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`Orthodox faction a breakaway group'

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, SEPT. 27. A meeting of the Church Association of the Jacobite Syrian Church held at the Marthoman church, Mulanthuruthy, on Monday declared that the Orthodox group of the Malankara Church was a breakaway faction without any claim to Apostolic succession or tradition.

The declaration formalises a split in the Malankara Church that has seen faction feuds for over a century on questions of supremacy and inheritance of the apostolic traditions.

The meeting took place at Mulanthuruthy, near here, which also hosted the first Malankara Association in 1876. It was attended by 3,582 representatives from the Jacobite Church. The Patriarch of Antioch and all the East and head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, presided.

The 18 resolutions adopted by the Association were read out by Joseph Mar Gregorios.

Hand of friendship

While formally bidding goodbye to the Orthodox faction, the Association also extended a hand of friendship in Resolution 16. It said that the See of Antioch was ready to recognise the Orthodox faction as a sister Church if the latter relinquished its claims to churches now under the Patriarchal faction and, in the spirit of Christian charity, gave up pursuing court cases to create an atmosphere of friendship.

Resolution 10 claimed that the Supreme Court had rejected the Orthodox faction's claim that it was autocephalous - a Church on its own. However, the faction continued to stick to its claim to being an independent Church and hence, it is declared that the Orthodox group is a breakaway faction.

Resolution 11 appealed to the State Government for help in creating an atmosphere in which priests loyal to the See of Antioch could be appointed in churches which were currently under priests owing allegiance to metropolitans of the Orthodox faction.

Resolution 13 reiterated that the group led by Baselius Mar Thoma Mathews II, which had questioned the visit of the Patriarch of Antioch and continued to reject the supremacy of the Patriarch was just a faction that had broken away from the mother Church.

The synod also reiterated that neither the Catholicos nor the metropolitans had any right over the property of the parish churches. The right over them rested with the public committees formed as per the laws governing the parishes.

Resolution 14 said that churches that were now closed owing to the faction feud should be opened for worship to both the groups. In case of a dispute over this or church property, mediation of the Government should be sought to hand over the administration to the group enjoying the majority support in the church.

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