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Author Topic: The Ancient "Church of the East"  (Read 21850 times) Average Rating: 0
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Thomas Daniel (Reji)
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« Reply #90 on: July 15, 2004, 05:21:03 AM »


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

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

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

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

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Paul

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

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

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


Dear Thomas,

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

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

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

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

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


-Paul




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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


Dear Thomas,

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

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


-Paul

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

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


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

Dear Paul,

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


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


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

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

Nick
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Thomas Daniel (Reji)
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« Reply #100 on: July 17, 2004, 03:51:34 AM »

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

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


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

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

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

Few examples

List of Collages of IOC management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Nick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


-Paul

 


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Paul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I do not understand what is this orthodoxy?
Quote

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

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

So, there are two aspects of Ecumenical councils.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Canon XIV.

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

Canon XXXIII. (XXXIV.)

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

Canon XXXIV. (XXXV.)

The bishops of every nation must acknowledge him who is first among them and account him as their head, and do nothing of consequence without his consent; but each may do those things only which concern hisown parish, and the country places which belong to it. But neither let him (who is the first) do anything without the consent of all; for so there will be unanimity, and God will be glorified through the Lord in the Holy Spirit [some mss. read: through the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father through the Lord by the Holy Spirit, even the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit].

Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.)

Let not a bishop dare to ordain beyond his own limits, in cities and places not subject to him. But if he be convicted of doing so, without the consent of those persons who have authority over such cities and places, let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained.

Canon XXXVI. (XXXVII.)

If any person, having been ordained bishop, does not undertake the ministry, and the care of the people committed to him, let him be excommunicated until he does undertake it. In like manner a presbyter or deacon. But if he has gone and has not been received, not of his own will but from the perverseness of the people, let him continue bishop; and let the clergy of the city be excommunicated, because they have not corrected the disobedient people.

Canon XXXVII. (XXXVIII.)

Let there be a meeting of the bishops twice a year, and let them examine amongst themselves the decrees concerning religion and settle the ecclesiastical controversies which may have occurred. One meeting to be held in the fourth week of Pentecost [i.e., the fourth week after Easter], and the other on the 12th day of the month Hyperberetaeus [i.e., October].

Canon XXXVIII. (XXXIX.)

Let the bishop have the care of all the goods of the Church, and let him administer them as under the inspection of God. But he must not alienate any of them or give the things which belong to God to his own relations. If they be poor let him relieve them as poor; but let him not, under that pretence, sell the goods of the Church.

What does the above Canons teach? How is it compatible with the current fragmented model followed in Jacobite church? Syrian Patriarch violated some of the above canons when he freely ordained rival bishops against the decision of the Synod in India.  In this sense the Indian church can say that the Jacobite church is an uncanonical entity, if canons are strictly followed.


-Paul
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« Reply #117 on: July 20, 2004, 02:58:26 PM »

Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.)

Let not a bishop dare to ordain beyond his own limits, in cities and places not subject to him. But if he be convicted of doing so, without the consent of those persons who have authority over such cities and places, let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained.


In this sense, all the bishops of Jacobite church (i.e. starting with the work of Mar Aboodi in 1972) were ordained against the consent of the Holy Synod of the Malankara Church.  The canon says "let him be deposed, and those also whom he has ordained. "

Here Patriarch and his unconstitutional delegate were the ones who ordained rival bvishops in 1972 against the existing Synod, thus creating the seperate Jacobite church.

Catholicos and Malankara Metropolitan and Catholicos is the authority over the cities and places of India, and in modern times this means all places in the world where are people from India live. Because Rome is having dioceses in India, Greek Orthodox church has parish in india, Armenian church has parish in India, Coptic church has parishes in Australia, Thailand and so on.... Nothing wrong here, but isolating only the Indian church, and causing a situation of difficulty to the Indian church alone, when all other churches are enjoying freedom is wrong.


