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Author Topic: The Ancient "Church of the East"  (Read 23578 times) Average Rating: 0
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Doubting Thomas
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« on: June 06, 2004, 05:56:00 PM »

I have been having a debate with a baptist on the internet regarding the pre-trib rapture myth (he supports it).  In the course of the discussion, I brought up how the pre-trib rapture is nowhere to be found in the writings of the early Church.  I then explained that even heretical views were found in the historical record as patristic writings were often written in response to such heresies.  Such is not the case for the pre-trib rapture.  

This fellow then went off talking about how the pope has re-written history (and suppressed the truth about theses other Christians in the process!) implying that Nestorius may have been merely misunderstood rather than a heretic ("history belongs to the winners").  He went on to describe all the ancient churches of the East that expanded as far as China as being "Nestorian".  I've heard this before, but is "Nestorian" a fair description of all these ancient eastern churches that existed beyond the frontier of the Roman Empire?  If not, what was in fact the connection between Nestorius and these churches?
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2004, 06:12:15 PM »

This has come up over in the "Japan" thread in "Other Board" in that there are claims that Christianity (in the Nestorian form) arrived in Japan centuries prior to the Portuguese and the Jesuits in 1549 (St. Francis Xavier).  It did make it to China in the 600s and there is an artifact that was found in Xian/Chang'An, China, a stele or tablet that is called the "Nestorian Stone" by some.  Here is a translation of it from Fordham:
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/eastasia/781nestorian.html

However, there are people who have taken this and run with it, so to speak.  I found an SDA page that maintained that the Christianity that went East traveled it all over and was separate from "Rome" (with all of it's "errors" as they hold it).  And another with the same idea, but not SDA related.

I would venture to say that the gentleman you were talking to, doesn't know much about how history is studied, verified, added to and so forth.

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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2004, 07:04:58 PM »

Doubting Thomas,
PBS/Frontline had a reasonable piece on the Apocalypitic Phenomenom a while back.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/apocalypse/

Additionally, they list another 208 webpages on the subject. The only real error I saw in the linked show was the statement "even today there is no Book of Revelation in the Greek Orthodox Bible". Not so (but that's another story).

As to Nestorians in the Far East, well Marco Polo in the late 13th Century and several subsequent European visitors over the next 150 years, did find pockets of Nestorian Christians in China -not missionaries, but resident traders.

And, no, "Nestorian" is not the most accurate term to apply to those churches beyond the western Roman Empire borders with Persia (Iraq/Iran ). "Non-Chalcedonian" is a better description as it applies to both Nestorian and Oriental churches. All three "flavors" existed in the region, with the Chalcedonians being the smallest representation.
In my opinion, the Jesuits were the most active missionaries in the Far East -China, Korea, Japan preceding the Russians by quite some time. What Nestorian Churches were there served their own faithful.

Ebor's right; your friend has a rather slight understanding.

Demetri
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2004, 08:54:07 PM »

Please read "A History of Christianity in Asia" vol 1 by Samuel Hugh Moffet, available for about 20 bucks at amazon.com for a history of this.

anastasios
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2004, 08:56:39 PM »

Thanks for the info, everyone.

Anastasios, I saw that book at Amazon.com and thought it would be worth a look.
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2004, 09:06:34 PM »

bookfinder.com has a used copy at Amazon for 15.00  it does have some blue hi-lighting though

Ebor
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2004, 04:28:21 AM »

Interesting tidbit here...
I began reading Bertold Spuler's History of the Mongols yesterday and was surprised to learn that Temujin's (Chinghis Khan) warriors were a mix of Nestorian Christians, Shamanists, and Buddhists and only became Moslem much later.
Read and learn.

Demetri
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2004, 03:37:45 PM »

The 'Church of the East' is a Syrian Church founded by Apostles Thomas and Thaddaeus.  This Church expanded the whole of Persia, part of China and India.  Traditional Christians of India also believe in their origin through St. Thomas.

Due to Antiochene theological influence, the Church of the East eventually drifted to Nestorian views. Nestorianism is also called Antiochian school of theology (as opposed to the Alexandrian school of Oriental Orthodox Churches).  Eventually they adopted Nestor as their father, as well as Theodoret etc.

Traditional head of the Church of the East is 'Catholicos of the East', with Apostle Thomas and Thaddaeus (Addai) as the first Archbishops of the East.

Church of the East had two sections in the past. The non-Chalcedonians of the East (Oriental Orthodox) accepted Ephesus (AD 431) and the Nestorians who rejected Ephesus. The Catholicate of the East was occupied by the Nestorians.  St. Jacob of Edessa (St. Jacob Baradeus) received ordination from Patriarch of Alexandria (Patriarch Theodosius) and was appoited as a Catholicos (Universal) bishop. He revived the Catholicate for the Orthodox by ordaining Mar Ahoudemme as the Catholicos of the East.

Currently there are four Catholicoi of the East in the lineage of Apostle Thomas. They are.

1. Catholicos of the East of Orthodox Syrian Church of the East (Indian Orthodox, located in India in Oriental Orthodox communion).
2. Catholicos of the East of Assyrian Church of the East (commonly known as Nestorian.
3. Catholicos-Patriarch of the East of 'Ancient Church of the East' (old calendar Nestorians).
4. Catholicos-Patriarch of Chaldeans (In Roman Catholic communion).

Few years after the council of Chalcedon, the Nestorian church formally accepted Chalcedon.

-Paul

Chronology of Catholicoi of the East.

Orthodox:
http://www.stgregoriostampa.com/articles/Catholicoses.pdf

Chaldean (in Roman Catholic communion):
http://www.chaldeansonline.net/church/bedaweed.html

There is also a list of Catholicoi of Assyrian church.
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2004, 03:44:40 PM »

Actually the link below includes both Roman Catholic and Assyrian Church lineage in the East (split in the later part of 17th century).

http://www.chaldeansonline.net/church/bedaweed.html
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2004, 07:58:21 AM »

Traditional head of the Church of the East is 'Catholicos of the East', with Apostle Thomas and Thaddaeus (Addai) as the first Archbishops of the East.

Church of the East had two sections in the past. The non-Chalcedonians of the East (Oriental Orthodox) accepted Ephesus (AD 431) and the Nestorians who rejected Ephesus. The Catholicate of the East was occupied by the Nestorians.  St. Jacob of Edessa (St. Jacob Baradeus) received ordination from Patriarch of Alexandria (Patriarch Theodosius) and was appoited as a Catholicos (Universal) bishop. He revived the Catholicate for the Orthodox by ordaining Mar Ahoudemme as the Catholicos of the East.

Currently there are four Catholicoi of the East in the lineage of Apostle Thomas. They are.

1. Catholicos of the East of Orthodox Syrian Church of the East (Indian Orthodox, located in India in Oriental Orthodox communion).
2. Catholicos of the East of Assyrian Church of the East (commonly known as Nestorian.
3. Catholicos-Patriarch of the East of 'Ancient Church of the East' (old calendar Nestorians).
4. Catholicos-Patriarch of Chaldeans (In Roman Catholic communion).

'CATHOLICOS OF THE EAST' was originally the title conferred to the ecclesiastical head of the Christian congregation in the erstwhile Persian Empire that extended from Mesopotamia in the west, to the boundaries of the present day Afghanistan and Northern India in the east. In the beginning the bishop who assumed this title was known as MAJOR METROPOLITAN / CATHOLICOS OF SELEUCIA; Seleucia being the capital city of Persian Empire. This institution was initially set up to serve as a link between the Patriarch of Antioch, and the Syrian Christian Community in Persia who found the journey to the Patriarchate at Antioch, hazardous because of the bitter political rivalry between the Roman and Persian empires.

To read more about it, please visit
http://catholicose.org/PauloseII/Catholicate.htm
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« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2004, 10:01:38 AM »

The head of Jacobite church is not called "Catholicos of the East".

In order to avoid legal and other complications, he was given a new title 'catholicos of India' in 2002. This is not same as Catholicose of the East in the lineage of Apostles Thomas and Addai in the East.

Also some sections in the Jacobite church does not believe in the Apostolic work of St. Thomas in India and his priesthood.

-Paul
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« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2004, 01:17:14 PM »

In AD 315 Emperor Constantine sent a letter to Shapur II urging him to protect Christians in his realm.  Mar Papa (Babai) was restored as bishop of Seleucia-Ctesiphon with the title "Catholicos of the East".

In AD 325, First Ecumenical Council of Nicea, James of Nisibis and a Persian bishop from "India" recorded as attending the council.  After the departure of Mar Papa and Mar Shimun bar Sabbaeas succeeded as Catholicos in AD 329.

In AD 344, Catholicos Shimun Bar Sabbae suffered Martyrdon along with 5  bishops and 100 priests .

Relationship Catholicate of the East and heads of other Churches in the West (say Antioch) is in matters of faith. Catholicos of the East is in the lineage of Apostles Thomas and Thaddaeus.

In the constitution of the Syrian Orthodox church, the Patriarch of Antioch is described as "bishop of Antioch". In the writings of church fathers also, the Patriarch of Antioch is called 'Archbishop of Antioch".

Catholicos of the East is the 'Archbishop of the East' in the Apostolic lineage. The succession was broken few times (Antiochian succession was also broken few times), but restored with the help of sister churches since it is the same preisthood shared by each Orthodox church, without any superiority feelings.

If one argues that priesthood of one Apostolic church is superior to others, then he is talking against Apostolic faith.

So, these are two jurisdictions, and the link is faith. The link is at the same level, it is not a link going downwards (between one above and another below) resulting in subordination.

Orthodox Churches are united in faith, there is no feeling of subordination between believers of different Churches, existing as different jurisdictions due to geographical reasons. Encouraging such a subordination is against Apostolic faith.

-Paul




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« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2004, 03:31:00 AM »

The head of Jacobite church is not called "Catholicos of the East".

In order to avoid legal and other complications, he was given a new title 'catholicos of India' in 2002. This is not same as Catholicose of the East in the lineage of Apostles Thomas and Addai in the East.


In AD 629, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East elevated St. Marutha (Marooso) as the first MAPHRIYONO OF THE EAST for the rejuvenated Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite) Church in Persia. Later the centre of the Maphrianate was shifted to St.Mathew’s Dayro in the city of Mosul in Iraq and continued there till the middle of 19th century.

In 1860 the office of Maphrianate was abolished as per the decision of the Syrian Orthodox Church Synod held at Deyrul'alZafran Monastery (Kurkumo Dayro) under Patriarch Ignatius Ya`qub II.

The same was re-established in India in 1964 by the Universal Synod held at Kottayam, presided by Patriarch Mor Ignatius Ya`qub III. From the days of the establishment of this Maphrianate in India, the Church started to officially use the title ‘Catholicos of the East’, with his jurisdiction limited to India in the East.

In 2002 the office of the Maphrianate was renamed as ‘Catholicose of India’ in accordance with its actual jurisdiction. Present headquarters of this ancient Maphrianate /Catholicate of the Syrian Orthodox Church is at Puthencuriz, Cochin, with Catholicose Mor Baselios Thomas I as the Chief of the Church in India.

In Episcopal dignity the Catholicos rank second to the Patriarch and, as His Holiness's deputy, presides over the provincial Holy Synod. He and all the clergy of the faithful in India pledge loyalty to the Patriarch of Antioch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the supreme authority of the Syriac Orthodox Church throughout the world. There are many instances when a Maphrian (Catholicos) was elevated to the position of the patriarch in the Syrian Orthodox Church

List of Catholicose elevated to the position of the Patriarchs of the Syrian Church
Name as Catholicose / Year / Name as Patriarch / Year

Mor Ignatius David / 1215-1222 as Mor Ignatius III David (1222-'52)
Mor Yuhanon Bar Ma`dani / 1232-1252 as Mor Yuhanon XII Bar Ma`dani (1252-'63)
Mor Baselios Behnam al-Hadli (Hadliyo) / 1404-1412 as Mor Ignatius Behnam al-Hadli (1445-‘54)
Mor Nuh the Lebanese / 1489-1493 as Mor Ignatius Nuh (1493-1509)
Mor Baselios Nemet Allah I / 1555-1557 as Mor Ignatius Ne`met Allah I (1557-'76)
Mor Baselios David Shah Ibin Nur`Adin / 1575-1576 as Mor Ignatius David II Shah (1576-'91)
Mor Baselios Philathose / 1576-1591 as Mor Ignatius Pilate I (1591-'97)
Mor Pathros V Hadaya / 1597 as Mor Ignatius Hadayat Allah (1597-1639)
Mor Baselios Abdul Masih I / 1655-1662 as Mor Ignatius Abdul Masih I (1662-'86)
Mor Baselios Gevarghese II / 1674-1687 as Mor Ignatius Geevarghese II (1687-1708)
Mor Baselios Isahac II / 1687-1709 as Mor Ignatius Isahac Azar (1709-'22)
Mor Baselios Sakralla II / ? -1722 as Mor Ignatius Shukr Allah II (1722-'45)
Mor Baselios Geevarghese III Mosa / 1760-1768 as Mor Ignatius Geevarghese IV (1768-'81)
Mor Baselios Elias III Ankas / 1827-1838 as Mor Ignatius Elias II (1838-'47)

Source: http://catholicose.org/PauloseII/Catholicate.htm
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« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2004, 10:58:10 AM »

The REVIVAL  of Catholicate of the East was not in AD 628, but in AD 559 when St. Jacob of Edessa, who received ordination from Alexandrian Patriarch Theododius, elevated Mar Ahodemme  as the Catholicos of the East for Orthodox Christians of the East. This REVIVAL was done for establishing the Oriental Orthodox faith in the East, with the help of Alexandrian Coptic Church. Mar Ahodemme himself received ordination as bishop from the Armenian Catholicos.

AD 628 is the date when links were established with Western Church (Antioch), because of increasing persecutiuon of Oriental Orthodox by the Nestorians in the East. But this resulted in reducing the Orthodox Catholicate of the East to the status of a reduced institution called 'Maphriyan'. Thus Mar MArotha became the first Maphriyan. We cannot call this activity REVIVAL of Catholicate. It is rather a RECDUCTION of catholicate.


It would be more accurate to say that the list in the previous posting is a list of 'Maphriyans'. 'Maphriyans' are not the same as Catholicos. When St. Jacob Baradeus revived Catholicate in the East for Orthodox, it was known as 'Catholicos of the East'. But it was delimited to the status of 'Maphriyan' (after interfacing with West) as explained above.  This new institution (which can be considered a reduced Catholicate) started functioning in AD 628.  Marotha of Tikrit (d. 649) was the first to be called Maphryian. From  him the Maphrianate took its line of succession.

In the year 1860, after the death of Maphriyan  Mar Baselios Bahnam IV, the institution of Maphrianate was abolished by a decision of a local synod held by the Antiochian Church.

It was revived to the old status in India in 1912, because by that time Orthodox Christians of the East (St. Thomas Christians) were mostly confined to India.

In 1965 Mar Augen 1, Catholicos of the East participated in the Ecumenical council of the Oriental Orthodox. There the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East was counted as one of the five Orthodox churches.

History teaches us that Catholicate of the East belongs to St. Thomas Christians. It is a matter of justice to leave it to them and live in peace and unity in faith.

The entiry now existing in India as a rival entity to Catholicose of the East is called 'Catholicos of India'. Catholicose of the East is in the lineage of Apostle Thomas. It is natural that those who deny the works of Apostle and his priesthood cannot keep this great position which belongs ONLY to traditional Orthodox believers of the East.

The Knanaya COmmunity of India are also St. Thomas Christians. They came to India with the blessings of Mar Shimun, Catholicos of the East.  They still sing their old folk song, which says "Catholika Arulale Kappal Puukinthu..." (That they boarded ship with the blessings of Catholicos). So, the title 'Maphriyan' is a deliberately introduced reduction, a title not known to even the Knanaya immigrants as we learn from their old song.

-Paul
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« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2004, 11:48:04 AM »

The REVIVAL  of Catholicate of the East was not in AD 628, but in AD 559 when St. Jacob of Edessa, who received ordination from Alexandrian Patriarch Theododius, elevated Mar Ahodemme  as the Catholicos of the East for Orthodox Christians of the East. This REVIVAL was done for establishing the Oriental Orthodox faith in the East, with the help of Alexandrian Coptic Church. Mar Ahodemme himself received ordination as bishop from the Armenian Catholicos.

St. Ya`qub Burdono installed St. Ahudemmeh as 'The Great Metropolitan of the East',  not as CATHOLICOS or MAPHRIYONO, he too experienced it difficult to discharge his ecclesiastical duties smoothly . However by the 7th century the situation changed for better which finally led to the formation of an office of the 'Maphrianate of the East’ at Tigrit (Tagrit).
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« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2004, 12:11:23 PM »

"Its bishop was called Bishop of the East, or Catholicos of the East, and was later known as the Maphryono of the East."

[The Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch At A Glance, Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, 1983]

"In the year 1860, after the death of Maphryono Mor Baselios Bahnam IV of Mosul, the Maphrianate was abolished by a decision of a synod. "
[Ibid]


The statement "was later known as Maphriyan" is a clear proof that 'Maphriyan' is a later change. It was originally called 'Catholicos of the East' who is 'bishop of the East'.

Please note that the Syrian Orthodox Constitution defines the Patriarch of Antioch as 'bishop of Antioch'.

"Surely there is no ordination liturgy for the Patriarch but there is an enthronement rite. The one elected Patriarch does not take a new rank in the level of the episcopate. He becomes the first among the metropolitans and bishops, and with calling him Patriarch his name remains the Bishop of Antioch."
[The Concept of Jurisdiction and Authority in the Syrian Orthodox Church on Antioch, Article by His Grace Mor Gregorios Johanna Ibrahim]

Being a Patriarch is thus not a new rank, his title is 'bishop of Antioch'.

Now, consider the word 'general'. The Greek word "Katholikos' means universal, general, catholic  etc. (As in General councils, Universal councils etc.).  

So, the title 'general bishop' is just a way of expressing the title 'Catholicos' in English language.  Therefore, St. Jacob of Edessa installed not a 'Maphriyan', but a 'Catholicos (General) Bishop of the East'.  This act was performed to safeguard the Oriental Orthodox faith in the East (as it is evident that with the support of the Alexandrian Church, the saint also did mission work in Armenia, Ethiopia etc.), not to establish the supremacy of any one throne. If the aim was to establish supremacy, then why Armenia, Ethiopia and Egypt are not brought under a supreme rule?


History teaches that when churches seek the help of some Sees, they offer help, but try to subordinate at a later point, as it happened in the case of Catholicose of the East. But Armernians, Ethiopians etc. are free to maintain their status.

-Paul
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« Reply #16 on: June 23, 2004, 01:59:45 AM »

So, the title 'general bishop' is just a way of expressing the title 'Catholicos' in English language.  Therefore, St. Jacob of Edessa installed not a 'Maphriyan', but a 'Catholicos (General) Bishop of the East'.  This act was performed to safeguard the Oriental Orthodox faith in the East (as it is evident that with the support of the Alexandrian Church, the saint also did mission work in Armenia, Ethiopia etc.), not to establish the supremacy of any one throne. If the aim was to establish supremacy, then why Armenia, Ethiopia and Egypt are not brought under a supreme rule?


History teaches that when churches seek the help of some Sees, they offer help, but try to subordinate at a later point, as it happened in the case of Catholicose of the East. But Armernians, Ethiopians etc. are free to maintain their status.


The beginning part of the constitution of Indian Orthodox states


----The Malankara Church is a division of Syrian Orthodox Church. The primate of the Syrian Orthodox Church is the Patriarch of Antioch.

The Malankara Church was founded by St. Thomas the Apostle and is included in the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East and the Primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East is the Catholicose. --------

This is the constitution is approved and accepted by the Holy Synod of IOC and the faithful of that church. From this constitution it clearly states that the IOC is the part of the Syrian Orthodox Church and its primate is the Patriarch of Antioch.
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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2004, 10:11:33 AM »

The constitution is not just approved by the Indian people, but by former SOC Patriarchs also.  This is not clear in your argument. You are just basing all your arguments on just one statement, i.e. the one statement in the constitution carrying the word 'Patriarch'.  I think we need to consider the complete constitution. Partial consideration can lead to logical inconsistencies. Can we take just one verse of the Bible and build an argument?


Just one question to begin with. If you consider the costitution is correct, then why your Church created a new constitution in 2002? There is contradiction here, right?  

What you wrote is not a new information. Rather, it is a well known information to all in the Indian Church, and also to the bishops and people who accepted unity in March 2002 Malankara Association. In fact the Orthodox Church of India remembers an Orthodox Patriarch in liturgy and is willing to accept the spiritual firstness (the special status) of a Patriarch. In fact such relationship exists between many autocephalous churches today, to give special spiritual honor to the primate of another Church.

Just saying that IOC is a division of SOC will not prove anything. We need to read the complete constitution. Division means two, i.e. two entities joined by one faith. These are two jurisdictions. Division also means that one is not subordinate.  Only the word 'Subdivision" can imply subordination.  Division means that these are two entities, existing together.  One is Antiochian Syrian Orthodox Church and the other is Malankara or Indian Orthodox Syrian Church.  In this sense, the 'Orthodox Church of the East' is not a sub-division. Both are Syrian churches influenced by Syriac Christianity in the region between West and East (i.e. Schools of Edessa and Nisibis).

Syrian Church originated in a region middle of Antiochian  Church in the West and the Church of the East (Edessa, Nisibis etc.). Hence both jurisdictions benefitted from the Syriac heritage. In this sense, both jurisdictions are divisions of the Syriac Church.

Now, we need to evaluate what is not acceptable. For that we need to read the complete constitution. According to the constitution, only the Indian Synod can make decision about electing a bishop and ordaining him.  If there is a Patriarch who is in peace with the Church, then the Church can invite him. This is an option, but not a necessary requirement.


The constitution does not prove that the Syrian Orthodox Church can appoint a bishop with out the permission of the Indian Synod. Indian Church was founded by Apostle Thomas and it is included in the 'Orthodox Church of the East" according to the constitution.

This is because canonically the "Church of the East" is Apostolic, as it is founded by Apostle Thomas.

According to the complete constitution, WE HAVE spiritual relationship (i.e. our unity in faith and the special status) given to a Patriarch of Antioch.

But, the Patriarch CANNOT ordain a bishop in India violating the decision of the Indian Synod, Constitution  and Canon.

In history, the Patriarch violated this rule several times, when he totally ignored the request of the Synod not to appoint an uncanonical Patriarchal delegate. Moreover the Patriarch introduced a new teaching (in order to destroy the Apostolic faith), that St. Thomas did not receive priesthood from Christ.

I believe that the quotes you provided does not prove that SOC can freely interfere in internal affairs of the Indian Church. In fact it is against the constitution to divide the Indian church in to several unites, such as 'simhasan church', 'Knanaya church', 'Jacobite', 'American archdiocese' etc.

Following is also from the constitution:

"By virtue of being an Episcopal church, its authority is vested in the apex body of the council of all the Episcopas of the church with the Catholicos presiding over it, called the Holy Synod. The authority of the Synod is final and binding. It has exclusive rights and privileges in the matter of upholding the Faith of the church, its discipline and order of Apostolic Succession’ as regards temporal administration. The church is guided by the Malankara Syrian Christian Association."

"The Malankara metropolitan is the administrative head of the church and in him “ the prime jurisdiction regarding the temporal, ecclesiastical and spiritual administration of the Malankara church is vested”. only a metropolitan elected by the Malankara Syrian Christian association could hold this office for the constitution stipulates that the Malankara metropolitan shall be elected to that office by the association"

On Ordination:
"In the matter of ordination also, the Malankara metropolitan oversees the process of selection and theological study of the candidates desiring ordination. He receives the requests of candidates duly recommended by diocesan. According to his convenience, the Malankara metropolitan shall send the applicants to the theological seminary for theological study and provided the principal of the seminary certifies the fitness of the candidates for ordination, the Malankara metropolitan or diocesan metropolitan at their discretion, ordains them."


-Paul

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« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2004, 02:32:35 AM »

This is the interpretation of Indian Orthodox Church to validate their new Independent Status of the Church.

On 1964 May 22, H.H Patriarch Mor Ignatius Ya`qub III and Syriac Orthodox Church Synod consecrated Mor Timotheus Augen in Kottayam as Catholicose Mor Baselious Augen, The holy synod consecrated him as a Catholicose of The East  / MAPHRIYONO accountable to Patriarch of Antioch, which was abolished as per the decision of the Syriac Orthodox Church Synod held at Deyrul'alZafran Monastery (Kurkumo Dayro) under Patriarch Ignatius Ya`qub II in 1860.

In Syriac Orthodox Church canon, In Episcopal dignity the Catholicose rank second to the Patriarch and, as His Holiness's deputy, presides over the provincial Holy Synod. He and all the clergy of the faithful in India pledge loyalty to the Patriarch of Antioch of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the supreme authority of the Syriac Orthodox Church throughout the world.

If anyone goes through the consecration ceremony details and news media reports of the event would get the actual facts.

In due course I will try to publish more details and photographs of the said in this forum.
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« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2004, 09:39:42 AM »

Now, that is just the current Syrian Orthodox interpretation, that the primate of the Church of the East is a subordinate.  There are many examples of primate of one church giving ordination to primate of another church, but in such cases there is no evidence of one primate establishing his supremacy, thus subordinating the other.  Ordination is does not imply subordination.

St. Jacob Baradai was ordained by the Patriarch of Alexandria.  With this ordination St. Jacob ordained Sarkis as the Patriarch of Antioch. So, here the Alexandrian church did not try to subordinate the Antiochian church based on ordination. In a similar way, there is no spiritual need to subordinate the ancient See of Apostle Thomas in the East.

Photogrpahs of the above event is not available, but history teaches us that churches helped each other in need. It is against faith to subordinate a Church based on ordination, when a church depends on another church during days of difficulty.

Our loyalty is not towards a primate, but towards Orthodoxy and the Church. Primates change, Jurisdictional politics will continue to evolve, but Orhtodoxy remains unchanged.

If Mr. Thomas Daniel is interested in continuing, I can also provide details why Patriarch Yakub 111 was not accepted later. i.e. the Synod believes that the Patriarch violated Canon and introduced false teachings. Just because a father is acceptable at one point does not means that he is always acceptable. Test for acceptance is Orthodoxy. Some Antiochian fathers were acceptable before Ephesus and Chalcedon, but after these councils many Antiochian fathers were rejected by the Church.

So, we do not believe in infallibility of a Primate, but they are accepted based on their Orthodox faith.

I don't think more photos will help here, because if any one reads any history book (even a book published by the  church Mr. Thomas Daniel is against), the facts about who ordained whom will be recorded. It is true that the Church depended on sister Churches during difficult times in history. But we need to closely study why some of the Syrian primates are not accepted later.

Also, wrong to establish that the church Mr. Thomas Daniel is against totally rejects ALL syrian primates. In fact only this church for the first time declared a Syrian primate who came to India as saint, as well as includes many Syrian fathers in the official church calendar, to remember every year.

So, we need to focus on why a particular father was not accepted *** at a later point ***, instead of repeating the same well known facts again and again.

There is also one more fact already accepted by the Indian Church, i.e. the Church willingly accepts the spiritual supremacy of primate of Antioch.  But there are canons that regulate the interference of Antioch in internal matters of the Church of the East. Now, canon is not one sided, that one side can violate it and the other should be subject to such violations.

Let us try to understand the whole issue, instead of focusing on just one event (such as an ordination).  There are some churches in the West, they take one or two verses from the bible and develop an argument, thus creating a new church. We need to consider the whole, instead of focusing on just one event to prove something (here to prove the subordinate status of the Apostolic church founded by St. Thomas)


-Paul


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« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2004, 02:08:39 PM »


St. Jacob Baradai was ordained by the Patriarch of Alexandria.  With this ordination St. Jacob ordained Sarkis as the Patriarch of Antioch. So, here the Alexandrian church did not try to subordinate the Antiochian church based on ordination. In a similar way, there is no spiritual need to subordinate the ancient See of Apostle Thomas in the East.

We Syriac Orthodox never denied this fact at any time and at any stage, due to this reason only both Churches (Syriac Orthodox & Coptic orthodox) both remember the names of the both Patriarchs in the first Diptych of the Holy Qurbono. But what happened in 1934 in Malankara was not the same, Patriarch of Antioch and the Holy Synod, ordained Catholicose of the East, who is accountable to the Patriarch Of Antioch as per the decision of the Syriac Orthodox Church Holy Synod.
Quote

Our loyalty is not towards a primate, but towards Orthodoxy and the Church. Primates change, Jurisdictional politics will continue to evolve, but Orhtodoxy remains unchanged.

Without Priest, no Orthodoxy in the parish. Without Bishop, no Orthodoxy in the Diocese. Without Catholicose / Mapraino, no orthodoxy in the region and without Patriarch no orthodoxy in the entire Church.
Quote

If Mr. Thomas Daniel is interested in continuing, I can also provide details why Patriarch Yakub 111 was not accepted later. i.e. the Synod believes that the Patriarch violated Canon and introduced false teachings.


My interest is not concern at all on this subject. What I am explaining is the official stance of The Syriac Orthodox Church what I understood. Now regarding what IOC Synod believes, as far as Syriac Orthodox Church concerns, when the Catholicose Augon, started claiming the equality of the position with the Patriarch against the norms, Catholicose and his followers are excommunicated by themselves from the Holy Church, and if they get together and call the gathering a Synod, Syriac orthodox Church is not accepting it.
Quote
So, we do not believe in infallibility of a Primate, but they are accepted based on their Orthodox faith.


Yes we Syriac Orthodox Church do believe and teach the special position of St. peter among all other Apostles. Which is proved beyond doubt by the early fathers of the church based on the Holy Bible and early church documents. If you call it infallibility, you are free to call. It won’t affect the faith or stand of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Quote

There is also one more fact already accepted by the Indian Church, i.e. the Church willingly accepts the spiritual supremacy of primate of Antioch.  But there are canons that regulate the interference of Antioch in internal matters of the Church of the East. Now, canon is not one sided, that one side can violate it and the other should be subject to such violations.

Yes, Indian Orthodox Church willingly accepts the spiritual supremacy of primate of Antioch, but only in the courtroom of the law of the land. What is the ground reality? If the Indian Orthodox Church Catholicose declare publicly and announce the acceptance of the spiritual supremacy of Patriarch of Antioch, all problem should have been solved a long back. Instead IOC Catholicose declares it in the legal proceedings and publicly questing it. Even during the blessing of Holy Muron (the Holy Oil) or Chrism, IOC Catholicose and his church remove or forget (Ignore) to remember the name of the Supreme authority of the Church.
Quote


Let us try to understand the whole issue, instead of focusing on just one event (such as an ordination).  There are some churches in the West, they take one or two verses from the bible and develop an argument, thus creating a new church. We need to consider the whole, instead of focusing on just one event to prove something (here to prove the subordinate status of the Apostolic church founded by St. Thomas)


This is not the just one incident to ignore, it is the main incident. Because of this incident only the Malankara Church got a legitimate Catholicose, who is accountable to Patriarch of Antioch. Accepting the Spiritual Supremacy of the Patriarch of Antioch will not at any cost subordinate the Status of the Apostolic Church founded by St. Thomas In Malankara.

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« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2004, 04:06:09 PM »

Ground reality is that the Jacobite and modern Syrian Orthodox leaning is towards Roman Catholicism.

Regarding the foundation of the Indian Church, does the Jacobite church truly believe in the high-priesthood of Apostle Thomas? Numerous Jacobites frequently write against Apostle Thomas, his priesthood and even against his works in India trying to create doubt in the minds of people.

It was the strategic aim of Patriarch Yakub 111 to destroy the faith of the Apostolic Indian church and to subordinate the church.

Consistently I hear from the Jacobite church that the Malankara Church is subordinate to the West Syrian church and their Archbishops.

Hudaya Canon does not permit the Patriarch to interfere in the internal affairs of the Synod of Catholicos of the East. He can do work in the jurisdiction of Catholicos 'only if' invited. The teachings and activities of Patriarch Yakub 111 and his successor were against the canon and traditions of the Indian Church. Patriarch Yakub 111 wrote an official letter that St. Thomas does not have priesthood, hence the Indian church is always subordinsate to West Syriand church. The Patriarch has no authority to introduce such a teaching.

There is no canon which says that we accept the primate of West Syrian church blindly.  They are accepted based on how they work according to the canons and keep the faith.

In my understanding this is all pure fanaticism, a pure political attempt to show power and subordinate a church.

Syrian Synod has the freedom to decide what they want. For example they decided to enter in to communion with Antiochian Greek Orthodox, RC church etc. They have the freedom to make changes and violate canons. But they cannot impose these violations upon all. They may be able to lure a group, causing unwanted divisions.

But Orthodox churches also have the freedom to continue the traditions. How can you teach that the Syrian Orthodox church enjoys supremacy over all churches in the world? Who gave you that authority?

What is the concept of unity in the Jacobite church? Currently there are at least four entities, each with own bishop and constitution.  Why the American diocese of Jacobite church is directly under Damascus rule, why the concept of Simhasans church in India, Why seperate Knanaya church?

So, it is clear to me that the concept of unity in the Jacobite church is distorted. Now. only Orthodox faith can correct these distortions. This means that the Jacobite church needs to come out of their affinity towards Roman Catholicism, and their attempt to establish a Universal Supremacy rule of Damsascus based administration.

Duty of an Indian christian it to help the Indian community to know Orthodox christianity. Fighting for establishing the supremacy of West Syrians is totally against Orthodox faith and the directions given by Apostles and Church fathers.

