OCP News Service- 4/4/16
Indian Orthodox Church Sents Letter to Pope, Major Archbishop, & Roman Catholic Prelates:
Kerala-India: As per the MCYM (Malankara Catholic Youth Movement) Fb group, twenty-five families from Indian Orthodox Malankara Church (Catholicate of the East), Syriac Orthodox Church in India (Patriarchate of Antioch & All East) the Independent Thozhiyoor Church (former Oriental Orthodox Church) ‘reunited’ with the Malankara Catholic Rite in India (One of the Eastern Catholic Rites under the Roman Pope which split from the Indian Orthodox Malankara Church in the 1930’s under Archbishop Ivanios). The so-called ‘reunion’ event took place on 26th March 2016, St. George Malankara Catholic Church in Kunnamkulam area (Kerala). The event was presided by Most. Rev Abraham Mar Yulios (Malankara Catholic Bishop of Movathupuzha).
The news is a shocker to the two ancient Orthodox Churches in India who are still in administrative schism.
The concept of ‘Uniatism or Eastern Catholicism’ is rejected by Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. It is a false way of union between Orthodox Churches and the Roman Catholic Church.
After the Second Vatican Council, the Roman Catholic Church recognized that the unity with the Orthodox world should come through dialogue and not through conversion of people, communities from Orthodox to the Eastern Catholicism. This was clearly stated in the recent joint declaration between Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Pope Francis of in Cuba.
The Joint Declaration says that “It is today clear that the past method of ‘Uniatism,’ understood as the union of one community to the other, separating it from its Church, is not the way to re-establish unity.” But equally important to the Vatican and to Greek Catholics is the acknowledgment by the patriarch of the right of these churches “to exist and to undertake all that is necessary to meet the spiritual needs of their faithful.” (www.ncronline.org).
Hence, the so-called ‘reunion’ of 25, Indian Orthodox and Syriac Orthodox families to the Malankara Catholic Uniate Rite is a total breach of the existing practice in the Roman Catholic church and a disrespect to the ecumenical relations between the Vatican and the Oriental Orthodox world.
If anyone wants to join the Roman Catholic Church, he or she is free to do the same, but using Uniatism as a tool to absorb Orthodox faithful to Roman Catholicism is an absolute violation of the existing understanding and practices.
Apart from these of incidents, the Malankara Catholic Rite continue to provoke the Indian Orthodox Church in many ways. Their Primate Major Archbishop Baselios Cleemis claims himself the Catholicos, Malankara Metropolitan & successor to the Throne of St. Thomas, a title which is exclusive to the Primate of the Indian Orthodox Malankara Church.
Reunion through Uniatism (Sheep stealing) and ecumenism cannot go hand in hand. Apart from the Catholic annual Roman Catholic-Oriental Orthodox ecumenical consolations, the Roman church organizes separate dialogues with Indian and Syriac Orthodox Churches in India. The same Roman church uses UNIATES /Eastern Catholicism as a tool to steal Orthodox faithful in India. The Syriac and Indian Orthodox Churches should move out of the ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church and should give prime importance in resolving all existing issues between them.
Ecumenism is good and Christian unity is very important, but it should be practiced with mutual respect and considering all existing agreements.
OCP News Service