‘Believers not evicted from church’

Only people who camped illegally were removed by the police: Orthodox Bishop

Reports that believers were being evicted or expelled from St. Mary’s Church, Piravom, are false, said Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Kandanad East Diocese, here on Saturday.

The police had evicted a group of people who had illegally camped inside the Piravom church.

The police personnel evicted these people as part of their duty to implement a Supreme Court verdict. Reports that the District Collector took over the church and expelled believers are totally false, said Bishop of Kandanad East diocese Thomas Mar Athanasios. Despite the Supreme Court ruling that the church should be governed by the 1934 constitution of the Malankara church, Jacobites continued to occupy the church and prevented the priests and vicars authorised by the Supreme Court to enter the church. The Jacobites, thus, publicly challenged the Supreme Court ruling and continued to insist on parallel administration of the church, he said.

Police protection

It was under these circumstances that the trustees and the Vicar of the Piravom church sought police protection through the intervention of the High Court.

The police were forced to remove the Bishops and priests who had illegally occupied the Piravom church and the people who had acted as a protective cover for them.

The verdict

The police acted only to evict the group that had illegally, against the court verdict, occupied the church, said the Bishop. It is not removing or expelling any believer from the church, he added.

According to the Supreme Court verdict, anyone who put his trust in the constitution of 1934 can participate in the church rituals, continue to be members of the respective churches and fulfil their ritual requirements, the Bishop added.