I believe that there will be unity only when people are ready to honor Orthodox church and the faith of the church beyond other aspects. Currently it is a heavily distorted understanding that is promoted, giving too much stress on universal supremacy, throne of Antioch, etc.

In this sense, I do not see much difference between Roman Catholicism and the Jacobite movement. One is about establishing the thronal supremacy of Rome, and when you substitite Rome with Antioch you get almost the Jacobite church.

What is needed in India is not Jacobite movement, but very clearly the Orthodox movement. Orthodoxy is now about showing pride about selected languages such as Syriac, Greek etc., but it is more involved and deep.

-Paul
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« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2004, 04:21:16 PM »

Without Priest, no Orthodoxy in the parish. Without Bishop, no Orthodoxy in the Diocese. Without Catholicose / Mapraino, no orthodoxy in the region and without Patriarch no orthodoxy in the Universe.



Wow!  Without Patriarch no Orthodoxy in the Universe!  

Do you want to conquer also the aliens (if they exist) to establish supremacy of Antioch?

No wonder why one prominent Jacobite leader (who also attends RC church) wrote a book about the current Patriarch, titled "Veni, Vidi, Vici" (meaning 'I came, I saw, I conquered').

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« Reply #23 on: June 29, 2004, 06:35:40 PM »

Without Priest, no Orthodoxy in the parish. Without Bishop, no Orthodoxy in the Diocese. Without Catholicose / Mapraino, no orthodoxy in the region and without Patriarch no orthodoxy in the Universe.

Without which Patriarch?  

Quote
Yes we Syriac Orthodox Church do believe and teach the special position of St. peter among all other Apostles. Which is proved beyond doubt by the early fathers of the church based on the Holy Bible and early church documents. If you call it infallibility, you are free to call. It won’t affect the faith or stand of the Syriac Orthodox Church.

Given that there are Orthodox and heterodox understandings of the primacy of Peter, I would appreciate it if you would explain what the understanding of the Syrian Orthodox Church is on this topic.
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« Reply #24 on: June 29, 2004, 07:29:11 PM »

The situation in India is very saddening to me.  Politics and property rights should not divide families, and those who are of the orthodox Faith.
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« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2004, 02:07:06 AM »

Wow!  Without Patriarch no Orthodoxy in the Universe!  

Do you want to conquer also the aliens (if they exist) to establish supremacy of Antioch?

What I mean “Universe” is the entire Church of Syriac Orthodox , Sorry for using the wrong vocabulary. Edited my original posting.

The Syriac Orthodox Church has never ever advanced a notion of infallibility of the Patriarch. The Patriarch is subordinate to the Synod of the Church. Patriarchs have been excommunicated by the Synod throughout history proving the fact that they were never considered infallible.
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« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2004, 02:18:55 AM »

Without which Patriarch?  Given that there are Orthodox and heterodox understandings of the primacy of Peter, I would appreciate it if you would explain what the understanding of the Syrian Orthodox Church is on this topic.  

As I stated on my earlier posting, what I meant “Universe” is the entire Church of Syriac Orthodox and its Patriarch. Sorry for using the wrong vocabulary. Edited my original posting.

Regarding the position of St. Peter in the Syriac Orthodox Church, please visit the following link. It might help you.
http://www.stignatious.com/articles/peter.htm
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« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2004, 02:46:56 AM »

Regarding the foundation of the Indian Church, does the Jacobite church truly believe in the high-priesthood of Apostle Thomas? Numerous Jacobites frequently write against Apostle Thomas, his priesthood and even against his works in India trying to create doubt in the minds of people.

It was the strategic aim of Patriarch Yakub 111 to destroy the faith of the Apostolic Indian church and to subordinate the church.

When the Catholicose Augen claimed the equality of position with the Patriarch against all historic norms, and in their (IOC) eagerness to prove their autocephaly in the Eastern Orthodox model and draw themselves closer to that family of Churches removed the condemnation of Pope Leo and his tome from the amalogia of episcopal ordination, In 1970 by letter  # 203 to Catholicose Augen, Patriarch Yacoob III, quoting John 20:22,23, said that Apostle Thomas was not a priest.

At least some theologians hold that view even today. Whether or not the statement was inadvertent or erroneous, and it was, apostle-ship is far superior to priesthood. The patriarch affirmed that Thomas was apostle and saint. Also, as martyr he is above priesthood.

The impugned letter was private to Catholicose and not meant for publication. Had the Catholicose took the spirit of Apostle Paul to Peter as described in Galatians 2:11-15, we know that fatal injury to the Body of Christ could have been averted.

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« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2004, 07:35:30 AM »


http://www.keikyo.com/syrian_nestorianism.htm

Has anybody seen this article yet? The translation is a little bumpy but understandable.

SYRIAN NESTORIANISM IN JAPAN
Love does not work evil to his neighbor because love is the fulfillment of the law.
-Romans XIII, 10
(Aramic)

It is easier for a rope (gamla) to go through the eye of a needle, than a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
- St. Matthew XIX, 24 (Aramic)

People will often take the Syrian, for the Greek Nestorians, but the former is one thing, the latter is another, you must discriminate between them. The so-called "Syrian Nestorians" believe in the salvation only by faith, and being, none other than the members of the Holy Catholic Church of the East which was established in the early part of the first century and which adopted the Peshitta, the original Scriptures in Aramic, at the beginning of the following century, they had nothing to do with the Conference of Nicaea in 325 A.D. which recognized the Trinity nor with the Conference of Ephesus in 431 which stated the doctrine of the Monophysitism and in consequence of which Nestorius, Patriachof Constantinople, was deposed from his post on account of heresy, i. e., his ignoring the Trinity and insisting on the Nestorians have been Trinitarians since before the above Conference of Ephesus, yet they were called "Nestorians" by their foes soon after the dismissal of Nestorius, as they were Dyophysites like the Greek Nestorians, the followers of Nestorius. This is the very reason why people not unfrequently would and will confuse the Syrian, with the Greek Nestorians. In the following article "Nestorian" and "Nestorianism" are used as substitutes for "Syrian Nestorian" and "Syrian Nestorianism" only for convenience' sake.

The Hatas were a Nestorian tribe who lived originally under Perian domination in Khotan (now in Eastern Turkestan) but migrated to Japan via China and Korea in search of religious freedom. The landed at Sakoshi (near the present city of Himeji in Kyogo prefecture) some 1500 years ago and there erected the first Christian churches long before St. Francis Xavier arrived here in 1549. Later they move to Uzumasa (now Kyoto City) where they erected many other churches. Although they were persecuted by Buddhists in both China and Korea they were granted to full freedom in all but name from the time of their arrival in this country down to the days of the Empress Suiko.

Under Shotoku, Prince Regent under the Empress Suiko in the seventh century, the Hatas were happy indeed since the wise Prince Regent, though himself a Buddhist, granted them full liberty under the provisions of his famous Seventeen-Article Constitution. Well might be noted English scholar, Professor Lewis Bush, then a high official of the Occupation Forces, declare in 1947 that "Shotoku Taishi was essentially a democrat: ...Indeed, had it not been for the complete indifference of the Japanese to this great man, the world would know more about him today."

In the days of this great Prince Regent the Nestorian church grounds at Uzumasa had their own "Well of Israel" attached to a David's Shrine, and on the well-spring stood a Sacred Tripod symbolizing the Trinity (cf. Rev. XXI,22,XXII 1,2) from which a limpid stream flowed. Visitors to Uzumasa can still see a tripod, build in the style of a triangular torii, which marks the exact spot where the original tripod of the Nestorians once stood. These various Nestorian sites have been identified only recently by the writer of this article with the aid of archaelogy, philology, and the science of folklore. The writer admits, however, that this would have been impossible without the suggestions and hypothesis advanced by the English author, Mrs. E. A. Gordon in her several published works. A study of some historical sources has convinced me that it was a Nestorian, Raca, who directed the first orphan asylum ever established in Japan.

Nestorianism in the days of the Empress Suiko exerted not a little influence on the culture of Japan. It is true that Shotoku may be regarded quite justly as the founder of social work in Japan. It was he who established the Shitennoji Buddhist Temple in Osaka which comprised four separate charitable institutions including the Kyoden-in or a sanctuary of religion, learning and music, The Ryobyo-in or charitable hospital, the Seyaku-in or a charitable dispensary, and the Hiden-in or an asylum for the helpless. To him goes the credit for having been the first to carry on social work on a large scale in Japan, but I believe that it cannot be denied that this work was modeled on the charitable work of the Nestorian church at Uzumasa. This name, incidentally, is, I believe, a variant of the Aramic," Ishoo M'shikha," meaning Jesus Christ.

Although the Nestorian Christians in Japan went over completely to Conventional Taoism at one time after Prince Shotoku's death, the Emperor Shomu and his consort, the Empress Komyo, gave the audience to a Nestorian missionary who came to Japan in 736 and was identified by Mrs. Gordon with the Rev. Milis, Bactrian physician. The emperor had a leper asylum built in the suburbs of Nara which was then the capital, and the empress worked there as a volunteer nurse. People must have been amazed to see how this young belle in the purple went so far as to suck the lepers' wounds as pious Christians were wont to do in the Middle ages in Europe. The historicity of this story is, I believe, confirmed by the various data which have made it possible to identify the site of the lazaretto and it would appear that the Emperor and his beautiful consort took their inspiration for this work from the Nestorianism preached by the Bactrian missionary.

While it is quite true that Chinese literature and Indian Buddhism conspired to make a cultural nation of the Japanese people before the Meiji Restoration. Indeed, Nestorianism from the Near East contributed much towards Japanese civilization even long before the introduction of Roman Catholicism some 400 years ago.

In conclusion I must render grateful acknowledgement to those prominent personages who were so kind as to encourage my studies. Among these are the Rev. Egli, Director of the St. Thomas Institute in Kyoto, the Rev. Kosho Otani, Abbot of the Nishi-Hongaoji Temple, His Holiness Mar Shimun of the Patriarchate of the East in Chicago, Illinois, and Prof. Yukitoki Takikawa, ex-Dean of the Law Faculty of Kyoto University, Japan's famous champion of Liberalism. I owe grateful acknowledgement also to those who so graciously visited the sites I discovered. Among these I wish especially to mention the Rev. G. Beckman, American missionary of the Church in Kyoto, the Rev. H. H. Eggen of the Norwegian Lutheran Church, Godalsveien 2, Stavanger, Norway, and Mr J. W. Schoonen, principal of Kobe Education Center, Troop Information and EducationSection, Kobe Base
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« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2004, 08:40:59 AM »

When the Catholicose Augen claimed the equality of position with the Patriarch against all historic norms, and in their (IOC) eagerness to prove their autocephaly in the Eastern Orthodox model and draw themselves closer to that family of Churches removed the condemnation of Pope Leo and his tome from the amalogia of episcopal ordination, In 1970 by letter  # 203 to Catholicose Augen, Patriarch Yacoob III, quoting John 20:22,23, said that Apostle Thomas was not a priest.

At least some theologians hold that view even today. Whether or not the statement was inadvertent or erroneous, and it was, apostle-ship is far superior to priesthood. The patriarch affirmed that Thomas was apostle and saint. Also, as martyr he is above priesthood.

The impugned letter was private to Catholicose and not meant for publication. Had the Catholicose took the spirit of Apostle Paul to Peter as described in Galatians 2:11-15, we know that fatal injury to the Body of Christ could have been averted.



These raises two questions for me.  It is not addessed to any one person, so Phil, Thomas, or Paul, feel free to answer.

1.) How could anyone justify denying that St. Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles, was a priest?  Was he not equal to the other Apostles?

2.) Is it true that the IOC removed the condemnation of Pope Leo and his tome from the amalogia of episcopal ordination?  Why?  Would they really compromise their miaphysite Faith just to have a political weapon against the Patriarch of Antioch?  As in "Give us what we want or we will join the Byzantine communion".  If so, that is lamentable.  Matters of faith should not be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.
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« Reply #30 on: July 01, 2004, 02:19:23 AM »

These raises two questions for me.  It is not addessed to any one person, so Phil, Thomas, or Paul, feel free to answer.

1.) How could anyone justify denying that St. Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles, was a priest?  Was he not equal to the other Apostles?

-Nikolas
The Patriarch was raising a technical point in that Apostle Thomas was not present at the time when Christ himself breathed on the Apostles as stated in John 20:21-24. While the synoptic gospels record the "Great Commission" of our Lord to the Apostles in their respective last chapters (which we may consider the consecration of the Apostles), only St. John mentions the absence of Apostle Thomas at that event. In the second appearance Apostle John does not record that our Lord provided the same commission to Apostle Thomas, but it would be quite legalistic to interpret it that way. This is the often-quoted biblical reference to priesthood by scholars in the church including Vattaseril Mor Dionasius (recently declared Saint of IOC).  Clearly, St. Thomas was one of the most active apostles of Christianity in the Eastern world in Persia, India, China and so forth.

Patriarch Ya`qub was not as diplomatic as current Patriarch of Syriac Orthodox Church. In the heat of the exchange he may have written something that technically can be held to be correct but treads into murky territory. As I stated before in the forum that that was a private letter to Catholicose Augen and not an encyclical addressed to the Malankara Church. The Patriarch could have expressed a private opinion on this matter, but it was definitely not stated as the doctrinal position of the church. The Syriac Orthodox Church has never had a notion of Patriarchal infallibility and so we can very well accept that the Patriarch may have taken what may appear to us as an extreme position or even erred in this matter.

But this is a paining truth in the context of a schism. IOC uses it for all reasons to trigger animosity and hatred. As I sated above, otherwise if it were a bull of Apostolic Teaching he would have circulated it through the parishes that would definitely accept any letter that is received from the Patriarch. His Holiness himself has clarified later his position on this. I don't have the reference in my memory. (As I am stationed in a Land were Holy Gospel is prohibited, I do not have my reference books are related document copies with me, every time I have to depend on Internet or friends form other part of the world) It is sure that the IOC is misusing this for their rhetoric gain.
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« Reply #31 on: July 06, 2004, 06:30:39 PM »

I've been meaning to add something to this discussion for some time, and now I have the time to do it.  Some of it will seem polemical, I'm sure, but really all I'm interested in is the objective facts of the situation, which are hard to get a lot of the time.  I'm convinced that an honest look at the objective facts by both sides will, one way or another, yield a solution to the present dilemma.  Unfortunately, almost no one seems interested in this.  I'm not directing these points at anyone in particular, so no offence is intended; however, I think it will be clear which side I support, although I recognise both sides in this dispute as fully Orthodox and in full communion with the other Oriental Orthodox Churches, although not in formal communion with each other.    

The first thing I want to address is the title of the bishopric of Antioch.  The occupant of this see is styled "Patriarch of Antioch and all the East".  I've frequently heard Jacobites appeal to this title, given at the First Ecumenical Council, as justification for their position.  I think I recall reading that here or in another thread.  The title refers not to everything geographically east of Antioch, however; it refers to the eastern part of the Roman Empire.  It does not address territories outside the bounds of the Roman Empire, and India is among these.  For example, the Greek Patriarch of Antioch "and all the East" does NOT claim jurisdiction on several Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions east of him (e.g., Japan), because that is not the jurisdiction which was determined by the Council.  The Syrian Patriarchs of Antioch cannot exceed the jurisdictional limits set down by the Ecumenical Council based on a faulty reading of its canons.

Now...

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In Syriac Orthodox Church canon, In Episcopal dignity the Catholicose rank second to the Patriarch and, as His Holiness's deputy, presides over the provincial Holy Synod.

In Orthodoxy, all bishops are equal in dignity, regardless of title.  Titles are matters of honour, and also serve a purpose in some jurisdictional considerations.  However, whether the head of an autocephalous Church is called Patriarch or Catholicos makes no difference: they are equal.  If, within the Syrian Orthodox Church, they choose to make a Catholicos second to a Patriarch, there is no problem with that, but they cannot then say that the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin, for example, is inferior to the Patriarch of Antioch: he is not, they are equal.  And so, the Patriarch of Antioch and the Catholicos of the East, as heads of autocephalous Churches, are equal.  

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If the Indian Orthodox Church Catholicose declare publicly and announce the acceptance of the spiritual supremacy of Patriarch of Antioch, all problem should have been solved a long back. Instead IOC Catholicose declares it in the legal proceedings and publicly questing it. Even during the blessing of Holy Muron (the Holy Oil) or Chrism, IOC Catholicose and his church remove or forget (Ignore) to remember the name of the Supreme authority of the Church.

Forgetting and ignoring are two different things.  If you have both SOC and IOC official texts for the consecration of Mooron, I'd be happy to review them to look for discrepancies in the texts.  

Regardless, I've never seen anyone in the IOC ever question the position of the Patriarch of Antioch in the Church.  On the contrary, it is affirmed, although perhaps not in the way your leaders would like.    

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Hudaya Canon does not permit the Patriarch to interfere in the internal affairs of the Synod of Catholicos of the East. He can do work in the jurisdiction of Catholicos 'only if' invited.

May I have the citation for this?  I find it interesting that you claim the Hudaya Canon says this, Thomas says the SOC Canons state a Catholicos is inferior to a Patriarch, and yet the SOR website says in one place that Hudaya Canon forms a part of the canon law of the SOC.  It is hard to discern fact from opinion in these discussions because those involved are usually too devoted to their own side to take a step back and look objectively at the facts, so wherever possible I'd (personally) like to see official documentation to back up claims.

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Regarding the position of St. Peter in the Syriac Orthodox Church, please visit the following link. It might help you.
http://www.stignatious.com/articles/peter.htm

I haven't thoroughly studied this article, but I have read through it, once in the past (when an Ethiopian Orthodox friend alerted me to it and asked me if this was what was taught in India; he thought it was heretical), and once today.  

There is a sense in which Orthodoxy teaches that Saint Peter is the "Rock"; this much is clear from liturgical and patristic sources.  However, there is a heterodox understanding of this, and it became the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.  This article sounds like some of the intro level stuff Roman Catholics put out to teach their doctrines, but at least the Roman Catholics do a better job of being more convincing in their writings.  This Syrian Orthodox piece (and since I asked for the official position of the Syrian Orthodox Church, and you gave me this, I am trusting you that this is the teaching of the SOC, since I am IOC and do not know what is going in your church), while unobjectionable to me in some respects, also presents problems.  

From the article:

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In fact the word "Rock" has been reserved for God and the Son Jesus Christ. Our Lord gave that name to Simon when He said "you are Cephas". (I have to point out here that when Moses was appointed to lead Israel God told Moses "you shall be God to him" (Exodus 4:17). Here also His name was given). By giving His name to Simon, our Lord has selected him to participate in his ministry and in his personality and be a foundation for His church.

It is hard for me to see here any implication other than that Peter was "made to be God to" the other Christians.  What does the SOC teach are the implications of this?  In what way is Peter, and his successors (the Patriarchs of Antioch, I presume), "God" to the Universal Church?  How is this exercised, both in the local Antiochene Church, and in the larger Orthodox Church (Alexandria, Etchmiadzin, Cilicia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and India)?  Other than within its own jurisdictional bounds, I've only seen the SOC attempt to exercise this sort of leadership over the Church in India and not, say, over the Alexandrian Church, whose Patriarch is the successor of Saint Mark, who was, by this logic, inferior to Saint Peter, although, by decree of the same Nicene Council referenced above, ranks higher in honour than the Patriarch of Antioch.

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By giving Christ’s name to Simon, Peter was allowed to participate in his personality and thereby awarded stewardship of the church. And as a representation of this, our Lord promised to give Simon the "Keys of heaven". This is an example of all powers given to peter. At this point the other disciples are not given the power to absolve sins. Later, other apostles are given this power to absolve sins. So Peter was given first (like a foundation) and others were later added (John 20:22). Peter was the summit of the apostolic power. Our Lord gave the other apostles participation to Peter's power.

Where is there any mention of Christ giving to Peter the power to forgive sins by changing his name?  That power is given after the Resurrection to all the Apostles.  And if Peter is the summit of apostolic power, and the other apostles were given a participation in Peter's power, then it is safe to assume that the other apostles are inferior to Peter?  They are not all equals, but one is fundamentally and essentially superior to the others?        

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This empowering that took place close to his ascension is a very significant act by our Lord. He is leaving and the administration is handed over.

What is the nature of the "administration" which Christ handed over to Peter, in the view of the SOC?  

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So our Lord gave Simon our Lords name and hinted at Peter's appointment. But later when establishing the church our Lord gave the partnership in the foundation of the church with Him to Peter and was given the authority to lead the church. Later just before ascending to heaven all power (over other disciples and over the church) was commissioned to Peter in the midst of the other disciples. So the leadership given to Peter is Biblical and is God's plan. Denying this is heresy.

(Emphasis mine)

This, if it is the official teaching of the SOC, sounds like Roman Catholic teachings, at least on the surface.  

Peter is given authority *over* the Apostles and not *among* the Apostles?  

Peter is given authority *over* the Church and not *within* the Church?  

What is the nature of this authority *over* the Apostles and the Church?  What is the SOC point of view?  And since "denying this is heresy", do the beliefs of the other Oriental Orthodox Churches with whom we both enjoy full communion square with this SOC understanding?  Do they also teach these things?  If so, where can I read about it?

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Some people regard this as 'forgiveness' of Peter's denial of our Lord (Mat 26:31). If someone sins then God forgives him or her. And forgiving is not by giving the universal authority of the church. Instead of saying I forgave you, our Lord gave universal authority over the church. So it is clear that what happened in Caesarea Philippi is commissioning of Peter with the authority to administer the church, not absolution from Peter’s denial. If Peter needed to be forgiven then it had to be during the initial meetings after the resurrection. Not at the last moment when our Lord was leaving the disciples (during such time instructions are to be given).

From my limited reading of the writings of the Church Fathers and other theological texts, it is clear that the threefold confession of Christ which Peter was made to make was to "undo" in a sense the threefold denial of Christ which Peter made.  So yes, repentence and forgiveness were a part of this.  On the other hand, some measure of responsibility was laid on Peter's shoulders at the same time.  What is this?  I know what the Catholics would say, and I have an idea of the Orthodox answer, but where does the SOC view fall into this?    

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Besides, other disciples denied our Lord more than Peter by their act. When our Lord was arrested, they all ran away and escaped. Peter did not run away but followed our Lord even though it was dangerous. Really Peter tried a trick to escape from the crowd's rowdy behavior and persecution. But all the other disciples who ran away were literally denying Christ.

Now this is interesting.  It is true the other disciples ran away because of their fear, but from where does the author get this idea that "all the other disciples who ran away were literally denying Christ"?  Where is this recorded?  The Gospels are silent about nine of the disciples: only Judas, Peter, and John are spoken of.  Judas betrayed him, Peter followed our Lord from a distance, but feeling the danger, publically denied him thrice, and John remained faithful to Christ, following Him even to the Cross and the Tomb.  The author doesn't give John the credit that is due to him for remaining faithful in spite of the danger, however, but defends Peter's denial ("Peter tried a trick to escape from the crowd's rowdy behavior and persecution"), and smears the other disciples as "literally denying Christ", even though there is nothing in the Gospels to suggest anything other than that they were afraid, and ran away.  Tell me: is there a reason for any of this?  What is the point of including Saint John with the other "Christ-denying" disciples by not singling him out as the only faithful one, while defending Saint Peter''s literally Christ-denying actions?  

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Our Lords does all the important works in Peter's presence. Usually one or two of the other disciples are also present to witness it. He was with our Lord when He rose daughter of Jairus (Mat. 9), during the transfiguration of Jesus Christ and in the prayer at Gethsemane. During the preparations of the Passover Peter along with one of them is also there. Our Lord does not do any thing important without Peter nearby. This is a part of our Lord's commissioning as the leader of the church.  

Peter was indeed present for all the important miracles in the public ministry of Christ, but so were James and John.  What do we make of these two?  

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Our Lord specially reveals many things to Peter. Only Peter was revealed that our Lord preached to the dead for three days. He states that fact in his first letter.

Only Matthew and Luke talk about the Virgin Birth; I am not aware of Peter teaching of it in his letters.  Does this mean Peter did not know of it?  The above does not necessarily prove anything.

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In 1970 by letter  # 203 to Catholicose Augen, Patriarch Yacoob III, quoting John 20:22,23, said that Apostle Thomas was not a priest.

At least some theologians hold that view even today. Whether or not the statement was inadvertent or erroneous, and it was, apostle-ship is far superior to priesthood. The patriarch affirmed that Thomas was apostle and saint. Also, as martyr he is above priesthood.

Apostleship may be far superior to priesthood, but apostleship has within itself the priesthood by the design of Christ.  To affirm apostleship but deny priesthood makes no sense, unless you are trying to establish something unheard of in the Christian faith.  Even a Roman Catholic with whom I've discussed this called this heresy.  

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The Patriarch was raising a technical point in that Apostle Thomas was not present at the time when Christ himself breathed on the Apostles as stated in John 20:21-24. While the synoptic gospels record the "Great Commission" of our Lord to the Apostles in their respective last chapters (which we may consider the consecration of the Apostles), only St. John mentions the absence of Apostle Thomas at that event.

But the Apostle Thomas was present at the Great Commission.  What he was not present at was the appearance of the Risen Christ to the apostles in the upper room, when He breathed on them, sending upon them the Holy Spirit, and giving them the power to forgive and retain sins.  It is this event to which the Patriarch referred in his letter (which I've only seen in Syriac, so have no clue as to what actually is contained except by what others tell me).  But does this mean Thomas was lacking in the priesthood in some way?  No, and Thomas is right when he says "it would be quite legalistic to interpret it that way".  

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As I stated before in the forum that that was a private letter to Catholicose Augen and not an encyclical addressed to the Malankara Church.

Is there any proof for this statement?  I've heard two different versions of this (I've heard two different versions of many incidents often referenced in these discussions).

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2.) Is it true that the IOC removed the condemnation of Pope Leo and his tome from the amalogia of episcopal ordination?  Why?  Would they really compromise their miaphysite Faith just to have a political weapon against the Patriarch of Antioch?  As in "Give us what we want or we will join the Byzantine communion".  If so, that is lamentable.  Matters of faith should not be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

What I've heard from Jacobites is that the condemnations of Leo and his Tome were taken out of an episcopal ordination which occurred sometime in the 1960's-1970's as a friendly gesture towards the EO, particularly the MP, with whom the Indian Church was intending to align if the See of Antioch did not acquiese to its demands.  I've never seen any documentation of this, but the fact that it is bandied about enough leads me to believe it happened.  But was it a one time thing, where the usual condemnations were resumed in subsequent ordinations?  Or was it a permanent thing, where the Synod decided to remove it entirely?  This is not clear.  Nor is the intent behind these deletions clear.  While the Jacobites make it sound like a weapon used to threaten Antioch, I've heard Orthodox say this was not the intention at all, but merely that, in light of the ecumenical dialogues going on between EO and OO, our Church decided to remove said condemnations, all of this going on while a friendly relationship was being cultivated between our Church and the largest of the autocephalous EO churches.  If we could see official texts and reports of the event, it might become clear.  It would be interesting to see what happens at four IOC episcopal ordinations which are slated to occur in the next six months or so.  

My own opinion of the whole condemnation of Leo thing: it would be one thing to protest the taking out of these condemnations if the OO continued to believe that both Leo and the Tome could not in any way be considered Orthodox.  But, in light of the ecumenical dialogue occurring between EO and OO, it was becoming clear at that point and is clear now that they can indeed be seen both in an Orthodox way and in a heterodox way, and it is in the Orthodox way in which the EO have believed.  This seems to be accepted by the Oriental Orthodox Churches.  Therefore, is there any need anymore to condemn them if now we understand they are not wrong like we perceived them to be?  Or have the OO Churches NOT accepted these conclusions, contrary to all I've heard?

Also, it is interesting to me that Jacobites would criticise such a move, as it seems much more conservative than what they are up to.  Paul rightly noted here or elsewhere that, unlike the Jacobites, who have an official intercommunion agreement with the Roman Catholic Church, the IOC has no such official agreements (private opinions and the exercise of economy, however, are a different matter).  The Syrian Orthodox have an intercommunion agreement with the Roman Catholics, and allow both intercommunion and concelebration with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Antioch.  So on the one hand, the Jacobites condemn the Orthodox for allegedly deleting from the rite of episcopal ordination condemnations of Leo and his Tome, but on the other hand are happy to recognise and participate in the sacraments of and concelebrate with churches with which we are not in full communion, and which have historically tended to view US as the bad guys.  This means that the Jacobites, who continue to condemn Leo and the Tome in their episcopal ordinations, commune and concelebrate with those who not only recognise the Tome as the *definitive* Orthodox statement on Christology, but also venerate Leo as a saint, and condemn some of our saints as heretics.  

Which is the more consistent, more prudent, more conservative move?
« Last Edit: July 06, 2004, 06:32:20 PM by Mor Ephrem » Logged

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« Reply #32 on: July 07, 2004, 12:20:56 PM »



Patriarch Ya`qub was not as diplomatic as current Patriarch of Syriac Orthodox Church. In the heat of the exchange he may have written something that technically can be held to be correct but treads into murky territory. As I stated before in the forum that that was a private letter to Catholicose Augen and not an encyclical addressed to the Malankara Church. The Patriarch could have expressed a private opinion on this matter, but it was definitely not stated as the doctrinal position of the church. The Syriac Orthodox Church has never had a notion of Patriarchal infallibility and so we can very well accept that the Patriarch may have taken what may appear to us as an extreme position or even erred in this matter.


I do not understand the logic of always trying to justify every act of the Patriarch. Here, when there is no other valid reasons to justify,  a new argument is introduced, that "he was not as diplomatic as current Patriarch of Syriac Orthodox Church". Is this a valid reason to justify the act of the Patriarch? How do we measure diplomacy? How do we know if the present Patriarch is more diplomatic? How is diplomacy related to faith aspects?

The infamous letter of the Patriarch was written on official letterhead and it was addressed to the official head of the Synod of the Indian Church. There is also an official letter number (No. 203/70).  The letter No. 203/70 of Patriarch Yakub 111 was formulated against the usage 'throne of St. Thomas'.
Official letterhead of Catholicos of the East carries the term 'throne of St. Thomas', to indicate that Catholicoi of the East are in the lineage of Apostle Thomas in the East, as a continuity of the works of St. Thomas in the East, especially India.

The Patriarch tried to prove through logical reasoning and using the Bible that since Apostle Thomas is not even a priest (hence not a high-priest, i.e. an Episcopa), the usage 'throne of St. Thomas' is invalid.  But one thing is revealed here, that if we can prove that St. Thomas received valid ordination, then the usage 'throne of St. Thomas' is valid.

The letter carried the official seal and signature of the Patriarch. It was an official letter written by the head of a church to the head of another church, with proper addressing (i.e. the head of Indian church was addressed 'Catholicos of the East' in this letter). The book 'Orthodox Church of India' by Dr. David Daniel carries this letter fully written in Syriac.

There is no need to explicitly mention the people in a letter to indicate that it is written for all. Letters of Church fathers examined in ecumenical councils were not all addressed to people, but  just to teachers involved.  The priesthood of Apostle Thomas is part of the (Catholic) faith of the church. As much as it is the common faith, kept by all sections of St. Thomas Christians of India, any letter attacking this faith means an attack on the whole St. Thomas Christian community. Here it was specifically addressed to the head of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox community, hence indirectly to the whole community, since a common faith (Catholic faith) of the community is attacked through such an official letter.

I do not understsand why the Jacobite church is trying to protect every act of modern Syrian Patriarchs, as if they believe in Patriarchal infallibility. For example, when SOC introduced some liberal changes in recent times, none of the Jacobite leaders wrote against it. How do we ensure that Orthodox is preserved through this approach?

In a way, the credit of popularizing the letter goes to the Jacobite church, because this letter was widely used by the Jacobites as a basis of their faith and their claims against the Orthodox church.  Greatest need of the Jacobites was to establish 'universal primacy of rule' of successors of Apostle Peter, that requires  total destruction of the Indian Christian tradition of the priesthood, Apostolicity and throne of St. Thomas who is the founding father of the Churches in the East. For them, the Indian church should always remain as a subordinate within the universal jurisdiction of the successors of Peter . Even today this is the most important Jacobite teaching, and the greatest impediment for reuniting the St. Thomas Christians of India.

The usage 'throne of St. Thomas' by the Indian church was one of the reasons (perhaps the most important)  that prevented the head of Jacobite church H.B. Thomas 1 from participating in the united Malankara Association of the Church held in March, 2002, which happened according to the recommendation of the Indian Supreme court that both sides unite in a joint meeting. H.B. Thomas 1 then made a public statement (which was published in leading newspapers), that he is abstaining because the letter of the Catholicos carried the term 'throne of St. Thomas' and that only the Patriarch can use red ink in an official letter.  Can Mr. Thomas Daniel deny these facts?

Personally, I realized on thing, that however hard the Jacobite try to promtoe the universal primacy rule of successors of Peter, the Orthodox churches worldwide (especially the Oriental Orthodox) will not accept such a teaching. It will only cause the Jacobites to move towards Roman Catholicism, because only they can sympathise with the Jacobites regarding this aspect. In fact such a aympathy already exists in India, since the Roman Catholic Bishop publically requested to firmly keep this faith.

Let us try to learn and teach the common faith of the Oriental Orthodox, instead of trying to introduce distortions and exaggerations which can result in divisions.

-Paul


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« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2004, 12:36:59 PM »



When the Catholicose Augen claimed the equality of position with the Patriarch against all historic norms, and in their (IOC) eagerness to prove their autocephaly in the Eastern Orthodox model and draw themselves closer to that family of Churches removed the condemnation of Pope Leo and his tome from the amalogia of episcopal ordination, In 1970 by letter  # 203 to Catholicose Augen, Patriarch Yacoob III, quoting John 20:22,23, said that Apostle Thomas was not a priest.



