My Thoughts on ' Conceptual Clarity '
- My thoughts on 'Conceptual Clarity'
As part of this conceptual Clarity I will be discussing the
following arguments forwarded by Georgy.
1.St.Thomas Christians venerated only foreign saints.
2.They had surrendered their ability to think independently as
3.Accepting Parumala Thirumeni as a saint and placing him along
the ranks of the saints of antiquity would have required a radical
departure from conventional thinking.
4.`Can there be a saint in Malankara from among us lowly Indians?'
was the question, and it went unanswered.
5. Finally, the followers of Vattasseril Thirumeni
broke the mould.
6. It took them 40 more years to gain the
confidence to request Damascus for inclusion of Parumala Thirumeni's
name along with the saints mentioned in the fifth diptych (toobden).
7. The name of the Malankara saint is read only in
the Indian wing.
8. Flush with the nationalist spirit, we arrived
at a universal truth that saints could come from anywhere.
9. It's we who first showed the courage to PROCLAIM HIS SAINTHOOD.
1.Georgy has tried very hard to legitimatize the deviation of IOC
from the pledge of Parumala Thirumeni in his Salmoosa and to
rationalize the clear violation of ecclesial affiliation Parumala
Thirumeni held very dear to him. He says that the Malankara Syrians
venerated only ' foreign saints ' ! I don't understand him when he
demarcates saints in this geographical categories! Can he list
the ' Indian ' saints who were sidelined before Parumala Thirumeni?
Are you branding saints as a commodity of the Indian Church and
other foreign churches? The saints and faith are to transcend all
limitations of color, race and nationality. Otherwise we will have
to think that in Paradise and Heaven there will be categories of
saints with earthly limitations! Georgy's comment on the veneration
of the saints of the Syrian tradition in India has to be understood
in a different perspective. It is because we in the Malankara
diocese took liturgy, calendar, creed, patristic writings, rituals
and everything ditto from the Syrian Church of Antioch. It was
because we were part and parcel of this church. Even many of the non
Knanaya families of Kollam, Thiruvalla, Mulanthuruthy,
Kothamangalam, etc. are the descendants of sporadic immigrants from
this church. We were following the carbon copy of all liturgy and
other prayers of the Syrian Church, not as imposed from above by a
foreign church but was received as our own and with the thought that
it is apt to edify our spiritual life. Parumala Thirumeni also used
this for his spiritual edification. What is happening today also. We
all are the stereotype of the Syrian Church in all fields of faith
and worship. We do follow the calendar of it. Why then we accuse our
forefathers who had a better understanding and who had 'conceptual
clarity' on sainthood. They knew the universality and oneness of the
2. Georgie in his vehement persuit of hunting for arguments
against the SOC perspectives is here pointing his gun of accusation
against our dear forefathers and is disparaging them as ' who
surrendered their ability to think independently '. We don't know
much about the pre Portuguese period, but we know about the bold
Indian Joseph who is famous in History. He visited Lisbon and also
Rome. He was very brave to declare that the head of the Malabar
church is the Patriarch of Antioch. It is said that he told this to
none other the Pope of Rome. (see Christian Resaearches in India by
Claudius Buchanan or Were the Syrian Christians Nestorians ? by
Archbishop Mor Ivanios) Is this a statement of a 'surrendered
mind? Again in the first conversation of our forefathers to the
Portuguese is stated by Buchanan. They said to have enjoyed a
succession of bishops appointed by the Patriarch of Antioch. They
negated the authority of the Pope who had 'empires and continents'
under him, but ENJOYED the authority of the 'frail' Patriarchate.
They said this not because they surrendered their independent
thinking, but from their free will of conviction and commitment to
the hierarchy to which they belong. Who can think that they (who
surrendered their 'ability' to 'think' independently as per Georgy's
thinking) fought against the Papist, Portuguese and the native
authorities and took a vow against the Romish, who drowned their
Patriarch, who came to nourish their church. They had independence
of thought to keep their oneness with the church and hierarchy of
Antioch to safeguard their faith and tradition. None other than the
IOC think that sharing of faith and allegiance is servitude. It is
only a myth created by Georgy to justify the argument and personal
stand which he has taken. None in the Church of both faction has
surrendered their 'ability to think and act independently. This is
very evident in History and in our times too. Vattaseril Thirumeni
took an independent perspective. Many followed him and many opposed
him out of their free will. Malpan Palakkunnath had also followers
like this. Even in our times in 1970s the Church leaders tried this
but many opposed out of free will. Many followed out of free will.