-Paul
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« Reply #118 on: July 21, 2004, 08:22:12 AM »


Jurisdiction is not based on the use of a liturgy.  Consider Eastern Orthodox churches, they have same canon (the Rudder), same liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, but they have Holy Synods in each region.
We discus here about two churches within Oriental Orthodox Church not in EO Church. So please stay within the topic. As far as OO concerns RC and EO are same. They moved away from Church long back.
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« Reply #119 on: July 21, 2004, 08:25:39 AM »


A Patriarch or Catholicos is a head bishop, Patriarch within Byzantine empire and Catholicos as the head of Churches out side Byzantium, such as Armenian, Georgian, and the Church of the East.
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« Reply #120 on: July 21, 2004, 08:29:33 AM »


Canon XIV.
Canon XXXIII. (XXXIV.)
Canon XXXIV. (XXXV.)
Canon XXXV. (XXXVI.)
Canon XXXVI. (XXXVII.)
Canon XXXVII. (XXXVIII.)
Canon XXXVIII. (XXXIX.)
What about rest of the canons? Is all that also applicable or only the one which sute for us is applicable?
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« Reply #121 on: July 21, 2004, 08:56:17 AM »

I've read Thomas' last two posts.  The first one seems like another version of the article he cited earlier in this thread and which I read and offered criticisms of.  The important question after reading all he had to say about Saint Peter is, if this is the official teaching of the SOC, what implication does this have in the realm of ecclesiastical authority?  
Phil
As far as my knowledge, Yes it is the official teaching of SOC. Why SOC teaches in this way, was explained in my previous posting.
Also in this same thread previously I given a link (http://www.stignatious.com/articles/peter.htm) of an article written by Dr. Thomas Mor Athanasious about the same subject when he was in Jacobite Church. I don’t know he changed his position now (After switching over to IOC). But I am sure SOC did not changed it so far.
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« Reply #122 on: July 21, 2004, 11:12:30 AM »

We discus here about two churches within Oriental Orthodox Church not in EO Church. So please stay within the topic. As far as OO concerns RC and EO are same. They moved away from Church long back.

Two things come to mind.  The first is that the EO, although separated from us for many hundreds of years, have still maintained a lot of the same stuff which our Church has maintained.  So I think it is appropriate to cite their witness in certain matters.  Second, you say that as far as the Oriental Orthodox are concerned, the RC's and the Eastern Orthodox moved away from the Church, yet your Church is in some form of communion with both these groups.  How do you reconcile the two?
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« Reply #123 on: July 21, 2004, 11:12:45 AM »

Phil
As far as my knowledge, Yes it is the official teaching of SOC. Why SOC teaches in this way, was explained in my previous posting.
Also in this same thread previously I given a link (http://www.stignatious.com/articles/peter.htm) of an article written by Dr. Thomas Mor Athanasious about the same subject when he was in Jacobite Church. I don’t know he changed his position now (After switching over to IOC). But I am sure SOC did not changed it so far.


Dear Thomas,

I understand what you are saying about the person of Peter and why the SOC chooses to believe this.  My question is how the SOC interprets this as far as the life of the Church today goes.  If Peter had the authority which the articles you presented argue, how does this affect his successors?  Do they also have this same power?  What is the scope of that power?  I'm not sure I even agree with everything those articles have said about Peter himself, let alone the implications such teachings have had when embraced by groups like the Roman Catholic Church.  I would like to know that the SOC has a different teaching on this than what certain people allege.  However, after everything you've presented so far, I have little choice but to assume that your beliefs are very much like that of the RC's.  I hope you will go on and show that I am wrong.
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« Reply #124 on: July 22, 2004, 04:08:13 PM »

We discus here about two churches within Oriental Orthodox Church not in EO Church. So please stay within the topic. As far as OO concerns RC and EO are same. They moved away from Church long back.


How can you prove that from OO perspective RC and EO are the same?  My understanding about OO perspective is that we have more commonalities than differences. For example, major differences between OO and EO are about the interpretation of Tome of Leo (Chalcedon) and the acceptance of saints. Other than these aspects,  OO and EO shares same traditions and keeps same practises.  But my view of the RC church is very different from yours, because that church is teaching universal primacy rule which is alien to both OO and EO. There are many other differences. RC church allowed many deviations from mainstream Orthodoxy.

The OO-RCC joint committee picked 'primacy' as a key topic for discussion in the next meeting. Clearly there are differences with RC church, which are not related to Christology. Why would OO church select 'primacy' as a topic if our only issue with RC church is just the Christological issue?  

From what you wrote, I think your understanding about EO is different from mine. I am clear that my understanding about EO is consistent with the OO general opinion, because I am basing my belief not on my own thinking, but the opinion of large number of OO church fathers, including Pope Shenouda.  Pope Shenouda is strictly against the supremacy theory of the RC Church.

