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Author Topic: Indian Orthodox Church ordains expelled Syriac Orthodox Monk as Bishop  (Read 10640 times) Average Rating: 0
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dhinuus
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« on: December 08, 2007, 07:45:55 PM »

Two Indian Orthodox Bishops Mar Athanasious of Kandanad Diocese and Mar Milithios of Trichur Diocese ordained Moosa Gurgan an expelled Syriac Orthodox Monk from Germany as Bishop with the title Mar Severious. (The Catholicose and the rest of the Bishops of the IOC didn't attend this ordination). The new Bishop is being installed for a new autocephelous church named the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Europe. If this new archdiocese will be completely independent or will be under the Catholicose of the Indian Orthodox Church is not known and is not clarified.

The Monk Moosa Gurgan was expelled by the Late Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Mor Yulius Cicek for indiscipline. He then joined a Roman Catholic Monastery. The Indian Orthodox Church has received strong recommendations from the Roman Catholic Church and even promise of a Monastery in Europe for this ordination:

http://www.malankaraorthodox.tv/documents/Abot%20Martin.jpg

It remains to be seen if this ordination will split the Syriac Orthodox community in Europe and if a sizable number of them will leave the Patriarchate of Antioch to join this new Bishop. It also remains to be seen if the Indian Orthodox Church will offer similar favors to disaffected / expelled Monks with in the Coptic Church and the Armenian Church or if it is reserved just for the Syriac Church.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2007, 07:47:11 PM by dhinuus » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2007, 03:08:07 PM »

Two Indian Orthodox Bishops Mar Athanasious of Kandanad Diocese and Mar Milithios of Trichur Diocese ordained Moosa Gurgan an expelled Syriac Orthodox Monk from Germany as Bishop with the title Mar Severious. (The Catholicose and the rest of the Bishops of the IOC didn't attend this ordination). The new Bishop is being installed for a new autocephelous church named the Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of Europe. If this new archdiocese will be completely independent or will be under the Catholicose of the Indian Orthodox Church is not known and is not clarified.

The Monk Moosa Gurgan was expelled by the Late Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Mor Yulius Cicek for indiscipline. He then joined a Roman Catholic Monastery. The Indian Orthodox Church has received strong recommendations from the Roman Catholic Church and even promise of a Monastery in Europe for this ordination:

http://www.malankaraorthodox.tv/documents/Abot%20Martin.jpg

It remains to be seen if this ordination will split the Syriac Orthodox community in Europe and if a sizable number of them will leave the Patriarchate of Antioch to join this new Bishop. It also remains to be seen if the Indian Orthodox Church will offer similar favors to disaffected / expelled Monks with in the Coptic Church and the Armenian Church or if it is reserved just for the Syriac Church.


We have to pray over this absolute horror.

Thanks for the information.
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2007, 03:12:38 PM »

Wow.  Is there any more background information on this guy or why they're looking for a new Archdiocese in Europe?
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2007, 03:43:59 PM »

The Indian Orthodox Church has received strong recommendations from the Roman Catholic Church and even promise of a Monastery in Europe for this ordination:

http://www.malankaraorthodox.tv/documents/Abot%20Martin.jpg



This "strong recommendation from the Roman Catholic Church" is actually just a letter from the abbot of the monastery where these monks were guests saying that this particular monastery will continue to support these monks.  There is nothing about promising them a monastery but offering them a place as guests of the abbey if the need should arise.

Regardless, as Deacon Amde has said, we need to pray over this.  This kind of church skipping can only pave a dark road. 
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2007, 10:27:22 PM »

I'm expecting an Indian Orthodox to read this and say how much of a "one-sided" story this was, sparking yet another Indian/Syrian debate.  At least, this is the experience I've seen when a Syrian Indian presents an article to deface the Indian Orthodox, and vice versa.  I just have a deep feeling that this is the intent of this article, not to inform, but to show how the "other side" is not Orthodox.

As a Copt who has friends on both factions, more than anything, I just hope the Indian/Syrian situation can be resolved in our lifetime.  Let us pray for that.

