2002.12.19 Gulf News:
Church leaders call off fast
Thiruvananthapuram | Akhel Mathew | 19/12/2002
The 10-day-long fast of Orthodox Church Metropolitans Thomas Mar
Athanasius, Abraham Mar Sevarios and Mathews Mar Sevarios was called off at
Kolencherry yesterday, a temporary truce in the ongoing feud between the
supporters of the Orthodox and Patriarch factions of the Malankara Church
The breakthrough is partly credited to the cabinet sub-committee set up by
the state government, which had many rounds of discussions with the two
factions in the Church.
It is learnt that the negotiators reached an amicable settlement in the
case of five disputed churches, while the larger issue of implementing the
Supreme Court order that favours the Orthodox faction remains unresolved.
The fast came to an end yesterday in the presence of Baselius Marthoma
Mathews II, who conducted a Holy Mass at the Kolencherry St Peter's and St
Paul's Church yesterday morning.
The church itself had been closed for a while following friction between
the two factions. The ending of the fast brings relief to the state
government, too, which was under pressure following the law and order
problems created by the factional feud in the Malankara Church.
Chief Minister A.K. Antony had called on both factions to end the strife,
particularly in view of the Christmas season.
The faction feud touched a raw nerve earlier this month when a Church
trustee of the Orthodox Church, T.M. Varghese, was murdered near
Perumbavoor. The Orthodox faction alleged that it was the handiwork of the
Patriarch faction, which the latter denied.