I have the most recent print of the Holy Liturgy used in all Indian Orthodox Churches worldwide, which is the liturgy officially allowed by the Church. If you examine the hymn on honoring Orthodox fathers in the liturgy, it carries condemnation of the Tome of Leo. I have also seen the Jacobite liturgy. Though it is similar to the Indian Orthodox, the hymn condemning the Tome of Leo is not present. So this is a mere rumor spread by the Jacobites.

The movement towards unity with EO is not a decision of Indian Orthodox alone. In fact the 1965 Oriental Orthodox Ecumanical council allows Oriental orthodox sister churches to have greater co-operation with EO. But with RC church there are restrictions. There is also one more reason why the Indian church showed great interest at one point, because some of the fathers from OO who worked actively for OO-EO unity were from the Indian Orthodox, such as late H.G. Paulos Mar Gregorios and Fr. V.C. Samuel.

Please also note that SOC allows communing from Chalcedonian Anthiocian Greek Orthodox church. The agreement allows SOC people to invite Antiochian Greek priest to celebrate liturgy for them.

-Paul

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« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2004, 12:56:33 PM »


2.) Is it true that the IOC removed the condemnation of Pope Leo and his tome from the amalogia of episcopal ordination?  Why?  Would they really compromise their miaphysite Faith just to have a political weapon against the Patriarch of Antioch?  As in "Give us what we want or we will join the Byzantine communion".  If so, that is lamentable.  Matters of faith should not be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.


Dear Antonious Nikolas,

I know only one story, which is in the context of the Ethiopian church.
When the Ethiopian Church elected a Patriarch (Abune Theophilos?). The Patriarch-elect requested Fr. V.C. Samuel (who  was then teaching at Holy Trinity Seminary in Ethiopia) to prepare the 'amalogia' to be confessed suring ordination. The Indian priest showed an amalogia similar to the Indian church. But then the Patriarch-elect requested that all condemnations should be removed in the amalogia. According to the Patriarch-elect, what is needed is to confess the correct Orthodox Faith (i.e. Oriental Orthodox) and the act of confessing the true faith automatically excludes a different faith. This story is reported in the autobiography of Fr. V.C. Samuel,  where he shares his Ethiopian experiences.

During 1970's the EO-OO dialogues were in progress and there was great interest in theologians of both parties towards unity. There were many recommendations for how to make the unity practical. If I remember correctly, even H.H. Pope Shenouda made a statement meaning no major disagreements with later EO councils, except certain Nestorian interpretation of Chalcedon.

-Paul
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« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2004, 03:05:23 PM »

First of all, let me just say that I consider myself a "neutral" in this.  It pains me to see families and people of the Oriental Orthodox Faith divided from one another by politics.  I can see some good points on both sides, but I also have some criticisms of the behavior of both sides, especially where it has become violent, and where I feel it has departed from the Orthodox Faith.

I would be very interested to hear a rebuttal to Phil's critique of the above mentioned document.  I won't comment too much right now except to say that he made some very excellent points.  I read the article, and I cannot believe that all of this teaching about St. Peter is wholly Orthodox.  The article states: "Apart from our Lord Jesus, Simon Peter is the next most distinguished person in the New Testament."  Is this true?  What of Our Lady St. Mary?  Also, is this really the teaching of the Patriarchate of Antioch, or just the Syrian Church in India?  That being said, I also have some criticisms of the IOC side:

What I've heard from Jacobites is that the condemnations of Leo and his Tome were taken out of an episcopal ordination which occurred sometime in the 1960's-1970's as a friendly gesture towards the EO, particularly the MP, with whom the Indian Church was intending to align if the See of Antioch did not acquiese to its demands.  

This I find very disturbing.  Can the Indian Church really cast aside the Miaphysite Faith so easily?  They would really go over to the Byzantine Church just to get the Patriarch of Antioch to "acquiese to their demands"?  This doesn't sound like a gesture of reconciliation with the EO to me, it sounds like a convenient way to strong-arm Antioch.  If St. Thomas really established a throne in India, why not just declare the Indian Church autocephalous?  Why seek to align with a foreign Church at all?  And if that is for some reason necessary, why the Byzantines instead of Alexandria, Etchmiadzin, Cilicia, Ethiopia, etc.?  I remember reading that in 1652 the Indian Church wrote to Alexandria for help resisting the Romans, and received the bishop Mar Aithalaha, who was unfortunately kidnapped (and possibly drowned) by the Jesuits before he could do anything.*  Why not appeal to another Oriental Orthodox Church, or call for an Oriental Orthodox Council, since we are not yet formally in Coummunion with the Byzantines?


I've never seen any documentation of this, but the fact that it is bandied about enough leads me to believe it happened.  But was it a one time thing, where the usual condemnations were resumed in subsequent ordinations?  Or was it a permanent thing, where the Synod decided to remove it entirely?  This is not clear.  Nor is the intent behind these deletions clear.  While the Jacobites make it sound like a weapon used to threaten Antioch, I've heard Orthodox say this was not the intention at all, but merely that, in light of the ecumenical dialogues going on between EO and OO, our Church decided to remove said condemnations, all of this going on while a friendly relationship was being cultivated between our Church and the largest of the autocephalous EO churches.  If we could see official texts and reports of the event, it might become clear.  It would be interesting to see what happens at four IOC episcopal ordinations which are slated to occur in the next six months or so.  

I would be interested to know all of the details here too.  Was this a one time thing?  If so, why did it occur and what is its justification?  Or did it even occur at all?  Has it become regular practice (i.e. does this happen every time an Indian bishop is ordained)?  Please let me know what happens at the four IOC episcopal ordinations which you have mentioned are occuring in the next six months.  

My own opinion of the whole condemnation of Leo thing: it would be one thing to protest the taking out of these condemnations if the OO continued to believe that both Leo and the Tome could not in any way be considered Orthodox.  But, in light of the ecumenical dialogue occurring between EO and OO, it was becoming clear at that point and is clear now that they can indeed be seen both in an Orthodox way and in a heterodox way, and it is in the Orthodox way in which the EO have believed.  This seems to be accepted by the Oriental Orthodox Churches.  Therefore, is there any need anymore to condemn them if now we understand they are not wrong like we perceived them to be?  Or have the OO Churches NOT accepted these conclusions, contrary to all I've heard?

Accepting that the EO can interpret the tome of Leo in an Orthodox manner, and accepting the document itself and its author as being Orthodox are two different things.  I will not go into a lengthy critique of the document or the man here (in the interest of not violating the ban on polemics), but I have quite a few problems with both of them.  It would be quite disturbing if the IOC began teaching that this document was Orthodox.

Also, it is interesting to me that Jacobites would criticise such a move, as it seems much more conservative than what they are up to.  Paul rightly noted here or elsewhere that, unlike the Jacobites, who have an official intercommunion agreement with the Roman Catholic Church, the IOC has no such official agreements (private opinions and the exercise of economy, however, are a different matter).  The Syrian Orthodox have an intercommunion agreement with the Roman Catholics, and allow both intercommunion and concelebration with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Antioch.  So on the one hand, the Jacobites condemn the Orthodox for allegedly deleting from the rite of episcopal ordination condemnations of Leo and his Tome, but on the other hand are happy to recognise and participate in the sacraments of and concelebrate with churches with which we are not in full communion, and which have historically tended to view US as the bad guys.  This means that the Jacobites, who continue to condemn Leo and the Tome in their episcopal ordinations, commune and concelebrate with those who not only recognise the Tome as the *definitive* Orthodox statement on Christology, but also venerate Leo as a saint, and condemn some of our saints as heretics.  

Which is the more consistent, more prudent, more conservative move?      

I would be interested in hearing a rebuttal to this point.  It is my opinion that the Oriental Orthodox should not move unilaterally on any of these issues.  We should act as one.

Paul, it is comforting to know that the anathema on Leo of Rome and his tome is still present in the Indian Liturgy.  Your story about Fr. V.C. Samuel and Abune Theophilos is also very interesting.  Where can I obtain a copy of his autobiography?  I already have a copy of his book "The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined".  After reading this book, I cannot believe that Father Samuel would be friendly towards Leo's christology or his politics.


* Leslie Brown "The Indian Christians of St. Thomas" p. 99.
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« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2004, 05:30:59 PM »

This I find very disturbing.  Can the Indian Church really cast aside the Miaphysite Faith so easily?  They would really go over to the Byzantine Church just to get the Patriarch of Antioch to "acquiese to their demands"?  This doesn't sound like a gesture of reconciliation with the EO to me, it sounds like a convenient way to strong-arm Antioch.

It is important not to be too hasty in coming to a conclusion about these things, because each side does quite a bit of spinning, often to the detriment of the case they are trying to make.  

Was there a close relationship with the MP?  Was the purpose of this relationship, from the IOC perspective, to strong-arm Antioch?  Was whatever concession which was made made in order to further this goal?  I withhold judgement on this until I can get all the facts (and this process gets hairy).

Quote
If St. Thomas really established a throne in India, why not just declare the Indian Church autocephalous?

The IOC declared autocephaly/was granted autocephaly in 1912 or thereabouts.  This was not recognised by the Holy Synod in Antioch.  In 1934, the IOC approved a constitution which recognised the spiritual primacy of the Patriarch of Antioch, but assigned spiritual and temporal administrative authority to the Catholicos of the East, who is the head of the autocephalous Orthodox Church in India.  This constitution was not accepted by the faction faithful to Antioch until 1957; the Patriarch came to India, reconciliation was achieved, the 1934 Constitution was accepted AS IS, with no changes, and the Church was united.  From THIS point on, no matter what one's opinion is of the legitimacy of the actions taken from 1912 on (and I'm one of those who thinks there were a few questionable things now and then), there should be no question of the status of the Church--its identity and status are as stipulated in the now-accepted-by-everybody Constitution.  The status of the Indian Church was recognised by all the Patriarchs and Catholicoi of the Orthodox Church in Addis Ababa in 1965.  After this, it seems the divisive actions started with Antioch, and escalated from there.  Those actions don't change anything, however: the Church in India is autocephalous, and in communion with everyone except Antioch (and even this is a point I'm not sure of...did it go both ways, or is it a one way division that ends up working both ways?).      

Quote
I would be interested to know all of the details here too.  Was this a one time thing?  If so, why did it occur and what is its justification?  Or did it even occur at all?  Has it become regular practice (i.e. does this happen every time an Indian bishop is ordained)?  Please let me know what happens at the four IOC episcopal ordinations which you have mentioned are occuring in the next six months.  

I can substantiate Paul's claim that there is a hymn in our liturgical books which, among other things, condemns Nestorius, Leo, and Chalcedon at the same time.  However, I've never heard anything other than the first verse sung, and these condemnations and others occur in later verses.  I did not know that the Jacobite books omit this entirely; it is one thing to just not sing something, and another to omit it entirely from the books.  

Quote
Accepting that the EO can interpret the tome of Leo in an Orthodox manner, and accepting the document itself and its author as being Orthodox are two different things.  I will not go into a lengthy critique of the document or the man here (in the interest of not violating the ban on polemics), but I have quite a few problems with both of them.  It would be quite disturbing if the IOC began teaching that this document was Orthodox.I would be interested in hearing a rebuttal to this point.  It is my opinion that the Oriental Orthodox should not move unilaterally on any of these issues.  We should act as one.

If the EO understand Leo of Rome and his Tome in an Orthodox manner, and if that is indeed the manner in which they accepted them at Chalcedon, and if we accept this explanation, then I don't see why a condemnation of both is strictly necessary--a condemnation of false interpretations is necessary, of course.  If you would like to continue discussing this particular topic with me, and don't want to violate the restriction on polemics, please PM me.  

I agree with you that the Oriental Orthodox shouldn't move unilaterally ideally.  However, such unilateral moves have been made, in lesser or greater matters, by almost all the OO Churches, including your own (unless there are details I've missed).
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« Reply #37 on: July 07, 2004, 07:54:38 PM »

Phil,

You can imagine how confusing this whole situation is to me as an outsider.  You yourself are Indian Orthodox and (no offense) don't seem to be 100% clear on everything.  In your opinion, is Antioch the root of the problem, or is this a local problem that has ended up embroiling Antioch?  Several people from both sides have told me that this feud has literally torn families apart, and that a lot of it is rooted in rivalries between local bishops over the control of certain Church properties.

It is important not to be too hasty in coming to a conclusion about these things, because each side does quite a bit of spinning, often to the detriment of the case they are trying to make.  

Was there a close relationship with the MP?  Was the purpose of this relationship, from the IOC perspective, to strong-arm Antioch?  Was whatever concession which was made made in order to further this goal?  I withhold judgement on this until I can get all the facts (and this process gets hairy).

I agree.  But how does one go about ascertaining the facts in this situation?  It varies greatly depending on what you read and who you talk to.  Could you provide me with the answers to any of the above questions?  I would greatly appreciate it.  (Maybe the most "neutral" person to ask would be the MP himself?).  You can see where one would get the impression that I articulated above, even if I was jumping to conclusions a little.  You yourself said: "What I've heard from Jacobites is that the condemnations of Leo and his Tome were taken out of an episcopal ordination which occurred sometime in the 1960's-1970's as a friendly gesture towards the EO, particularly the MP, with whom the Indian Church was intending to align if the See of Antioch did not acquiese to its demands." (Emphasis mine)  Was I misunderstanding you here?  Or are you saying that the Jacobites cannot be trusted to relay the correct information in this case?  If so, how does one ascertain what is the truth?


The IOC declared autocephaly/was granted autocephaly in 1912 or thereabouts.  This was not recognised by the Holy Synod in Antioch.  In 1934, the IOC approved a constitution which recognised the spiritual primacy of the Patriarch of Antioch, but assigned spiritual and temporal administrative authority to the Catholicos of the East, who is the head of the autocephalous Orthodox Church in India.  This constitution was not accepted by the faction faithful to Antioch until 1957; the Patriarch came to India, reconciliation was achieved, the 1934 Constitution was accepted AS IS, with no changes, and the Church was united.  From THIS point on, no matter what one's opinion is of the legitimacy of the actions taken from 1912 on (and I'm one of those who thinks there were a few questionable things now and then), there should be no question of the status of the Church--its identity and status are as stipulated in the now-accepted-by-everybody Constitution.  The status of the Indian Church was recognised by all the Patriarchs and Catholicoi of the Orthodox Church in Addis Ababa in 1965.  After this, it seems the divisive actions started with Antioch, and escalated from there.  Those actions don't change anything, however: the Church in India is autocephalous, and in communion with everyone except Antioch (and even this is a point I'm not sure of...did it go both ways, or is it a one way division that ends up working both ways?).


Thank you for this synopsis.  It sounds like the matter is already resolved then to me.  The Indian Church is autocephalous and has been recognized as such by everyone, including Antioch, for a long time.  This leads to two questions:

1.) How did the divisions start?  Both Churches were represented at Addis Ababa.  Neither of them snubbed the other at that synod.  What happened after this?

2.) If the Indian Church is truly autocephalous and no longer needs Antioch's approval for anything, then why would it have been necessary to "align with the MP if the See of Antioch did not acquiese to its demands"?  Why is it necessary to have Antioch acquiese to anything, or to have the MP act as a stand-in if they don't?  I really don't understand this move at all.

I can substantiate Paul's claim that there is a hymn in our liturgical books which, among other things, condemns Nestorius, Leo, and Chalcedon at the same time.  However, I've never heard anything other than the first verse sung, and these condemnations and others occur in later verses.  I did not know that the Jacobite books omit this entirely; it is one thing to just not sing something, and another to omit it entirely from the books.  If the EO understand Leo of Rome and his Tome in an Orthodox manner, and if that is indeed the manner in which they accepted them at Chalcedon, and if we accept this explanation, then I don't see why a condemnation of both is strictly necessary--a condemnation of false interpretations is necessary, of course.  If you would like to continue discussing this particular topic with me, and don't want to violate the restriction on polemics, please PM me.

It may or may not be necessary for me to pm you.  It depends if you want to discuss the theology involved and the problems I have with specific parts of Leo's christology.  I'd imagine that as an Oriental Orthodox, you are familiar with most of my objections already.  I also have big problems with the Three Chapters, and cannot fathom how they could ever have been seen as anything but Nestorian.  Perhaps I am misunderstanding what you are saying.  It sounds as if you are saying that since an Orthodox interpretation can be made of Leo's christology, it is not necessary to anathematize him.  He is de facto Orthodox.  Following this line of thinking, why don't we just accept Leo and his Tome as fully Orthodox ourselves, and recognize Chalcedon as Orthodox, and sign on for all seven EO councils?  

I agree with you that the Oriental Orthodox shouldn't move unilaterally ideally.  However, such unilateral moves have been made, in lesser or greater matters, by almost all the OO Churches, including your own (unless there are details I've missed).    

I wouldn't dispute this point.  I wish that we still had an Emperor around to coordinate Addis Ababa's, and we could all move as one.  Wishful thinking on my part, I guess.  

To end on a hopeful note, I'll ask how close we are to a resolution in India.  Will it be in our lifetime?  (I'm hoping the answer will be yes).
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« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2004, 08:19:52 PM »

In your opinion, is Antioch the root of the problem, or is this a local problem that has ended up embroiling Antioch?  Several people from both sides have told me that this feud has literally torn families apart, and that a lot of it is rooted in rivalries between local bishops over the control of certain Church properties.

After the 1965 Council, there was, to my knowledge, no local problem which embroiled Antioch.  Everything I've read leads me to believe that Antioch involved itself uncanonically in the affairs of another autocephalous Church.  

As to your second point, it is as you wrote.  I think there is a definite right and wrong in this situation, but it has literally torn apart families, and, of course, since the bishops are human, there are rivalries and what not.  

Property, however, is another thing.  If the Indian Church is autocephalous, then ecclesiastical properties belong to that Church.  If the Jacobites wanted another administration, I think that's their right, and I would hope they'd find peace in that newer administration, and that both sides could remain in peaceful communion, but do they have the right to take church properties for themselves, even in places where they are in the majority?  I am not sure, but I don't think parish churches are owned by the parishes, and monasteries by the monastic brotherhoods, etc.  The property belongs to the Church, and if a group wants to start another jurisdiction, they ought to respect that they are thus surrendering rights to property, and buy their own.  Instead, all the litigation going on is over people bickering over property.

I don't even like writing this way about property.  Frankly, for the sake of peace, I wish we would give up our legitimate case against them and let them have what they want.  I think our people, however, feel that a compromised peace is worse than just struggle.  

Quote
I agree.  But how does one go about ascertaining the facts in this situation?  It varies greatly depending on what you read and who you talk to.  Could you provide me with the answers to any of the above questions?  I would greatly appreciate it.  (Maybe the most "neutral" person to ask would be the MP himself?).  You can see where one would get the impression that I articulated above, even if I was jumping to conclusions a little.  You yourself said: "What I've heard from Jacobites is that the condemnations of Leo and his Tome were taken out of an episcopal ordination which occurred sometime in the 1960's-1970's as a friendly gesture towards the EO, particularly the MP, with whom the Indian Church was intending to align if the See of Antioch did not acquiese to its demands." (Emphasis mine)  Was I misunderstanding you here?  Or are you saying that the Jacobites cannot be trusted to relay the correct information in this case?  If so, how does one ascertain what is the truth?

I've gotten most of my information from people on email lists.  Most of the posts are polemical spin, but if you look carefully, you will see facts.  It is by taking the facts alone into consideration that you can see the truth.  I don't think you can fully trust either Jacobites or Orthodox online to convey the truth of the story, but if you sift carefully through what they say, you will see some facts, and that is the only thing you should rely on.  

Other than personal dialogues, you really need to know Malayalam in order to know what's going on by reading news reports, official declarations, etc.  But even here it can get polemical.  Newspapers often have their biases in this matter, so you have to sift through them.  Synodal declarations are of course the same.  There isn't much in English that I know of, but there is some, and I'm hoping in the fall to have greater access to some of that.  The important thing, again, is to be able to distinguish what is certain from what is spin.  

More later...
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« Reply #39 on: July 08, 2004, 05:54:36 PM »

Thank you for this synopsis.  It sounds like the matter is already resolved then to me.  The Indian Church is autocephalous and has been recognized as such by everyone, including Antioch, for a long time.  This leads to two questions:

1.) How did the divisions start?  Both Churches were represented at Addis Ababa.  Neither of them snubbed the other at that synod.  What happened after this?

The abovementioned letter of H.H. the Patriarch of Antioch to H.H. the Catholicos of the East is one of the important things that happened after '65.  There may have been other moves, but I am not clear on that.  

Quote
2.) If the Indian Church is truly autocephalous and no longer needs Antioch's approval for anything, then why would it have been necessary to "align with the MP if the See of Antioch did not acquiese to its demands"?  Why is it necessary to have Antioch acquiese to anything, or to have the MP act as a stand-in if they don't?  I really don't understand this move at all.

I don't even know if that is what happened; I know that's what the Jacobites say.  

The Indian Church is autocephalous, but it appears as if the Syrian Church thinks it can recognise and revoke autocephaly at will, and that is another problem.  I've spoken with Jacobites who accuse us of heresy, call us graceless schismatics, etc. for not simply obeying Antioch.  Meanwhile, we are in communion with everyone else, and have always upheld the Orthodox faith.  When I pointed this out to some Jacobites, and even provided proof from other OO Churches to establish my point, some told me that this was the case only because the others have been misled, and once the truth is shown, everyone else will recognise us as graceless schismatics as well, and if they don't, then Antioch is fully prepared to break communion with everyone else in order to stand up for the truth (!).  I dare not say this is the attitude of all of them, but there is a certain "We're always right!" attitude among many of them.    

Quote
To end on a hopeful note, I'll ask how close we are to a resolution in India.  Will it be in our lifetime?  (I'm hoping the answer will be yes).

Paul knows more of the details re: the recent history, so maybe he'll chime in.  My understanding is that after the passing of H.B. Baselios Paulos II sometime in the 1990's, Antioch specifically did not consecrate a new Catholicos, hoping that something could be worked out between them and the Orthodox.  The Orthodox held a meeting of the Association where they invited the Jacobites to participate and help settle things.  Other than four bishops (who joined our Church), no one else came from the Jacobite side (they'd argue the meeting and elections were set up to automatically favour our Church, so they abstained), Antioch consecrated a Catholicos for the Jacobites, they started making more bishops, etc.  I think things are not progressing well, maybe even they have been set back.  Hopefully it will happen in our lifetime, but I'm not so sure.
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« Reply #40 on: July 08, 2004, 07:39:08 PM »

Thanks, Phil, for all of this information.  I will pm you about the tome.  This situation really makes me sad.  I pray for the Church in India. :'(
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« Reply #41 on: July 09, 2004, 12:53:01 AM »

I've been meaning to add something to this discussion for some time, and now I have the time to do it.  Some of it will seem polemical, I'm sure, but really all I'm interested in is the objective facts of the situation, which are hard to get a lot of the time.  I'm convinced that an honest look at the objective facts by both sides will, one way or another, yield a solution to the present dilemma.  Unfortunately, almost no one seems interested in this.  I'm not directing these points at anyone in particular, so no offence is intended; however, I think it will be clear which side I support, although I recognise both sides in this dispute as fully Orthodox and in full communion with the other Oriental Orthodox Churches, although not in formal communion with each other.    

The first thing I want to address is the title of the bishopric of Antioch.  The occupant of this see is styled "Patriarch of Antioch and all the East".  I've frequently heard Jacobites appeal to this title, given at the First Ecumenical Council, as justification for their position.  I think I recall reading that here or in another thread.  The title refers not to everything geographically east of Antioch, however; it refers to the eastern part of the Roman Empire.  It does not address territories outside the bounds of the Roman Empire, and India is among these.  For example, the Greek Patriarch of Antioch "and all the East" does NOT claim jurisdiction on several Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions east of him (e.g., Japan), because that is not the jurisdiction which was determined by the Council.  The Syrian Patriarchs of Antioch cannot exceed the jurisdictional limits set down by the Ecumenical Council based on a faulty reading of its canons.  

Yes the Nicene Synod was convened by the Byzantine emperor and its edicts could be administratively enforced only in the Roman empire. However, it was regarded as an ecumenical synod by the entire Christendom with the exception of the Gnostics and Arians (who our holy fathers would not regard as Christians but as heretics).  This was also true of the Church in the Persian empire whose head the Catholicos of Seleucia-Ctesiphon (south of Baghdad) was explicitly identified as subordinate to the Patriarch of Antioch. This Church accepted the canons of the Nicene Synod and existed in communion with and subordinate to the Patriarchate until the late 5th century when their acceptance of Nestor's Christological dogma lead to their estrangement. The fact that "of the East" extended beyond the confines of the Roman Empire is evident from the injunction we find in the canons of the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople as recorded in MS 14528 in the British Museum: "The Bishop of Alexandria shall govern those (churches) that are in Mizraim (Egypt) and the Bishop of the East (Seleucia) those of the East only, the seniority which is given by the canons of Nikia (Nicea) to the Church of Antioch being preserved." (Translation by Howard in "Canons of the Primitive Church"). Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Ch XLIL Vol III (1890) p. 354 notes that the "filial dependence of the Catholici of Seleucia on the Patriarchs of Antioch is attested by the canons of the Oriental Church." Clearly if the SOC is at fault in reading the canons of the ecumenical synods quite eminent historians were as well. Even after the Church of the East was estranged from the Patriarchate in part due to the political pressures from the ruling Sassanians who deplored the association of Persian Christians with a spiritual authority in the Roman empire a number of Christians in Persia especially prisoners of war who were forced to settle in the Persian territory remained subordinate to the Patriarchate (and their descendents do to this day.) The Maphrianate that administered these Christians were always subordinate to the Patriarch of Antioch.

Regardless of the history there is a logical problem here as well. Any church that subscribes to the Nicene Synod as one of the primary sources of its theology and ecclesiastics cannot then say that it applied only to Roman empire.
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« Reply #42 on: July 09, 2004, 12:56:01 AM »

Now...In Orthodoxy, all bishops are equal in dignity, regardless of title.  Titles are matters of honour, and also serve a purpose in some jurisdictional considerations.  However, whether the head of an autocephalous Church is called Patriarch or Catholicos makes no difference: they are equal.  If, within the Syrian Orthodox Church, they choose to make a Catholicos second to a Patriarch, there is no problem with that, but they cannot then say that the Catholicos of Etchmiadzin, for example, is inferior to the Patriarch of Antioch: he is not, they are equal.  And so, the Patriarch of Antioch and the Catholicos of the East, as heads of autocephalous Churches, are equal.  Forgetting and ignoring are two different things.  If you have both SOC and IOC official texts for the consecration of Mooron, I'd be happy to review them to look for discrepancies in the texts.    

If in Orthodoxy all bishops are equal then there was no need for the recognition of Patriarchates at the Nicene Synod. The office of bishop is best defined in the writings of St Ignatius of Antioch. The rights and duties of bishops are described there. Clearly by early 4th cent. an ecclesiastical position above the bishopric became necessary. After the Patriarchates were recognized it is meaningless to argue that all bishops are equal.

Nobody makes the claim that Patriarch of Antioch has jurisdiction over the Armenians under the Catholicate of Etchmiadzin or argue about their equality. This Catholicate was not even considered in the Ecumenical Synods and developed independently as a separate jursidiction for an ethnic community.  

If you are alluding that the situation of the Catholicate in the IOC is equivalent to that of Etchmiadzin you are mistaken. The claim is that the Catholicate of IOC succeeds the Catholicate of the East. The "translation" of the Catholicate (of course without the people who it was supposed to have jursidiction over) allegedly happened at the hands of a SOC Patriarch of Antioch in 1912. We will leave aside for the moment that this Patriarch was removed from his position and that he did not have the authority of the Synod of the Church; we will also leave aside for the moment that such a "translation" of ecclesiastical positions across jurisdictions has no precedent. If a Syrian Orthodox Patriarch were to independently consecrate a Catholicos, he could not have consecrated a successor to the Catholicate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon which has a legitimate succession in the Church of the East to this day. He could have at best consecrated a successor to the Maphryono of Takrit (the Syriac equivalent of the Greek "Catholicos") which had become defunct in the 1860s. This was an office always subordinate to the Patriarch of Antioch. The IOC cannot at the same time claim that they have succession to an ancient ecclesiastical position which is necessary for their claim to antiquity but in the same breath claim that the character of the position changed entirely. Of course if the IOC were to admit that they created a new Catholicate in 1912 independent of the Patriarchate the claim to being an autocephalic church has merit. But consistently IOC has argued against this because this would affect their rights over churches that belonged to the Syrian Orthodox Church in Malankara.
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« Reply #43 on: July 09, 2004, 01:01:46 AM »


 Forgetting and ignoring are two different things.  If you have both SOC and IOC official texts for the consecration of Mooron, I'd be happy to review them to look for discrepancies in the texts.    
There is no IOC text for any liturgy. Every liturgy to date in the IOC is from the SOC. Of course, IOC has engaged in distorting meaning in translations. The liturgical text may refer to the Patriarch but the name is omitted in practice. The Patriarch is not the only person subject to such treatment. St. Peter is deprecated as well. For instance where the Syriac Orthodox liturgy of the matrimony clearly attests in a hymn in the betrothal service that St. Peter was entrusted with the administration of the "house" (the Church) and St. John with the Gospel. It is fashionable among IOC priests to distort this to "St Peter was entrusted with guarding the house."
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« Reply #44 on: July 09, 2004, 01:04:36 AM »

.  

Regardless, I've never seen anyone in the IOC ever question the position of the Patriarch of Antioch in the Church.  On the contrary, it is affirmed, although perhaps not in the way your leaders would like.     May I have the citation for this?  I find it interesting that you claim the Hudaya Canon says this, Thomas says the SOC Canons state a Catholicos is inferior to a Patriarch, and yet the SOR website says in one place that Hudaya Canon forms a part of the canon law of the SOC.  It is hard to discern fact from opinion in these discussions because those involved are usually too devoted to their own side to take a step back and look objectively at the facts, so wherever possible I'd (personally) like to see official documentation to back up claims.I haven't thoroughly studied this article, but I have read through it, once in the past (when an Ethiopian Orthodox friend alerted me to it and asked me if this was what was taught in India; he thought it was heretical), and once today.  

Hudaya Canon authored by Maphryono Bar `Ebroyo is one of the main sources of the church's canon law. It is not the only source of canon law. Moreover, the Maphryono did not come up with these laws. They were compiled from many canons of the early church and Patriarchs before him (refer to Patriarch Aphrem Barsoum's Scattered Pearls, Gorgias Press, 2003). Canons have been adapted as well later.
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« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2004, 01:07:30 AM »

 

From the article: It is hard for me to see here any implication other than that Peter was "made to be God to" the other Christians.  What does the SOC teach are the implications of this?  In what way is Peter, and his successors (the Patriarchs of Antioch, I presume), "God" to the Universal Church?  How is this exercised, both in the local Antiochene Church, and in the larger Orthodox Church (Alexandria, Etchmiadzin, Cilicia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and India)?  Other than within its own jurisdictional bounds, I've only seen the SOC attempt to exercise this sort of leadership over the Church in India and not, say, over the Alexandrian Church, whose Patriarch is the successor of Saint Mark, who was, by this logic, inferior to Saint Peter, although, by decree of the same Nicene Council referenced above, ranks higher in honour than the Patriarch of Antioch.Where is there any mention of Christ giving to Peter the power to forgive sins by changing his name?  That power is given after the Resurrection to all the Apostles.  And if Peter is the summit of apostolic power, and the other apostles were given a participation in Peter's power, then it is safe to assume that the other apostles are inferior to Peter?  They are not all equals, but one is fundamentally and essentially superior to the others?        What is the nature of the "administration" which Christ handed over to Peter, in the view of the SOC?  (Emphasis mine)    
You are resorting to the popular method of deprecating a position of the SOC by characterizing it as borrowed from the Roman Catholics. As ancient churches the two do have common positions even though some differences remain irreconcilable.

Very Rev Kaniamparambil's article is his commentary on the subject. It was not suggested as the official teaching of the SOC. Your interpretation that this imputes divinity to Peter is indeed sad. The Exodus quotation (partially quoted in the passage) does not say "You are god to him". Aaron is being anointed here as a prophet of Moses. Prophets are men who speak for God to men. The fathers interpret that Moses is like God to Aaron whom he speaks for to the people. Similarly, the second person of the Trinity confers the title "Cephas" upon Apostle Peter, a term that is used to describe Himself. Does that mean that Peter becomes God? No, it only indicates the exalted position that Christ Himself confers on him just as Moses was. I would suggest that you read the scriptures with more humility and with guidance of the fathers.
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« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2004, 12:01:23 PM »

Yes the Nicene Synod was convened by the Byzantine emperor and its edicts could be administratively enforced only in the Roman empire. However, it was regarded as an ecumenical synod by the entire Christendom with the exception of the Gnostics and Arians (who our holy fathers would not regard as Christians but as heretics).  This was also true of the Church in the Persian empire whose head the Catholicos of Seleucia-Ctesiphon (south of Baghdad) was explicitly identified as subordinate to the Patriarch of Antioch. This Church accepted the canons of the Nicene Synod and existed in communion with and subordinate to the Patriarchate until the late 5th century when their acceptance of Nestor's Christological dogma lead to their estrangement.

OK.

Quote
The fact that "of the East" extended beyond the confines of the Roman Empire is evident from the injunction we find in the canons of the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople as recorded in MS 14528 in the British Museum: "The Bishop of Alexandria shall govern those (churches) that are in Mizraim (Egypt) and the Bishop of the East (Seleucia) those of the East only, the seniority which is given by the canons of Nikia (Nicea) to the Church of Antioch being preserved." (Translation by Howard in "Canons of the Primitive Church").