If your underdstanding is different, then that further proves the closeness of Jacobite faith with the RC faith.  From my experience in Kerala, I have a feeling that the whole Jacobite movement will mislead people. It causes people to move away from true traditions and practises shared both by OO and EO churches.

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« Reply #125 on: July 22, 2004, 04:24:39 PM »

What about rest of the canons? Is all that also applicable or only the one which sute for us is applicable?

Take Canon XXXVII

"Let there be a meeting of the bishops twice a year, and let them examine amongst themselves the decrees concerning religion and settle the ecclesiastical controversies which may have occurred. "


Now, in 1972 there was only one Synod in India. This Synod requested the Patriarch not to send a Patriarchal delegate. But Patriarch ignored the decision of the Synod and appointed a delegate against the Synod. This delegate Syrian Bishop then entered each of the dioceses of the Church and ordained rival clergy and bishops.  Was it a canonical act?

Another question. If his title is 'Patriarch of Antioch and all the East', why is he having parishes in the Western world?  Which church is strictly following boundaries. Recently the IOC parish in Toronto was captured by the Patriarch. The constitution does not allow the Patriarch to violate jurisdiction and write letters to parishes in the jurisdiction of the Catholicos. But the Patriarch is trying to occupy the IOC parish and bring it directly under his control, just like they were able to bring Malankara parishes of Persian Gulf and US under direct control of Damascus.

The orignal version of the Nicean canon does not include "all the East" in the title.  Canon V1 of Nicea: "Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges. And this is to be universally understood, that if any one be made bishop without the consent of the Metropolitan, the great Synod has declared that such a man ought not to be a bishop. If, however, two or three bishops shall from natural love of contradiction, oppose the common suffrage of the rest, it being reasonable and in accordance with the ecclesiastical law, then let the choice of the majority prevail."

The choice of majority was not allowed in many cases.

How can you continue to argue that Damascus is strictly following canons?
I can give other examples for not strictly following canons.

So, it is unjustified to constantly persecute the Indian Orthodox Church, just for one reason that the Indian church is seeking to the maintain unity and integrity of the community of St. Thomas Christians worldwide.

-Paul

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« Reply #126 on: July 22, 2004, 04:28:36 PM »

Dear Thomas Daniel,

Can you prove that the name 'Universal Syrian Orthodox' is according to tradition. I know how this name originated in local Synod of SOC. Can you provide me a single proof from old writings to believe in the term 'Universal Syriac Orthodox'.  

My understanding of the Holy Creed is that there is only one Universal Church. In this sense, the usage 'Universal Syriac Orthodox' is not consistent.

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« Reply #127 on: July 22, 2004, 04:38:17 PM »

Phil
As far as my knowledge, Yes it is the official teaching of SOC. Why SOC teaches in this way, was explained in my previous posting.
Also in this same thread previously I given a link (http://www.stignatious.com/articles/peter.htm) of an article written by Dr. Thomas Mor Athanasious about the same subject when he was in Jacobite Church. I don’t know he changed his position now (After switching over to IOC). But I am sure SOC did not changed it so far.


SOC of the past did not teach what is written in the link.  The article is purely based on Jacobite faith in India.  A lay person (Jacobite) very close to the Patriarch told me that he had a heated argument with the Patriarch about this teaching. The Patriarch's position then was same as the OO and EO position, but the Jacobite lay person maintained the RC belief about primacy.  If some Syrian bishops are keeping the same RC concept, then it must be due to the Jacobite influence (or Mar Abdulla influence).  Among churches considered to be OO, only Jacobite church keeps primacy as the core teaching, calling it 'true faith'. Perhaps this happened because of Patriarch Mar Abdulla, who was the RC bishop of Homs. It is said about Patriarch Abdulla that he was using RC liturgy and kept the RC faith before he was allowed to sit as Patriarch.  Eventually this faith entered the Jacobite faction, as Jacobites supported this rival Patriarch and his successors.

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« Reply #128 on: July 24, 2004, 02:28:19 AM »

Dear Thomas,

I understand what you are saying about the person of Peter and why the SOC chooses to believe this.  My question is how the SOC interprets this as far as the life of the Church today goes.  If Peter had the authority which the articles you presented argue, how does this affect his successors?  Do they also have this same power?  What is the scope of that power?  I'm not sure I even agree with everything those articles have said about Peter himself, let alone the implications such teachings have had when embraced by groups like the Roman Catholic Church.  I would like to know that the SOC has a different teaching on this than what certain people allege.  However, after everything you've presented so far, I have little choice but to assume that your beliefs are very much like that of the RC's.  I hope you will go on and show that I am wrong.  

