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Author Topic: The Ancient "Church of the East"  (Read 22828 times) Average Rating: 0
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Thomas Daniel (Reji)
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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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.)

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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.  

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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.  

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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?  

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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

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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?  

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

What do you mean?

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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.  

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

Where?

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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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Thomas Daniel (Reji)
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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?


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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