This doesn't prove your case, for I could read it as saying that the Catholicoi of the East could govern the East, but not all of the East--that which was "East" in the Roman Empire being governed by the Patriarch of Antioch.

Quote
Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Ch XLIL Vol III (1890) p. 354 notes that the "filial dependence of the Catholici of Seleucia on the Patriarchs of Antioch is attested by the canons of the Oriental Church." Clearly if the SOC is at fault in reading the canons of the ecumenical synods quite eminent historians were as well.

Which canons?  I am willing to concede this historical point with more information.  

Quote
Even after the Church of the East was estranged from the Patriarchate in part due to the political pressures from the ruling Sassanians who deplored the association of Persian Christians with a spiritual authority in the Roman empire a number of Christians in Persia especially prisoners of war who were forced to settle in the Persian territory remained subordinate to the Patriarchate (and their descendents do to this day.) The Maphrianate that administered these Christians were always subordinate to the Patriarch of Antioch.

I'm not clear of the history here.  Wasn't the Maphrianate established by the Patriarchate?  Nothing in my reading has suggested that the Catholicosate of the East was established by the same Patriarchate.  

Quote
Regardless of the history there is a logical problem here as well. Any church that subscribes to the Nicene Synod as one of the primary sources of its theology and ecclesiastics cannot then say that it applied only to Roman empire.

No one is saying that the Council of Nicaea only applies to the Roman Empire.  Only that the definition of the bounds of the Antiochene Patriarchate's jurisdiction were those of the Eastern part of the Roman Empire and no where beyond that.
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« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2004, 12:08:01 PM »

Dear Mr. Thomas,  Apostle Peter is honored as first among the Apostles. Now, this is only among the Apostles. But how this firstness is transferred to his successors is not in the Bible or in tradition.  If Apostle Peter ordained several bishops, then do all of them inherit the same firstness proposed by you.

Succession is the same for each Apostle, since priesthood is the same, which originates from one Source, i.e. Christ the foundation of the Church.

Roman Catholic influence in Jacobites of North Kerala cannot be ruled out. Some of the priests also had this influence from childhood, and more recently the training of some bishops from Papal Seminary.

In my understanding, none of the Oriental Orthodox church considers the supremacy issue as a core aspect of faith.  It is easy to prove this. Take the most recent official dialogue between OO and the RC church. The first meeting was held in Cairo, January 2004. In this meeting the concept of 'primacy' was picked as the topic for discussion in the next meeting. OO has issue with the 'primacy' concept, that is why it was picked for further discussion.

In this sense there is absolutely no need to create a situation of difficulty for the Indian Orthodox church based on this teaching.

I hope you are aware (as I am aware) that supremacy based on Petrine throne and 'universal rule' is the core justification behind the preset division, though the division originated due to many other factors.

Currently I am observing two things happening.

1. IOC trying to affirm Orthodoxy based on common teachings of all OO churches and hence her identity within Orthodoxy.

2. Jacobite church trying to use their link with present SOC hierarchy, help from SOC bishops in U.S. etc. to get acceptance within OO as the legitimate Indian church, and the same time trying to oust the IOC.

Here I prefer (1) above, especially because IOC is not trying to oust SOC or the Jacobites, but maintains that what is important is the common (or Catholic) Orthodox faith.

If Jacobites teach that faith in 'primacy' is essential for salvation, then how about the salvation of those who do not accept this within the OO church?

-Paul
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« Reply #48 on: July 09, 2004, 12:20:54 PM »

If in Orthodoxy all bishops are equal then there was no need for the recognition of Patriarchates at the Nicene Synod. The office of bishop is best defined in the writings of St Ignatius of Antioch. The rights and duties of bishops are described there. Clearly by early 4th cent. an ecclesiastical position above the bishopric became necessary. After the Patriarchates were recognized it is meaningless to argue that all bishops are equal.

But that's just it.  There is nothing above the episcopacy.  All bishops, whatever their title, are fundamentally equal.  "Ecclesiastical positions above the bishopric" are a practical matter, not a sacramental one.  

Quote
If you are alluding that the situation of the Catholicate in the IOC is equivalent to that of Etchmiadzin you are mistaken. The claim is that the Catholicate of IOC succeeds the Catholicate of the East. The "translation" of the Catholicate (of course without the people who it was supposed to have jursidiction over) allegedly happened at the hands of a SOC Patriarch of Antioch in 1912. We will leave aside for the moment that this Patriarch was removed from his position and that he did not have the authority of the Synod of the Church;

Shall we also leave aside why he was allegedly deposed?  The only reason I've ever been given for this was that he was deposed for health reasons which occurred after his accession to the throne of the Patriarchate.  Since when has that ever been a canonical and legitimate action?  Or is there another story?  (I'm in the IOC, but I don't completely buy what anyone says 100%, so I'm willing to be swayed; however, no one has said anything to make that a possibility.)

Quote
we will also leave aside for the moment that such a "translation" of ecclesiastical positions across jurisdictions has no precedent.

But was it really "across jurisdictions"?  It is clear that the Indian Church was outside the bounds of the Roman Empire, so it wasn't in the Patriarchate of Antioch.  Historically it seems the Indian Church depended on the Persian Church (Catholicosate of the East); perhaps this makes the Indian Church under that jurisdiction?  If so, then your argument doesn't hold; it wasn't across jurisdictions.  

Quote
If a Syrian Orthodox Patriarch were to independently consecrate a Catholicos, he could not have consecrated a successor to the Catholicate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon which has a legitimate succession in the Church of the East to this day.

So the legitimate successors to an Orthodox see are the Assyrians, who our Church presently regards as being Nestorian?  

I have at least one document in my possession which has the official letterhead of the late H.B. Catholicos Baselios Paulos II; it says "Catholicos of the East".  He was consecrated by the Patriarch for the Jacobites.  So your allegation doesn't hold water.  If the Patriarch couldn't have done it, well, he did it anyway.  

Quote
He could have at best consecrated a successor to the Maphryono of Takrit (the Syriac equivalent of the Greek "Catholicos") which had become defunct in the 1860s.

I thought we couldn't translate ecclesiastical sees across bounds?  

Quote
This was an office always subordinate to the Patriarch of Antioch.

Is this the reason why we can make an exception in this case?  Wink

Quote
The IOC cannot at the same time claim that they have succession to an ancient ecclesiastical position which is necessary for their claim to antiquity...

What more antiquity is needed than the Apostle Thomas?  

Quote
...but in the same breath claim that the character of the position changed entirely.

What do you mean?

Quote
Of course if the IOC were to admit that they created a new Catholicate in 1912 independent of the Patriarchate the claim to being an autocephalic church has merit. But consistently IOC has argued against this because this would affect their rights over churches that belonged to the Syrian Orthodox Church in Malankara.

I would appreciate your analysis of the synopsis of recent Church history which I addressed to Nik in one of my posts.  I've tried to use only facts which both sides in this dispute acknowledged to me were true.  Perhaps you have different information?
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« Reply #49 on: July 09, 2004, 12:23:07 PM »

We have the history of the Syrian Orthodox church written by several Syriac writers.  One if the greatest work is described as the history of the Church beginning with creation. Does any one of these works mention about Antioch ordaining a bishop for India?  Presence of Christians in India from early centuries in known through several sources, e.g. Acts of Thomas, account of Panatenus, Mar Eusebius, Mar Ephraim, St. Jerome and Doctrine of the Apostle, traditional Orthodox hymnography and many more... But there is no historical account of Antioch ordaining a bishop for India. There are examples of some bishops reaching the shores of India, especially during the time of Persian persecution of Christians.

I think the ambition of the Indian church to maintain Apostolic heritage through St. Thomas and their ambition to remain as an united Synod in India should be honored, irrespective of whether you call it Indian Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox or Orthodox Syrian church of the East.  Even the usage 'Syrian Orthodox church of the East' is correct in my opinion, if we agree the usage 'Syrian Orthodox church of the West' for the Western church. This is because both churches benefited from Syriac Christianity in the middle regions of Edessa and Nisibis, regions bordering two jurisdictions were Syriac Christianity originated due to the works of Apostles Thomas, Paul and Thaddaeus. Names change over time, but unity will persist.

The model proposed by IOC is this (which is also according to the IOC constitution).

1. Let the Patriarch head the See in the West (Antiochian) and the Catholicos head the See in the East, with no interference in internal affairs without permission, but remain in unity of faith.

2. Give special honor (spiritual primacy) to Patriarch of Antioch, considering old status of that See within Byzantine empire, being the first Christian empire.

But introducing RC church beliefs to justify division will only lead to more complications.

-Paul
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« Reply #50 on: July 09, 2004, 12:27:40 PM »

There is no IOC text for any liturgy. Every liturgy to date in the IOC is from the SOC.

It is my understanding that both sides use different translations.  That is all I meant.  No one is denying that it is the Syrian rite which is being used.  

Quote
Of course, IOC has engaged in distorting meaning in translations.

Where?

Quote
The liturgical text may refer to the Patriarch but the name is omitted in practice.

In almost 23 years this has never been my experience.  

Quote
The Patriarch is not the only person subject to such treatment. St. Peter is deprecated as well. For instance where the Syriac Orthodox liturgy of the matrimony clearly attests in a hymn in the betrothal service that St. Peter was entrusted with the administration of the "house" (the Church) and St. John with the Gospel. It is fashionable among IOC priests to distort this to "St Peter was entrusted with guarding the house."

I don't have the texts of this service handy, so I cannot address this specifically.  However, the English translation of the Liturgy which I have has a similar hymn, calling Saint Peter the steward of the Lord's house.  Same principle, so I have no reason to suspect that our Church edited other texts.  

But a question: since you are making this a doctrinal point (at least that is the impression I'm given), what is the nature of the administration which Peter was given with regard to the Church?
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« Reply #51 on: July 09, 2004, 12:37:01 PM »

You are resorting to the popular method of deprecating a position of the SOC by characterizing it as borrowed from the Roman Catholics. As ancient churches the two do have common positions even though some differences remain irreconcilable.

I'm not trying to deprecate the position of the SOC by comparing it to Roman Catholicism.  But I've had more than a passing familiarity with Roman Catholic teaching; I've studied it in the past, and although I'm not as sharp on it as I used to be, I have a hard time seeing the article you cited in response to my request for the SOC teaching on this subject as anything other than at least quasi-RC.  

Quote
Very Rev Kaniamparambil's article is his commentary on the subject. It was not suggested as the official teaching of the SOC. Your interpretation that this imputes divinity to Peter is indeed sad.

But again, when I asked for the official SOC teaching on this subject, you are the one who gave the link for that article in response.  What other suggestion should I have drawn from that?  

And I'm not suggesting that it imputes divinity to Peter any more than I suggest that Exodus imputes divinity to Moses.  I simply asked what the SOC teaches are the implications of that?  

Quote
The Exodus quotation (partially quoted in the passage) does not say "You are god to him". Aaron is being anointed here as a prophet of Moses. Prophets are men who speak for God to men. The fathers interpret that Moses is like God to Aaron whom he speaks for to the people. Similarly, the second person of the Trinity confers the title "Cephas" upon Apostle Peter, a term that is used to describe Himself. Does that mean that Peter becomes God? No, it only indicates the exalted position that Christ Himself confers on him just as Moses was. I would suggest that you read the scriptures with more humility and with guidance of the fathers.

Not everyone who disagrees with you reads the Scriptures without humility, prayer, and patristic guidance.  I'm not humble, certainly, nor am I as prayerful as I'd like, so I'm willing to work on that, but it is precisely because of the Fathers that I'm questioning some of the things you present as truth.  And again, I didn't challenge anything.  I merely asked a question, which you have yet to answer: if Moses was made like unto God with regard to Aaron, and Peter was made like unto God with regard to the Church, what are the implications of this relationship between Peter and the Church in the view of the SOC?
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« Reply #52 on: July 09, 2004, 03:24:56 PM »

Phil
Reference to your reply # 46, 48, 50 and 51

First let me thank you for understanding things from learning position. As I stated before, I do not have any of my referral books with me, due to the religious restrictions and prosecutions we face were I am residing. Please give me some time; I will come back with my clarifications and stand.
Meantime please do remember me and all other Christians who work for HIM in this place
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« Reply #53 on: July 09, 2004, 03:25:58 PM »


The model proposed by IOC is this (which is also according to the IOC constitution).

1. Let the Patriarch head the See in the West (Antiochian) and the Catholicos head the See in the East, with no interference in internal affairs without permission, but remain in unity of faith.

2. Give special honor (spiritual primacy) to Patriarch of Antioch, considering old status of that See within Byzantine empire, being the first Christian empire.

But introducing RC church beliefs to justify division will only lead to more complications.

-Paul

Sounds reasonable to me.  Except for one small thing, the Byzantine Empire was not the first officially Christian nation, Armenia was, and Ethiopia was second.  Wink  Not that any of this has any bearing on the matter at hand.

One other question, what if some people in India want to remain under Antioch?  Could their be parallel jurisdictions fully in communion?  Or would this be a violation of canon law?

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« Reply #54 on: July 09, 2004, 04:42:08 PM »

Sounds reasonable to me.  Except for one small thing, the Byzantine Empire was not the first officially Christian nation, Armenia was, and Ethiopia was second.  Wink  Not that any of this has any bearing on the matter at hand.

One other question, what if some people in India want to remain under Antioch?  Could their be parallel jurisdictions fully in communion?  Or would this be a violation of canon law?



Thanks for the correction.  Do you know the year when Armenian became Christian? Can we say that the Byzantine Christian empire enjoyed a greater status compared with other Christian nations?


-Paul
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« Reply #55 on: July 09, 2004, 04:42:51 PM »

The status of the Indian Church was recognised by all the Patriarchs and Catholicoi of the Orthodox Church in Addis Ababa in 1965.  After this, it seems the divisive actions started with Antioch, and escalated from there.  Those actions don't change anything, however: the Church in India is autocephalous, and in communion with everyone except Antioch (and even this is a point I'm not sure of...did it go both ways, or is it a one way division that ends up working both ways?).    

About this Addis Ababa meeting, it will be interesting to read the book on the subject written by Fr. T C Jacob who was at Devolokam (IOC, H.Q in India) as its manager, a close associate of IOC Catholicoses and a staunch Catholicose sided fellow. This book gives clear indication that Patriarcah & Catholicose were not the head of 2 churches, but a single church. ( here he is also mentioning about the severe fight between the two factions of Armenian church under its 2 catholicoses and caused severe headache during the AdisAbaba meeting). The extract of this book is published in “Perumpally Thirumeni, Malankara Sabhayute Kalnoottandu” by Very Rev, Moolel Corepiscopa in which  30 pages are dedicated to this portion alone.

I am enclosing concerned portions from Very Rev. Kaniamparambil Corepiscopa’s Syrian Church history as attachments. You
will get an idea of the Antioch- Malankara Relations ship and how the Catholicose viewed the Patriarch. (read “ A Loyal catholicos under a loving Patriarch).

I think I can only post one attachment at one time. I am attaching other two attachments separately. The first one is in Malayalam Language other are in English


[attachment deleted by admin]
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« Reply #56 on: July 09, 2004, 04:48:13 PM »

This the second attachment in English on Addis Ababa OO meeting on my previous posting
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« Reply #57 on: July 09, 2004, 04:51:27 PM »

This the Third attachment in English on Addis Ababa OO meeting on my previous posting

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« Reply #58 on: July 09, 2004, 05:15:19 PM »

For instance where the Syriac Orthodox liturgy of the matrimony clearly attests in a hymn in the betrothal service that St. Peter was entrusted with the administration of the "house" (the Church) and St. John with the Gospel. It is fashionable among IOC priests to distort this to "St Peter was entrusted with guarding the house."

Since this liturgy was developed in the house (church) of Antioch, and since St. Peter is the founder of the Antiochian Church, the author associated with Antioch would have meant that the the administrator of that Church (Antiochian household) is St. Peter.

It is easy to prove this. If you mean that St. Peter is the ONLY administrator of the Universal church, then the same hymn should mean that St. John is the ONLY one entrusted with the Gospel in the Universal Church. But we know very clearly that there are other saints enstusted with the Gospel.

So, the hymn must be with reference to the situation of that specific household. We also know that Apostle John was closely linked to the church in Antioch. St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp were disciples of St. John.

Bar Ebraya writes the following in the Second Volume of Church History:
"I begin here the second part of completion of the first part of the history. In the same manner, I begin with the Apostolic times of Apostle Thomas, the first High-Priest of the East. As we understand from the book Doctrine of the Apostles, in the beginning, St. Thomas preached the Gospel of Christ in the East."

Now from the Doctrine of the Apostles (pp 33, Cureton):

"India and all its countries and those bordering it even to the farthest sea, received the Apostle's hand of priesthood from Judas Thomas, who was the guide and ruler in the Church he built there and ministered there."

It also referes to letters received in Edessa from Judas Thomas from India read in the Churches.

St. John Chrysostom says that the tomb of St. Thomas was as much venerated in the East as that of St. Peter in Rome.

So, it is natural that a poetic writer associated with Antioch highly priase St. Peter and assigns the administration of that church to the Apostle. But that does not imply the 'Universal Church'. It can be only the households of Antioch or Rome, both founded by Apostles Peter and Paul, first in Antioch and then in Rome.

I think giving the credit due to Apostle Thomas as founder, administrator, and guide of the Church in the East will not diminish faith in any way.

-Paul


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« Reply #59 on: July 09, 2004, 05:41:46 PM »

This book gives clear indication that Patriarcah & Catholicose were not the head of 2 churches, but a single church. ( here he is also mentioning about the severe fight between the two factions of Armenian church under its 2 catholicoses and caused severe headache during the AdisAbaba meeting). The extract of this book is published in “Perumpally Thirumeni, Malankara Sabhayute Kalnoottandu” by Very Rev, Moolel Corepiscopa in which  30 pages are dedicated to this portion alone.


Whatever is the account given by numerous Jacobite writers, we need to refer only to the official minutes of the 1965 Ecumenical council of the Oriental orthodox Churches, which is available in printed form.  There may be different accounts by those who were not satisfied with the outcome of that Ecumenical Synod. Clearly those who are against the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox church will not support the Catholicos who represented the Indian church in that Ecumenical Council.

1. Fr. V.C. Samuel (one of the organizers of the Ecumenical Synod appointed by Emperor Haile Selassie) reports in his autobiopgraphy that there was an attempt to count the number of OO churches as just 4. This was because of Jacobite influence.  But based on consensus, OO churches were counted as five, including the Malankara Orthodox Church headed by Catholicos of the East.

2.  In the official minutes, The Catholicos of the East is described as 'the Catholicos of the ancient See of St. Thomas, since its restoration in Malankara (India)'.

3. Also in the official minutes, the 1934 constitution of the Malankara Orthodox church is presented, which recognizes the 'spiritual honor' given to the Patriarch.

4. According to the minutes, five sister churches participated and they are: the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, the Armenian Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church of India and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

5. The Ecumenicl council did not teach supremacy of Petrine throne of Antioch or did not ask any sister Church to follow that teaching.

6. The Ecumenical council recommended a common curriculum for OO Church studies, and fathers of the Malankara Orthodox church actively participated in drafting the common curriculum.

Fathers from India also participated actively in the OO-EO dialogues in the spirit of the Ecumenical council of 1965. Jacobites were remaining silent all these days, not doing any useful work.  None of the Jacobite fathers contributed to OO-EO joint commission, but back in India they were busy promting supremacy of Petrine throne teaching and entering in to communion with RCC.

Now, for the most recent proof, please refer to the official minutes of the OO-RCC official joint committee held just in January 2004. In this committee, the Malankara Orthodox Church is included as a seperate sister OO Church.

BUT WHY (WHY, WHY, WHY....)  the Jacobites are trying to isolate the the Malankara Orthodox Church? If Jacobites want themselves to be known under the name of Syrian Orthodox, that should be fine for them.
What gain they have through working against the Malankara Orthodox church?  Let them allow the Oriental Orthodox church to grow in India, instead of discouraing the people of that church, especially the younger generation.


-Paul
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« Reply #60 on: July 09, 2004, 05:55:13 PM »

Some evidences for the ancinet Throne of St. Thomas.

1. Vatican Syriac Codex X11 (dated 1301) gives the title of the head of Church of India as "The Metropolitan Bishop of the Throne of St. Thomas and the whole Church of Christians in India."

2. Baselios Catholicos of Tigris (1560-89) who is believed to have participated in the ordination of Dudisha as Patriarch of Antioch is described as "Baselios Catholicos of the East and India on the Throne of St. Thomas, the Apostle."


Few things we can infer.

1. There were several attempts by some SOC leaders to reduce the importance of ancient Catholicate of the East of throne of St. Thomas, reduce it to a Maphriyan or to other subordinate positions (e.g. catholicos of India, which is the new title of current head of the Jacobite church).

2. But the Church of the East consistently resisted this move and affirmed their Apostolic status, high-priesthood, Throne of St. Thomas and the lineage of the Catholicoi of the East.

Jacobites have the freedom to remain subordinates or counted as one with SOC (only because of the freedom of practising religion in various ways, granted in the constitution of the Indian nation), but that freedom should not be used against the Apostolic Orthodox Church of India. They should not work against the Indian Church or try to justfy or promote teachings contrary to what is commonly accepted by sister Orthodox churches.

-Paul
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« Reply #61 on: July 09, 2004, 06:10:19 PM »

Dear Thomas, There is a huge difference between different Catholicates within the Armenian Church and the Catholicate of the East.  All Armenian Catholicates are for Armenian people living in different regions. They have the same Aposotlic background. But the Indian Church has the Apostolic background tracing back to Apostle Thomas.

This is why the Malankara Orthodox Church was counted seperately in the 1965 Ecumenical council.

You are aware of the problem in the Armenian Church, where Catholicate of Cilicia is trying to become independent of Catholicos of All Armenians.  But you need to know one more thing here, that the Patriarch Zakka 1 is fully supporting the Armenian Catholicos of Cilicia.  One evidence is the middle-eastern council where both Patriarch Zakka 1 and Catholicos of Cilicia are members and work jointly. Hope you can sincerely appreciate what I meant here.

But in the official minutes of 1965 council, there is no seperate listing of different heads of the Armenian church, but all Armenian Patriarchates are listed under one common title called 'Armenian Patriarchates'. But Malankara Orthodox Church is seperately listed, infact Indian church is listed after the Ethiopian Church. This is the Order: Coptic church of Alexandria, Antiochian Church, Armenian Churches (under one listing), Ethiopian Church and the Indian Church.


-Paul

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« Reply #62 on: July 09, 2004, 06:18:16 PM »

Phil
Reference to your reply # 46, 48, 50 and 51

First let me thank you for understanding things from learning position. As I stated before, I do not have any of my referral books with me, due to the religious restrictions and prosecutions we face were I am residing. Please give me some time; I will come back with my clarifications and stand.
Meantime please do remember me and all other Christians who work for HIM in this place


No problem.  Smiley

I read the attachments you provided in both languages, which I thank you for.  However, I see nothing in them that indicates support for the Jacobite position.  What I see in the first is a hierarch showing another equal hierarch respect because of the honour and seniority of his see.  In the second, I see one hierarch addressing a senior but equal hierarch in an ecclesiastically polite, diplomatic, and humble way.  Even Saint Cyril of Alexandria addressed Nestorius in a similarly diplomatic style.  In no way am I comparing H.H. the Patriarch of Antioch to Nestorius; I am merely saying that you cannot build a case out of the diplomatic way in which hierarchs address other hierarchs.
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« Reply #63 on: July 09, 2004, 06:29:23 PM »

Some evidences for the ancinet Throne of St. Thomas.

1. Vatican Syriac Codex X11 (dated 1301) gives the title of the head of Church of India as "The Metropolitan Bishop of the Throne of St. Thomas and the whole Church of Christians in India."

2. Baselios Catholicos of Tigris (1560-89) who is believed to have participated in the ordination of Dudisha as Patriarch of Antioch is described as "Baselios Catholicos of the East and India on the Throne of St. Thomas, the Apostle."


Few things we can infer.

1. There were several attempts by some SOC leaders to reduce the importance of ancient Catholicate of the East of throne of St. Thomas, reduce it to a Maphriyan or to other subordinate positions (e.g. catholicos of India, which is the new title of current head of the Jacobite church).

2. But the Church of the East consistently resisted this move and affirmed their Apostolic status, high-priesthood, Throne of St. Thomas and the lineage of the Catholicoi of the East.

Dear Paul,

How can we infer your last two points from your first two evidences?
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« Reply #64 on: July 09, 2004, 09:19:05 PM »

Dear Thomas  - If it is not asking too much, could you make the rest of Fr. T C Jacob's English book about the Addis Ababa conference available on-line somewhere as you have these pages?  If not, could you please tell me where I could obtain a copy of this book?

Dear Paul - Could you please tell me where I could obtain an English copy of Fr. V.C. Samuel's autobiography?  I am a great fan of his book about the Council of Chalcedon.

Thanks
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« Reply #65 on: July 10, 2004, 03:25:49 AM »

Whatever is the account given by numerous Jacobite writers, we need to refer only to the official minutes of the 1965 Ecumenical council of the Oriental orthodox Churches, which is available in printed form.  There may be different accounts by those who were not satisfied with the outcome of that Ecumenical Synod. Clearly those who are against the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox church will not support the Catholicos who represented the Indian church in that Ecumenical Council.

As I stated in my initial posting, this referred book is not written by Jacobites, this was written by Fr. T C Jacob who was at Devolokam (IOC, H.Q in India) as its manager, a close associate of IOC Catholicose and a staunch Catholicose sided fellow.

Quote
Now, for the most recent proof, please refer to the official minutes of the OO-RCC official joint committee held just in January 2004. In this committee, the Malankara Orthodox Church is included as a seperate sister OO Church.

In 2004 self-proclaimed autocephalous IOC is not part of the SOC. If they attended in any dialogue or meeting, its on their own account. Nothing to do with SOC. Organizers has the write to invite anyone

Quote
BUT WHY (WHY, WHY, WHY....)  the Jacobites are trying to isolate the the Malankara Orthodox Church? If Jacobites want themselves to be known under the name of Syrian Orthodox, that should be fine for them.
What gain they have through working against the Malankara Orthodox church?  Let them allow the Oriental Orthodox church to grow in India, instead of discouraing the people of that church, especially the younger generation.
Jacobite never tried to isolate any Church. Instead we try our hard to cooperate with others. In the case of IOC, it’s self-isolated from the mother Church by her own action.

Everyone knows, who is prosecuting the Jacobites by forcing to closer of their worship place and dragging to them in to the civil court cases. Please do not bring this subject to in this forum as in other forum.
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« Reply #66 on: July 10, 2004, 03:33:08 AM »

No problem.  Smiley

I read the attachments you provided in both languages, which I thank you for.  However, I see nothing in them that indicates support for the Jacobite position.  What I see in the first is a hierarch showing another equal hierarch respect because of the honour and seniority of his see.  In the second, I see one hierarch addressing a senior but equal hierarch in an ecclesiastically polite, diplomatic, and humble way.

Phil
I only posted just a small portion of the book. Please try to get one copy of Moolel Achens book or T.C Jacob Achens own book and read, then your doubts will be cleared. It is very difficult to the whole pages through the forum.
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« Reply #67 on: July 10, 2004, 03:52:22 AM »

Dear Thomas  - If it is not asking too much, could you make the rest of Fr. T C Jacob's English book about the Addis Ababa conference available on-line somewhere as you have these pages?  If not, could you please tell me where I could obtain a copy of this book?
-Antonious
This particular book is not available online. I asked my daughter to scanned only few pages of the book from my private library in India and posted it in the forum. As she is on her studies, I can’t burden her with this whole task.  On my next trip to India, I will do it make available in the net.

Rev. Fr. T.C. Jacobs’s books might be available in IOC books shops in India. I will check with my IOC friends and try to arrange a copy of it and send to you some time latter. Please mail me your delivery address.

The extract of this book is published in “Perumpally Thirumeni, Malankara Sabhayute Kalnoottandu” by Moolelachen in which 30 pages are dedicated to this portion alone. This can be obtained from him.

Please contact Very Rev. Kuriakose Corepiscopa Moolayil, moolelachen@hotmail.com, Director, Mor Adai Study Center & Vicar, St.George J.S.O.Church, Chicago. Tel. 00 1 773 2051 822
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« Reply #68 on: July 10, 2004, 04:09:51 AM »

The IOC declared autocephaly/was granted autocephaly in 1912 or thereabouts.  This was not recognised by the Holy Synod in Antioch.  

Phil

IOC was never an Autocephalous Church and SOC never accepted it. Also it is not mentioned any were in IOC Church constitution. As you said it was self declared and IOC always claimed that Malankara church is Autocephalous in the litigation that ended with Supreme Court judgment.

All the three judgments, viz: by single judge of High Court of Kerala in 1980, by Division Bench in 19090 and by Supreme Court in 1995 rejected this argument.

It was held that Malankara church is a division of Syrian Orthodox Church.

If you want I can provide you the copies of these judgments for your referral
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« Reply #69 on: July 10, 2004, 08:54:26 AM »

Dear Thomas,

I willingly grant that the events of 1912 were not considered legitimate by the Synod in Antioch.  Whether the events that led to the deposition of the Patriarch who granted the Indian Church autocephaly were legitimate or not apparently is up for discussion, but so far I have no reason to believe they were illegitimate.  

However, my point has always been an appeal to the present, odd as that may sound.  No matter what your opinion of what happened in 1912, it is a fact that the 1934 Constitution was accepted in total without change by the Patriarchate in 1957 or so, and reunion achieved on that basis.  They may not have granted autocephaly, but if their intention was not to recognise autocephaly, perhaps they should have attempted to amend the Constitution before reunion.  Its unqualified acceptance, however, is equivalent to recognition IMO.

If there are facts I am omitting, I welcome the opportunity to hear them.  

Re: the Supreme Court judgements, I don't know who to believe.  You say the Court ruled the Malankara Church is a division of the Syrian Orthodox Church.  I've heard that the Court favoured the IOC in its judgements (indeed, some Jacobites paint the IOC as purely a nationalist movement in my discussions with them).  In a sense, I can agree that the Malankara Church is a division of the SOC; in another sense, I cannot.  In what sense did the Court rule?
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« Reply #70 on: July 10, 2004, 01:22:05 PM »


However, my point has always been an appeal to the present, odd as that may sound.  No matter what your opinion of what happened in 1912, it is a fact that the 1934 Constitution was accepted in total without change by the Patriarchate in 1957 or so, and reunion achieved on that basis.  They may not have granted autocephaly, but if their intention was not to recognise autocephaly, perhaps they should have attempted to amend the Constitution before reunion.  Its unqualified acceptance, however, is equivalent to recognition IMO.


Phil

The following words may not be acceptable to you. But if you want to know the truth, please confirm it with that time IOC faithful or the Malayala Manorama Daily reporting. If my words hurting you in anyway, please pardon on HIS name

The purported mutual acceptance of Patriarch and Catholicose in 1958 was dealt with treachery that paved way for the present turmoil. The Patriarch proved his innocence and good intensions for lasting peace when he accepted the Catholicose unconditionally. Whereas the Catholicose proved his conceit when he accepted the Patriarch conditionally, that is “subject to the constitution of Malankara.” The so-called constitution was framed unilaterally when the litigation was in progress and the Patriarchal faction had no hand in it and their interests not considered. Acceptance letters were handed over between the Catholicose, Mor Baselius and Patriarchal delegate Mor Yulios in sealed envelope. The treachery was known only after the sealed envelope was later opened by which time it was too late to correct. The Patriarchal faction became disgruntled but the Patriarch advised an unintended sacrifice for the sake of peace. Peace move was dragged until 1964 when His Holiness came down and personally consecrated the Catholicose of the East on May 22 1964 at Kottayam in presence of more than 200,000 witnesses. Peace was thus established.

This is the truth. you may say, it is a Jacobite verson :)
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« Reply #71 on: July 10, 2004, 03:59:47 PM »

Thanks for the correction.  Do you know the year when Armenian became Christian? Can we say that the Byzantine Christian empire enjoyed a greater status compared with other Christian nations?


Paul - I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to ignore this question.  I am just trying very hard to keep up with the discussion about the Indian Church and analyze all the facts.  As you can imagine, it is very convoluted to me, an outsider.

Anyway, Armenia declared Christianity to be the offiicial state religion in 301 AD under King Tiridates III who was converted by St. Gregory the Enlightener.

Although Christianity had been present in parts of Ethiopia since the first century, it was declared the offiicial state religion under the brother-kings Ezana and Shaizana around 350 AD.  

Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman/Byzantine Empire in 380 AD under Emperor Theodosius I.  I am not sure whether or not we can say that the Roman/Byzantine Empire enjoyed greater prestige than the other Christian Empires mentioned.  In its heyday, Ethiopia was very powerful.  Then again, the five great sees (Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Rome, and Constantinople) were within the Roman/Byzantine Empire.



Thomas - Thank you for your kind offer to send me a book.  If you are able to find one for me, I will be happy to pay you for it, and pm you with my address.  I want to know as much about this situation as possible.  I will also contact some IOC and SOC friends I have, as well as e-mail the contact you have given me.  


To Everyone - A friend of mine with whom I have been discussing this matter has sent me a link to the Indian Orthodox constitution and canon(http://www.indianchristianity.org/orthodox/const___canon.html).  I have noticed that this first line of this document reads:
 
"The Malankara Church is a division of Orthodox Syrian Church. The primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church is the Patriarch of Antioch."
 