God bless.
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2007, 11:18:58 PM »

What has the RCC to do with the affairs of the Orthodox Church? This must be some kind of a joke.
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« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2007, 07:17:33 PM »

I'm expecting an Indian Orthodox to read this and say how much of a "one-sided" story this was, sparking yet another Indian/Syrian debate. 
Well...I didn't wanna say anything, but it is pretty one-sided.
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2007, 11:10:39 PM »

- A section of Syrian Church in Europe contacted the Indian Church.
They wanted to remain in the Orthodox faith, but did not want to accept the present hierarchy of SOC. The problems faced by SOC in Europe and America can be learned elsewhere. Indian church was the closest in tradition for them, thus they approached the Church.

- Synod formed a committee to work on it and decided a candidate based on their request.

- SOC threatened the candidate. The ordination did not happen. The candidate had to return.

- A Syrian monk was later ordained in a secret manner by members of the committee through a majorty decision. The decision was formally approved by the H. Synod, in a special session of the Synod that met urgently.

Detailed News:
http://www.hindu.com/2007/12/07/stories/2007120756490300.htm

Official news:
http://www.malankaraorthodoxchurch.in/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=60&Itemid=185

Early news on this came from non-Orthodox Church sources and hence not consistent with the official news.

It must be considered that a section of Syrians have serious issues with the present hierarchy of SOC and the reasons are not faith related. They want to continue in the same faith. Regarding the second candidate who was ordained, he was given asylum by a Roman Catholic monastery. He did not convert to that faith. RC church allowed him to continue Orthodox faith and traditions using their facilities.

- Goal of the Indian Church is not to gain control over SOC or to capture SOC properties. It is only a way of helping a Church in need when they request help and the reasons are genuine.

- In LA also, a congregation of Syrians exist in unity with the Indian Church along with their scholarly Syrian priest. In LA, the problem Syrians faced was not related to faith, but money. They were excommunicated by Patriarch for financial issues. These people lost millions to SOC hierarchy. But they had sincere interest to continue in same faith and traditions.

- One may compare with the approach of SOC. Instead of healing the division in the Indian Church, SOC approach was to ordain bishops against the Catholicos. This being the case, there is no justification for Jacobite faction of Indian Church worrying about this ordination. This is only one ordination compared to so many ordinations Patriarch did ignoring the existence of a Catholicos and Holy Synod. From Indian Church point of view, the Patriarch deliberately avoided reuniting the Indian Church through ordaining rivals against the Catholicos.

Let us pray for a day when entire SOC is in unity with the Indian Church.


Paul
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2007, 05:01:28 AM »

- A section of Syrian Church in Europe contacted the Indian Church.
They wanted to remain in the Orthodox faith, but did not want to accept the present hierarchy of SOC.
So tomorrow if a section of the Coptic emigrants in Europe or US wants to remain in the Orthodox faith but not under the Patriarch of Alexandria, will the Indian Orthodox Church ordain a Bishop for those dissident Copts too ?

This is only one ordination compared to so many ordinations Patriarch did ignoring the existence of a Catholicos and Holy Synod.

So even if what you say against the Patriarch of Antioch, is correct; so the Indian Orthodox stand is "tit-for-tat". Is this the Christian spirit ?

By the way the Patriarch of Antioch ordaining Bishops for the Malankara Syriac Church based on the election of those candidates is not comparable to the above secretive ordination by two Indian Orthodox Bishops without the participation of even the Indian Orthodox Catholicose.
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2007, 01:44:06 PM »

I am not really sure what is goinf on here.

But the point you are making is exactly whats WRONG with people to day in general.

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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2007, 02:58:49 PM »

Hi, This is an internal aspect of two Churches following Syrian traditions and there is no need to drag it to this Oriental Orthodox forum.  There is no need to imagine any Coptic example to create confusion.  If the aim is to create a controversy, then there are so many ordinations Patriarch did beyond the limits of canon, law and constitution which can be discussed in detail, yet not reaching any consensus. 

We have many examples of metropolitans giving ordination in special cases, within the bounds of canon and sometimes single handedly. Since the legitimate Holy Synod of India, including the Catholicos, accepted an ordination, there should not be any problem.

Paul
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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2007, 04:25:10 AM »

The following news that appeared in the secular newspaper Indian Express clearly exposes the claims of the Two Indian Orthodox Bishops that they did the  ordination of an expelled Syriac Orthodox Bishop with full synodal approval from the IOC. The summary is, there was a split in the Syriac Orthodox community in Germany, and some Syriac Orthodox monks appoached the Indian Orthodox Synod for ordination, the synod was sympathetic to them. Later on the split in Germany was reconciled however just three monks refused to be reconciled with the Patriarch of Antioch.

