I think I was unclear. I meant traditional because the Chaldean and Armenian Catholic patriarchs used it. I am sure equaling prestige with the Malankara Orthodox had something to do with it as well.
The Syro-Malabar Major Archbishop also claims his lineage from St. Thomas.
I do not think it is duplicity on Rome's part as they don't want it going on and sponsor things like CNEWA and Aid to the Church in Need which provide money without strings attached. I think it shows how little control Rome has when an Eastern Catholic Church decides to do what it wants. I am saddened the Malankara Catholics aren't helping their Orthodox brethren without sheep stealing.
There are both improvements and causes of concern as far as the Orthodox in India are concerned.
1. Relations between the Syro-Malabar church and the Orthodox are now better than they have been atleast for a hundred years. There are several riders ofcourse; relations are warm with the SM Archdiocese of Changanacherry which has always been the most traditional, independant minded and least Latinized of the SM archdioceses. Where Chanagancherry minded bishops are located in the diaspora , relations are markedly better.
For example my parish hosted a convention of SM priests and laity, a decade ago this would be unthinkable. This has a lot to do with inter-catholic dynamics, relations between SM and Latin bishops in the diaspora especially in India seem to be patchy at best. There was no reason for the SM diocese to approach an Orthodox church when there were 5 latin parishes and numerous Latin Catholic schools in the vicinity. Then again it speaks volumes about the improvement that has been made.
We should remember ofcourse that the total seperation between the Malabar Catholics and Malabar Orthodox is a recent feature.
Well into the 1850's there was plenty of interaction between the sides. Parishes and priests changed sides atleast upto 1830, intermarriage was common and there were even attempts towards co-operation which were often nixed by the non-native bishops ruling over the SM dioceses then. After the 1850's the gulf between the jurisdictions seems to have widened and a complete seperation seems to have been solidified around the 1900's.
Slowly that has been changing in the last 5-6 years and its welcome, we may follow different faiths and practices but no harm in acknowledging a shared patrimony.
2. With the Syro-Malankara, things are much more difficult. While they often speak about being bridges between East and West and so on, their actions are difficult for us to accept. Claiming titles is the least of the issues, in places where we have no churches, they will go and build one (even if there are no SMC laity in the area). Then will encourage our people to attent saying that there is no difference except that the Pope is commemorated in place of the Patriarch and Catholicos. As Dn. Phil said, using resources that are at their disposal time and again conversions will be gained in leiu of jobs, teaching and nursing positions etc. Entire dioceses have been erected where no SMC faithful exist.
The Orthodox and the Syro Malankara church have a difficult history and it was time we moved on , but such actions which negate what they say and what Rome says is huge stumbling block. The Orthodox in India do not want to snatch parishes and destroy the SMC, we regret its creation but accept it as another of history's quirks, but I look forward to the day when the SMC actually does what it claims to do.