Baselios Thomas I officially accepted as Catholicos
Thousands of laymen and hundreds of priests who thronged Mar Thoman Jacobite Church here this afternoon, attended a unique ceremony, ``sunthroniso'' � that of the Jacobite Syrian Church officially accepting Mar Baselios Thomas I as the Catholicos of the East.
Metropolitans of the Church lifted Catholicos Baselios Thomas I thrice who was seated on a special chair while chanting ``Oxyios'', thus declaring him perfectly fit, deserving and worthy of the office of Catholicos.
Patriarch Ignatius Zaka Iwas I consecrated and appointed Baselios Thomas I as the Catholicos of the east in a ceremony held at Damascus on July 26.
Catholicos Baselios Thomas I was back home on July 27. Special prayers and devotional ceremonies marked the beginning of ``sunthroniso'' in front of the tomb of Eldo Mar Baselios Bava at Marthoman Jacobite Church here on Wednesday.
Patriarchal secretary Metropolitan Kuriakose Mar Julios read the ``Susthathicon'', the Patriarchal Bull, mentioning the consecration and the rights of the Catholicos.The ceremony concluded when Metropolitans Kuriakose Mar Julios, Benyamin Joseph Mar Osthathios, Yuhanon Mar Philexinos, Geevarghese Mar Policarpus, Mathews Mar Ivanios, Markos Mar Coorilos and Synod secretary Joseph Mar Gregorios lifted Catholicos Thomas I in his chair, chanting ``Oxyios'' thrice.
Marthoman church vicar Fr Eldo Kakkanattu, Fr Saji Varghese, trusteess P.I. Elias, P.V.Ittan, Sabha working committee member Prof M.A Poulose, Kattuchira Poulose Cor Episcopa, Olappura George Cor Episcopa made elaborate arrangements for the sunthroniso ceremony.
`I am called to protect the Church, undergo suffering and serve the people; not to rule anybody'', said Catholicos Baselios Thomas I. We neither want to hurt others nor capture any churches. The Christian mission will be completed by serving others.
``But at the same time I am ready to sacrifice my life for the protection of the true faith, I will stand for a litigation-free church``, he said.The Orthodox Church is interested only in worldly assets and wealth, not in Christian values, the Catholicos said.
Reunification of factions remote, says new Catholicos
The newly-consecrated Catholicos of the Syrian Jacobite Church Baselios Thomas I has said that the reunion of the Church with the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church was very remote.
Addressing a meet the press programme here on Wednesday the Catholicos said he was ready to renounce his post and recognise the Orthodox faction head, if the Orthodox faction was ready to accept the Patriarch of Antioch as its supreme spiritual head.
Replying to queries, the Catholicos said the Jacobite faction would not opt for violence to protect its faith and its churches which were under the custody of the rival faction.
The present crisis faced by the Church would be overcome through prayers, a tolerant attitude and peaceful means, he said. ``For a Christian, persecution is an unending experience. A true Christian will face it through patience and consistent prayers'', Mar Baselios I added. Asked about the Orthodox faction's charge that the Patriarch faction was unwilling to abide by the Supreme Court verdict, the Catholicos quipped cryptically:
``All churches are owned by the Church'', was the observation made by the the Supreme Court. Of the total 1662 churches, we have the control over 700 churches. Another 198 churches which are owned by us are under the custody of the Orthodox faction. They should hand over these churches to the real faithfuls,'' the Catholicos said.
The Catholicos said the Orthodox faction could not return to the Church as it was determined to rewrite the church history and its traditions.
It was they who opted for litigation to settle disputes and they were now misinterpreting court verdicts to their advantage, he alleged.
According to Mar Thomas I, the Orthodox faction left the church on its own and filed affidavits before the Supreme Court stating that the Jacobite Church was not a single entity. Though the Supreme Court had stated that the Jacobite Church was a single one, the rival faction was unwilling to accept it.
``I am a defendant in 353 cases filed by the Orthodox faction. So far I have not filed a single complaint against anyone'', he said.
Jacobite church does not want to continue with litigations'
The newly consecrated Catholicos of the Jacobite Syrian Church, Basselious Thomas I, on Wednesday said the church does not want to continue with its litigations with the Malankara Orthodox Church.
"The church wants to serve the people and not continue with the litigations, which are 'anti-christian', the Catholicos told a meet-the-press programme organised by the Ernakulam press club in Kochi.
On whether there was any possiblity of a rapproachment between the the two factions, he said it was unlikely.
He said instead of entering into unending litigations, it was time that both the factions _ the Malankara Orthodox Church and the Jacobite Syrian Church hold talks to settle their long-standing dispute over the ownership of various churches, properties and matters relating to the acceptance of the holy Patriarch of Antioch as their supreme patron. He also urged the political parties and the state government to take initiative to settle their dispute.
Replying to a query on the appointment of new metropolitans, he said the final decision has to be taken by the Patriarch of Antioch.
The orthodox faction had filed 353 cases in various courts in the last 27 years to establish that their Catholicos Baselius Marthoma ii was the supreme head of the church and independent of the holy See of Antioch.
The faction was also allegedly 'misinterpreting' the apex court verdict to its advantage, the Catholicos said.
Asked if the faction had been expelled from the church, he said they had gone out on their own.
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