English translation of the press note issued by the Holy Episcopal Synod
English translation of the press note that was issued by the Holy Synod of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church on conclusion of its February session, 2018.
The Church that was established in Malankara by St. Thomas faced several challenges and divisions in its history. But the most painful one was the division that happened within the church that share same liturgical, cultural and theological traditions. Both groups went to the legal system of the country to get their arguments pronounced just and right. Several decades passed and several stages crossed to find a final verdict to the question from the Hon. Supreme court of India with a three judge bench pronouncing it on July 20th 1995. It categorically stated that the Church has been one till 1971 and has to get back together to be one. It also stated that 1934 constitution shall govern the affairs of this united Church in all respects. Further questions were raised on the verdict and finally Malankara Association was held under the direction of the court with Hon. Justice (retired) Malimat as the observer on March 20th 2002 at Parumala. Though a good number of the erstwhile patriarch group participated in the Association, a section of the group organized themselves against the direction of the court and convened a parallel meeting at Puthencruz and declared themselves as the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church. They further claimed custody of many of the churches that were under the purview of the court order. Litigation continued and violence and divisions disrupted public life at several parts of the state. This split away group went to court to establish what they called their inherent right. But the Hon. Supreme court of India, on July 3rd, the day of the fest of St. Thomas who founded the Church in India, gave its two bench order reiterating the 1995 court order as applicable to all Churches in Malankara, though their petition was only about a few Churches. The court also said that the new church that was formed in 2002 is illegal and will have no right in any of the Churches in Malankara as the formation of the same was in direct violation of the court order. They categorically declared that no parallel system of governance can be allowed in any of those Churches. The Holy Synod consider this verdict that came on this particular day was because of the intercession of the patron saint of Malankara Church.
The Holy Synod reiterates the statement made by His Holiness Baselius Marthoma Paulose II, who was elected and consecrated according to the stipulations of 1934 constitution, at this point. His Holiness said: “It is the call of the time that the Church needs to be united according to the direction of the present verdict of the court. The children of the church is of one family that carries the same legacy and tradition. Our hope is that we all accept the spirit of this court order and become the children of this one and holy Church. We therefore should work to establish everlasting peace in the Church on the basis of the 1934 constitution that was declared valid by the court again and again. We exhort you to pray with trust in God and with patience for the establishment and sustenance of divine peace in the Church. Litigation and infight will only be bad witness and will prevent progress in the Church. We believe that at this juncture we need to create a contusive atmosphere and make concrete plans for the spiritual and material progress of our Church and that of its members. Let us remember the words of our Lord who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” and toil together with trust in God to see that peace prevails in our community. We again, exhort you to live under the guidance of the Spirit of God and keep the faith of the Church earnestly”
Malankara Church is waiting with prayers; waiting for that moment when we all shall become part of one worshipping community leaving aside infight and hatred among us. We assure that there shall be no step from the side the Church that will cause hindrance to this goal. But we also assert that establishment of justice shall not be delayed any further. We are committed to work tirelessly for the establishment of peace and unity in the Church. The Holy Synod is seeking with prayers in the name of God participation and co-operation of every one to achieve this goal.
While we say this, two things have to be made clear. First, dialogue and decision on any of the matters in the Church shall be on the basis of the 1934 constitution and the order of the Hon. Supreme court that was given on July 3rd, 2018. Further, we wish to assure that the members of the Church who shall abide by these two will face no difficulty of hardship in their parishes.
(Drafted by Metropolitan Yuhanon Mor Meletius and accepted by the Holy Synod of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church that met in February 2018)