It is the ability to think independently that sustains the
arguments. Many in this persuit changes affiliation and affection.
It is really disparaging and under estimation to note that those who
think differently have lost their 'ability to think independently'.
People with intellectual potentials like Georgy should refrain from
arguments like this.
3. Accepting Parumala Thirumeni as a saint needs no 'radical
change' as Georgy envisages here. He was not made a saint in 1947 as
Georgy says. He was accepted and acclaimed as a saint while he was
living. His saintliness was very well accepted even when he was a
Remban. Patriarch Peter1V elevated him to the episcopate mainly
because of his affection to him also due to hisconvinction about his
saintliness. The Malankara Church then at large accepted him as a
saint. If I remember correctly reading the ' Idavaka Pathrika' (the
Copy of it is back at home in India) the offertory on his 40th day
was around Rs.3000/- at that time. It may be around 3 Millions
today. Such was the affection and veneration this saint had among
the people. It was really the people at large declared him as a
saint. (Incidently this is the tradition of the Church. No Synod is
authorized to declare anyone a saint. The Synod is accepting the
accepted saintliness of a person as expressed by the veneration of
the people). Even without the decision and declaration of the
factional synod of the Malankara Church in 1946 Parumala Thirumeni
was accepted a saint by all. So there is nothing 'radical' in this
decision and declaration. We all know from the recent incidents
that these types of declarations or synodal decisions cannot make
any ' freedom fighters' a saint in the MINDS of the people.
4.The funniest myth Georgy formulated is this one. I repeat his
"`Can there be a saint in Malankara from among us lowly Indians?'
was the question, and it went unanswered."
I wonder who raised this baseless question? What was the context?
I am sure Georgie framed this question only to base his argument.
Surely, we have many saints among the clergy as well as the laity.
But the saintliness of bishops attracts more attention and it was
also for our benefit that he was consecrated a Metropolitan by
which we are all benefited by his intercession and saintliness. When
we conceive the fact that there are many saints in the Indian Church
other than Parumala Thirumeni, known and unknown, we will not argue
for this type of indignation or boast on the 'declaration' of this
saint or any other. Now we are facing another curse of politicizing
the declaration of saints. Saint Mor Athanasius Poulose of Aluva is
being pulled into the IOC synodal agenda to be declaration as a
saint. Is it from veneration ? Is there any ' conceptual clarity'
5.Georgy's fifth argument will become a bubble in the light of the
aforesaid reasons. The disciples of Vattaseril Thirumeni had nothing
to do with the 'mold' (by declaring him a saint). What they did by
the formal declaration was the introduction of an unorthodox
practice of 'declaring saints'. Till that time we had the tradition
of saints being accepted and venerated by the people on the basis of
the favors they received. So by the declaration of 1947 the IOC
actually broke this tradition and the resulted aftermath was the
giving priority of partisan spirit against real saintliness. So, to
me, it was the starting of a very unorthodox practice in both sides.
The 'politics' of the declaration is very well exhibited in the
inclusion of Mor Basalius Yeldo along with that of Mor Gregoriose in
1947. We all know that Mor Yeldo Bava was a 'foreign' saint and his
tomb was in a very strong Patriarchal parish. But the actual reason
for including him by the IOC synod is well known. The
Kothamangalam Cheriya Pally leaders of that time wanted and
requested for such a move and it was also forwarded to Patriarch Mor
Afrem 1. But he declined on the grounds I detailed earlier. There
was some disappointment among the concerned parties. A few priests
from Kothamangalam area at that time also had a leaning towards the
IOC. This 'ripe' time was utilized by the IOC synod of Parumala in
1947 to 'declare' Mor Basalius Yeldo as a 'saint' to win over the
disappointment of the parish. But this made no effect in the
Kothamangalam parish and they all valiantly stood for SOC even now.
