Panel to open talks to solve dispute




Patriarch says he is pained by animosity between the factions

Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church Ignatius Aphrem II on Sunday reiterated his call to establish peace among the congregations of the Malankara Church through mutual respect and open dialogue.

Delivering the benedictory address at a civic reception accorded to him at the Nehru Stadium here, Mor Ignatius Aphrem II said he was saddened by the animosity between the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

“The offerings of the faithful were being wasted on court cases. It was painful to note that the members of the same family were unable to join in celebrations and sorrow. We earnestly desire to see leaders of both groups working together to establish peace through mutual respect and peaceful co-existence,” he said.

The Patriarch added that the Episcopal Synod of the Church has unanimously decided to form a committee to open dialogue with the Orthodox Church. “The committee is ready to start its mission. We will do our best to make peace a reality in our Church in Malankara,” he said. Inaugurating the function, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy called the Patriarch a “spiritual inspiration”, rather than merely a guest of the State. According to him, the retreat centre at Malekurishu, the construction of which was being led by the Patriarch, was the greatest gift he could provide to the State. He added that the ecclesiastic visit would provide renewed vigour to the faithful.

In his presidential address, Catholicos Baselios Thomas I of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, held the view that the efforts made by the congregation in restoring peace were never reciprocated. He said the Church has made several attempts at resolving the existing disputes through mediation as directed by the Supreme Court.