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Kerala: Jacobite faction of Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church demand an ordinance to protect churches they lost due to Supreme Court verdict

The SC had ruled that 1100 parishes and their churches, which were controlled by the Jacobite faction, should be controlled by the Orthodox faction

The Jacobite faction of Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church in Kerala has intensified their protest outside the Secretariat as part of their indefinite strike demanding an ordinance to protect their church.

According to the reports, an indefinite stir was launched by the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church demanding the Kerala government to bring a law to guarantee justice for the Jacobite faction of the Malankara Church.

The Jacobite Syrian Christian Church has lost possession of churches to the Orthodox churches by a Supreme Court order and is now fighting to protect their churches in the state.

During the ongoing protests, some of the members of the Jacobite faction of the Malankara Church had also tried to enter several churches across the state, which were handed over to the Orthodox faction. Though the priests and laity members went to churches during the mass, they were stopped by the police at the gates. As part of strengthening their protests, the Jacobites were trying to re-enter the churches for the fourth consecutive Sunday. 

The Jacobites were also blocked by the Kerala police at churches including Piravom Valiyapally (St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Cathedral), Pazhamthottam St Mary’s Church, Vadavukode St Mary’s Church, Puthencruz St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church, Kanniattunirappu St John’s Church, Thrissur Chalissery St Peter and St Paul’s Church and Thrissur Mannamangalam St Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Church.

Century-old dispute between Jacobite and Orthodox factions

In a landmark judgement delivered on July 3, 2017, the Supreme Court had ruled on a centuries-old dispute between Jacobite and Orthodox factions of Kerala’s Malankara Church. The SC had ruled that 1100 parishes and their churches under the Malankara Church, which were until then controlled by the Jacobite faction, should be controlled by the Orthodox faction, as per the 1934 Malankara Church guidelines.

The Kerala High court gave a directive when the case relating to the Piravom church came up for hearing. The court also sought an explanation from the State government as well as counsel for the Jacobite faction as to under what authority was the Jacobite faction supporters preventing the Orthodox faction from entering the church.

The dispute between the two Christian factions are not new, in fact, it is about a century old. Last year, the situation at the Piravom Valiyapalli remained tensed after one member of the Jacobite faction threatened to jump off the Church building, while others poured kerosene over their heads and threatened to set themselves alight, as police then too tried to implement the SC verdict.

The Piravom Valiyapalli is just one of the many churches, which has been a part of the heightened dispute over the church administration ever since the SC ruling.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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