Phil
Sorry for delay and for another long posting. Please go through these lines, you will understand the position of SOC on this issue more clearly

Primacy of honor to Rome, but all bishops are equal in spiritual powers: Fathers of the Church conferred a ‘primacy of honor’ to the bishop of Rome, as is evident from the Hudoyo canon 7:I which reads, “There shall be four patriarchs in accordance with the four corners of the earth, that is, the bishop of Rome, with him the bishop of Alexandria, the bishop of Constantinople that is also called New Rome, and the bishop of Antioch who has jurisdiction over all the East. Bishop of Jerusalem shall be honored as the fifth patriarch without jurisdiction...” This arrangement was made to avoid confusion to the future synods. The basis was nothing but the political prominence of the cities. They had to, no doubt, please the emperor of Rome who convened the synod of Nicea, for it was the question of their survival. Jerusalem was honored, for, this place was blessed by the redemptive activities of our Savior. All bishops were equals. Patriarchs had no spiritual superiority over other Patriarchs. No bishop was ever subject of another bishop. All bishops are partakers of the throne of St. Peter. This also shows the oneness of the Church. “Every bishop has his own free will to the unrestrained exercise of his liberty and power, so that neither can he be judged by another, nor is he himself able to judge another,” Acts of the seventh council of Carthage, AD 256. Cyprian also held that, “Episcopate itself is one and undivided,” in his treatise on the unity of the Catholic Church. Though he was the bishop of Carthage, the clergy of Rome addressed him, “the blessed Pope Cyprian,” However Pope Stephen continued to stake his claim of superiority over other bishops and Cyprian continued to oppose him. There was struggle between Polycrates of Ephesus and Victor of Rome (AD 190) regarding the date of Easter. The decision of Polycrates to continue Easter on fourteenth of Nisan prevailed over the dictum of Victor. Eusebius and Jerome endorsed the decision of Polycrates.  In the early Centuries all bishops treated themselves part of the same episcopate. Clement of Rome wrote letter to Corinthians. Some of his successors interpreted this as Clement acting as the ‘General to bishops.’ This is utterly untrue. Other bishops also acted the same way. Ignatius of Antioch wrote letters to at least seven Churches namely; Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrnaeans, Polycarpus and Antiochians. Polycarpus of Smyrna wrote to Philippians. Dionysius of Corinth wrote to Sotter of Rome. Tatian the Syrian wrote to the Greeks. Irenaeus wrote to Victor of Rome. Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianz, John Chrysostom and all early bishops wrote pastoral letters to other bishops. There was no question of one controlling the other. Later, Popes of Rome departed from the noble tradition, connived with the emperors, twisted the doctrines and gained control over other bishops. He became a formidable force to reckon with during the Middle Ages. He even dictated terms with rulers in Europe and had direct confrontations with some monarchs.

An excerpt from the statement on papal supremacy issued by Pope Boniface VIII in 1302 to the French king Philip IV known as Unam Sanctam may be remarkable. “We are compelled, our faith urging us, to believe and to hold-and we do firmly believe and simply confess-that there is one holy catholic and apostolic church, outside of which there is neither salvation nor remission of sin... In this church there is one Lord, one faith and one baptism... Therefore, of this one and only church there is one body and one head... Christ, namely, and the Vicar of Christ, St. Peter, and the successor of Peter. For the Lord himself said to Peter, feed my sheep... We are told by the word of the gospel that in this His fold there are two swords-a spiritual, namely, and a temporal... Both swords, the spiritual and the material, therefore, are in the power of the Church; the one, indeed, to be wielded for the church, the other by the church; the one by the hand of the priest, the other by the hand of kings and knights, but at the will and sufferance of the priest. One sword, moreover, ought to be under the other, and the temporal authority to be subjected to the spiritual... Therefore if the earthly power err it shall be judged by the spiritual power; but if the lesser spiritual power errs, by the greater. But if the greatest, it can be judged by God alone, not by man, the apostle bearing witness. A spiritual man judges all things, but he himself is not judged by any one. This authority, moreover, even though it is given to man and exercised through man, is not human but rather divine, being given by divine lips to Peter and founded on a rock for him and his successors through Christ himself whom he has confessed; the Lord himself saying to Peter: “Whatever you shall bind, etc.” Whoever, therefore, resist this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordination of God... Indeed, we declare, announce and define, that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff” (Page 398 of Eastern Civilization by Jackson JS). However, King Philip not only defied it but also charged the Pope for heresy. The Pope could not get over from the shock and he soon died. This paved the way for the king to create an Anti-pope at Avignon.