Since the Jacobites in India are in full and total control of their temporal administration and have their own Catholicos, claiming autonomy (not autocephalacy), aren't the Jacobites more in line with the notion of declaring themselves to be a division of the Syrian Orthodox Church?  Or does the Indian Orthodox constitution mean "division of the Orthodox Syrian Church" in a different sense then I am understanding it?

Thanks,

Nick
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« Reply #72 on: July 10, 2004, 04:55:11 PM »

To Everyone - A friend of mine with whom I have been discussing this matter has sent me a link to the Indian Orthodox constitution and canon(http://www.indianchristianity.org/orthodox/const___canon.html).  I have noticed that this first line of this document reads:
 
"The Malankara Church is a division of Orthodox Syrian Church. The primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church is the Patriarch of Antioch."
 
Since the Jacobites in India are in full and total control of their temporal administration and have their own Catholicos, claiming autonomy (not autocephalacy), aren't the Jacobites more in line with the notion of declaring themselves to be a division of the Syrian Orthodox Church?  Or does the Indian Orthodox constitution mean "division of the Orthodox Syrian Church" in a different sense then I am understanding it?

I think it may mean "division of the Orthodox Syrian Church" in a different sense.  The first two lines read:

Quote
The Malankara Church is a division of Orthodox Syrian Church. The primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church is the Patriarch of Antioch

The Malankara Church was founded by St. Thomas the Apostle and is included in the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East and the Primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East is the Catholicos.

My reading (perhaps wrong), taking into account what Paul has said about the two "halves" of the Syrian Church, East and West, is that the "Orthodox Syrian Church" should be taken to mean the entire Syrian Church.  In this case, the Patriarch of Antioch can be said to be the primate, of course, Antioch being the more honoured see.  With regard to the "Orthodox Syrian Church of the East", however, it is clear that the Primate is the Catholicos (of the East).  This seems to leave the "Western" part of the Syrian Church under the Patriarch, and acknowledge him as the chief hierarch of the "West", and senior prelate in the entire Church, while leaving the "Eastern" part to the Catholicos.  

An important question: what is the nature of the primacy the Constitution assigns to the Patriarch from its (the Constitution's) POV?
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« Reply #73 on: July 12, 2004, 02:08:12 PM »


The purported mutual acceptance of Patriarch and Catholicose in 1958 was dealt with treachery that paved way for the present turmoil. The Patriarch proved his innocence and good intensions for lasting peace when he accepted the Catholicose unconditionally. Whereas the Catholicose proved his conceit when he accepted the Patriarch conditionally, that is “subject to the constitution of Malankara.”


This is the truth. you may say, it is a Jacobite verson Smiley

Dear Thomas, Here again the approach is to stirr emotions through portraying the Catholicos as bad (usage 'conceit')and Patriarch as good (usage 'innocence and good intentions').  There is no need for this good and bad distinctions, given the fact that they were in agreement at that time. There was freedom for the Patriarch to reject the clause proposed by the Catholicos, i.e. the clause 'subject to the constitution'. When there is an agreement between two parties, there should be some writing or it should be subject to someting, otherwise later generations will have nothing to refer to or it will help anyone to develop a hypothesis and start new movements.

How do you know what is inside the mind of an individual to judge one is bad and another is good?  Even if we have reasons, are we supposed to judge, especially about Bishops?

Perhaps such a clause was needed from the Malankara side, because of the past experiences of the church with Protestant, Roman Catholic divisions in India. Something in writing, to prove it later was considered needed based on past experiences. We need to evaluate based on the past and foreseeing the future, because we had very harsh experiences in Malankara.

What is wrong in the usage 'subject to the constitution of Malankara'?  When there is a protocol between two churches, there should be some basis for that right? Perhaps this would avoid a lot of confusions and provide a clear way, right? Only our people in Malankara have confusion, Syrian people are not confused about our situation.  It is fine for them if we agree to remain united. And with the present Patriarch, who is a very open person, it was much more easy to reach unity within our Malankara church.

A Syrian bishop once told me that if our people agreed to remain united, then they are fine with that. They will not interfere.

So, there should be something from our side to clear possible future complications. Hence it was wise to include a clause pointing to the mutually agreed constitution.  How can you portray the Catholicos as bad based on this? Even if the clause 'subject to the constitution'  is there, still we can remain united, right? An in this constitution, there is a clause to honor the Patriarch, right?

In my opinion we use a lot of emotional stirring in our arguments, this is seen even in our history works.

The current division was not needed. The concept of subordination does not have any additional merits from a spiritual point of view, or are there any merits unknown to us?

Though we talk only about Jacobite-Orthodox division, I think we have few more divisions now. i.e. Kananaya Church directly under Damascus, Thronal churches directly owned by Damascus, American Archdiocese with own constitution and directly under Damascus, Jacobite church with own Synod, and Evangelical Association with own constitution under Damascus.  Though in an emotional way (just based on anti-Orthodox feelings) they are united, in reality they are different uniate churches ruled directly by Damascus, and not part of Jacobite Synod, because Jacobite church in this sense is also another uniate directly subordinate to Damascus.  

What we lost is the integrity of the Malankara (Indian) Synod. While many Syrian fathers helped us to remain united, did 'some' of them actively worked towards splitting us?  Even today there is only one church consistent about the need for the unity of our people and Synod.

- Paul
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« Reply #74 on: July 12, 2004, 02:46:28 PM »

I think it may mean "division of the Orthodox Syrian Church" in a different sense.  The first two lines read: My reading (perhaps wrong), taking into account what Paul has said about the two "halves" of the Syrian Church, East and West, is that the "Orthodox Syrian Church" should be taken to mean the entire Syrian Church.  In this case, the Patriarch of Antioch can be said to be the primate, of course, Antioch being the more honoured see.  With regard to the "Orthodox Syrian Church of the East", however, it is clear that the Primate is the Catholicos (of the East).  This seems to leave the "Western" part of the Syrian Church under the Patriarch, and acknowledge him as the chief hierarch of the "West", and senior prelate in the entire Church, while leaving the "Eastern" part to the Catholicos.  

An important question: what is the nature of the primacy the Constitution assigns to the Patriarch from its (the Constitution's) POV?  


The Jacobite view is that, based on primacy of Peter in the universal church, the Malankara church is a subordinate entity.

But in the constitution (1934) of the Malankara church, the head of the Church is the Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan. Regarding internal matters in the Church, the constitution defines that the Catholicos has complete authority and the Patriarch cannot intervene, except when invited for a specific purpose. But the Patriarch is given due honor, respecting his spiritual primacy, i.e. if there is a Patriarch who is Orthodox, and living in peace with the Church.  

But the division started when the Patriarch intervened in internal matters through appointing an unconstitutional Patriarchal delegate in 1972, totally ignoring the plea of the united Malankara Holy Synod and the constitution. The Patriarch behaved as if he has universal supremacy based on Petrine primacy. He convened a Synod in Syria with only one or two bishops from India and renamed the church to 'Universal Syrian Orthodox church', assigning himself as the supreme administrative head.

These activities, which happened in violation from the constitution are the fundamental reasons for the division in the Church. It is only after this division that Jacobites organized a seperate Malankara Association, and later tried to obtain legal validity through challenging the Malnakara Metropolitan in state High Court.  This is how the IOC speeded up the process and requested the Indian Supreme court to evaluate the situation.


In 1972, the Patriarch was violating  the agreement reached in 1958 subject to the constitution. He appointed a Patriarchal delegate (such a title not defined in constitution). This delegate  enetered dioceses of Malankara church and ordained a rival hierarchy teaching them to remain blindly loyal to Patriarch Yakub 111. This was violation of both the constitution and the Hudaya Canon. Because when there is an existing bishop, his persmission is needed before another bishop can perform activities within the diocese. Patriarch violated canons here. The clergy ordained by this delegate lacked in theological training, hence sort of blindly followed all the teachings of the delegate. The core teachings of modern Jacobites originate here. Their teachings are.

- St. Thomas does not have priesthood
- the usage 'throne of St. Thomas' wrong
- Universal rule of successors of Apostle Peter is most important
- there is only one throne, that of St. Peter.
- all priesthood originates from Antioch only.
- Antioch is the queen of all churches
- Catholicos is a subordinate position, and he has very little value in the Church and the Patriarch is an extremely high position


The Indian Supreme court, after studying both cases of the story, ruled that the Patriarch cannot intervene in internal affairs of the Church and his administrative power in matters of Indian church reached a 'vanishing point'. His actions were against the constitution. But the same Supreme court recognized the 'spiritual primacy' given to the Patriarch.

The basic problem is that, though the Indian church is moving in a constitutionally and canonically correct way, there was the possibility for the supporters of Patriarch Yakub 111 and their successors to use the antiquity of Syriac church, liturgy which originates from there, and other factors to mask everything else and belittle the Indian church, thus proving to the common man that only Antiochian church is the true church, with everyone else subordinates.

But if we study properly we learn that Antioch also has nothing of their own. For example, they received ordination from Alexandria, their liturgy is based on Jerusalem liturgy, their Syriac influence is from Edessa, nisibis etc. .. Also churches helped each other in need. Thus the approach was to totally belittle the Indian church, which was a church badly in need of help, at a specific point in history.

Thus it is always possible to keep a group of people, who are not aware of the constitution or canons, or the basis Orthodox techings, under a leadership which supports such views as 'primacy of petrine  throne', 'universal supremacy' etc. The fact that they did not raise any disagreement when SOC entered in to communion agreements with RC church, Greek orthodox etc. and introduced some liberal changes in very canonical fasting days proves that this group is focusing on unimportant issues, but held together based on some sentiments.  This emotional aspect is visible in the writings of Jacobites, the speeches of Jacobite bishops, their books and their attitude towards Malankara Orthodox people. I am wondeing if this kind of sectarianism is in the spirit of Orthodoxy?

I think, through a gradual process of education, with focus given to what is important in Orthodox faith, it is possible to develop an awareness in people, and when later priests adn bishops are elected from such a community which has awareness, there will be eventual unity based on Orthodox faith. Because, the unity of a church in a region automatically happens when Orthodoxy is practised in the true sense.

-Paul

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« Reply #75 on: July 12, 2004, 03:17:43 PM »

Though we talk only about Jacobite-Orthodox division, I think we have few more divisions now. i.e. Kananaya Church directly under Damascus, Thronal churches directly owned by Damascus, American Archdiocese with own constitution and directly under Damascus, Jacobite church with own Synod, and Evangelical Association with own constitution under Damascus.  Though in an emotional way (just based on anti-Orthodox feelings) they are united, in reality they are different uniate churches ruled directly by Damascus, and not part of Jacobite Synod, because Jacobite church in this sense is also another uniate directly subordinate to Damascus.  

Dear Paul - Could you please elaborate a little about each of these Churches?  How did they come about?  Based on your writing, they are all in Communion with one another and with Antioch, but not with the Indian Orthodox Church, right?  Also, what is the Hudaya canon?  Thank you.

I think that we Oriental Orthodox need a general council like Addis Ababa 1965 to settle this and other issues once and for all.  May God have mercy on us all, and preserve the Holy Orthodox Faith.
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« Reply #76 on: July 12, 2004, 05:24:52 PM »

Dear Paul - Could you please elaborate a little about each of these Churches?  How did they come about?  

Hi, Here is the list of Churches broken away from the Malankara Church. There is also Knanaya and Honavar Mission in Malankara Orthodox church, but they are part of the same Orthodox Synod. But in the case of Jacobites, they are all seperated and brought directly under Damascus based rule.

Folllwing is taken from the constitution of the Syrian Orthodox Church (based on their amendments).

- As for the Jacobite Catholicate, the constitution has delimited its jurisdiction and authority with the following words: The Catholicate of the East, its headquarters being in Muvattupuzha, includes all the Syrian Orthodox Archdioceses in India except the archdiocese of the Knanaya, the churches of the Patriarchal See and the Evangelistic Associations of the East in India and the Honavar Mission in North Kanara, India.

(please note that Jacobite Catholicate was 'delimited')

- The Knanaya, its headquarters is in Chingavanom, Kerala, includes all the churches of the Knanaya in India.

- The Churches of the See (Simhasana churches) and its headquarters is in Omalloor, India.

- The Syrian Indian diaspora in the Arabian Gulf area comes directly under His Holiness the Patriarch.

- And the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America also comes directly under the Patriarch.



-Paul

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« Reply #77 on: July 13, 2004, 05:36:11 AM »

Dear Thomas, Here again the approach is to stirr emotions through portraying the Catholicos as bad (usage 'conceit')and Patriarch as good (usage 'innocence and good intentions').  

Emotion is part of the religion. Such as Faith. For faith we do not need any documented proof it is a mystery. How we can separate the emotion from our faith and religion?

Quote
What is wrong in the usage 'subject to the constitution of Malankara'?  When there is a protocol between two churches, there should be some basis for that right? Perhaps this would avoid a lot of confusions and provide a clear way, right?

The confusion and mistrust was their from the beginning.

Constitution of IOC formulated in 1934 says:-The Malankara Church is a division of Orthodox Syrian Church. The primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church is the Patriarch of Antioch."

In the beginning, the constitution said only “The primate of the
Orthodox Syrian Church is the PATRIARCAH." ie; not PATRIARCH OF ANTIOCH.  This they have done with a something in mind so that a loophole is there when fighting in courts so that IOC can say that the Patriarch mentioned here as anyone.

Since all the past records such as Mulanthuruthy Padiyola (1876), Mavelikara Padiyola (1825) etc. says that it is the Patriarch of Antioch who is the supreme head of the Orthodox Church of India, IOC was well aware that they could not easily avoid the title Patriarch while formulating a new constitution for their faction. So for fighting the cases legally IOC included the title of Patriarch without mentioning exactly who the head is.  But later when it found very difficult to defend it in courts, they admitted that the Patriarch mentioned here is the Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrian Orthodox Church. Then the court asked them to specify it and thus it was added in 1950’s only. (Please check the old constitution book -in Malayalam)

Quote

Only our people in Malankara have confusion, Syrian people are not confused about our situation.  It is fine for them if we agree to remain united. And with the present Patriarch, who is a very open person, it was much more easy to reach unity within our Malankara church.

A Syrian bishop once told me that if our people agreed to remain united, then they are fine with that. They will not interfere.

In my opinion we use a lot of emotional stirring in our arguments, this is seen even in our history works.

What we lost is the integrity of the Malankara (Indian) Synod. While many Syrian fathers helped us to remain united, did 'some' of them actively worked towards splitting us?  Even today there is only one church consistent about the need for the unity of our people and Synod.

I am extremely sorry to say it. I don’t believe we will see unity in Malankara church in my lifetime. The mistrust, pain and agony we pass through our lifetime will not allow us to make any unity.

I know it may sound unchristian, but that is the fact. My own parish (it is a Family church, members are only the offspring’s of two family, and all are belongs to Jacobite faith) was closed for 2 years. And we were forced to burry our uncle in the cemetery with out the presence of the priest. Even that was made possible because of the bold support of the non christens from my village. All these two years we could not attend the Holy Qurbono and spend our hard earn money to vacate the injection from the civil court. How we can make peace with the group who forced us to go through this?
How can we put faith on them?

 I am sorry. May Lord God forgive me for my thinking and words.
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« Reply #78 on: July 13, 2004, 10:55:57 AM »


I know it may sound unchristian, but that is the fact. My own parish (it is a Family church, members are only the offspring’s of two family, and all are belongs to Jacobite faith) was closed for 2 years. And we were forced to burry our uncle in the cemetery with out the presence of the priest. Even that was made possible because of the bold support of the non christens from my village. All these two years we could not attend the Holy Qurbono and spend our hard earn money to vacate the injection from the civil court. How we can make peace with the group who forced us to go through this?
How can we put faith on them?

 I am sorry. May Lord God forgive me for my thinking and words.


Dear Mr. Thomas,

This is your story, but I have heard great hardships suffered by people and priests of the Orthodox church in North Kerala regions. Even their very life was threatened by the dissidents.  Also, we have the example of many of the bishops of Orthodox side mentally harassed using excommunication etc. as tool. Imagine the agony of their minds, when they were living ascetical life and keeping the Orthodox confession. This mental harassing is eqaully painful as physical harassing. Who wil answer for this? I do not think Syrian Patriarchs or Bishops suffered this mental pain like our Bishops. Even now see how Bishop Mar Karim of Eastern United States is causing mental pain to many Orthodox people? Who will answer for this?

So, your agnoy is not an isolated one, in other regions people of Orthodox church feel the same emotion. If we value emotions, then we have to consider the emotions of both groups, not just our own.

It is natural that when there is division, we encourage the  attitude of enemity between two groups, without giving any importance to what is important in faith.  It has become very difficult to talk about what in important in Orthodox faith. People may even attack if we try to stress the common faith held by all Orthodox churches.

People talk about St. James of Edessa (Mar Jacob Burdana) freely. But when we read with an unbiased mind about what St. James really stood for, it is clear that he was a missionary for spreading the same faith of three Ecumenical Synod. Nothing more, nothing less.  But can you sincerely say that people believe this way? People try to claim that this saint worked only for Jacobite movement. It is very easy to disprove them, because when this saint was alive the term 'Jacobite' did not exist. So, clearly it was not for any Jacobite movement that this saint worked, but for the common faith held by all Oriental Orthodox churches. Hope you can sincerely appreciate what I meant.

I just presented an example to explain that this is what we should stand for.  Human beings are not perfect, they have very limited capacity to handle emotions. So, it is natural that when their is enemity, we start to build on that enemity to the extent of developing some very unchristian feelings in mind leading to mutually harmful actions.  Both Orthodox and Jacobite groups consist of human beings and naturally they are equally limited in capacity.

-Paul
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« Reply #79 on: July 13, 2004, 11:15:49 AM »


In the beginning, the constitution said only “The primate of the
Orthodox Syrian Church is the PATRIARCAH." ie; not PATRIARCH OF ANTIOCH.  This they have done with a something in mind so that a loophole is there when fighting in courts so that IOC can say that the Patriarch mentioned here as anyone.


Dear Thomas, That is just an extrapolation.  In every liturgy of the Orthodox church the Patriarch remembered is one with the title 'Mar Ignatius' and we know which Patriarch has that title.  If we study individuals in the Church, we can find that their attitude is based on a lot of extrapolations and inferences.

I also keep certain beliefs in my mind against the Jacobite movement. For example, I believe that Jacobite bishops are encouraing fanaticism, they are working with Syrian bishops to isolate Malankara Orthodox Church, they are entering in to union with Rome and so on ... In my mind, it is very difficult to accept these actions and hence I am ONLY against these specific actions of Jacobite church. I want to see a change to this situation. There is absoilutely no need to harass Orthodox faction this way. SOC will gain nothing out of it (but only long term loss). Now, that does not imply that I am anti-Jacobite.

I do visit Jacobite priests and try to maintain friendly relationship. I served Jacobite priest in the altar for few years. My home parish is strongly in the Orthodox faction, yet in our family functions we invite Jacobite priests close to us and they conduct prayer and even concelebrate inside the parish.  Once we had five Orthodox priests and one Jacobite priest for a liturgy, but not even a single Orthodox priest forced the Jacobite priest to get out.

In my current parish also, one Jacobite priest enter our altar for prayer on feast day, when invited. There is one Jacobite priest who will not participate even when invited. I asked this question why the other priest does not visit us. I got the answer that he is an extemist. So, there is no rule followed by any one, it is all based on the extent of personal emotions and actions based on it.  

I am very confident that, through constantly educating people about what is important in Orthodox life, it is possible to eventually bring the groups together. But we need to allow this process to happen, i.e. if IOC is doing something that is about the common aspect of faith, then blindly encourage it  and vice versa.  My belief is that most important aspect is to honor the Orthodox faith. It is not an easy task to live up to that faith. But we learn from fathers the importance of Orthodox faith.

-Paul


-Paul
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« Reply #80 on: July 13, 2004, 04:43:21 PM »

Dear Paul,

Thanks for your explanation of the different communities under Antioch in India.  After speaking with you, I saw a web page that also describes these communities:

http://www.malankarachurch.org/
 
I have heard and read of terrible crimes and even killings on both sides.  This is very sad.  It appears that some Jacobite Churches have even been closed by legal action and are now falling into disrepair.  This is tragic.  Look at the damage done to the holy altar!
 
http://kundarapally.tripod.com/
 
http://kadamattom.tripod.com/
 
I have also seen this web page in which several non-Orthodox churches (i.e. Mar Thoma, Anglican, Catholic, etc.) have taken sides in the dispute.:
http://www.geocities.com/malankarav2/Mathrubhumi_28_aug_02.htm

In my opinion, although the Churches in question are described as "Jacobite" and "Orthodox", I recognize them both as being fully Oriental Orthodox.  I have had people from both sides tell me that the other is not Orthodox though.  In a way, they are both "Jacobite" too, since they both preach the same Orthodox Faith as the great saint Jacob Baradaeus.

BTW Paul, could you please tell me where I could purchase a copy of Fr. V.C. Samuel's autobiography?

Thanks,

Nick
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« Reply #81 on: July 13, 2004, 06:35:47 PM »

Nick, Unless two hands meet, we do not hear the sound of clapping.  IOC alone CANNOT close a parish, because the government is not controlled by IOC. In fact there are more ministers in the Government to help Jacobites than IOC.


The links you found are created by few extremist people in the Jacobite church.  There is a bunch of such people, and their main job is creating such websites.  The hate language used in these pages explains their attitude.

Malankara Orthodox church will not close a parish.  Churches are closed down only when there is division in a parish and both sides claim the parish.  There are examples of many cases where  Jacobites occupied the ancient churches, driving the Orthodox out.   IOC wants to use churches at least on few Sundays, because there are people in these parishes. It is the legitimate right of the IOC to use ancient Indian parishes, because the head of Malankara church is the Malankara Metropolitan. No one can violate his authority in the Church.

In many churches, IOC priests and people were physically harassed. But a lot of energy is not spent on propogating stories about these tortures.

Since the real head of parishes of the Malankara Church is the Malankara Metropolitan, ideally all parishes should be under his care. But when division occurs in a parish, both sides will try to get control.

IOC is not involved in emotional campaigning. Hence they will not focus a lot on publishing photos etc. in free web pages to stir emotion.  I hava photo of Jacobites beating an IOC bishop at the airport, when the Bishop went to receive the Patriarch and greet him in a very peaceful way.  But IOC will not publish photos of mutilated body of people and  churches occupied by Jacobites.  Jacobites have equal part in the closure of churches, because they tried to drive the Orthodox out of these parishes.  

Publishing photos may help in gaining emotional support, but truth always remains.  They may show these photos, but at a higher level Jacobites fragmented the whole Church in to Knanaya, American Arch-diocese, Simhasana church etc.  This is equally merciless.

In my opinion only the Malankara Orthodox church is showing great interest in preserving the integrity of the Indian Church.

I can give you a clear proof for the way Jacobtes harass IOC. Recently in Denver, two Indian priests asked to get out of the altar infront of both Orthodox and Jacobite people. They were insulted infront of people. There are many such stories, of throwing stones and even bombs at Orthodox priests.

It is not the right approach to misuse free websites to propogate hatred in a highly unchristian way. In my opinion it is against ethics of the internet to misuse free sites.  This shows the basic attitude of people.

-Paul
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« Reply #82 on: July 13, 2004, 06:43:42 PM »

Dear Paul,


In my opinion, although the Churches in question are described as "Jacobite" and "Orthodox", I recognize them both as being fully Oriental Orthodox.  I have had people from both sides tell me that the other is not Orthodox though.  In a way, they are both "Jacobite" too, since they both preach the same Orthodox Faith as the great saint Jacob Baradaeus.

BTW Paul, could you please tell me where I could purchase a copy of Fr. V.C. Samuel's autobiography?

Thanks,

Nick


Let me know if you want the Malayalam version.  An English version is not published. But I can try to find a copy of collection of Essays in his honor titled 'Orthodox Identity in India'.

Regarding St. Jacob Burdana, I strictly believe that Jacobites are not following the same faith.  It is difficult to say that they are following the same faith when they mix some of the core teachings of the RC church, and accept RC communion. Also they have totally ignored canons and introduced some liberal changes for bishops and other traditions of the Church. This is different from the faith of St. Jacob.  But the glamor of Syriacness and its antiquity is there, which they can always use against IOC, to harass IOC even at international level. This harassment clearly proves what they do back in India towards IOC. Then they show some pictures in free websites to mask all these atrocities. In a way it is escapism.  

If you know you are standing for the truth, then there is no need to show some pictures to stir emotion.

 
-Paul

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« Reply #83 on: July 13, 2004, 09:11:04 PM »

Dear Paul,

I am not taking sides.  I see both sides as being fully Orthodox.  Every time I attend the Holy Liturgy, whether on a Sunday or on another day, we pray for the Patriarch of Antioch by name, along with the Patriarch of Eritrea, and our own beloved Pope Shenouda III.  

That being said, I do believe that the Church in India should be fully and completely autocephalous and independent in every respect.  She should be honored and counted as a full member among the Oriental Orthodox.  Just as the Coptic Church does not try to control or manipulate the Churches of Ethiopia or Eritrea, the Syriac Church should not meddle in the Malankara Church's internal affairs.  The Church in India should be its own Church.  It should not be a department of the Church of Antioch.  So long as the Patriarch of Antioch is acknowledged as having spiritual primacy.

I do not agree with the violent acts perpetrated by either side, and I do not agree with the closure of Churches by either side.  Unless the Jacobite author the website is lying, what do we make of this statement?:

"The minority headed by these bishops are adamant in putting the church in closed state. The families supporting them are only 300.While the majority amounting to about 1800 families owe allegiance to HH Patriarch of Antioch and the HB Catholicose Thomas I."

If the majority of this Church's parishoners are Jacobites, why not let them worship there?  Why is it better to let the Church fall into ruin?  Who does this help?  

And this:

"The present plight of the church is disgusting. The church is locked and is under the Govt. Receiver. The keys are with him. But the IOC faction managed to get a key of the 'bhandaram'( the offertory box) and they are taking the money from it deceitfully. The Govt. official turns a deaf ear at the complaints of the Jacobite faithful."

Again, I am willing to concede that this website may be filled with lies, I cannot say who is lying and who is telling the truth, but if this is true that people are using the government to keep a Church locked up from worship, but are still raiding the cash box, then this is disgusting.

Also, what does it matter whether or not this information is posted on a free website?  Would you approve of its content more if it were a Church-sponsored website?

Thank you for the offer of Fr. Samuel's book in Malayalam, but this would be of no use to me as I cannot read this language.  Thank you anyway.

I pray for the Church in India.  I really honestly do every night.  I wish that there was some possibility of a solution here.  We really need a general Oriental Orthodox council to settle all of this (as well as other matters).  May God's will be done in all things.
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« Reply #84 on: July 14, 2004, 11:05:28 AM »

Would you approve of its content more if it were a Church-sponsored website?


My belief is that the Jacobite church will not sponsor such websites.  People are acting on their own. It is difficult to believe that a bishop will approve the language used in such websites. There is too much haste in their language to dump every responsibility on the Orthodox side.

All these parishes once belonged to the Malankara Metropolitan. The specific parish in picture is in the Diocese of a former Jacobite bishop who accepted the unity in March, 2002, in the united meeting of both groups.

Following is from the Constitution of 1934:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Metropolitans rule the dioceses assigned to them by the Synod. The appoint vicars for the parishes. The vicars are, therefore, responsible to the metropolitans. The church administration is, therefore, a three tier system; the vicar- Metropolitan synod tier.

The vicar is not only a priest ordained by a metropolitan for discharging ecclesiastical duties but also a representative of metropolitan in the parish and is obliged to serve the interests of the former while at the same time keeping in view the welfare of the parish.

Parishes are the constituent units of the church. They were represented in the Malankara association of 1934 which adopted the constitution. The constitution therefore, is applicable to all parishes of the church. It also follows that the parishes are within the constitution and obliged to the operation of its provisions in so far as they are concerned. They are neither outside the umbrella of the constitution nor independent entities. Thus the constitution safeguards the rightful place of the parish in the church and enshrines an administrative machinery for its management.

The Malankara metropolitan is the administrative head of the church and in him “ the prime jurisdiction regarding the temporal, ecclesiastical and spiritual administration of the Malankara church is vested”. only a metropolitan elected by the Malankara Syrian Christian association could hold this office for the constitution stipulates that the Malankara metropolitan shall be elected to that office by the association.

The Malankara metropolitan has the power of supervision over the diocese metropolitan in the administration of the diocese.

His Holiness the Catholicos is the president of the Holy Synod. Still His Holiness is not exempted from the decisions of the Holy Synod. His Holiness is bound to inform the decisions of the Holy Synod to the members of the Church and to get them implemented. Managing Committee is the legal body to formulate all decisions of the Holy Church. All decisions of the Managing committee are to be ratified by the Holy Synod.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is also in the mutually accepted constituion of 1934.  Consider another situation, if majority of a parish decided to leave the Church,  then should the Church freely give them an ancient parish of Malankara?

How do you evaluate what happens in Jerusalem, the fight between Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Oriental Orthodox for establishing their position there?

If we learn history there are other cases, e.g. the Syrian Orthodox Church trying to get churches held by Armenians.

It is natural that this happens when there is division. How can we assume that IOC or Jacobites alone should be perfect, they have similar weaknesses and strength. If the IOC people leave a parish in dispute, then the problem will be solved. In the same way if Jacobites agreed to leave the parish also the problem will be solved. But is that a good solution?

IOC people of that parish want to use it, because their bishop is same as before.  They did not change the Bishop or constitution. Only the Jacobite church created a new constitution in 2002 and ordained a new bishop for the same church. In an affidavit, the Jacobite church declared that the new constitution of 2002 was created following the freedom of religion allowed in the Constitution of India.

Is it right to force IOC people to leave their parish, especially when they follow the same constitution and the obey the same bishop?


-Paul
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« Reply #85 on: July 14, 2004, 02:57:38 PM »

My belief is that the Jacobite church will not sponsor such websites.  People are acting on their own. It is difficult to believe that a bishop will approve the language used in such websites. There is too much haste in their language to dump every responsibility on the Orthodox side.

Why do you believe this to be so?  If the Jacobite bishops and laity are capable of all that you accuse them of, then to simply put up a website detailing the seizure of a Church should be no problem for them, "hasty language" and all.

All these parishes once belonged to the Malankara Metropolitan. The specific parish in picture is in the Diocese of a former Jacobite bishop who accepted the unity in March, 2002, in the united meeting of both groups.

So who does the parish belong to now?  Why is the Church sitting in a state of ruination?  If the Church rightfully belongs to the IOC, why don't they use it?  How can a Church sit abandoned since the 1970's?


This is also in the mutually accepted constituion of 1934.  Consider another situation, if majority of a parish decided to leave the Church,  then should the Church freely give them an ancient parish of Malankara?

Is it better for the Church to rot while the cashbox alone receives attention?  


How do you evaluate what happens in Jerusalem, the fight between Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Oriental Orthodox for establishing their position there

If we learn history there are other cases, e.g. the Syrian Orthodox Church trying to get churches held by Armenians.

What happens in Jerusalem is shameful, but it in no way justifies what is happening in India.

It is natural that this happens when there is division. How can we assume that IOC or Jacobites alone should be perfect, they have similar weaknesses and strength. If the IOC people leave a parish in dispute, then the problem will be solved. In the same way if Jacobites agreed to leave the parish also the problem will be solved. But is that a good solution?

IOC people of that parish want to use it, because their bishop is same as before.  They did not change the Bishop or constitution. Only the Jacobite church created a new constitution in 2002 and ordained a new bishop for the same church. In an affidavit, the Jacobite church declared that the new constitution of 2002 was created following the freedom of religion allowed in the Constitution of India.


Then why don't they use it?  Why is the Church rotting?  It seems like the attitude is "Better for the Church to rot than for Jacobites to pray there!"

I don't want you to feel that I am taking a side in this per se.  I have received criticism of my remarks here via e-mail from a Syriac Orthodox friend who asks:

What distinguishes the Syriac Church from the Indian Church?
 
If location, where are the boundaries drawn?
If language, do we make a new catholicate for every language group?
Frankly, I couldn't imagine splitting the Church off from itself.  I go to a
Syrian Orthodox parish and everyone is from India and we're SYRIAN Orthodox.
I have to disagree with you with every ounce of blood in my body.  I will never stop being Syrian Orthodox.


What can one say to this?  I am beginning to think that as an outsider, I should butt out of this feud.

May God heal His Church in India.

Nick
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« Reply #86 on: July 14, 2004, 06:26:19 PM »

Why do you believe this to be so?  If the Jacobite bishops and laity are capable of all that you accuse them of, then to simply put up a website detailing the seizure of a Church should be no problem for them, "hasty language" and all.So who does the parish belong to now?  Why is the Church sitting in a state of ruination?  If the Church rightfully belongs to the IOC, why don't they use it?  How can a Church sit abandoned since the 1970's?  

Dear Nick,

These questions should go to the people of that parish. Orthodox people have the same emotions as the Jacobites, and they do not want to leave their parish. But the other group wants to expell the Orthodox (that is my understanding).  Recently in Denver, Jacobite bishop expelled two Indian priests from the Altar. This proves the Jacobite attitude to expell the Orthodox. In such a situation, can you expect the Orthodox people to give up? Is it justice in any way?


Quote
Is it better for the Church to rot while the cashbox alone receives attention?  


