Make peace in Church: Patriarch



High priest says schism in Malankara Church pains him

: Members on both sides of the dispute in the Malankara Church need to make sacrifices and concessions to end a situation that does not help the cause of the Christian message of peace and reconciliation, said Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church Ignatius Aphrem II here on Saturday.

The Patriarch, in a brief interview with The Hindu , said the situation within the Malankara Church was not ideal. Any God-fearing person would like to end the quarrels between the groups though some people appear to be against peace for their own reasons.

Peace between the groups has to be achieved based on dignity and respect for both the sides.

The division has lasted more than a century and it is time that it ended, paving the way for peaceful coexistence between the two groups even if union as one Church may not be possible.

The Patriarch said what hurt him a lot was the quarrels between the two groups over burials and access to cemeteries during periods of personal loss and mourning. These disputes deepen the division and antagonism, the Patriarch added.

He said there were some positive signals and private messages that had reached him forwarding the cause of peace between the two groups of the Malankara Church.

The Syrian Orthodox Church has worked with other churches and non-Christians. Here it is a question of blood relations quarrelling while they are united by the source of their faith and liturgy.

Some bold steps are needed to bring about a settlement, he said.

He said the 1938 Constitution of the Orthodox Church accepted the Patriarch of Antioch as the head of the Church. However, they are free to either drop this or accept it.

Addressing a press conference earlier, the Patriarch said he was optimistic that peace would be established though court cases would not end the disputes.

He was of the opinion that the majority of people within the Malankara Church wanted peace.

He also said that a solution on peace within the Church had to be worked out at the ground level here and that nothing would be imposed by the Patriarchate.