East and west differ: Both Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches sharply differ on this issue. The said attitude of Roman Pope is outright defiance to the teachings of Jesus Christ, his disciples and the biblical truth. Jesus Christ never conceived the idea to hold any temporal power. “Therefore when Jesus perceived they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, He departed again into the mountain by Himself alone,” John 6:15. Why? He knew that they were acting on a misguided enthusiasm and it was not His mission to fulfill their earthly wishes. He said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world,” John 18:36. The Apostles rightly understood Him and labored not for this worldly power. How then one can claim successor-ship of Christ or the Apostle and twist the doctrines to wield temporal power?

Specialties of Patriarch of Antioch: However, two specialties are noticed in the case of the Patriarch of Antioch. Firstly, he had vast areas of jurisdiction. The synod confirmed the jurisdiction he already had over all the East. There was a Church fully developed in the East that extended to India, China and right upto Korea. Secondly no other patriarchate had a Catholicos. Catholicos of the East was to obey him. This subjection is not because of any difference in spiritual authority as bishops but for administrative convenience. One seat (Holy See) of St. Peter was divided into Four Patriarchates for administrative convenience but was of the same succession from Peter. When four Patriarchs came together in unity, the seat of Peter was valid and complete. Patriarchates had no independent identity. There was no Catholicos elsewhere because other patriarchates had smaller territories and there was no need for an intermediary.
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« Reply #129 on: July 24, 2004, 12:22:04 PM »

All bishops were equals. Patriarchs had no spiritual superiority over other Patriarchs. No bishop was ever subject of another bishop. All bishops are partakers of the throne of St. Peter. This also shows the oneness of the Church.

Correct.  This is what I was trying to say earlier in the thread.  

Quote
Specialties of Patriarch of Antioch: However, two specialties are noticed in the case of the Patriarch of Antioch. Firstly, he had vast areas of jurisdiction. The synod confirmed the jurisdiction he already had over all the East.

Right, the Eastern part of the Roman Empire, which is what the Nicene Canon is speaking of.  I've never heard anyone other than the Jacobites claim that "all the East" means everything geographically East of Antioch.  

Quote
Secondly no other patriarchate had a Catholicos. Catholicos of the East was to obey him. This subjection is not because of any difference in spiritual authority as bishops but for administrative convenience. One seat (Holy See) of St. Peter was divided into Four Patriarchates for administrative convenience but was of the same succession from Peter. When four Patriarchs came together in unity, the seat of Peter was valid and complete. Patriarchates had no independent identity. There was no Catholicos elsewhere because other patriarchates had smaller territories and there was no need for an intermediary.

The "Petrine Sees" were Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch.  There was no fourth.  It is precisely for this reason that, when Constantinople began claiming more seniority based on the position of that city in the Empire, the Pope of Rome at the time wrote about how it was not a Petrine See, and couldn't possibly claim such seniority (the principle of apostolic origin of Sees becoming more important in later centuries than the principle of accommodation to the political structure of the Empire, which is primarily how the other Sees achieved their prominence).  

However, assuming that there are these four, and that when four patriarchs come together in unity, the See of Peter is there in its fulness, as you say, how does that work today, when no one has all four?  

Also, I am not sure what you mean when you say that "patriarchates had no independent identity".  Surely they had some measure of independence, or else did they govern their own territories only with the consent of the others?  

Finally, the Church in India was founded a few hundred years before the First Ecumenical Council.  How is that Church, then, not independent?  From its inception it was independent.
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« Reply #130 on: July 26, 2004, 01:10:47 PM »

All bishops are partakers of the throne of St. Peter. This also shows the oneness of the Church.

Dear Thomas, Which Synod, or verse in the Bible teaches this faith of yours? Also tell me which Oriental orthodox church believes this way?  

In the same way is it true to believe that 'all bishops are partakers of the throne of St. Thomas'?