I do not believe this story.  In fact cash from so called 'sinhasana churches' and those fragmented entities directly under Damascus rule goes directly to the Syrians. Patriarch wants this money. Who can justify this act?  Suppose the story is true, that Orthodox church is taking money from Indian parishes, then there is no reason to question that, because that is the way Syrian Orthodox church is also doing. Every church should do that way. Money from a Church should go to the needs of that Church, its charitable works and the needs of building the Church. It should not go for supporting divisions in the Synod and people.

Quote
What happens in Jerusalem is shameful, but it in no way justifies what is happening in India.Then why don't they use it?  Why is the Church rotting?  It seems like the attitude is "Better for the Church to rot than for Jacobites to pray there!"

The people of those parishes have an issue and they are not able to solve it. IOC cannot open or close a parish. Neither can Jacobite church do it.  The Government tries to prevent clash between two groups, that is what happened here. Also, it is better to open the church when people are in peace, than to open it to allow clash inside the Church. Or should people clash inside the Church during liturgy? I do not know the right answer, but tend to think that clash should be avoided inside a Church. In many parishes people of each group tried to disrupt liturgy and physically harass clergy.

Quote
I have received criticism of my remarks here via e-mail from a Syriac Orthodox friend who asks:

What distinguishes the Syriac Church from the Indian Church?
 

The question should be 'what distinguishes the Antiochian church from the Indian Church?'

Antiochian church is a distinct church, we know how this church originated, how they got a Patriarchate, when was it formed, the powers of the Patriarch, his jurisdiction etc. In this sense, it is a distinct Church, and one among many sister churches.

In the definition of Syrian Church by Patriarch Yakub 111 (in his history book), he includes Aramaens and Assyrians, but totally ignores the Indians. In this sense, Indian Christians are a different category. But they want to remain in peace and unity in one faith with the Church of Antioch.

Indian Church was founded by Apostle Thomas, he was the first high-priest (Patriarch) of the East according to Hudaya Canon and the traditional belief of Indian Christians.  Antiochian chuch was founded by Apostle Peter and Paul. Though these are different churches, of people of different nation/ethnicity etc., they can remain united in faith, just like Apostles are united.

Syrians do not consider us ethnically equal to them. For example, we have no marriage relationship with them. They consider us different, that is why Indian Jacobites in America have own Indian bishop. If it is Church of same kind of people, then there is no need for an Indian bishop, they can remain under a Syrian bishop.  But this is clearly not happening. So, in saying that for one purpose (i.e. for universal rule) Indian church should be subordinate, and for other purposes (marriage, having seperate Indian bishop etc.) they should be seperate, involves double standards and inconsistency. Right?  Are we a group of people to be experimented with?

We do not expect an unity based on ethnicity, language, culture etc. Even such a unity is not in the understanding of Catholicity. We are from different civilizations, but we can remain united in one faith, honoring each other, and also honoring if there is any special relationship that exists.

[quotes]
If location, where are the boundaries drawn?
[/quotes]

To know that just attend an Indian parish and a Syrian parish, we know people from Syrian culture go to their parish and Indians go to an Indian parish.

Quote
If language, do we make a new catholicate for every language group?

When the church grows in different regions, we have to honor that and alloow them to progress keeping their identity. This is how Antioch also developed in to a Patriarchate. Initially there was no such concept, but eventually when Christianity started to grow in that region, they got a Patriarchate with the support of the Emperor of Byzantium.

But in the present situation Catholicate is in the lineage of Apostle Thomas in th East.  So, it is not about one Catholicate for each language, but about preserving the integrity and unity of the Church of St. Thomas Christians of the East.

Quote
I go to a  Syrian Orthodox parish and everyone is from India and we're SYRIAN Orthodox.

Now, that is only a special case, perhaps 0.001 percent of Syrians go to an Indian Church. How can we generalize based on this? When we do not have a church of our identity, we have no option but to participate in the church of another identity (say Coptic, or Ethiopian, or Indian, whichever is closer).

Our unity is in one faith, it is not a unity based on Syriacness or Ethnicity or Universal Supremacy of just one Primate or Language ....

Regarding Syriacness, even the Church of Antioch cannot claim pure Syriac status. Because in Antioch the language was Greek. Syriac Christianity developed in the middle region between Antiochian West and the Church of the East, especially the schools of Nisibis and Edessa. In this sense, Antiochian Church is just one of the many Churches which benefited from Syriac Christianity.
The Assyrian Church, Indian Church etc. also benefited from Syriac Christianity.
Original name of present Syrian Orthodox church was just the 'Church of Antioch'.   Just naming the Church to 'Universal Syrian Orthodox' does not explain taking control over all churches of Syriac background.  Because of this pride about supremacy of Antiochians, other churches of Syriac background will feel belittled.

Trying to establish that all Churches which benefitted from Syriac Christianity should come under a Church which later adopted the name 'Universal Syrian church' is not according to the understanding of Catholicity, Apostolicity etc. It is just a show of ones power.

So, the Antiochians should remain with humility that their church is just one of the Churches of Syriac background. If we study history, we can conclude that it was Apostle Thomas who founded the Church in Edessa and the East of it, which later developed the schools of Syriac Christianity first in Nisibis and then in Edessa. But Apostolic Christians of St. Thomas feel belittled today, because Antiochians try to take control over them, instead of allowing them to maintain their freedom in Christ and remain in unity in faith between the two Churches.


-Paul


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« Reply #87 on: July 14, 2004, 06:48:00 PM »

Dear Paul (and Everyone),

Thank you for your response.  I have one more thought to put out there.  It will probably sound incredibly naive, but you can evaluate the statement on its own merits, and take it however you like.

When Christ comes again to judge us all, it will not matter who can claim ownership of a certain monastery or a certain ancient Church.  What will matter is who has lived a holy life that is pleasing to God, and who has maintained the true Orthodox Christian Faith delivered once and forever for all the saints.

According to the figures I have seen at malankarachurch.org, there are about 800,000 people administered by an independent Catholicos of the East whose constitutional supreme head is the Patriarch of Antioch & all the East, with their Church headquarters at Kottayam.  Also, from what I have heard, these Churches are concentrated mostly in South Kerala.  If they want their own Catholicos for their Churches, and want to be completely autocephalous, then this is fine.  They should be allowed to be autocephalous, and should be recognized as full members of the Oriental Orthodox Communion.

By the same token, according to the same source, there are about 800,000 people administered by the Catholicos of India who functions under the spiritual supremacy of the Patriarchal See of Antioch, with their regional church headquarters at Puthencuriz, Kochi.  Their numbers can be combined with the 75,000 people of the Comprises of the Simhasana Churches; Archdiocese of Greater India (excluding the dioceses in Kerala);  Evangelical Association of the East; & St.Antony's Mission, Mangalore, and another 75,000 Knanaya Jacobite Syrian Christians who are administered by the Chief Metropolitan of the East, who functions under the spiritual supremacy of the Patriarch of Antioch, with their Church headquarters at Chingavanam, Kottayam.  This puts the numbers in favor of the Churches in favor of autonomy, not autocephaly.  Why can't these Churches be allowed to remain fully under Antioch as autonomous Churches if they so desire?  Why must they be forced to leave the Syriac Church if they don't want to?

In short, why can't both sides just do what they want and maintain full Communion?  For the sake of peace, compromise on the property rights.  What good will they be when Christ comes again?

I apologize if I have at all offended anyone in my criticisms of the situation in India.  I honestly see both sides as having legitimate points, and both sides as perpetrating some wrongs.  Thank you to everyone for understanding my outrage at finding those pictures of the Church.  It is because I recognize the Indian Church as being a truly Orthodox Church that these pictures grieve me so.  If that was a Protestant pulpit there rotting in the rain, it wouldn't bother me at all, because it would just be a building.  A "meeting house".  But since that is in reality the holy altar consecrated by Orthodox clergy to hold the Holy Body and Precious Blood of Our Lord and Saviour, it hurts me to see it in such a state.

Yours in Christ,

Nick
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« Reply #88 on: July 15, 2004, 01:45:49 AM »

Having said that, I would take to heart any appeal to co-exist in peace.

But here, IOC continues to be responsible for aggression against SOC. It has to begin to understand that we live in a land where freedom of religious expression is guaranteed by the constitution.

SOC & IOC have differences that have not been reconciled for more than a century--a conflict that consumed so much of our energies, resources, and resulted in such bad blood affecting our social and spiritual fabric and poor standing in the society, not to mention the inability to be honest witnesses of our faith. Circumstances have forced us to part ways and at this point nothing is going to precipitate unity in the near future. IOC should recognize the reality and withdraw claims on churches where the SOC is in majority; the SOC has always agreed that they will not raise claims to churches where IOC has a majority. This will lead to an atmosphere where we will tolerate each other as fellow Christians.

We have accomplished this with the Catholics and with the Marthomites before. There is much more in common with the IOC that cordial and meaningful relationships are possible in the future. Once the rancor has subsided and a generation that has not known this conflict assumes prominence it is still possible to achieve greater cooperation and even some level of unity.

If history is any guide it is not impossible. There is reason for hope. But to make this possible IOC has to give up the idea that SOC can be annihilated by their tactics. History and any debated on the moral rectitude of either side in this conflict is irrelevant now. The ball is in the IOC court but they are not willing to act.
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« Reply #89 on: July 15, 2004, 04:55:32 AM »

Dear Nick,

These questions should go to the people of that parish. Orthodox people have the same emotions as the Jacobites, and they do not want to leave their parish. But the other group wants to expell the Orthodox (that is my understanding).

Paul

Fully agree with you, provided this stance must be applicable to both factions. I don’t know about many churches. Just to wants to point only two churches personally known to me.
1. Why Jacobites were forced to expel from Kadisa Church of Kayamkulam, which is just 6 K.M away from my own home parish?

2. Why Jacobites were forced to expel From Puthuppally St. George Church, which is just 1 K.M away from my wife's home parish?

3. Why Jacobites were forced to expel from Kattapuram St. George Church, Thiruvalla?
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« Reply #90 on: July 15, 2004, 05:21:03 AM »


This is also in the mutually accepted constituion of 1934.  Consider another situation, if majority of a parish decided to leave the Church,  then should the Church freely give them an ancient parish of Malankara?

Parishes are constructed by the faithful for their worship according to the their faith. The so-called association & its constitution was accepted and joined in the association by the Parish and its faithful by their own will. It is not mean that all their wrights are submitted to the constitution. If the majority chooses to disassociate with the association and its constitution, they have the full wrights to get out of the association and its laws of constitution along with their own property.

No civilized law or community will stop that or question. That’s only what happened in Malankara.

The people for the people make constitutions and associations. The High Court of Kerala upholds this. This simple democratic action is question by IOC in the Supreme Court
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« Reply #91 on: July 15, 2004, 11:18:23 AM »

Hi Everyone,

I have just been informed that the statistics mentioned in my previous post may not be entirely accurate.  The numbers may not favor the pro-Antiochian Churches after all.  That being said, my point still stands.  Why can't both of the Churches co-exist and share full Communion, those who wish being autocephalous, and those who wish being autonnomous?
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« Reply #92 on: July 15, 2004, 11:55:18 AM »

IOC should recognize the reality and withdraw claims on churches where the SOC is in majority; the SOC has always agreed that they will not raise claims to churches where IOC has a majority. This will lead to an atmosphere where we will tolerate each other as fellow Christians.

So, along the lines of what Nik suggested, do you think simply giving a particular parish to whichever group is "in the majority" and at the same time re-establishing full eucharistic communion would be a viable option?
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« Reply #93 on: July 15, 2004, 11:56:01 AM »

3. Why Jacobites were forced to expel from Kattapuram St. George Church, Thiruvalla?

Ah, my mother's church!  Smiley
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« Reply #94 on: July 15, 2004, 11:57:10 AM »

Parishes are constructed by the faithful for their worship according to the their faith. The so-called association & its constitution was accepted and joined in the association by the Parish and its faithful by their own will. It is not mean that all their wrights are submitted to the constitution. If the majority chooses to disassociate with the association and its constitution, they have the full wrights to get out of the association and its laws of constitution along with their own property.

No civilized law or community will stop that or question. That’s only what happened in Malankara.

The people for the people make constitutions and associations. The High Court of Kerala upholds this. This simple democratic action is question by IOC in the Supreme Court


Are we now advocating that the Church be run as a democracy?
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« Reply #95 on: July 15, 2004, 04:13:44 PM »

Paul

Fully agree with you, provided this stance must be applicable to both factions. I don’t know about many churches. Just to wants to point only two churches personally known to me.
1. Why Jacobites were forced to expel from Kadisa Church of Kayamkulam, which is just 6 K.M away from my own home parish?

2. Why Jacobites were forced to expel From Puthuppally St. George Church, which is just 1 K.M away from my wife's home parish?

3. Why Jacobites were forced to expel from Kattapuram St. George Church, Thiruvalla?


Dear Thomas,

My grand-father and father attended the Jacobite church. But in 1970, when Mar Augen 1 was the Catholicos, their parish accepted the unity. IOC Bishop always appoints a priest in that parish and makes sure that every festival is observed in that parish.  i.e. IOC never closed that parish.

But one or two families in that parish were staunch Jacobites, hence they left the church (one of them is now going to the Malankara Catholic church, being consistent with his faith).

My mothers' family are still in the Jacobite side. But they tend to be  more fanatical compared with my father or paternal grand-father. My father would say, 'this is the same church, so we can attend either one of the factions'. So, when my father was serving Indian army, and hence away from home, he allowed us to attend the Jacobite church for many years.  But I did not experience the same attitude from my mother's Jacobite side family members. They do not show interest in attending an IOC parish, but tend to make fun of IOC.

What I am trying to say is that IOC will not try to drive out people who want to remain in peace.  If people left the church because of their own dislike of IOC, or unable to attend the liturgy celebrated by an IOC priest, then how can we blame IOC for that?  If a person is peace loving, he can always continue to participate in the same church, same priesthood, same faith, same sacraments and even the same food. But if there are significant number of Jacobites in a parish, in the current circumstances, they should be allowed few Sundays to have own church services.

Consider the Manarcaud parish occupied by the Jacobite church now. Orthodox church people had to leave that parish.  Even the father of late Catholicos Mar Baselius Mathews 1 is buried in that church. So, there is always a counter example possible.


-Paul




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« Reply #96 on: July 15, 2004, 04:26:07 PM »


By the same token, according to the same source, there are about 800,000 people administered by the Catholicos of India who functions under the spiritual supremacy of the Patriarchal See of Antioch, with their regional church headquarters at Puthencuriz, Kochi.  Their numbers can be combined with the 75,000 people of the Comprises of the Simhasana Churches; Archdiocese of Greater India (excluding the dioceses in Kerala);  Evangelical Association of the East; & St.Antony's Mission, Mangalore, and another 75,000 Knanaya Jacobite Syrian Christians who are administered by the Chief Metropolitan of the East, who functions under the spiritual supremacy of the Patriarch of Antioch, with their Church headquarters at Chingavanam, Kottayam.  This puts the numbers in favor of the Churches in favor of autonomy, not autocephaly.  Why can't these Churches be allowed to remain fully under Antioch as autonomous Churches if they so desire?  Why must they be forced to leave the Syriac Church if they don't want to?


Nick, The Angamally Diocese of the Jacobite church alone has 800,000 members.

How about refering to a non-Orthodox or non-Jacobite source for statistics. Check the numbers assigned by the Malankara Catholic Church below.

http://www.sathyadeepam.org/directory/malankara_orthodox_syrian_church.asp


http://www.sathyadeepam.org/directory/syrian_orthodox_jocobite_church.asp

Malankara Orthodox Syrian: 25,11,833
Jacobite Syrian Church: 12, 85, 000 (including Simhasana, Knanaya etc.)

It is almost the double. A good way is to compare the parishes in the U.S.,  IOC parishes are about 60 and Jacobite about 30.

IOC also has Knanaya Diocese and Honavar (Brahmawar) Mission, but they are part of the same Holy Synod.


-Paul
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« Reply #97 on: July 15, 2004, 04:34:45 PM »

Parishes are constructed by the faithful for their worship according to the their faith. The so-called association & its constitution was accepted and joined in the association by the Parish and its faithful by their own will. It is not mean that all their wrights are submitted to the constitution. If the majority chooses to disassociate with the association and its constitution, they have the full wrights to get out of the association and its laws of constitution along with their own property.


Dear Thomas,

 But old parishes were constructed by our ancestors, starting with Apostle Thomas, right?   Our Niranam church is believed to be there from the time of Apostle Thomas.  In this sense, how can you say that some of the ancient parishes should be owned only by the Jacobite church, especially after this division when the Jacobite church adopted a new constitution in 2002?  And most of the bishops of the Jacobite church were appointed just last year, creating bishoprics parallel to each diocese existing in the IOC.

I think once a church is consecrated, those who donated or built the church lost ownership. It belongs to all the people in the parish and to the bishop and the administrative head, not just to the people who donated.


-Paul

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« Reply #98 on: July 15, 2004, 04:43:22 PM »

I find that Antonious Nikolas is now a forum moderator for the OO forum. Axios!


-Paul
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« Reply #99 on: July 16, 2004, 04:42:03 PM »

Dear Paul,

Thanks very much.  I am not worthy, but I will try my best.  At any rate, Phil asked...


So, along the lines of what Nik suggested, do you think simply giving a particular parish to whichever group is "in the majority" and at the same time re-establishing full eucharistic communion would be a viable option?  


Could this be a solution?  Could both sides maintain separate administrations, one being autocephalous and the other autonomous, and both be in full eucharistic Communion?

I continue to pray to God for peace in the Indian Church.

Nick
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« Reply #100 on: July 17, 2004, 03:51:34 AM »

How about refering to a non-Orthodox or non-Jacobite source for statistics. Check the numbers assigned by the Malankara Catholic Church below.

http://www.sathyadeepam.org/directory/malankara_orthodox_syrian_church.asp


http://www.sathyadeepam.org/directory/syrian_orthodox_jocobite_church.asp

Malankara Orthodox Syrian: 25,11,833
Jacobite Syrian Church: 12, 85, 000 (including Simhasana, Knanaya etc.)

This information is based on IOC website http://www.orthodoxsyrianchurch.com and it is 100% wrong information. These figures are including the Jacobite Christians and their properties too.

Few examples

List of Collages of IOC management

http://www.orthodoxsyrianchurch.com/html/colleges/college.htm
On this link Jacobite institutions are included which is known to me personally

1.St.Thomas College Ranni
2.Mar Athanasius College of Engineering
List of Hospitals of IOC management
http://www.orthodoxsyrianchurch.com/html/hospitals/hospital.htm
On this link Jacobite institutions are included which is known to me personally
Mar Baselious Medical Mission Hospital
St.Mary’s Hospital, Manarcadu
St.Mary’s Hospital, Muvattupuza
Claims of 2.5 mln and at times 3 mln is one of the usual claims of IOC leadership.

The total Christian population in Kerala as per last census is over 60,000,00. Even though there was no head count denomination wise, unofficially the denomination wise population of Christians in Kerala brought out by a study conducted by a catholic foundation is as below.

Catholics (all reeths)................... 30,400,000
Syrian Orthodox (both factions).. 19,000,000
Marthoma Syrian.........................   4,200,000
C S I............................................   3,800,000
Others.........................................   5,500,000

Now both together have roughly 20,000,000. The Angamaly Diocese alone of Jacobite Church has 175 parish churches with most of them having over 500 families. (Some with over 2000 families)

So you can make an approximate study on the actual strength of IOC.
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« Reply #101 on: July 17, 2004, 04:10:48 AM »

So, along the lines of what Nik suggested, do you think simply giving a particular parish to whichever group is "in the majority" and at the same time re-establishing full eucharistic communion would be a viable option?  
As I stated before this will lead to an atmosphere where we will tolerate each other as fellow Christians not for re-establishing full Eucharistic communion. For that many other issues to be sorted it out.
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« Reply #102 on: July 17, 2004, 04:17:22 AM »

Are we now advocating that the Church be run as a democracy?  
Democratic process is not a new thing in the Holy Church; all the 3 ecumenical Synod decision was based on majority.

Even recently when IOC Bishops were selected it was based on democratic process.
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« Reply #103 on: July 17, 2004, 02:07:49 PM »

As I stated before this will lead to an atmosphere where we will tolerate each other as fellow Christians not for re-establishing full Eucharistic communion. For that many other issues to be sorted it out.

Such as?
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« Reply #104 on: July 17, 2004, 02:08:07 PM »

The total Christian population in Kerala as per last census is over 60,000,00. Even though there was no head count denomination wise, unofficially the denomination wise population of Christians in Kerala brought out by a study conducted by a catholic foundation is as below.

Catholics (all reeths)................... 30,400,000
Syrian Orthodox (both factions).. 19,000,000
Marthoma Syrian.........................   4,200,000
C S I............................................   3,800,000
Others.........................................   5,500,000

Now both together have roughly 20,000,000. The Angamaly Diocese alone of Jacobite Church has 175 parish churches with most of them having over 500 families. (Some with over 2000 families)

So you can make an approximate study on the actual strength of IOC.

Wait a minute.  There are sixty million (60,000,000) Christians in Kerala alone?  And out of that, twenty million (20,000,000) are Orthodox (both groups)?  When did THIS happen?  The largest number I've ever heard for both Orthodox factions was five million, and even this was with qualification.  Even some of the numbers of the other groups seem too high.    

Based on your statistics on the Angamaly Diocese alone, I cannot make an approximate study on the actual strength of the IOC.  There's not enough information.  How do I know that the Angamaly statistics are typical of all the Jacobite dioceses, for example?  And where are the stats for the IOC dioceses?  So far, everything I've seen indicates that the IOC has more people than the Jacobite Church.  Do you have more data with which to make your point?
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« Reply #105 on: July 17, 2004, 02:10:07 PM »

Democratic process is not a new thing in the Holy Church; all the 3 ecumenical Synod decision was based on majority.

Even recently when IOC Bishops were selected it was based on democratic process.


True enough, but I made my remark in response to something you said about "the people".  In the Ecumenical Councils, it was not "all the people" deciding.  In the elections of bishops, it is not "all the people" either.  I read what you were saying as advocating some sort of democratic process which I am unfamiliar with in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #106 on: July 17, 2004, 02:26:02 PM »

Wait a minute.  There are sixty million (60,000,000) Christians in Kerala alone?  And out of that, twenty million (20,000,000) are Orthodox (both groups)?  When did THIS happen?  The largest number I've ever heard for both Orthodox factions was five million, and even this was with qualification.  Even some of the numbers of the other groups seem too high.  
Sorry for the numeric positioning. By mistake I added one extra 0 to all figures. Please forgive me for my silly mistake Cheesy
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« Reply #107 on: July 17, 2004, 02:30:31 PM »

Ah, I thought something was the matter.  No problem!
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« Reply #108 on: July 17, 2004, 02:44:41 PM »

Such as?
Throne of St. Thomas, Spiritual Authority of H.H Patriarch, manipulated liturgical prayers.  etc.
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« Reply #109 on: July 18, 2004, 01:35:33 PM »

Throne of St. Thomas, Spiritual Authority of H.H Patriarch, manipulated liturgical prayers.  etc.

Please correct me if I am wrong about any of these points:

1. "Throne of St. Thomas" - St. Thomas was an Apostle chosen by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  He is equal to all of the other Apostles.  To deny this, in my opinion, is ridiculous.  The question is, did he establish a throne in India, or merely preach there?  Did he ordain any bishops?  I would be interested to hear proof from one side or the other about this.  From what I have read in neutral books written by outsiders (The Indian Christians of St. Thomas by Leslie Brown, and other works) the local tradition has always been that St. Thomas did establish a throne and ordain bishops.  I would be interested to hear this confirmed or convincingly refuted.

2. "Spiritual Authority of the Throne of Antioch" - From what I have read, both sides freely acknowledge this.  The issue is temporal authority.  Or am I wrong?

3. "Manipulated Liturgical Prayers" - Please elaborate.  In what sense were they manipulated?
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« Reply #110 on: July 19, 2004, 07:31:25 AM »


St. Thomas was an Apostle chosen by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  He is equal to all of the other Apostles.  To deny this, in my opinion, is ridiculous.  

Nick

Let me apologies for the long posting. I invite very constructive debate on this subject Without deviating form the subject.

When we say that the Church is Apostolic, we affirm and acknowledge that the Church began with and keeps in line with the Apostolic teachings. Apostolic teachings are of two kinds namely; written and unwritten. "Therefore brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught whether by word or our epistle" 2 Thes. 2:15. By genuine Apostolic descend, Church derives its authority for its teachings from the Apostles by the continuing guidance of the Holy Spirit, John 16:13. Thus the faith of the Church is divinely inspired and undefiled. The Church traces back to Apostles especially Saint Peter, the head of Apostles, for its humble beginning. Jesus Christ chose and appointed the twelve disciples with specific missions.

Two-fold missions: (1) Certain missions were common to all Apostles, "He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease." Mat.10:1, Mk. 3:13, and Lk.6:12, "As you go, preach, saying The Kingdom of heaven is at hand, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons, freely you have received, freely give" Mat. 10:7-8. Granted them Holy Spirit, peace, power to forgive and retain sins, John 20:22-23. He kindled their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures and empowered them to be witness for Him, Luke 24:45-48. He charged them to preach and make disciples of all nations, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to observe all commandments, Mat 28:19-20. (2) Some missions, as discussed below, were not common to all but personal as for St. Peter and St. Paul.

St. Peter is entrusted with additional privileges, missions and responsibilities. At the first meeting itself Jesus treated him in a special way. Jesus promised him a surname, 'Cephas.' "You are Simon, the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas" John 1:42. Cephas in Aramaic means rock. In the Old Testament rock is synonym of Yahweh. Yahweh is the rock of Israel 2 Sam 23:3, Is 30:29. He is their rock of refuge. Dt 32:37, Ps 18:3. He is their rock of deliverance, Dt 32:15, Ps 62:3. He is their everlasting rock, Is 26:4. Yahweh is the blessed rock, Ps 18:47. He is righteous, faithful rock in whom there is no wrong Dt 32:4, Ps 92:16. Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron when they had no water in the wilderness of Zin. Moses and Aaron went into the presence of the Lord. The Lord instructed them to strike the rock with their rod. They did so and water gushed out of the rock (Meribah) abundantly. Ex 17:6, Num. 20:11. St. Paul interpreted that, "that rock was 'Christ," I Cot. 10:4. The title, 'rock' thus rightly belongs to Jesus Christ. By calling Peter 'Cepah,' Jesus imputed His personality in him rather, He conferred His own title to Simon. Adoption was common practice among Jews on those days. Family title was conferred on those who were adopted, Gen. 15:2. It can be assumed without error that Peter was more like adopted kin to Jesus Christ. Heavenly father validated what Jesus conferred on Peter by revealing to him that Jesus was Christ, the Son of the living God. It was then that Jesus confirmed him the title, 'Cepah.' Jesus promised to build the Church on the leadership of Peter, "On this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." Some theologians interpret that, 'Cephas' is not a citation to Peter himself but to the faith he confessed. Such opinions are absurd as, "You are Cephas-Peter," purely implies a personal reference. "Church is built upon him. "He conferred this personally upon Peter," says Tertullian. "Peter upon whom is built the Church of Christ," says Origen. "It is on one man that He builds the Church," says Cyprian.

Keys: Peter's personal commission is further fortified by assuring him the keys of kingdom of heaven and the power to bind and loose. "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven," Mat 16:17-19. The key of the kingdom of heaven is not given to Church but to Peter himself. In Isaiah 22:22 we read, "And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder so he shall open and none shall shut, and he shall shut and none shall open." Revelation 3:7 says He who is holy, He who is true," has the key of David, and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is legitimately holding the Keys of the Kingdom of God. "I am He who lives, and was dead and behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen. I have the keys of hell and of death." Rev 1:18. Shortly, he has overall authority of all things, created, uncreated, visible, invisible, earthly, celestial, living, dead, temporal and eternal. For, Jesus endowed all His authority to Peter by promising the keys.

Temple tax collectors' inquiry to Peter if their teacher pay tax is an ample proof that Peter was by then well known in the society as representative of Jesus. Jesus affirmed it by asking Peter to pay tax for both Himself and Peter, Mat 17:24-27. His eminent position among the Apostles prompted Satan to sift him as wheat. Jesus prayed for him so that his faith would not fail Luke 22:31-32. Jesus' special care and keen interest to retain Peter in leadership position is self-evident in these statements. Peter in his frailty denied Jesus three times. Peter's denial and its aftermath, that he will not forfeit but retain his leadership by strengthening other Apostles, were predicted well in advance, hence not by chance. On the first day after Sabbath when Mary Magdalene and other women entered the tomb to anoint with spices and the angel spoke to them that Jesus was risen from the dead and asked them, "Go tell his disciples and Peter" Mark 16:7. Special mention of Peter’s name is yet another piece of evidence of his eclat position among the disciples that the angel was very much aware of. It also testifies Jesus' loving concern and special favor to Peter. The disciples disbelieved the account of resurrection as narrated by Mary Magdalene, Mark 16:1. Their words seemed to them like "idle tales." Peter arose and ran to the tomb and thus he was the first among the disciples to believe the resurrection. Luke 24:11-12. Jesus commissioned Peter to feed His flock. Peter denied Him three times, as predicted, Mat. 26:69-75. Though he wept bitterly after denial, it was necessary to affirm his conviction. Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him more than other Apostles. Peter affirmed he loved Him more than others and surrendered by saying, "You know that." Jesus then appointed him to feed His lambs (children), His sheep (women) and Goats (men). Unlike in English, Syriac version has distinct words. This fulfills all the previous promises. Our practice of declaring candidate's unwavering faith and obedience to the Church and to the bishop who ordains (Salmoosa or Amologia) has its origin from this tradition.

Peter as the most obedient and loving disciple fulfilled the assignment soon after Jesus' ascension. He took up the leadership of the disciples and disciples accepted it, as in Acts 1:15-17. Peter was the first Apostle to speak. He filled in the void in the gospels as to the end of Judas and initiated the process of selection of twelfth Apostle. Peter instead of claiming or exercising absolute authority for himself submitted to the ultimate will of God. That is why our Church as always rightly teaches that no human being but Jesus Christ Himself is the real Head of the Church. No human being, no matter whatever title he holds, can be infallible. Peter is the first Apostle to preach at the Pentecost, Acts 2:1 - 41, He was first to perform miracles, Acts 3:1-11. He was the first to preach to gentiles and convert them, Acts 10:1-11:8. Church grew as faithful multiplied daily and extended to neighboring areas and countries
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« Reply #111 on: July 19, 2004, 07:51:37 AM »

Please correct me if I am wrong about any of these points:

 The question is, did he establish a throne in India, or merely preach there?  Did he ordain any bishops?  I would be interested to hear proof from one side or the other about this.  From what I have read in neutral books written by outsiders (The Indian Christians of St. Thomas by Leslie Brown, and other works) the local tradition has always been that St. Thomas did establish a throne and ordain bishops.  I would be interested to hear this confirmed or convincingly refuted.

Apostle Thomas seriously took up his master’s command, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you,” Mat 28:20. The legend has that King Gondaphorus desired to build a magnificent palace. King engaged Haban, an overseas trader, to find a talented builder using his trade connections. While progressing with his search in Jerusalem, Jesus appeared to him in disguise and introduced Apostle Thomas as a good builder. Haban took Thomas to the king. The king was pleased with plan and gave money for the work. Thomas spent the money for gospel works instead of building palace. The king learnt the delinquency and out of rage convicted Thomas and Haban to prison, to be executed. While Thomas was in prison the king’s brother died. Angels escorted the soul to a magnificent palace and said that Thomas built the palace for the king. The brother could not contain his astonishment and implored the angels to send him back to earth immediately lest delay would cost Thomas’ life. It was almost cremation time. The request was granted and the corpse resurrected and told the king what he saw in heaven. He became all the more puzzled, pleased, penitent, released and allowed Thomas to preach. The king got converted. Whether or not the story is credible, fact is that he arrived at Muziris or Cranganore in AD 52. Cranganore was a famous seaport in South India (now Kerala) and had trade connections with Middle East and Egypt long before even the time of King David. He landed first in Maliankara, a village adjacent to the port. ‘Malankara’ is derived from Maliankara. He brought Gospel of Mathew (in Syriac). He was Syrian. Apostle Thomas preached the risen Christ, converted many, ordained (priests) from at least four famous Brahmin families namely, Kalli, Kaliankal, Sankarapuri, and Pakalomattom. CV Cheriyan in, ‘History of Christians in Kerala’ page 1 adds, Madapur, Vyrupilil, Mutiedal, Kollara and Panakamattom and Fr. Xavier Koodapuzha in, ‘Thiru Sabha Charithram’ page 12, adds, Pattamuk, Thayil, Manki and Madathilan families to the list. He established seven churches at, Cranganore, Kottakavil or Paravur, Gokamangalom, Palur, Kurakeni-Kollom, Chayal or Nilakal and Niranom. Apostle Thomas then went to Coromandal, Malaka and China, preached gospel, converted people and established churches. We do not have full account of his deeds at China or elsewhere. Christianity flourished in Kalyan, Bombay from early century and they trace their origin to Apostle Thomas. On his way back in AD 72 he was speared to martyrdom at Mylapore, Madras. The legend has that spear was inflicted on his side. He did not die instantly but crawled while bleeding through a tunnel and reached Chinnamalai and died on the mount, present ‘St. Thomas Mount or Santhom’ which is approximately 21 miles away from Mylapore. His disciples buried his mortal remains in Mylapore. Now there is a shrine at Santhom. Chinnamalai is in between Mylapore and Santhom. These places are tourist attractions. Portuguese invaders captured Mylapore, Chinnamalai and Santhom and now they are under custody of Roman Catholics. Chinnamalai was then known as Kalamina as mentioned in certain ancient records. Holy relic of apostle Thomas was transferred to Edessa in the third century buried there and built a church in his honor.