Since the split in Germany was reconciled H.B the Catholicose designate and the synod of the Indian Orthodox Church was against ordaining a Bishop. This stance of H.B is very laudable. I thank God for leaders like him who don't want to split the church further. However the two IOC bishops defying their own Catholicose and Synod went ahead with the ordination.

Indian Express dated 20-Dec-2007
http://www.syrianchurch.org/news/IndianExpress20Dec07.pdf

Indian Experss dated 19-Dec-2007
http://malankaraorthodox.tv/New%20Metran/IndianExpress19Dec07.pdf
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2007, 04:53:54 AM »

I'm sympathetic to the position of dhinnus on this one.

I'm pretty sure there are canons that outlaw Bishops from another jurisdiction receiving a heirarch ex-communicated by his own jurisdiction...That kind of meddling with another jurisdiction's affairs has been taboo since at least the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, I believe.
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2007, 05:24:03 AM »

I'm sympathetic to the position of dhinnus on this one.

I'm pretty sure there are canons that outlaw Bishops from another jurisdiction receiving a heirarch ex-communicated by his own jurisdiction...That kind of meddling with another jurisdiction's affairs has been taboo since at least the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, I believe.

I'd post the canons, but they are too numberous.  I'll just confine myself to c. 5 of Nicea (I):

Concerning those, whether of the clergy or the laity, who have been excommunicated, the sentence is to be respected by the bishops of each province according to the canon which forbids those expelled by some to be admitted by others. But let an inquiry be held to ascertain whether anyone has been expelled from the community because of pettiness or quarrelsomeness or any such ill nature on the part of the bishop. Accordingly, in order that there may be proper opportunity for inquiry into the matter, it is agreed that it would be well for synods to be held each year in each province twice a year, so that these inquiries may be conducted by all the bishops of the province assembled together, and in this way by general consent those who have offended against their own bishop may be recognised by all to be reasonably excommunicated, until all the bishops in common may decide to pronounce a more lenient sentence on these persons. The synods shall be held at the following times: one before Lent, so that, all pettiness being set aside, the gift offered to God may be unblemished; the second after the season of autumn.

and c. 8 of Ephesus:

Our brother bishop Rheginus, the beloved of God, and his fellow beloved of God bishops, Zeno and Evagrius, of the Province of Cyprus, have reported to us an innovation which has been introduced contrary to the ecclesiastical constitutions and the Canons of the Holy Apostles, and which touches the liberties of all.  Wherefore, since injuries affecting all require the more attention, as they cause the greater damage, and particularly when they are transgressions of an ancient custom; and since those excellent men, who have petitioned the Synod, have told us in writing and by word of mouth that the Bishop of Antioch has in this way held ordinations in Cyprus; therefore the Rulers of the holy churches in Cyprus shall enjoy, without dispute or injury, according to the Canons of the blessed Fathers and ancient custom, the right of performing for themselves the ordination of their excellent Bishops.  The same rule shall be observed in the other dioceses and provinces everywhere, so that none of the God beloved Bishops shall assume control of any province which has not heretofore, from the very beginning, been under his own hand or that of his predecessors.  But if any one has violently taken and subjected [a Province], he shall give it up; lest the Canons of the Fathers be transgressed; or the vanities of worldly honour be brought in under pretext of sacred office; or we lose, without knowing it, little by little, the liberty which Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Deliverer of all men, hath given us by his own Blood.

Wherefore, this holy and ecumenical Synod has decreed that in every province the rights which heretofore, from the beginning, have belonged to it, shall be preserved to it, according to the old prevailing custom, unchanged and uninjured:  every Metropolitan having permission to take, for his own security, a copy of these acts.  And if any one shall bring forward a rule contrary to what is here determined, this holy and ecumenical Synod unanimously decrees that it shall be of no effect.

