Syrian Orthodox Church in India
KOCHI: The annual Episcopal Synod of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church will be held at the Patriarch Centre, Puthencruz, from May 23 to 25. The three-day synod assumes significance at a time when the relationship between the Church and the UDF Government is at its lowest ebb.
Dispute with the Malankara Orthodox Church over ownership of the churches and church properties and identifying a successor to Catholicos Baselios Thomas I will be the highlights of the agenda. All 32 metropolitans of the Church in India and abroad will attend the synod which will be chaired by the Catholicos.
The Church’s relationship with the UDF government has worsened after the Piravom byelection. It has already raised allegations that the UDF has not kept the promises which it made during the Assembly elections and Piravom bypoll.
The Catholicos had recently summoned UDF MLAs, including Minister Anoop Jacob and UDF convenor P P Thankachan, who are Jacobites, and expressed the displeasure of the Church. “The Jacobite Syrian Christian Church is always of the stand that there should be a permanent solution to the dispute with the Orthodox Church,” said Jacobite Church spokesperson Fr Varghese Kallappara.
He pointed out that no church was closed down when the LDF was in power. “The Church has not favoured any front in particular, but it is to be noted that churches are closed down only when the UDF is in power,” he said.
Another important agenda of the synod is finding a successor to Baselios Thomas I, the present head of Jacobites. Metropolitan Joseph Mar Gregorios, who is also serving as synod secretary, metropolitans Abraham Mar Saverios and Thomas Mar Thimothios are the front-runners to the post. “The name of the new Catholicos will be suggested at the synod which has to be endorsed by the general assembly of the Church. The decision has to be endorsed by Patriarch Ignatius Zakka 1 Iwas,” said Fr Kallappara.