His relics were moved from Edessa later and rediscovered in this century at the Syriac Orthodox Church of Mosul by His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zakka I while he was the Archbishop of Mosul.

Patriarch H.H. Ignatius Zakka I in an encyclical dated October 20, 1987, added the name of "Apostle Thomas, the preacher of the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in India" to the the fourth diptych (Syr. tubden) in the Malankara Church.

We have no reason to discredit this tradition which is handed down unbroken to us by our forefathers right from the first century. Until late 19th century no one disputed it.

Unfortunately so-called modern scholars like, Lakrose, Hugh, G M Rae, claimed that St. Thomas never came to South India, chiefly relying upon “Acts of Thoma.” It is clever amalgamation of fiction and history written around 200 AD. It vividly describes how St. Thomas evangelized India. The Church considers it unauthentic because its author BarDaisan was heretic. They argued lack of evidence to prove the 1900 year-old tradition and that India mentioned in certain records and traditions might be a place west of Indus River in North India or Afghanistan. ‘India’ itself is an apple of discord among historians. At least five different areas are identified as India by different authors. Certain spurious tradition about his cadaver also prevails.  As said above, Apostle’s relic was taken to Edessa. Mylapore natives showed two sepultures to Portuguese invaders claiming that both were of St. Thomas. They excavated both places in 1522 and 1523 and took out 2 dead-bodies. Though amazed, multiplicity of corpse did not deter them to place one in Mylapore cathedral and the other in a church at Goa. They still venerate both! They claim that a body was taken from Edessa and placed in ‘Orthona Church’ in Italy, which still they have (addendum 18 to The Indian Church of St Thomas, by EM Philip).  

Such claims are ridiculous nonsense aimed at discrediting antiquity of St. Thomas Christians in India. Illustrious historian EM Philip excellently proved such claims as false, misdirected, untenable and repugnant to truth. ‘India within and places around received gospel from Judas Thomas,’ says “The Doctrine of Apostles” written around AD 250. Eusebius the 4th century historian says, ‘Thomas evangelized Parthia’. This might have been before his sojourn to India. St. Aphrem (AD 370) mentioned in his lyric ‘the great deeds of Thomas in India’. 13th century historian Bar Hebrews, Mor Michael Rabo, etc documents the fact of Thomas’ works in India. Solomon, 13th century Nestorian bishop says, ‘Thomas evangelized Parthya, Media and India’ in The book of the bee. Suffice it to say our tradition is trustworthy. I defer to go into details except saying that Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant authors namely, Dr. Ker, Dr Buchanon, Marco Polo, etc have documented beyond doubt authenticity of our tradition.  Church records and prayer books declare Thomas as ‘apostle of India’.

St. Ephrem's works note that the bones of St. Thomas were venerated there in his time. The great hymnodist alludes to the transferral of the bones in his Carmina Nisibena (42:1.1-2.2, Kathleen McVey, Ephrem the Syrian, Paulist Press, 1989, p. 25):

The evil one wails, "Where then
can I flee from the righteous?
I incited Death to kill the apostles
as if to escape from their scourges
by their death. More than ever now
I am scourged harshly. The apostle I killed in India
[has come] to Edessa before me. Here is he and also there.
I went there, there he is.
Here and there I found him, and I am gloomy.
Did that merchant carry the bones?
Or perhaps, indeed, they carried him!

Remember, St. Thomas came to India when so many countries of Europe had not yet become Christian, and so, those Christians who trace their Christianity to him have a longer history and a higher ancestry than that of Christians of many European countries. And, it is really a matter of pride to us that it so happened. --Dr. Rajendra Prasad, President of India (1952-62), 18 Dec. 1955, St. Thomas’ Day Celebrations, New Delhi.
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« Reply #112 on: July 19, 2004, 07:51:21 PM »

I've read Thomas' last two posts.  The first one seems like another version of the article he cited earlier in this thread and which I read and offered criticisms of.  The important question after reading all he had to say about Saint Peter is, if this is the official teaching of the SOC, what implication does this have in the realm of ecclesiastical authority?  Regarding the post about Saint Thomas, I haven't read anything in there with which I would disagree from a doctrinal point of view.  If it is supposed to close in on some difference in faith between SOC and IOC, I have not seen it.
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« Reply #113 on: July 19, 2004, 08:43:38 PM »

The traditional work of the Indian Church, called 'Thoma Parvam' and the Coptic Synaxarium clearly indicates that Apostle Thomas ordained bishops in India. Also, the Syriac version of the work "Doctrine of the Apostles" (Didascalia?) calls his 'ruler of the Church he founded in India and neighbouring regions'.

Ruler means a 'throne'. There are other ancient accounts to believe the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas.  True that the Church faced difficulties and requested help from sister churches, and based on our Indian nature we venerated those who helped us. But, when those who helped us later  took advantage of the freedom and respect we gave them, should we keep quiet?  Don't we have an identity just as they have. Personally, I know that the Syrians of middle-east are very very proud of their identity, language and culture. In this sense, they can also respect the Indian church, instead of fragmenting the Indians in to numerous uniate entities, merely to establish supreme rule of power of Syrians of Syrian Arab Republic.

It is true that early Syrian works (and ancient works of other Apostolic Churches) documented the works of Apostle Thomas in India, but there is not even a single clue or the name of  a bishop ordained by Antioch for Indians in Syrian history works.

In 1965, during the Addis Ababa council of OO churches, an Indian priest asked the Syrian Patriarch if he is aware of Antioch helping the Indian Church with a bishop before 20th century. The Patriarch then mentioned that in the work of Mar Ishodad, there is mention of a bishop ordained for India. But then the Indian priest replied that this only proves the ancient link between the 'Syrian Church of the East' (i.e. Catholicate of the East in Seleucia) and the Church in India.  Patriarch Yakub 111 had no reply to give.

The Jacobites are currently trying to borrow the supremacy ideas from RC church (since only that can logically explain a subordination) and trying to establish universal supremacy.  SOC was renamed to "Universal SOC' only in the 20th century, thus expanding the scope of their universal rule of power.

There is absolutely no need to study E.M. Philip ans other modern writers from India. Let us read original Syrian history works in terms of understanding if SOC is really supreme authority in the universe and to investigate if there is any clear lineage of bishops appointed by Antioch for Indian Church.  In the case of Ethiopian church, there is clear lineage of bishops appointed by the Coptic Church. Such a lineage  is missing in the Syrian history. E.M. Philip and other writers from Indian had access to only very limited documents, bulk of their work is based on speculations to emotionally attract people.   Very few Indian historians studied original syriac history works. For example, Fr. V.C. Samuel told me he fully read the history of Syriac church by Mar Michael the Great and he could not find the name of a single bishop ordained by Antioch for India.  I have also seen the book (it is a huge book in Syriac) in his study room. From this it is clear that Jacobite works are based speculations and the wrong ideas taught by some of the later Patriarchs.

I am doubtful about the Jacobite church approach. If they really respect Syrian Orthodox church, as they show and really want to teach everything in the Syrian Orthodox church, then why they are not translating some of the important Syrian history works in Indian languages. Why always trying to promote only selected history works, such as the work of E.M. philip and those who later wrote only based on E.M. Philip.

"Apostle Thomas, the preacher of the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in India"

This attractive statement by the Patriarch is a carefuly created one. The Apostle is just called 'preacher'.  This is to indirectly create a thinking in the minds of people that Apostle Thomas was without the authority of a Bishop, that he was just a 'preacher'.  This statement contradicts early Syriac account which calls the Apostle 'ruler' of the Church he established in India.  SOC is moving very tactically.


-Paul

 


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« Reply #114 on: July 19, 2004, 09:03:45 PM »

[quote author=Thomas Daniel (Reji) The Angamaly Diocese alone of Jacobite Church has 175 parish churches with most of them having over 500 families. (Some with over 2000 families)

So you can make an approximate study on the actual strength of IOC.
Quote


Let us take the situation outside Kerala. There are 60+ IOC parishes in the Americas, 30+ Jacobite parishes.  In my city alone, there are four IOC parishes with reasonable strength. But there are only two Jacobite parishes with strength equal to average strength of  IOC parishes. Consider the situation in India, IOC bishops were careful to establish churches in each Indian city, thus they have parishes and congregations in all major Indian cities, as well as mission centers.  They have four dioceses outside Kerala. Even there is a congregation formed in Nepal.  But let us observe that the Jacobite bishop tried to do. He tried to seperate his Diocese outside Kerala from Jacobite Synod, naming it Syrian Orthodox of Greater India. His aim was to bring the new uniate church directly under Damascus with a new constitution, assigning him as the head bishop.

This is a totally wrong model. I do not know why Damascus is freely allowing such fragmented uniate churches, all created out of the original integral Malankara Church. This is a totally fruitless model, with numerous bishops not sitting in any Synod, but existing as independent entity linked to Damascus based 'universal' rule.

So, let us care for growing the Church in India, instead of always justifying the fragmentation of the Church in to uniates like Knanaya, Simhasana, American Archdiocese etc.  We gain nothing out of fragmenting the Church.  Our duty is not to promote universal supremacy rule of Damascus or Rome, but always promote only the integrity and unity of the Church of St. Thomas Christians of India.

-Paul
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« Reply #115 on: July 20, 2004, 02:40:47 AM »

But let us observe that the Jacobite bishop tried to do. He tried to seperate his Diocese outside Kerala from Jacobite Synod, naming it Syrian Orthodox of Greater India. His aim was to bring the new uniate church directly under Damascus with a new constitution, assigning him as the head bishop.

This is a totally wrong model. I do not know why Damascus is freely allowing such fragmented uniate churches, all created out of the original integral Malankara Church. This is a totally fruitless model, with numerous bishops not sitting in any Synod, but existing as independent entity linked to Damascus based 'universal' rule.

So, let us care for growing the Church in India, instead of always justifying the fragmentation of the Church in to uniates like Knanaya, Simhasana, American Archdiocese etc.  We gain nothing out of fragmenting the Church.  Our duty is not to promote universal supremacy rule of Damascus or Rome, but always promote only the integrity and unity of the Church of St. Thomas Christians of India.

-Paul

I don’t understand when Jacobite dos something it's irritate others. When others do anything it is according to all sort of faith.

If I am not mistaken, Mr. Paul or Mr. Mike worte somewhere in this thread as follows

“In Orthodoxy, all bishops are equal in dignity, regardless of title.  Titles are matters of honour, and also serve a purpose in some jurisdictional considerations.”

So what is this jurisdiction? Is it anywhere indicated, it should be according to the political boundaries of the region?

If every bishop is equal, let every bishop have his own Orthodox Church under him. Why we need Catholicose or Patriarchs? Let us abolish these honors and make small small autocephalous churches. I think it is not against the orthodoxy.

Catholicose of IOC can have administrative control on churches all over the world, just because all members are form one ethnic group, it is orthodoxy.

When Patriarch of Antioch claim administrative control on his churches all over the world, just because they are all in one faith and keep same liturgical tradition, it is Un Orthodoxy.

I do not understand what is this orthodoxy?
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« Reply #116 on: July 20, 2004, 02:48:58 PM »

[quote author=Thomas Daniel (Reji) link=
If every bishop is equal, let every bishop have his own Orthodox Church under him. Why we need Catholicose or Patriarchs? Let us abolish these honors and make small small autocephalous churches. I think it is not against the orthodoxy.

Catholicose of IOC can have administrative control on churches all over the world, just because all members are form one ethnic group, it is orthodoxy.

When Patriarch of Antioch claim administrative control on his churches all over the world, just because they are all in one faith and keep same liturgical tradition, it is Un Orthodoxy.

I do not understand what is this orthodoxy?
Quote

Dear Mr. Thomas Daniel, Orthodoxy does allow some freedom to maintain ones ethnicity, cultural aspects, language etc. This freedom is described in the New Testament by Apostle Paul.  

There are two aspects of old canons, jurisdictional boundaries defined in Byzantine administrative canons are not followed strictly today by any Church. EVery church has dioceses and parishes in different parts of the world, with out following the jurisdictional boundaries of Ecumenical councils.

So, there are two aspects of Ecumenical councils.

1) The faith aspects which remain unchanged.
2) Boundaries of administration, which can change over time.

(1) above is considered most important by all Churches.

Jurisdiction is not based on the use of a liturgy.  Consider Eastern Orthodox churches, they have same canon (the Rudder), same liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, but they have Holy Synods in each region.
The Eritrean church uses the same liturgy as the Ethiopian church, but the Eritreans are not subordinates today.

Bishops are equal, but according to Apostolic Canons, bishops of each nation should remain united with a head bishop, who is elected among them.  A Patriarch or Catholicos is a head bishop, Patriarch within Byzantine empire and Catholicos as the head of Churches out side Byzantium, such as Armenian, Georgian, and the Church of the East.

I do not understand why Jacobite leaders promote a narrow view of church as a unity based on  use of liturgy, supremacy of Petrine throne etc.  Two or more churches can use the same liturgy. Whether they use the same liturgy or not, unity is based only on one thing, i.e. the same confession of faith. Even the validity of priesthood is defined in terms of faith.  Consistently, the Jacobite leaders are teaching a very narrow view of the Church, which caused people to think about the church as a sectarian or ethnic entity. A lot of work is needed in India to help people to understand the true nature of the Church, an understanding of what Catholicity and unity really means.  

It is in canon that bishops of a nation should remain united. Canon also mentions that bishops should not remain independent, but should be part of the Synod.  Bishops of Knanaya, Simhasana and other entities in the Jacobite church do not sit in the same Synod.   But to create a show they will join in some celebrations. Since common man in Indian knows nothing about canons, it is easily to misguide them for the advantage of the Damascus based hierarchy, to teach their false reachings borrowed from RC church, to capture churches in India, ordain rival bishops, divide dioceses, families etc.

We need to observe that we are not doing the same towards Syrians in the middle-east. We only pary for their well being and growth of faith in their region.


Canon XIV.

A bishop is not to be allowed to leave his own parish, and pass over into another, although he may be pressed by many to do so, unless there be some proper cause constraining him. as if he can confer some greater benefit upon the persons of that place in the word of godliness. And this must be done not of his own accord, but by the judgment of many bishops, and at their earnest exhortation

Canon XXXIII. (XXXIV.)

No foreign bishop, presbyter, or deacon, may be received without commendatory letters; and when they are produced let the persons be examined; and if they be preachers of godliness, let them be received. Otherwise, although you supply them with what they need, you must not receive them into communion, for many things are done surreptitiously.

Canon XXXIV. (XXXV.)

The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; but each may do those things only which concern hisown parish, and the country places which belong to it. But neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit [some mss. read: through the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father through the Lord by the Holy Spirit, even the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit].

Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.)

Let not a bishop dare to ordain beyond his own limits, in cities and places not subject to him. But if he be convicted of doing so, without the consent of those persons who have authority over such cities and places, let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained.

Canon XXXVI. (XXXVII.)

If any person, having been ordained bishop, does not undertake the ministry, and the care of the people committed to him, let him be excommunicated until he does undertake it. In like manner a presbyter or deacon. But if he has gone and has not been received, not of his own will but from the perverseness of the people, let him continue bishop; and let the clergy of the city be excommunicated, because they have not corrected the disobedient people.

Canon XXXVII. (XXXVIII.)

Let there be a meeting of the bishops twice a year, and let them examine amongst themselves the decrees concerning religion and settle the ecclesiastical controversies which may have occurred. One meeting to be held in the fourth week of Pentecost [i.e., the fourth week after Easter], and the other on the 12th day of the month Hyperberetaeus [i.e., October].

Canon XXXVIII. (XXXIX.)

Let the bishop have the care of all the goods of the Church, and let him administer them as under the inspection of God. But he must not alienate any of them or give the things which belong to God to his own relations. If they be poor let him relieve them as poor; but let him not, under that pretence, sell the goods of the Church.

What does the above Canons teach? How is it compatible with the current fragmented model followed in Jacobite church? Syrian Patriarch violated some of the above canons when he freely ordained rival bishops against the decision of the Synod in India.  In this sense the Indian church can say that the Jacobite church is an uncanonical entity, if canons are strictly followed.


-Paul
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« Reply #117 on: July 20, 2004, 02:58:26 PM »

Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.)

Let not a bishop dare to ordain beyond his own limits, in cities and places not subject to him. But if he be convicted of doing so, without the consent of those persons who have authority over such cities and places, let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained.


In this sense, all the bishops of Jacobite church (i.e. starting with the work of Mar Aboodi in 1972) were ordained against the consent of the Holy Synod of the Malankara Church.  The canon says "let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained. "

Here Patriarch and his unconstitutional delegate were the ones who ordained rival bvishops in 1972 against the existing Synod, thus creating the seperate Jacobite church.

Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan and Catholicos is the authority over the cities and places of India, and in modern times this means all places in the world where are people from India live. Because Rome is having dioceses in India, Greek Orthodox church has parish in india, Armenian church has parish in India, Coptic church has parishes in Australia, Thailand and so on.... Nothing wrong here, but isolating only the Indian church, and causing a situation of difficulty to the Indian church alone, when all other churches are enjoying freedom is wrong.


-Paul
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« Reply #118 on: July 21, 2004, 08:22:12 AM »


Jurisdiction is not based on the use of a liturgy.  Consider Eastern Orthodox churches, they have same canon (the Rudder), same liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, but they have Holy Synods in each region.
We discus here about two churches within Oriental Orthodox Church not in EO Church. So please stay within the topic. As far as OO concerns RC and EO are same. They moved away from Church long back.
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« Reply #119 on: July 21, 2004, 08:25:39 AM »


A Patriarch or Catholicos is a head bishop, Patriarch within Byzantine empire and Catholicos as the head of Churches out side Byzantium, such as Armenian, Georgian, and the Church of the East.
Cheesy Cheesy Smiley
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« Reply #120 on: July 21, 2004, 08:29:33 AM »


Canon XIV.
Canon XXXIII. (XXXIV.)
Canon XXXIV. (XXXV.)
Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.)
Canon XXXVI. (XXXVII.)
Canon XXXVII. (XXXVIII.)
Canon XXXVIII. (XXXIX.)
What about rest of the canons? Is all that also applicable or only the one which sute for us is applicable?
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« Reply #121 on: July 21, 2004, 08:56:17 AM »

I've read Thomas' last two posts.  The first one seems like another version of the article he cited earlier in this thread and which I read and offered criticisms of.  The important question after reading all he had to say about Saint Peter is, if this is the official teaching of the SOC, what implication does this have in the realm of ecclesiastical authority?  
Phil
As far as my knowledge, Yes it is the official teaching of SOC. Why SOC teaches in this way, was explained in my previous posting.
Also in this same thread previously I given a link (http://www.stignatious.com/articles/peter.htm) of an article written by Dr. Thomas Mor Athanasious about the same subject when he was in Jacobite Church. I don’t know he changed his position now (After switching over to IOC). But I am sure SOC did not changed it so far.
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« Reply #122 on: July 21, 2004, 11:12:30 AM »

We discus here about two churches within Oriental Orthodox Church not in EO Church. So please stay within the topic. As far as OO concerns RC and EO are same. They moved away from Church long back.

Two things come to mind.  The first is that the EO, although separated from us for many hundreds of years, have still maintained a lot of the same stuff which our Church has maintained.  So I think it is appropriate to cite their witness in certain matters.  Second, you say that as far as the Oriental Orthodox are concerned, the RC's and the Eastern Orthodox moved away from the Church, yet your Church is in some form of communion with both these groups.  How do you reconcile the two?
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« Reply #123 on: July 21, 2004, 11:12:45 AM »

Phil
As far as my knowledge, Yes it is the official teaching of SOC. Why SOC teaches in this way, was explained in my previous posting.
Also in this same thread previously I given a link (http://www.stignatious.com/articles/peter.htm) of an article written by Dr. Thomas Mor Athanasious about the same subject when he was in Jacobite Church. I don’t know he changed his position now (After switching over to IOC). But I am sure SOC did not changed it so far.


Dear Thomas,

I understand what you are saying about the person of Peter and why the SOC chooses to believe this.  My question is how the SOC interprets this as far as the life of the Church today goes.  If Peter had the authority which the articles you presented argue, how does this affect his successors?  Do they also have this same power?  What is the scope of that power?  I'm not sure I even agree with everything those articles have said about Peter himself, let alone the implications such teachings have had when embraced by groups like the Roman Catholic Church.  I would like to know that the SOC has a different teaching on this than what certain people allege.  However, after everything you've presented so far, I have little choice but to assume that your beliefs are very much like that of the RC's.  I hope you will go on and show that I am wrong.
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« Reply #124 on: July 22, 2004, 04:08:13 PM »

We discus here about two churches within Oriental Orthodox Church not in EO Church. So please stay within the topic. As far as OO concerns RC and EO are same. They moved away from Church long back.


How can you prove that from OO perspective RC and EO are the same?  My understanding about OO perspective is that we have more commonalities than differences. For example, major differences between OO and EO are about the interpretation of Tome of Leo (Chalcedon) and the acceptance of saints. Other than these aspects,  OO and EO shares same traditions and keeps same practises.  But my view of the RC church is very different from yours, because that church is teaching universal primacy rule which is alien to both OO and EO. There are many other differences. RC church allowed many deviations from mainstream Orthodoxy.

The OO-RCC joint committee picked 'primacy' as a key topic for discussion in the next meeting. Clearly there are differences with RC church, which are not related to Christology. Why would OO church select 'primacy' as a topic if our only issue with RC church is just the Christological issue?  

From what you wrote, I think your understanding about EO is different from mine. I am clear that my understanding about EO is consistent with the OO general opinion, because I am basing my belief not on my own thinking, but the opinion of large number of OO church fathers, including Pope Shenouda.  Pope Shenouda is strictly against the supremacy theory of the RC Church.

If your underdstanding is different, then that further proves the closeness of Jacobite faith with the RC faith.  From my experience in Kerala, I have a feeling that the whole Jacobite movement will mislead people. It causes people to move away from true traditions and practises shared both by OO and EO churches.

-Paul
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« Reply #125 on: July 22, 2004, 04:24:39 PM »

What about rest of the canons? Is all that also applicable or only the one which sute for us is applicable?

Take Canon XXXVII

"Let there be a meeting of the bishops twice a year, and let them examine amongst themselves the decrees concerning religion and settle the ecclesiastical controversies which may have occurred. "


Now, in 1972 there was only one Synod in India. This Synod requested the Patriarch not to send a Patriarchal delegate. But Patriarch ignored the decision of the Synod and appointed a delegate against the Synod. This delegate Syrian Bishop then entered each of the dioceses of the Church and ordained rival clergy and bishops.  Was it a canonical act?

Another question. If his title is 'Patriarch of Antioch and all the East', why is he having parishes in the Western world?  Which church is strictly following boundaries. Recently the IOC parish in Toronto was captured by the Patriarch. The constitution does not allow the Patriarch to violate jurisdiction and write letters to parishes in the jurisdiction of the Catholicos. But the Patriarch is trying to occupy the IOC parish and bring it directly under his control, just like they were able to bring Malankara parishes of Persian Gulf and US under direct control of Damascus.

The orignal version of the Nicean canon does not include "all the East" in the title.  Canon V1 of Nicea: "Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges. And this is to be universally understood, that if any one be made bishop without the consent of the Metropolitan, the great Synod has declared that such a man ought not to be a bishop. If, however, two or three bishops shall from natural love of contradiction, oppose the common suffrage of the rest, it being reasonable and in accordance with the ecclesiastical law, then let the choice of the majority prevail."

The choice of majority was not allowed in many cases.

How can you continue to argue that Damascus is strictly following canons?
I can give other examples for not strictly following canons.

So, it is unjustified to constantly persecute the Indian Orthodox Church, just for one reason that the Indian church is seeking to the maintain unity and integrity of the community of St. Thomas Christians worldwide.

-Paul

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« Reply #126 on: July 22, 2004, 04:28:36 PM »

Dear Thomas Daniel,

Can you prove that the name 'Universal Syrian Orthodox' is according to tradition. I know how this name originated in local Synod of SOC. Can you provide me a single proof from old writings to believe in the term 'Universal Syriac Orthodox'.  

My understanding of the Holy Creed is that there is only one Universal Church. In this sense, the usage 'Universal Syriac Orthodox' is not consistent.

-Paul
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« Reply #127 on: July 22, 2004, 04:38:17 PM »

Phil
As far as my knowledge, Yes it is the official teaching of SOC. Why SOC teaches in this way, was explained in my previous posting.
Also in this same thread previously I given a link (http://www.stignatious.com/articles/peter.htm) of an article written by Dr. Thomas Mor Athanasious about the same subject when he was in Jacobite Church. I don’t know he changed his position now (After switching over to IOC). But I am sure SOC did not changed it so far.


SOC of the past did not teach what is written in the link.  The article is purely based on Jacobite faith in India.  A lay person (Jacobite) very close to the Patriarch told me that he had a heated argument with the Patriarch about this teaching. The Patriarch's position then was same as the OO and EO position, but the Jacobite lay person maintained the RC belief about primacy.  If some Syrian bishops are keeping the same RC concept, then it must be due to the Jacobite influence (or Mar Abdulla influence).  Among churches considered to be OO, only Jacobite church keeps primacy as the core teaching, calling it 'true faith'. Perhaps this happened because of Patriarch Mar Abdulla, who was the RC bishop of Homs. It is said about Patriarch Abdulla that he was using RC liturgy and kept the RC faith before he was allowed to sit as Patriarch.  Eventually this faith entered the Jacobite faction, as Jacobites supported this rival Patriarch and his successors.

-Paul
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« Reply #128 on: July 24, 2004, 02:28:19 AM »

Dear Thomas,

I understand what you are saying about the person of Peter and why the SOC chooses to believe this.  My question is how the SOC interprets this as far as the life of the Church today goes.  If Peter had the authority which the articles you presented argue, how does this affect his successors?  Do they also have this same power?  What is the scope of that power?  I'm not sure I even agree with everything those articles have said about Peter himself, let alone the implications such teachings have had when embraced by groups like the Roman Catholic Church.  I would like to know that the SOC has a different teaching on this than what certain people allege.  However, after everything you've presented so far, I have little choice but to assume that your beliefs are very much like that of the RC's.  I hope you will go on and show that I am wrong.  

Phil
Sorry for delay and for another long posting. Please go through these lines, you will understand the position of SOC on this issue more clearly

Primacy of honor to Rome, but all bishops are equal in spiritual powers: Fathers of the Church conferred a ‘primacy of honor’ to the bishop of Rome, as is evident from the Hudoyo canon 7:I which reads, “There shall be four patriarchs in accordance with the four corners of the earth, that is, the bishop of Rome, with him the bishop of Alexandria, the bishop of Constantinople that is also called New Rome, and the bishop of Antioch who has jurisdiction over all the East. Bishop of Jerusalem shall be honored as the fifth patriarch without jurisdiction...” This arrangement was made to avoid confusion to the future synods. The basis was nothing but the political prominence of the cities. They had to, no doubt, please the emperor of Rome who convened the synod of Nicea, for it was the question of their survival. Jerusalem was honored, for, this place was blessed by the redemptive activities of our Savior. All bishops were equals. Patriarchs had no spiritual superiority over other Patriarchs. No bishop was ever subject of another bishop. All bishops are partakers of the throne of St. Peter. This also shows the oneness of the Church. “Every bishop has his own free will to the unrestrained exercise of his liberty and power, so that neither can he be judged by another, nor is he himself able to judge another,” Acts of the seventh council of Carthage, AD 256. Cyprian also held that, “Episcopate itself is one and undivided,” in his treatise on the unity of the Catholic Church. Though he was the bishop of Carthage, the clergy of Rome addressed him, “the blessed Pope Cyprian,” However Pope Stephen continued to stake his claim of superiority over other bishops and Cyprian continued to oppose him. There was struggle between Polycrates of Ephesus and Victor of Rome (AD 190) regarding the date of Easter. The decision of Polycrates to continue Easter on fourteenth of Nisan prevailed over the dictum of Victor. Eusebius and Jerome endorsed the decision of Polycrates.  In the early Centuries all bishops treated themselves part of the same episcopate. Clement of Rome wrote letter to Corinthians. Some of his successors interpreted this as Clement acting as the ‘General to bishops.’ This is utterly untrue. Other bishops also acted the same way. Ignatius of Antioch wrote letters to at least seven Churches namely; Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnaeans, Polycarpus and Antiochians. Polycarpus of Smyrna wrote to Philippians. Dionysius of Corinth wrote to Sotter of Rome. Tatian the Syrian wrote to the Greeks. Irenaeus wrote to Victor of Rome. Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianz, John Chrysostom and all early bishops wrote pastoral letters to other bishops. There was no question of one controlling the other. Later, Popes of Rome departed from the noble tradition, connived with the emperors, twisted the doctrines and gained control over other bishops. He became a formidable force to reckon with during the Middle Ages. He even dictated terms with rulers in Europe and had direct confrontations with some monarchs.

An excerpt from the statement on papal supremacy issued by Pope Boniface VIII in 1302 to the French king Philip IV known as Unam Sanctam may be remarkable. “We are compelled, our faith urging us, to believe and to hold-and we do firmly believe and simply confess-that there is one holy catholic and apostolic church, outside of which there is neither salvation nor remission of sin... In this church there is one Lord, one faith and one baptism... Therefore, of this one and only church there is one body and one head... Christ, namely, and the Vicar of Christ, St. Peter, and the successor of Peter. For the Lord himself said to Peter, feed my sheep... We are told by the word of the gospel that in this His fold there are two swords-a spiritual, namely, and a temporal... Both swords, the spiritual and the material, therefore, are in the power of the Church; the one, indeed, to be wielded for the church, the other by the church; the one by the hand of the priest, the other by the hand of kings and knights, but at the will and sufferance of the priest. One sword, moreover, ought to be under the other, and the temporal authority to be subjected to the spiritual... Therefore if the earthly power err it shall be judged by the spiritual power; but if the lesser spiritual power errs, by the greater. But if the greatest, it can be judged by God alone, not by man, the apostle bearing witness. A spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is not judged by any one. This authority, moreover, even though it is given to man and exercised through man, is not human but rather divine, being given by divine lips to Peter and founded on a rock for him and his successors through Christ himself whom he has confessed; the Lord himself saying to Peter: “Whatever you shall bind, etc.” Whoever, therefore, resist this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordination of God... Indeed, we declare, announce and define, that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff” (Page 398 of Eastern Civilization by Jackson JS). However, King Philip not only defied it but also charged the Pope for heresy. The Pope could not get over from the shock and he soon died. This paved the way for the king to create an Anti-pope at Avignon.

East and west differ: Both Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches sharply differ on this issue. The said attitude of Roman Pope is outright defiance to the teachings of Jesus Christ, his disciples and the biblical truth. Jesus Christ never conceived the idea to hold any temporal power. “Therefore when Jesus perceived they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, He departed again into the mountain by Himself alone,” John 6:15. Why? He knew that they were acting on a misguided enthusiasm and it was not His mission to fulfill their earthly wishes. He said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world,” John 18:36. The Apostles rightly understood Him and labored not for this worldly power. How then one can claim successor-ship of Christ or the Apostle and twist the doctrines to wield temporal power?

Specialties of Patriarch of Antioch: However, two specialties are noticed in the case of the Patriarch of Antioch. Firstly, he had vast areas of jurisdiction. The synod confirmed the jurisdiction he already had over all the East. There was a Church fully developed in the East that extended to India, China and right upto Korea. Secondly no other patriarchate had a Catholicos. Catholicos of the East was to obey him. This subjection is not because of any difference in spiritual authority as bishops but for administrative convenience. One seat (Holy See) of St. Peter was divided into Four Patriarchates for administrative convenience but was of the same succession from Peter. When four Patriarchs came together in unity, the seat of Peter was valid and complete. Patriarchates had no independent identity. There was no Catholicos elsewhere because other patriarchates had smaller territories and there was no need for an intermediary.
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« Reply #129 on: July 24, 2004, 12:22:04 PM »

All bishops were equals. Patriarchs had no spiritual superiority over other Patriarchs. No bishop was ever subject of another bishop. All bishops are partakers of the throne of St. Peter. This also shows the oneness of the Church.

Correct.  This is what I was trying to say earlier in the thread.  

Quote
Specialties of Patriarch of Antioch: However, two specialties are noticed in the case of the Patriarch of Antioch. Firstly, he had vast areas of jurisdiction. The synod confirmed the jurisdiction he already had over all the East.

Right, the Eastern part of the Roman Empire, which is what the Nicene Canon is speaking of.  I've never heard anyone other than the Jacobites claim that "all the East" means everything geographically East of Antioch.  

Quote
Secondly no other patriarchate had a Catholicos. Catholicos of the East was to obey him. This subjection is not because of any difference in spiritual authority as bishops but for administrative convenience. One seat (Holy See) of St. Peter was divided into Four Patriarchates for administrative convenience but was of the same succession from Peter. When four Patriarchs came together in unity, the seat of Peter was valid and complete. Patriarchates had no independent identity. There was no Catholicos elsewhere because other patriarchates had smaller territories and there was no need for an intermediary.

The "Petrine Sees" were Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch.  There was no fourth.  It is precisely for this reason that, when Constantinople began claiming more seniority based on the position of that city in the Empire, the Pope of Rome at the time wrote about how it was not a Petrine See, and couldn't possibly claim such seniority (the principle of apostolic origin of Sees becoming more important in later centuries than the principle of accommodation to the political structure of the Empire, which is primarily how the other Sees achieved their prominence).  

However, assuming that there are these four, and that when four patriarchs come together in unity, the See of Peter is there in its fulness, as you say, how does that work today, when no one has all four?  