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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2007, 06:36:55 AM »

I'd just like to make clear that I do not mean to "take sides" by my above comments. I love both the Syrian and Indian Church; works produced by heirarchs and theologians of both Churches have affected my faith tremendously and for that I am ever indebted to the wisdom that has poured forth by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit from the mouths of such great men. The situation truly, truly saddens me. I hope we're all praying for God's intervention here before the devil allows it to escalate any further.
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« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2007, 02:48:49 PM »

I'd just like to make clear that I do not mean to "take sides" by my above comments. I love both the Syrian and Indian Church; works produced by heirarchs and theologians of both Churches have affected my faith tremendously and for that I am ever indebted to the wisdom that has poured forth by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit from the mouths of such great men. The situation truly, truly saddens me. I hope we're all praying for God's intervention here before the devil allows it to escalate any further.

Very well....lets pray for them....

I suggest EkristosAnesti set up a prayer thread for this purpose. All are encouraged to post very special prayers and biblical readings and words form the holy fathers which support unity and peace with endurance and patience; which is very lacking among all orthodox today.
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« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2008, 02:01:00 PM »

BTW, this thread was started by a supporter of Patriarch side (Jacobite group in India) most probably based on his own interest to defame Orthodox Church of India.

We are living in a world where people often does not take the difficult path of finding truth.

What is the meaning of these excommunications?  Indian Supreme Court ruled that both groups should unite for better witnessing and maintaining the status of the ancient Indian Church. The Highest court also ensured a process for both sides to coming together and work for unity. Which government in the world will do this?

But what did the Patriarch do after that? Initially he sent a letter to work towards unity (which was purposely suppressed in some dioceses). Many followed his words and worked for unity, including bishops. Later he suspended those bishops who stood for unity in the Indian Church and ordained another Catholicos who worked against the Supreme Court directive. A new Church was formed by this new Catholicos adopting an entirely new constitution in 2002. This is the birth of the new Church headed by Catholicos Thomas 1 who claims to be protector of truth (yet very closely associated with Roman Catholic Church and the Communist government.  When Indian Orthodox were beaten in the street he was seen inside the chamber of Communist minister of the state).

The synod of the Orthodox Church lead by Catholicos of the East accepted the bishops who stood for unity because they did not teach anything contrary to the Orthodox faith, but stood for unity of the Indian Church.

Regarding the newly ordained Syrian bishop, if the candidate was previously suspended why the Patriarch issued a letter of suspension again immediately after the ordination. If he was really suspended why should the Patriarch worry about it? Also why the Patriarch threatened another Syrian candidate who was sent by Syrian people to get ordained for their spiritual needs? The secretary of Patriarch flew overnight to India and the group claiming to be Patriarch supporters threatened to eliminate the candidate. 

In history we have seen many excommunications, but some of them were automatically invalid.  Orthodoxy doesn't work the same way as Roman Catholicism. In Orthodoxy truth believed by people is important. No Patriarch can act as a dictator. We understand head bishops and bishops as spiritual fathers and defenders of the true faith.

How can one believe that only the Patriarch can excommunicate? According to canon can't the Catholicos also excommunicate and accept someone back to the Church? If you agree that a Catholicos can also excommunicate according to canon, then the leaders who started Jacobite movement in India were formerly removed from the Synod for anti-Church activities. These bishops went straight to Patriarch and got support to start another Church. Later Patriarch ordained many Indian bishops against the Synod. We are not aware of Patriarch calling any Synod to decide candidates or making such decisions in a Synod. He was just ordaining anyone sent by the dissident group in India against the Indian Holy Synod. Many of these candidates had a history of working against the Orthodox Church in India towards establishing universal supremacy of Patriarch following Roman Catholic arguments of primacy. Faith, i.e. Oriental Orthodox faith in it's purest form,  and resulting unity were not important for them.

A basic factor to consider it that you need two hands to clap. So let us not engage in siding based on partial understanding. 

Paul




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« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2008, 02:51:39 AM »

BTW, this thread was started by a supporter of Patriarch side (Jacobite group in India) most probably based on his own interest to defame Orthodox Church of India.

Dear Paul,
You are right in saying that this thread was started by someone who supports the Syriac Orthodox Patriarch and the historical and canonical relationship between the Patriarch of Antioch and the Malankara Church. But it is not with the interest to defame the Orthodox Church of India. Why would I do that, when I am a member of the canonical Orthodox Church of India in full communion with the rest of the Oriental Orthodox under the canonical orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and the oriental orthodox Maphrian of the East. My intention here was to inform my fellow Oriental Orthodox brethern about one more division or one more jurisdiction in the Oriental Orthodox Church.