My understanding is that throne (of just one Apostle) is not an important concept in the Orthdodox tradition.  All ordination comes from Christ and all Bishops are united in the confession of faith. Thus in the understanding of the Church, faith is the 'Rock' and foundation of the Church. Even St. Peter teaches us this in his Epistle.

Which verse in the Bible teaches us the special 'throne of St. Peter'? Christ is the head of the Church and he is the corner-stone, the very basis of the Church. Te foundation includes all Apostles. All Bishops are from Christ alone and they are successors of the Apostles.  Unity of the Church is understood as in the one Faith.

I have great difficulty appreciating the Jacobite position, unless Orthodox believers tell me that I need to accept the Jacobite position (or the RC position) as the only correct position.  I still do not know why the Jacobite faction is so fanatical about the supremacy of the throne of Peter.


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« Reply #131 on: July 26, 2004, 01:20:22 PM »


Specialties of Patriarch of Antioch: However, two specialties are noticed in the case of the Patriarch of Antioch. Firstly, he had vast areas of jurisdiction. The synod confirmed the jurisdiction he already had over all the East.

Dear Thomas, Following material is directly taken from the article of a Syrian Orthodox Bishop, about the jurisdiction of SOC.

"According to two ancient Syrian manuscripts it is clear that seven sees were under the See of the Antiochian Patriarchate and they were: (1) Aleppo, (2) Kanasreen, (3) Jebleh, (4) Sulokiah, (5) Hansarta, (6) Bloutoan, (7) Al Jabul. And there were two other sees in which the Patriarch had the authority to send their metropolitans wherever and they are: (1) Salameia, (2) Brakusun. Four other sees were independent and they are (1) Beirut, (2) Homs, (3) Latakia and (4) Khorus. The number of metropolitanates which were under the Holy See were twelve: (1) Tyre, (2) Tarsus, (3) Al Ruhra (Edessa/Urfa), (4) Aphamia, (5) Manbej, (6) Bosra, (7) Ain Zerba, (Cool Sulokia/Isauria, (9) Damascus, (10) Amed, (11) Rasafe, (12) Dara. For each metropolitanate there were many archdioceses."

"3 -- Today the Patriarch practices a much wider authority because the revised constitution in previous periods has permitted th"is. The power of the personality of the Patriarch and the metropolitans plays a distinguishing role in widening their authorities. "

[The Concept of Jurisdiction and Authority in the Syrian Orthodox Church on Antioch  Article by His Grace Mor Gregorios Johanna Ibrahim
Metropolitan of Aleppo and Environs The Rev. Fr. Monk Melki assisted with this translation.]


So, it is the revised constitution of SOC (which was done in local SOC councils) which increased the authority of the Patriarch.  Then how can you continue to argue that it is traditional?

Where is India or a city in India in the above list?  You mentioned about China? Give me the name of a Bishop ordained by Patriarch of Antioch for China or for India before 17th/18th century?

From what I learned, the Catholicos of the East (successor of St. Thomas in the East) is the head of the Synod of the East and his jurisdiction includes all the regions of Persia and the East of it, which included China, India, ...

It is difficult for me to appreciate the current practise of dividing the Indian church in to different uniate groups, bringing each group under direct control of Patriarch. To me this is very similar to the RC approach of establishing supremacy in a step-by-step process. How can we accept this move sincerely?


-Paul
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« Reply #132 on: July 27, 2004, 06:01:25 AM »

Dear Thomas, Which Synod, or verse in the Bible teaches this faith of yours? Also tell me which Oriental orthodox church believes this way?

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

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« Reply #133 on: July 27, 2004, 06:06:57 AM »

In the same way is it true to believe that 'all bishops are partakers of the throne of St. Thomas'?
He promised each one of them authority to sit upon each throne and judge at His second coming. “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging twelve tribes of Israel,” Mat 19:28, Lk 22:30. But this had no instant effect. Judas Iscariot was among the twelve who followed Jesus when Jesus made this promise. If it was to take instant effect, Judas Iscariot was sure to get it. St. Peter testified to the assembly of one hundred and twenty, including Mary, the mother of Jesus, that Judas by transgression fell from his position. Matthias was filled in the vacancy, Acts 1:15-26. Thus instead of Judas, Matthias inherited the promise of Throne and judging. The promise of the throne is for a specific time and purpose that is to judge twelve tribes of Israel in the regeneration. Unfortunately, some people interpret this verse to claim imaginary thrones that never existed. The immediate task for the Apostles was not to sit on the thrones but to witness the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, in all the nations and the uttermost part of the earth, Mat. 24:14 Acts 1:8. As for the disciples, while on earth, bearing the Cross for the sake of Jesus was their ‘throne.’ Neither they established any throne nor they appointed any one to sit on such throne. Until recently, no one claimed any such throne.