Also, I am not sure what you mean when you say that "patriarchates had no independent identity".  Surely they had some measure of independence, or else did they govern their own territories only with the consent of the others?  

Finally, the Church in India was founded a few hundred years before the First Ecumenical Council.  How is that Church, then, not independent?  From its inception it was independent.
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« Reply #130 on: July 26, 2004, 01:10:47 PM »

All bishops are partakers of the throne of St. Peter. This also shows the oneness of the Church.

Dear Thomas, Which Synod, or verse in the Bible teaches this faith of yours? Also tell me which Oriental orthodox church believes this way?  

In the same way is it true to believe that 'all bishops are partakers of the throne of St. Thomas'?

My understanding is that throne (of just one Apostle) is not an important concept in the Orthdodox tradition.  All ordination comes from Christ and all Bishops are united in the confession of faith. Thus in the understanding of the Church, faith is the 'Rock' and foundation of the Church. Even St. Peter teaches us this in his Epistle.

Which verse in the Bible teaches us the special 'throne of St. Peter'? Christ is the head of the Church and he is the corner-stone, the very basis of the Church. Te foundation includes all Apostles. All Bishops are from Christ alone and they are successors of the Apostles.  Unity of the Church is understood as in the one Faith.

I have great difficulty appreciating the Jacobite position, unless Orthodox believers tell me that I need to accept the Jacobite position (or the RC position) as the only correct position.  I still do not know why the Jacobite faction is so fanatical about the supremacy of the throne of Peter.


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« Reply #131 on: July 26, 2004, 01:20:22 PM »


Specialties of Patriarch of Antioch: However, two specialties are noticed in the case of the Patriarch of Antioch. Firstly, he had vast areas of jurisdiction. The synod confirmed the jurisdiction he already had over all the East.

Dear Thomas, Following material is directly taken from the article of a Syrian Orthodox Bishop, about the jurisdiction of SOC.

"According to two ancient Syrian manuscripts it is clear that seven sees were under the See of the Antiochian Patriarchate and they were: (1) Aleppo, (2) Kanasreen, (3) Jebleh, (4) Sulokiah, (5) Hansarta, (6) Bloutoan, (7) Al Jabul. And there were two other sees in which the Patriarch had the authority to send their metropolitans wherever and they are: (1) Salameia, (2) Brakusun. Four other sees were independent and they are (1) Beirut, (2) Homs, (3) Latakia and (4) Khorus. The number of metropolitanates which were under the Holy See were twelve: (1) Tyre, (2) Tarsus, (3) Al Ruhra (Edessa/Urfa), (4) Aphamia, (5) Manbej, (6) Bosra, (7) Ain Zerba, (Cool Sulokia/Isauria, (9) Damascus, (10) Amed, (11) Rasafe, (12) Dara. For each metropolitanate there were many archdioceses."

"3 -- Today the Patriarch practices a much wider authority because the revised constitution in previous periods has permitted th"is. The power of the personality of the Patriarch and the metropolitans plays a distinguishing role in widening their authorities. "

[The Concept of Jurisdiction and Authority in the Syrian Orthodox Church on Antioch  Article by His Grace Mor Gregorios Johanna Ibrahim
Metropolitan of Aleppo and Environs The Rev. Fr. Monk Melki assisted with this translation.]


So, it is the revised constitution of SOC (which was done in local SOC councils) which increased the authority of the Patriarch.  Then how can you continue to argue that it is traditional?

Where is India or a city in India in the above list?  You mentioned about China? Give me the name of a Bishop ordained by Patriarch of Antioch for China or for India before 17th/18th century?

From what I learned, the Catholicos of the East (successor of St. Thomas in the East) is the head of the Synod of the East and his jurisdiction includes all the regions of Persia and the East of it, which included China, India, ...

It is difficult for me to appreciate the current practise of dividing the Indian church in to different uniate groups, bringing each group under direct control of Patriarch. To me this is very similar to the RC approach of establishing supremacy in a step-by-step process. How can we accept this move sincerely?


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« Reply #132 on: July 27, 2004, 06:01:25 AM »

Dear Thomas, Which Synod, or verse in the Bible teaches this faith of yours? Also tell me which Oriental orthodox church believes this way?

Peter’s personal commission is further fortified by assuring him the keys of kingdom of heaven and the power to bind and loose. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven,” Mat 16:17-19. The key of the kingdom of heaven is not given to Church but to Peter himself. In Isaiah 22:22 we read, “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder so he shall open and none shall shut, and he shall shut and none shall open.” “He who is holy, He who is true,” has the key of David, Rev 3:7 and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is legitimately holding the Keys of the Kingdom of God. “I am He who lives, and was dead and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen. I have the keys of hell and of death,” Rev 1:18. Jesus has authority over all things, created, uncreated, visible, invisible, earthly, celestial, living, dead, temporal and eternal. By promising the keys Jesus endowed all His authority to Peter.

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« Reply #133 on: July 27, 2004, 06:06:57 AM »

In the same way is it true to believe that 'all bishops are partakers of the throne of St. Thomas'?
He promised each one of them authority to sit upon each throne and judge at His second coming. “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging twelve tribes of Israel,” Mat 19:28, Lk 22:30. But this had no instant effect. Judas Iscariot was among the twelve who followed Jesus when Jesus made this promise. If it was to take instant effect, Judas Iscariot was sure to get it. St. Peter testified to the assembly of one hundred and twenty, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, that Judas by transgression fell from his position. Matthias was filled in the vacancy, Acts 1:15-26. Thus instead of Judas, Matthias inherited the promise of Throne and judging. The promise of the throne is for a specific time and purpose that is to judge twelve tribes of Israel in the regeneration. Unfortunately, some people interpret this verse to claim imaginary thrones that never existed. The immediate task for the Apostles was not to sit on the thrones but to witness the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, in all the nations and the uttermost part of the earth, Mat. 24:14 Acts 1:8. As for the disciples, while on earth, bearing the Cross for the sake of Jesus was their ‘throne.’ Neither they established any throne nor they appointed any one to sit on such throne. Until recently, no one claimed any such throne.

St. John ordained St Ignatius of Antioch. St Ignatius is credited with the succession of St Peter and not St John. St John ordained St Polycarpus of Smyrna yet he never claimed to have sat on the throne of St John. St Paul was known as the chief architect of Christianity. He labored more than all others. He wrote more epistles. He ordained Titus, Timothy, etc as bishops. He directed them to ordain their successors. Yet, neither they nor those who succeeded them are said to have sat on the throne of St Paul. St Thomas came to India, converted many Hindus and established seven (seven and a half!) churches. He did not ordain any bishop. Arkadyakon of Pakalomattom family is said to have succession from St Thomas. Arkadyakon, was not even a priest. Until late 17th Century, Malankara Church did not have a fully ordained Bishop. Mor Yoohanon, who represented the East, or India according to certain claims, in the Nicene Council, was not from Malankara but from Persia.
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« Reply #134 on: July 27, 2004, 10:50:25 AM »

St Thomas came to India, converted many Hindus and established seven (seven and a half!) churches. He did not ordain any bishop.


What is the proof that he did not ordain bishop?  According to canonical evidences St. Thomas did ordain priests and bishops.  Please read the Coptic Synaxarium which is a canonical work and also the 'Thoma Parvam' which is our traditional work.  It is clearly recorded in the Doctrine of Addai (Syriac manuscript), that Mar Addai was sent by St. Thomas and Mar Addai (of of the seventy Apostles) ordained Mar Aggai to succeed him in the Chair.   If one of the seventy Apostles sent by the Apostle can ordain a bishop, then St. Thomas definitely can.

According to Mar Gregorios Bar Ebraya, Apostle Thomas is the first
bishop in the East. Persian church and Indian church was part of the same Church of the East, keeping the St. Thomas tradition. But our association with Rome and Antioch resulted in establishing Petrine primacy and discrediting the Apostle of India.

Indian church was without bishop for a period. Vatican codex 22 written in Cranganore 1301 AD, written by Deacon Zacharias attached to Mar Jacob, the current Metropolitan of Malabar says: "MAr Jacob, Bishop Metropolitan, prelate and ruler of the Holy See of the Apostle St. Thomas, namely, our ruler and (the ruler) of the entire Holy Church of the Christians of India".

There were bishops in the Indian church, but for a period the church was ruled by Archdeacons.  But Archdeacons in the Eastern tradition are not deacons, but they are above priests and below Bishop in rank. Same tradition is followed in the East Syrian Church.

Syriac version of Doctrine of Apostles (AD 250): "Indian and all its countries and those bordering  on it, even to the farthest sea, received the Apostles hand of priesthood from Judas Thomas who was the guide and ruler in the Church which he built there and ministered there".

I gave you few proofs for St. Thomas ordaining in India. There are many more canonical evidences. Now, can you give me a single evidence to prove your claim that St. Thomas did not ordain in the East?

W.A. Wingram writes: "The Church of the Easterns was the daughter not of Antioch but of Edessa and was never included in the Patriarchate of the former city".

Edessan church founded by St. Thomas and his twin brother Thaddaeus is the mother of Syriac churches. Both Antioch and the Church of the East benefited from Syriac Christianity of Edessa, Nisibis etc. Nisibis was in the Catholicate of the East. For some time the Catholicate was based in Edessa, then moved to other places, Seleucia, Tigris, and finally in India.

Bar Ebraya: "I begin here the second part on completion of the first part of the history. In the same manner, I begin with the Apostolic times of St. Thomas, the first high-priest of the East." [History of the Church, Bar Ebraya]

I gave you proof in my previous message on why the jurisdiction of Patriarch does not include "East".  "all the East" etc. were added later in local Synods to expand their power. Also, 'universal Syrian" is a 20th century addition.  If we strictly follow canons, there is absolutely no need to question the priesthood of St. Thomas and the identity and need of the Eastern church to maintain freedom, which the church enjoyed from early centuries. As I always mention, our unity is based on faith, and not based on supremacy, throne or anything else.

regards,
-Paul


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« Reply #135 on: July 27, 2004, 11:02:47 AM »

Peter’s personal commission is further fortified by assuring him the keys of kingdom of heaven and the power to bind and loose. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven,” Mat 16:17-19. The key of the kingdom of heaven is not given to Church but to Peter himself. In Isaiah 22:22 we read, “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder so he shall open and none shall shut, and he shall shut and none shall open.” “He who is holy, He who is true,” has the key of David, Rev 3:7 and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is legitimately holding the Keys of the Kingdom of God. “I am He who lives, and was dead and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen. I have the keys of hell and of death,” Rev 1:18. Jesus has authority over all things, created, uncreated, visible, invisible, earthly, celestial, living, dead, temporal and eternal. By promising the keys Jesus endowed all His authority to Peter.




Dear Thomas, I am not very interested in twisting Biblical verses to prove supremacy of Damascus based rule. There are many bulky Orthodox books to disprove the RC church claims, which you also used. There is no point in arguing this topic, because it equivalent to arguing against multitude of Orthodox fathers, including our current supreme spiritual head of OO Pope Shenouda. Pope Shenouda stresses a unity strongly based on one faith. This is the strongest and traditional model of unity.

I already wrote about Patriarch Zakka once keeping the same faith (told to me by a close friend of Patriarch Zakka). But I don't know what is the current faith of the Patriarch, whether he was manipulated by the Jacobites from Kerala.

The RC arguments did not exist in the early church. At present the Jacobite church is trying to copy it from the RC church. There exists strong link between Jacobite church and RC church in North Kerala. One of the Patriarch you accept was RC bishop and kept the same RC faith.  Orthodox fathers of India refuted the RC teachings. There are many works from Orthodox church, please refer to works of Anchel Achen, Mar Osthathios (Niranam).

Please read the work of Pope Shenouda, which was presented in Pro-Oriente. Pope Shenouda disproves all the claims of RC church (which is same as your Jacobite claims).  

We have only one faith within OO tradition, trying to introduce a different understanding will cause a lot of confusion and divisions. So, let us abstain from teaching unimportant teachings and try to focus on unity keeping one confession of faith. If we can bring this understanding among the Indian people, eventually it is possible to appreciate an unity based on one faith.

-Paul


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« Reply #136 on: July 27, 2004, 11:22:51 AM »

Dear Thomas Daniel, I started a new thread on the topic of primacy. Let us discuss and learn from there.

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« Reply #137 on: July 28, 2004, 04:30:38 AM »

What is the proof that he did not ordain bishop?  According to canonical evidences St. Thomas did ordain priests and bishops.  Please read the Coptic Synaxarium which is a canonical work and also the 'Thoma Parvam' which is our traditional work.  It is clearly recorded in the Doctrine of Addai (Syriac manuscript), that Mar Addai was sent by St. Thomas and Mar Addai (of of the seventy Apostles) ordained Mar Aggai to succeed him in the Chair.   If one of the seventy Apostles sent by the Apostle can ordain a bishop, then St. Thomas definitely can.
 
Agreed, but please explain what happened to these Bishops and priests? They all passed away without ordaining their successor? Or they all deserted to some other faith? Why all writers say in the 16 th century the church in Malankara was administrated by Arkadyakon (was not even a priest.)?

Quote
Indian church was without bishop for a period. Vatican codex 22 written in Cranganore 1301 AD, written by Deacon Zacharias attached to Mar Jacob, the current Metropolitan of Malabar says: "MAr Jacob, Bishop Metropolitan, prelate and ruler of the Holy See of the Apostle St. Thomas, namely, our ruler and (the ruler) of the entire Holy Church of the Christians of India".
Was this India is the same India what we talks now? Was the so-called Indian bishop staying in Malankara or was Malankara under his administration?

Quote
There were bishops in the Indian church, but for a period the church was ruled by Archdeacons.  But Archdeacons in the Eastern tradition are not deacons, but they are above priests and below Bishop in rank. Same tradition is followed in the East Syrian Church.
Thanks for the new explanation. But my understanding is different. What I learned is, “Archdeacon or Arckadyakon: Hudaya canon insists that every bishop should have one arkadyakon, who shall be intelligent, skillful and interested in the welfare of poor and foreigners. He shall be the head of deacons. His job shall be to offer comfortable seats to priests, to give books to koruyo and direct the affairs of the altar. Arkadyakon should be in charge of the day-to-day affairs of the Madbaho. Arkadyakon is empowered to punish the clergy in default in case they quarrel each other. He shall be the spokesman and assistant to the bishop. Arkadyakon is not ordained but so confirmed by Susthathikon, chapter 7 div. VI.”

Quote
I gave you few proofs for St. Thomas ordaining in India. There are many more canonical evidences. Now, can you give me a single evidence to prove your claim that St. Thomas did not ordain in the East?
Please name at lest one person he ordained as priest or bishops from Malankara
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« Reply #138 on: July 28, 2004, 11:19:50 AM »

Agreed, but please explain what happened to these Bishops and priests? They all passed away without ordaining their successor? Or they all deserted to some other faith?


Thank you for at last agreeing to one thing.  The fact the church survived 2000 years in India is enough proof that Indian church had bishops. i.e. without Bishop there is no Church. To learn the names of bishops we need to learn the history of the Church of the East, history by Mar Ishoyab etc.

But in the history of Antiochian church is there a single bishop ordained by Antioch for Indian church before 17th century? I am sure if Antiochian church had such a tradition, their historians would definitely record it. But Scholars prroved that they helped us the first time only when we requested help.  Why they were not able to enquire and find out about our difficulties, if our church was under Antioch? Why they did not help us when the church was part of Assyrian church and later for few years as part of Roman Church?

Also, only very recent Patriarchs like Mar Abdulla and Mar Yakub 111 tried to establish universal supremacy. Before them, it was possible to co-exist as two churches in a peaceful way. For example, in history we know head of Indian Church (Mar Thoma Metropolitans) ordaining their successors with out any external help. This further proves the free nature of the Eastern Church. i.e. even with out the help of Antioch, there can be valid ordination. And help offered by a Church should not lead to subordinating the church receiving the help. If subordination is true, then Antiochian Church is subordinate to Alexandrian church, because current non-Chalcedonian lineage of Antiochian church is with the help of Alexandrian church.  So, ordination does not lead to 'subordination'.
It  did not happen in the case of Antiochian church, so it should not happen in the case of indian church also.


Quote
What I learned is, “Archdeacon or Arckadyakon: Hudaya canon insists that every bishop should have one arkadyakon, who shall be intelligent, skillful and interested in the welfare of poor and foreigners. He shall be the head of deacons. His job shall be to offer comfortable seats to priests, to give books to koruyo and direct the affairs of the altar. Arkadyakon should be in charge of the day-to-day affairs of the Madbaho. Arkadyakon is empowered to punish the clergy in default in case they quarrel each other. He shall be the spokesman and assistant to the bishop. Arkadyakon is not ordained but so confirmed by Susthathikon, chapter 7 div. VI.”Please name at lest one person he ordained as priest or bishops from Malankara

Hudaya canon is relevant in India only after our links with churches following it.  Before that Hudaya canon was not followed. If you go through the Canons of Synod of Diamper, there is a canon which says that the Church should severe ties with the Church of the East to enter in to unity with Rome. No mention of Hudaya in the canons of Diamper.  And Archdeaons in Eastern understanding are ordained people, their rank just below a Bishop.

"Accompanied by Prince Kepha of Muziris, who was consecrated as the Bishop of Cranganore and Malabar, St. Thomas left Cranganore to preach the Gospel elsewhere." [Thoma Parvom]

Antiochian succession was broken after Chalcedon, correct? How they established a new lineage against the Chalcedonian one?

Please check the lineage in the East:
http://www.chaldeansonline.net/church/bedaweed.html

Same is the list followed by Assyrian church of the East and Orthodox Syrian church of the East (Indian Orthodox). Same list is also found in the history of Bar Ebraya. According to Bar Ebraya, history begins with St. Thomas, who was the first Patriarch of the East.  There was only one church in the East with Catholicos as the head. Now it is divided in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Assyrian churches.

-Paul


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« Reply #139 on: July 28, 2004, 03:11:06 PM »

As an aside, I have a question regarding archdeacons in our tradition.  What rank is an archdeacon before he is elevated to that position?  In other words, is a full deacon ordained a priest, and then after being ordained a priest he is ordained an archdeacon?  Or is a full deacon ordained as archdeacon, and then as priest?
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« Reply #140 on: July 28, 2004, 05:31:16 PM »

As an aside, I have a question regarding archdeacons in our tradition.  What rank is an archdeacon before he is elevated to that position?  In other words, is a full deacon ordained a priest, and then after being ordained a priest he is ordained an archdeacon?  Or is a full deacon ordained as archdeacon, and then as priest?      

In my understanding we have honorary archdeacon acting on behalf of the Catholicos for important functions. But this Archdeacon is a full priest.

SOC understanding is very different. The confusion results from mixing of the two.

The title 'Archdeacon' originated in the East Syrian church.

Even in the Roman tradition, they had priest Archdeacons:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01693a.htm


Arkadyaqun (Archdeacon) can be a priest or chor-episcopa.


The orders of the East Syrians are those of reader (Qaruya), subdeacon (Hiupathiaqna), deacon (Shamasha), priest (Qashisha), archdeacon (Arkidhyaquna) and bishop (Apisqupa). The degree of archdeacon, though has an ordination service of its own, is only counted as a degree of the presbyterate, and is by some held to be the same as that of chorepiscopus (Kurapisqupa).

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14413a.htm


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« Reply #141 on: August 01, 2004, 06:40:44 AM »

In my understanding we have honorary archdeacon acting on behalf of the Catholicos for important functions. But this Archdeacon is a full priest.

SOC understanding is very different. The confusion results from mixing of the two.

The title 'Archdeacon' originated in the East Syrian church.

Even in the Roman tradition, they had priest Archdeacons:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01693a.htm


Arkadyaqun (Archdeacon) can be a priest or chor-episcopa.


The orders of the East Syrians are those of reader (Qaruya), subdeacon (Hiupathiaqna), deacon (Shamasha), priest (Qashisha), archdeacon (Arkidhyaquna) and bishop (Apisqupa). The degree of archdeacon, though has an ordination service of its own, is only counted as a degree of the presbyterate, and is by some held to be the same as that of chorepiscopus (Kurapisqupa).

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14413a.htm

Its means Malankara was once influenced by Nestorians or were practicing Nestorian rites.

But in SOC traditions Archdeacon are not a full priest (they are only chief deacon). It is not an ordained post but by sustathikon (letter of authority).

The custom is followed in the Middle Eastern church, although the only archdeacon I have known is the late Murad Barsoum of the North American diocese under late Mor Athanasius Samuel (he was the one who translated many of the liturgies to English published by Mor Athanasius).

On the SOR vestments page, illustrated how the archdeacon wears the uroro. http://sor.cua.edu/Vestments/index.html
(Archdeacons (archedyaqno) wear the uroro round the neck. They also wear a zenoro and zende similar to priests.)

Actually in Malankara (both faction) do not have this title now. So in ordination times celebrant bishop asks senior priest to act as one to read certain declarations.
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« Reply #142 on: August 01, 2004, 04:38:04 PM »

We should bring back archdeacons!
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« Reply #143 on: August 05, 2004, 11:20:02 AM »

As I mentioned, we still have Archdeacons, i.e. the one appointed for important events. He is not a deacon, but a priest.  The Malankara Metropolitan is the continutation of Episcopacy, which was stopped by the portuguese. We had bishops before Portuguese arrival and these bishops were part of the Synod of the Church of the East.

Once I went to a library and took a print out of the complete canons of Synod of Diamper (Udayamperoor) from the microfilm section. It is explicitly stated in this Roman Catholic canon that the Indian Church must severe ties with the Catholicos of the East of the Assyrian Church of the East, in order to enter in to relationship with Rome. Aim of Archbishop Menezes of Goa was to bring the church under the Pope of Rome.  The Indian church protested for substituting the 'law of Apostle Thomas' with the 'law of Apostle Peter'.

Please read here:
http://members.aol.com/didymus5/ch18.html


As I already mentioned, Fr. V.C. Samuel asked the question to H.H. Patriarch Yakub 111 about bishops ordained by Antioch for India before 17 th century. The Patriarch answered that there is some mention about bishop for India in the history of Mar Ishodad.   But the history of Mar Ishodad is about the Church of the East and the Church of the East having bishops for India. When Fr. V.C. Samuel asked this , the Patriarch had no reply to give. This event is reported int he autobiography.

Both the Churches of Edessa and that of India strongly believed in Apostolic origin from St. Thomas. This is why Bar Ebraya traces the origin of the Church of the East to St. Thomas, whom he calls the first high-priest of the East.

It is true that our connections with SOC helped us to maintain Orthodoxy. But at that point our aim was to protect the church from Portuguese Latins, hence we were seeking help both from Antioch and Alexandria. Our aim then was to maintain Episcopacy, since the Portuguese practise was to restrict bishops for the Church, as it happened in the case of Mar Ahatallah. But Mar Ahatallah advised the Church to ordain a Metropolitan with twleve priests laying hands. Thus Mar Thoma 1 was raised the Metropolitan head of the Church.  We know what happened after this, the succession of Mar Thoma Metropolitans and then the attempt of Pullikottil Thirumeni and later Mar Dionysius (Vattasheril) to re-establish the ancient Catholicate of the East for Orthodox Christians.  The Catholicate was re-established only in 1912, due to the efforts of the Indian Synod. This re-established Catholicate is in the lineage of Apostolic Thomas and is parallel to the Catholicate of the East of Assyrian (Nestorian) Church.  This I think is the canonical understanding.  

I hope you know when this Catholicate was reduced to a Maphriyan and the Maphriyanate abolished after several years. Though this Maphriyanate helped to keep the continuity, finally declined in the Eastern regions, the revived Catholicate is now for the Orthodox Christians, since they are predominently located in India and gulf regions.  Those places in Persia/Iraq which previously belonged to the Catholicate of the East (such as Dayara of Mar Mattai etc.) were later taken by the SOC.  But the Assyrian Catholicate of the East still have jurisdiction in these regions.

It is a fact that the jurisdiction of the East belongs to the Catholicate of the East.

-Paul
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« Reply #144 on: August 05, 2004, 11:42:13 AM »

The Eastern Orthodox also tried to create a Catholicate of the East.  

In the seventh century there came to be three different Catholicates in the Persian Empire - one the original Persian Church, a second started by the Byzantine or Chalcedonians with Byzantine imperial support, and the third one for the non-chalcedonians.
[Ref. The Indian Orthodox Church - an overview by H.G. Paulos Mar Gregorios]

To give another proof for this, St. Issac the Syrian (Issac of Nineveh) was ordained by Mar Ghevarghese (George), the Catholicos of the East in A.D. 670 as the Bishop of Nineveh, near modern Mosul, Iraq.  The saint is included in the calendar of Eastern Orthodox Churches. If the Catholicate had no validity, then they will not include the saints name.

The non-Chalcedonian Catholicate was revived in the East with the help of Alexandrian and Armenian church in the 6th century.  Armenian Catholicos Christophorus visited the East and consecrated a Monk name Garmai as bishop in the Dayara of Mar Mattai and gave him authority to consecrate bishops, as the Catholicos of the East.
[Ref. SOC at a glance by H.H. Zakka1]

Mar  Theodosius, Patriarch of Alexandria consecrated St. Jacob Baradaeus (St. James of Edessa) as bishop in Constantinople with the support of Empress Theodora.

In 559 AD, St. Jacob Baradeus visited the church in the East and consecrated Mar Ahodemeh as the Catholicos, who became the Catholicos  the East, after the Nestorians had captured its See. This is how the Catholicate of the East was revived for non-Chalcedonians.

Since the West Syrians and the East Syrians were now (7th century) in the same Persian caliphae, eventually the non-chalcedonian Catholicate established relationship with West Syrians. But this resulted in reducing the Catholicate to a Maphriyanate. The Maphriyan was previlege-ridden and eventually perished in the East.

But the Catholicate of the East was revived in 1912 for St. Thomas Christians of India by St. Dionysius. Though the Indian church tried to revive it before the Malankara Metropolitan, it was done only in 1912.


-Paul
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« Reply #145 on: August 06, 2004, 01:08:22 AM »

Dear Paul & others
Slomo

Please clarify three questions. If you can answer without deviating from the question and a short answer, then only reply to it. Else please ignore my request.

1. Was Indian Church under the Nestorian Church? If were not what was the faith of the Indian Church before the arrival of Europeans in India?

2. Which catholicate was reestablished in India in 1912? Was it Nestorian Catholicate or the Catholicate of Syriac Orthodox Church?

3. Who reestablished the Catholicate in India in 1912? And who authorized to do it?

Again I request, a short and straight answer, else please ignore my request.
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« Reply #146 on: August 06, 2004, 11:59:44 AM »

I try to make the answers as short as possible. I can understand why you carefully selected the questions. But my careful answers as below.

Ans 1. To some extent. But not before the Church of the East adopted Nestorian faith in 6th century. But after that, for a period of time. The proof is in the canons of Synod of Diamper. The church was also brought under Roman church rule for a while, until it was liberated in Coonan Cross.  But there is also the evidence that the Metropolitan charge of India did not sign the Nestorian agreement (refer to the history by Paulos Mar Gregorios).

2. The Catholicate revived in 1912 is in the continuity of the current Nestorian (because there was only one Catholicose of the East before 6th century) and the non-Chalcedonian Catholicate (revived in 6th century by Armenian Catholicos and St. Jacob Baradaeus).

There is no such thing as Antiochian Catholicate (if that is what you meant by Syrian Orthodox). But Antiochian Orthodox was later renamed in to Syrian Orthodox of Antioch. There are two churches of Syriac heritage, both equally influenced by the Syrian heritage of Edessa and Nisibis. They are:

Antiochian Orthodox (recently known as Syrian Orthodox of Antioch or more recently Universal Syrian Orthodox, but originally a Greek Church)

Orthodox Syrian Church of the East (also known as Syrian Orthodox church of the East, Orthodox Syrian Church, or Indian Orthodox)

These are two independent Syrian Churches, one in the West, and the second in the East, with two independent Apostolic lineages.

After the revival of Catholicate in 6th century, in the 7th century SOC offered some help, especially when Nestorians persecuted the Orthodox in the East. But this resulted in reducing the Catholicate to a Maphriyan. But in its original status, Catholicate has independent lineage originating with Apostles Thomas (one of the twelve) and Thaddaeus (one of the Severy).


i. Church of the East (initially based in Edessa, where Apostle Thomas founded the church together with St. Thaddaeus, now existing as Orthodox Syrian Church (Indian Orthodox), Assyrian Church (Nestorian), and Chaldean/ Syro-Malabar Church (Roman Catholic).

(Syro-Malabar church even today uses the old Eastern liturgy of Apostles Addai and Mari).

ii. Antiochian Church (later renamed as Syriac Orthodox and then in the 20th century as universal Syriac Orthodox).

The liturgy of St. James used in the present form developed in the See of Catholicos of the East, developed by St. James, the bishop of Edessa.

Nisibis, the orignal center of Syriac Christianity is also in the See of Catholicos of the East.

3. Catholicate was reetsbalished in India with the help of the Senior and blessed Patriarch Mar Abded Messih (who was focrible expelled by three SOC bishops).  In the 6th century, the parallel Patriarchate for non-Chalcedonians was created by Mar Jacob Baradeus with the help of Alexandrian Patriarch, who authorized him to strengthen the Church. There are numerous other examples of churches helping each other to maintain Episcopacy. But the Catholicate revived in India is in the lineage of Apostle Thomas, the first Episcopa of the East.


-Paul
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« Reply #147 on: August 06, 2004, 12:19:31 PM »

- Syriac Christianity did not originate in Antioch, but in Nisibis and Edessa.

- According to Canon, it was Apostle Thomas who sent Apostle Addai to Edessa and a church was formed there. Mar Addai ordained Mar Aggai to succeed him. This is the origin of the Catholicate of the East.

- The Church in Antioch was founded by Apostles Peter and Paul, as well as other Apostles.

- Both the Antiochian church and the Eastern Church were equally influenced by the Syriac Christianity of the region between the two (i.e. Edessa and Nisibis).


A brief summary of the nature of two churches in the Syriac tradition.

Apostolic Antiochian Church:
-----------------------------------

- Founded by Apostles Peter and Paul, as well as few other Apostles.

- Headed by the Bishop of Antioch, later known as the Patriarch of Antioch.

- Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox lineage was broken after Chalcedon, but revived with the help of the Alexandrian Church.

- This Church compiled the prayers and liturgies written by Syriac fathers associated with the schools of Edessa and Nisibis and use it, and shares the liturgies with the Church of the East.

- Grealty influenced by Greek culture of Antioch, even had church fathers who wrote only in Greek.

- Perished in Antioch and surrounding regions due to many reasons. At present no Christian community in Antioch.

- Today exists as Antiochian Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, Antiochian Syrian Catholic, Maronite etc.


Apostolic Church of the East:
------------------------------------

- Founded by Apostles Thomas and Addai. Apostle bartholomew also worked briefly in the East, before moving to Armenia. Apostle Addai also worked in Aremenia.

- Headed by the Metropolitan of the East, later known as the Catholicos of the East, in the lineage of Apostle Thomas.

- Influenced by Syriac heritage of Edessa and Nisibis. Church of the East complied the prayers and liturgies of Syrian fathers associated with Edessa and Nisibis. Shares same Syriac heritage of all Syriac churches including the Western Antiochian Syrian church.

- The non-Chalcedonian Orthodox lineage was broken few times. In the 6th century it was revived with help of Alexandrian and Armenian church, and in early 20th century with the help of Apostolic Antiochian Church (though the Church also tried to get the help of Alexandrian church).

- Greatly influenced by Eastern culture, and now the non-Chalcedonian community exists mostly in India, since the Persian church perished due to many reasons.

- Exist today as the Assyrian Church of the East (Nestorian), Orthodox Syrian Church of the East (non-Chalcedonian Orthodox), Chaldean Catholic church of the East/Syro-Malabar (Roman Catholic).

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Almighty finds a way to preserve Apostolic lineage in each region where an Apostle was sent in the first century!
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« Reply #148 on: August 28, 2004, 10:12:32 AM »

In A.D. 52 St. Thomas the Apostel of India arrived in South India and baptized  Four Hindu Priest family (Bhramins Family) and that is the foundation of Christianity in India.  The heriditory of that family is known as St. Thomas Christians and later Indian orthodox church.

Canai Thomman came with one of the Bishops from Anthoicia and married and settled in Kerala and that group of Christians are known as Knannai Christians and those are scattered in Indian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox and Catholis in Kerala.

St. Thomas is killed in a.D. 72 during his mission and has buried in Mylapore, Madras in India and later the Saints remainings were taken to Edeisa.  A part of the remining is in Madras, Mylapore st. thomas mount which is with the Catholics.   A small piece of bone is kept in the St. Thomas Orthodox Church in Dubai, that is brought by Late H.G. Dr. Paulose Mar Philoxinos(The ex-Vice President of The world Christian council),. Dr. Philoxinos was the secretary of King Hailee Selazi of Ethiopia before he becomes a Decon.

In 1971 The Indian orthodox Church split in to two fractions with a reason of the supremacy of the Church.  The fraction that accepted The Antiocian Patriarchis as the supreme head left the church and known as Jacobites, The Syrian Orthodox Church .  The majority stays with the leadership of The Catholicos of the India and known as The Indian orthodox Church.  The Indian orthodox Church is having 3,500,000/ members in Kerala and around the world.  Majority of them are in Kerala, Middle East and U.S.A.  the Church is leading by the Catholicos H.H. Dr. Moron Mar Basalios Marthoma Mathews ll. and 24 Bishops.  

Charly Varughese Padanilam,   Houston, TX.
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