Malankara World

Faith of the Church

My dream of Peace and Unity in Malankara Church

by Rajan Thomas, Philadelphia

It is a pathetic situation in Malankara Orthodox Church that, instead of preaching gospel and becoming Ambassadors of Christian love and peace, our church leaders are more interested in court cases and spreading hatred among others. Recent incidents at Kolencherry and several other past incidents indicate that God has deserted our church. If Jesus is the true head of this church, this kind of incidents will not happen. If we can not live according to true Christian principles, what is the use in simply boasting that our church is very ancient and founded by the true faith preached to us directly by St. Thomas. Our Malankara church leaders (includes, Orthodox , Jacobites, Malankara Rite and other groups) are very reluctant to practice what they preach in church. Practice what you preach, otherwise do not preach. Values and principles are disappearing from Church and societies alike. Majority of our church leaders aspire for glory and high status in the society and least interested to witness Jesus through their actions.

It was really a shocking situation to see that Heads of Orthodox and Jacobite factions of Malankara church went into streets and were fighting for a property. Several priests and young bishops joined in the feud; and they were acting and talking in the style and language of local politicians. They made themselves a laugh and mockery among non-Christians and members of other denominations.

Fasting and praying are good for the church. It is my ambition that instead of using fasting and praying as a way to show the protest, bishops of both factions and all the members should fast and pray together for our Malankara church. If a true referendum were taken from church members belonging to both factions, more than 80% of members would support for peace and unity in the church. A minority of politically motivated and highly influential people who have their prominent position in the Malankara Association create problem in the church. This category of people is also there among the priests and bishops. They have vested interest, and play politics in the church. Instead of love, they inject venom into the veins of church members. We need to identify and understand the true nature of these politicians. Satan works through them to have fights and disintegration in the church. They do not believe in peace and unity and want to have more court cases and street fights.

I do not believe that the present dispute between Orthodox and Jacobite factions can be solved through court verdicts. First of all, it is not a Christian way to solve a problem . Settling an issue through court judgment is a political and social set up meant for good governance in a politically organized society. It is not the right choice for true Christians. First we should seek the true guidance from God through our prayers and fasting. Secondly, we must be truly willing to see peace and unity in the Church. If we are willing to negotiate and ready to give forgiveness to our own quarreling brother, it is possible to see a unity again in our church. All peace loving people should come forward for peace and unity in our Malankara Church. We cannot ignore our Jacobite brothers and Antiochian Fathers, whatever the reasons and arguments that we have against them. We have one faith and one tradition and one liturgy. We should not ignore the fact that our present church was developed through the great spiritual contributions and help rendered to us by Syrian Church fathers. Whenever our faith was questioned, they helped us to grow in true orthodox faith and traditions. We have our liturgy, prayers, traditions and everything, fully inherited from Syrian fathers. Therefore, we have to acknowledge them and must be willing to co-operate with them. At the same time, they should not interfere with temporal matters of the Malankara Church. In order to settle the issues, we should seek the mediation of Syrian Patriarch, who is still our spiritual father and head. If we cannot acknowledge the Syrian Patriarch, then, there is no meaning in remembering his name in the first thubden. If all the concerned parties sit together around a table and discuss, negotiate and settle the issues, unity can happen again in our church. As a friendly gesture, we should invite Syrian Patriarch to Malankara for a visit.

If our church leaders real intention is to play politics in the church and misguide the flock, then, it is more appropriate to change name as Orthodox party and Jacobite Party, just like the name of cadre parties; and do not claim as a Christian Church. Some of icon members who are really interested of church to get into political elections, can contest in assembly elections and can win. These groups can also think about organizing an armed group like RSS to physically fight with opposite groups. Some people preach and write about orthodoxy and hardcore theology, but in actions they are like wolves. Church is the holy body of Christ. Dishonest and crooked people have no place in it.

At last, Our Chief minister Shri. Oommen Chandi is a good-hearted person and has been doing a very commendable job. He is busy to provide good governance to the people of Kerala . Do not drag him into dirty church based politics. Leave him alone.

May God rescue our Malankara Church

Source: ICON, October 2, 2011

Related:

The politicizing of protest
Protest has always been associated with those in the margins, those who have no one to speak for them and those who have no one who cares. So much that the word itself has been an anathema for those in power. The simple usage of the word brings about a feeling of enmity and dissociation with what is constructed to be true and right.

Frictions in Orthodox believers in India
The Orthodox Christians (both factions included) in India continue in the situation to which it has been degraded, reduced and ridiculed, with their irrelevant religious sideshows of factional quarrels and in drastic need to be reformed.

Issues in Kolencherry Church September 2011
Jacobite view (in Malayalam)

Church and Politics
I came to the Orthodox Church with great joy, but now I do believe that I rejoiced at something which I projected on to the Orthodox Church of Kerala and its clergy. It is not their fault, it is mine.

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