St. John ordained St Ignatius of Antioch. St Ignatius is credited with the succession of St Peter and not St John. St John ordained St Polycarpus of Smyrna yet he never claimed to have sat on the throne of St John. St Paul was known as the chief architect of Christianity. He labored more than all others. He wrote more epistles. He ordained Titus, Timothy, etc as bishops. He directed them to ordain their successors. Yet, neither they nor those who succeeded them are said to have sat on the throne of St Paul. St Thomas came to India, converted many Hindus and established seven (seven and a half!) churches. He did not ordain any bishop. Arkadyakon of Pakalomattom family is said to have succession from St Thomas. Arkadyakon, was not even a priest. Until late 17th Century, Malankara Church did not have a fully ordained Bishop. Mor Yoohanon, who represented the East, or India according to certain claims, in the Nicene Council, was not from Malankara but from Persia.
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« Reply #134 on: July 27, 2004, 10:50:25 AM »

St Thomas came to India, converted many Hindus and established seven (seven and a half!) churches. He did not ordain any bishop.


What is the proof that he did not ordain bishop?  According to canonical evidences St. Thomas did ordain priests and bishops.  Please read the Coptic Synaxarium which is a canonical work and also the 'Thoma Parvam' which is our traditional work.  It is clearly recorded in the Doctrine of Addai (Syriac manuscript), that Mar Addai was sent by St. Thomas and Mar Addai (of of the seventy Apostles) ordained Mar Aggai to succeed him in the Chair.   If one of the seventy Apostles sent by the Apostle can ordain a bishop, then St. Thomas definitely can.

According to Mar Gregorios Bar Ebraya, Apostle Thomas is the first
bishop in the East. Persian church and Indian church was part of the same Church of the East, keeping the St. Thomas tradition. But our association with Rome and Antioch resulted in establishing Petrine primacy and discrediting the Apostle of India.

Indian church was without bishop for a period. Vatican codex 22 written in Cranganore 1301 AD, written by Deacon Zacharias attached to Mar Jacob, the current Metropolitan of Malabar says: "MAr Jacob, Bishop Metropolitan, prelate and ruler of the Holy See of the Apostle St. Thomas, namely, our ruler and (the ruler) of the entire Holy Church of the Christians of India".

There were bishops in the Indian church, but for a period the church was ruled by Archdeacons.  But Archdeacons in the Eastern tradition are not deacons, but they are above priests and below Bishop in rank. Same tradition is followed in the East Syrian Church.

Syriac version of Doctrine of Apostles (AD 250): "Indian and all its countries and those bordering  on it, even to the farthest sea, received the Apostles hand of priesthood from Judas Thomas who was the guide and ruler in the Church which he built there and ministered there".

I gave you few proofs for St. Thomas ordaining in India. There are many more canonical evidences. Now, can you give me a single evidence to prove your claim that St. Thomas did not ordain in the East?

W.A. Wingram writes: "The Church of the Easterns was the daughter not of Antioch but of Edessa and was never included in the Patriarchate of the former city".

Edessan church founded by St. Thomas and his twin brother Thaddaeus is the mother of Syriac churches. Both Antioch and the Church of the East benefited from Syriac Christianity of Edessa, Nisibis etc. Nisibis was in the Catholicate of the East. For some time the Catholicate was based in Edessa, then moved to other places, Seleucia, Tigris, and finally in India.

Bar Ebraya: "I begin here the second part on completion of the first part of the history. In the same manner, I begin with the Apostolic times of St. Thomas, the first high-priest of the East." [History of the Church, Bar Ebraya]

I gave you proof in my previous message on why the jurisdiction of Patriarch does not include "East".  "all the East" etc. were added later in local Synods to expand their power. Also, 'universal Syrian" is a 20th century addition.  If we strictly follow canons, there is absolutely no need to question the priesthood of St. Thomas and the identity and need of the Eastern church to maintain freedom, which the church enjoyed from early centuries. As I always mention, our unity is based on faith, and not based on supremacy, throne or anything else.

regards,
-Paul


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