
          Sultanate, the Patriarch was the secular head of the "millet" and was
          at a time even responsible for collecting taxes, answerable for
          crimes committed by any member of his community, etc. In some
          countries like Syria, the situation is much better today, but in
          Turkey, which the true roots of the Church lie, the situation is no

          2. Even today, almost 30 years after the last resident Syriac bishop
          left India, many Malankara Syrian Christians (of course predominantly
          in the Patriarchal faction) regard our association with the Syriac
          Orthodox Church in the Middle East as sacred. This is primarily due
          to the sacrifices made by generations of bishops from that church for
          our sake over the centuries. Many became part of our soil and
          gratitude to their spiritual ministry is ingrained in many of us
          (Please note that I am not including here those in the Catholicos
          faction and so no arguments over this please!). The people in the
          Middle East (besides the monks and bishops who went to Malankara)
          never had an opportunity to develop a similar bond with the Malankara
          Church. The reason is obvious; there was never one instance where a
          bishop or monk or priest or layman went to the Middle East to
          minister to their souls or assist them in the time of their need.
          There was no dearth of opportunity over centuries of their history!
          At the turn of the century when hundreds of thousands of Syriac
          Christians were brutally massacred and the oppression of the Ottoman
          empire was at its peak, we were busy fishing in troubled waters
          and "transferring the Catholicate" to India and fighting with each
          other over it. In 1970s when Islamic fanatics were oppressing Syriac
          Christians forcing them into a mass exodus to the West, we were
          expelling the last vestiges of Syriac presence among us. It never
          occured to our ancestors and to us that our fellow Christians were
          suffering and that they could use help, spiritual or otherwise. So
          why would one expect them to accept someone from Malankara today in
          no less a position than the Patriarch?

          In order that the candidacy for the Patriarchate be open to any
          person regardless of ethnic origin, it would be important for the
          position to be exclusively one of spiritual authority whether in the
          Middle East or Malankara. The day to day administration would have to
          be vested in "Maphryonos", meaning that one or more Maphryonos should
          be appointed for the Middle East, its diaspora, etc., in addition to
          one or more Maphryonos (from a historical perspective, erroneously
          called Catholicos) in Malankara and its dispora.

          But I truly wonder whether I personally would want to see one from
          among our fractious community that produced one saint in 2000 years
          to occupy that exalted position.

          PS: The Alexandrian Christological tradition is merely one aspect of
          the theological position of the Oriental church. Let us not pull wool
          over anybody's eyes here; the Church in Malankara from its earliest
          days was deeply rooted in the Syriac tradition whether Eastern or
          Dear Members

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        • Athanickal, Johnkutty
          Dear Shibu I am intertested in this conversation. Regarding your question of wedding rings, what I think is, it is primarily a ritual and it started as a riual
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 11, 2002
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            Dear Shibu
            I am intertested in this conversation. Regarding your question of
            wedding rings, what I think is, it is primarily a ritual and it started
            as a riual and the theological and biblical meaning later followed.� All
            rituals and its careful observation gives meaning to human life.� Though
            we live a world of scientic advancement, technological progress and
            theological speculations, it will never give human kind complete
            happiness, even if happiness� defined or interpreted in physical terms.
            The happiness of the mind and the fulfillment of spiritual desires make
            him/she in the process of achieving complete humanity and also for an
            eternal salvation.�

            Ritual plays a prominent part in the making of religion.� I don't want
            to enter in the theological meaning of wedding rings, as it was discussd
            already.� Regarding your question of priest exchnging wedding rings and
            the tieng wedding knot by the bridegroom, both give different meaning.
            The divine presence is officiated by the priest in the exchanging of
            rings and the human promise and the desire and willingness of a just
            family life is undermined in the wedding knot.� That is, when someone
            looks at his wife's wedding ring the first impression is the God's
            mediatorship or divine intervention in their family life and seeing the
            wedding knot implies that it is his sole effort or promise for
            covenental life in the sociectal or community life.�� Both the cases
            reflects that married life is sacred and it is performed in a sacred

            More over it is a custom adopted from the Hindus in Kerala, means that
            we are no longer a different community, but one among them in a multi
            diaspora.� And now it is an accoustomed custom and there is a difficulty
            in getting it changed now.� And the Christian traditions differ from
            countries to country and denomination from denomination in all the
            rituals. No matter what we do in our daily life is none other than
            ritual, and we simply call it as habit.� But everything gives
            satisfaction and meaning to our life.

            Fr. Athanickal

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