6. Georgy says in his next statement that it 'took 40 more years'
to 'gain confidence' to 'request' 'Damascus' to include the name of
Parumala Thirumeni in the 'thubden'. Please note the implication of
the selected words in this remark. He has very intellectually framed
this phrase to belittle the SOC as mere vassals who stoop before
their overlord masters abroad even to make a humble submission! We
have to consider two points here. The factual and serious one I will
take first. It was not the act in 1987 that made Parumala thirumeni
a saint among the SOCs. He was being accepted in the SOC a saint
while he was alive. This was an action subliming his name along with
the celebrated Fathers of the Church. This act is an endorsement of
the acceptance and veneration of this saint along with Mor Elias 111
and Mor Yedho. It took no time for SOC to accept Parumala
Thirumeni's saintliness. The second one is the belittling words that
Georgy used here. We had the 'confidence' of interceding
with him and consecrating chapels and shrines in his name much
before your synodal declaration. Dear Georgy, I have noted your play
of the expression 'request Damascus', but I am not responding to it
but leave to your wisdom to ponder over it again.
7. Georgy is also trying to highlight the FACT that the name of
Mor Gregoriose is remembered only in the Indian wing of the SOC. It
is a reality. Georgie mentions this to discredit the MSOC. But he
has to see the details of the fact. First and foremost 1987 addition
of names was not only of Parumala Thirumeni it also included Moran
Elias 111, Mor Yeldo Bava and above all St.Thomas. All these are
remembered in the Indian wing not because they were ' Indian' but
this was for the parishes in the Maphrianate. Like this there are
additions in the Parishes in the Patriarchate made in the recent
past not observed in the Maphrianate. There the name of Patriarch
Baba Shenuda 111 of the Coptic Church is remembered in the first
Thubden. If the Patriarchal Synod directs their parishes to remember
these names there will be pressure from many sides/aspects to
include so many names under different categories because names worth
remembering are numerous there to all standards. Bar Ebroyo, Michael
Rabo or even other apostles are not in the thubden. It is
reasonable for us here in India to add these names. But it is not so
easy there. Here also other saintly fathers like Mor Gregoriose
Abdul Jaleel of Paravoor, Sleeba Mor Osthathiose of Kunnamkulam, Mor
Athanasius Valiya Thirumeni of Aluva are not added to the Thubden.
Please try to see matters of regional changes in its environs not
simply through prejudices and narrow perspectives.
8. I don't know for certain how many of the readers are moved to an
exotic sublimation when they read the rhetoric rendering of Georgy
and the cultic creation of jubilation in the following words. I
" Flush with the nationalist spirit, we arrived
at a universal truth that saints could come from anywhere."
Is this the boasting of the creation of a saint? Is this the
jubilation of a nationalist? Is it affirmation of a universal truth
on saintliness? Our great saint and spiritual Father Parumala
Thirumeni lived as a saint in his commitment to our master and the
Lord Jesus Christ. We venerate him only when we model him in our
lives and when we uphold his spiritual values and in following the
faith and practices he transmitted to us. Declaring him as a saint
or including his name in thubden are only to help us in the above
perspective. Anything other than this is mere vain glory.
9. It's we who first showed the courage to PROCLAIM HIS SAINTHOOD.
I have stated above that Saint Mor Gregoriose was considered a
saint by our people even when he was alive. Georgy also refer to
this fact elsewhere. Now the claim is about the proclamation to
which I have made enough comments.
P.S. Now when I write these words of conclusion about the Salmoosa
of our patron saint, I am sorry for being a part in this
controversial argument. I seek pardon openly if I made any untoward
comment ignorantly on anyone or any of the issues. What I tried here
is to clear some aspects of the issue based on my innocent
conviction. I know some consider it as from a blind partisan spirit
and some others as rubbish and irrelevant!
I fear one another Forum dropped my postings half way mentioning
no reason. ICON is holding the last two of my series. I am thankful
to SOCM and MOSC forum. They are still bearing my lengthy
outpourings. I am reading all the comments coming on this thread but
is intentionally keeping away from further rebuttals to keep myself
thinking more about it.
I will try to conclude this series at the earliest.
Thanking you all for your readings and reflections. Please forward
all your comments to the respective Forum, not to me personally.
Kuriakose Corepiscopa Moolayil
1995 Parkside Dr. #2N
Park Ridge, IL 60068-1060
Tel. 847 635 4795
Cell.224 522 2656
Director, Mor Adai Study Centre