Later Patriarch ordained many Indian bishops against the Synod. We are not aware of Patriarch calling any Synod to decide candidates or making such decisions in a Synod. He was just ordaining anyone sent by the dissident group in India against the Indian Holy Synod.

Let us explore how the present Catholicate of the group with in the Syrian Orthodox Church in India that calls itself the Indian Orthodox, came into existence in 1912.  At that time the Oriental Orthodox Synod in India consisted of six Bishops:

1) Mor Geevarghese Divanasious
2) Murimattathil Mor Ivanious
3) Mor Kurillos Paulose
4) Mor Athanasius Paulose
5) Geevarghese Mor Sevarios
6) Sleeba Mar Osthathios

Of these Bishop 1 and Bishop 2 wanted to establish a Catholicate / Maphrianate in India. The majority of the Synod Bishops 3 to 6  didnt support this move. Of the above Bishop 6 was an ethnic Syrian and not ethnic Indian; even if you dont count him still the majority of the Synod didnt approve a Catholicate ordination in 1912.

Now what did Bishops 1 and 2 do; they didnt approach the Syriac Orthodox Synod of Antioch either. They went to an ex-Patriarch, who was no longer the reigning Patriarch of Antioch and brought him to India and with this ex-Patriarch established a Catholicate in India, with out the approval of the Synod in India or the Synod in Antioch. So Mr. Paul, who was saying the Patriarch can ordian a Catholicose without the approval of his own Synod in Antioch. Who established a Catholicate and ordained Bishops in Inida without the approval of the Synod of India ? 

A basic factor to consider it that you need two hands to clap. So let us not engage in siding based on partial understanding. 

You are absolutely right. If unity and peace has not happened in India both sides share the blame. Not just the Patriarch and the Patriarch side alone as claimed by you. Patriarch Zakka I and H.B Catholicose Thomas I has asked the Indian Orthodox Church to withdraw all civil cases. Both these fathers has said that if the civil court cases are withdrawn by the Indian Orthodox Church, they are willing to remove all schisms and establish full-communion.  The Indian Orthodox leadership is not much interested in ending schism and establishing communion; what they are more interested is in getting control of all church assets by continuing with endless litigation. If not the public offer made by the Patriarch in 2004 deserve a reply from the IOC leadership.


We have digressed enough from the main topic. In this thread we are not discussing the history of the Syriac Orthodox Church in India and the schism that started in 1912. What we are discussing is two IOC Bishops without proper approval even from the IOC Synod ordaining an expelled Syriac Orthodox Monk from Europe as a Bishop. It is true that after the fact, the two IOC Bishops presented their case to the IOC Synod, tendered an apology and their apology was accepted by the IOC Synod. Other than widening the division and hurting a church, which is already very much hurt under the muslim extrimism in Iraq; this move by these two IOC Bishops servers no purpose for Oriental Orthodoxy.

I had read the proposals for peace and unity put forward by one of these two IOC bishops and felt very encouraged reading it. However actions speaks more than words. After having seen his actions; now I dont know how much to believe his words.
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« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2008, 07:56:17 PM »


You are absolutely right. If unity and peace has not happened in India both sides share the blame. Not just the Patriarch and the Patriarch side alone as claimed by you. Patriarch Zakka I and H.B Catholicose Thomas I has asked the Indian Orthodox Church to withdraw all civil cases.

How much we can trust these words? For us these are merely excuses to capture the ancient Churches of Malankara. Court cases did not start with the Orthodox Syrian Church. Also whatever court cases exist as a continuation of the works started by both factions, you cannot just blame that for everything that happened. 

Establishing Catholicate was not the problem, because both sides accepted it ( at least at a latter point) and remain united for several years. So you cannot blame that establishing Catholicate of the East was the problem.

If you examine the history of SOC, you will find even one or two bishops reviving Patriarchate.  SOC had no interest in reviving the Catholicate of the East in the succession of Apostle Thomas. But Christians of the India had and they did it.

Paul

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« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2008, 10:14:10 PM »

Brothers,

I would like to keep this thread on topic.  Let's please just discuss the ordination in question.

There have been other threads regarding the tragic schism.  You may revive one of these if you have more to add about that subject, and if what you have to say has not already been addressed.

Thank you,
Salpy
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