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« on: December 13, 2013, 12:58:04 AM »

I've seen a number of Knanaya Catholics posting on CAF, and they have some striking exclusivist traditions.

Are there any Knanaya Orthodox, and are they anything like the Knanaya Catholics? I'm assuming if so they'd be OO, but do correct me if I'm wrong.
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2013, 01:12:41 AM »

Are there any Knanaya Orthodox, and are they anything like the Knanaya Catholics? I'm assuming if so they'd be OO, but do correct me if I'm wrong.

I don't know whom you're conversing with, but yes, there are Knanaya Orthodox, and yes, they are OO.  Are they "anything" like the Catholics?  Sure, but depends on what you mean.  Obviously the faith is different.  Many of the cultural customs are shared. 

Maybe someone else will chime in.  I'm too sleepy right now.  Tongue  Do you have any specific questions?
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2013, 01:30:56 AM »

I don't know whom you're conversing with, but yes, there are Knanaya Orthodox, and yes, they are OO.  Are they "anything" like the Catholics?  Sure, but depends on what you mean.  Obviously the faith is different.  Many of the cultural customs are shared. 

Maybe someone else will chime in.  I'm too sleepy right now.  Tongue  Do you have any specific questions?

Not conversing with anyone specifically, I've just seen their posts come up (and the conflict that arises) while lurking on CAF.

IIRC, Knanaya Catholics cannot marry even other Catholics, and if they do they are ecclesiastically separated/removed. So in the example of an American Knanaya marrying an Irish Catholic, they would be removed from their diocese (although not excommunicated I believe) and forced to officially enter another diocese. I think it would be much more severe in a region without nearby or overlapping dioceses.

Does the above apply to Knanaya Orthodox?
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2013, 02:40:19 AM »

I don't know whom you're conversing with, but yes, there are Knanaya Orthodox, and yes, they are OO.  Are they "anything" like the Catholics?  Sure, but depends on what you mean.  Obviously the faith is different.  Many of the cultural customs are shared. 

Maybe someone else will chime in.  I'm too sleepy right now.  Tongue  Do you have any specific questions?

Not conversing with anyone specifically, I've just seen their posts come up (and the conflict that arises) while lurking on CAF.

IIRC, Knanaya Catholics cannot marry even other Catholics, and if they do they are ecclesiastically separated/removed. So in the example of an American Knanaya marrying an Irish Catholic, they would be removed from their diocese (although not excommunicated I believe) and forced to officially enter another diocese. I think it would be much more severe in a region without nearby or overlapping dioceses.

Does the above apply to Knanaya Orthodox?

As far as I can know, yes. Even an Orthodox K'nai who marries outside the accepted K'nanaya families is no longer considered K'nai. They can still commune in K'nanaya Churches, provided they are still Orthodox, but can no longer take membership or hold a position of office in the church.
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2013, 02:59:00 AM »

As far as I can know, yes. Even an Orthodox K'nai who marries outside the accepted K'nanaya families is no longer considered K'nai. They can still commune in K'nanaya Churches, provided they are still Orthodox, but can no longer take membership or hold a position of office in the church.

Thanks. So how would this work in a place with no other Orthodox communities remotely nearby? They keep communing as you said, but do they just cease to be a part of any particular Orthodox Church? Are they still under the local bishop's authority, and would their children be allowed to be baptized/communed? I suppose I'm also assuming that membership is more than just having a name on a registry.
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2013, 04:13:12 AM »

The situation is pretty much identical across the Knanaites, regardless of whether they are OO or OC. They are a strictly endogamous community and claim to trace their origins to 72 families of Christian Jews, comprising about 400 persons, who emigrated to India in three ships about 345 AD under the leadership of Knaithomman or Thomas the Cananite. The immigrants are said to have been accompanied by a bishop, Mar Yausef (Joseph), four presbyters, and deacons.

The vast majority of them are found the in either the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church or the Syrian Orthodox Jacobite (Indian) Church - each of which has a formal canonical jurisdiction for them (erected 1911 and 1910, respectively, if I remember correctly), but there are also smaller communities within the other Orthodox and Catholic ecclesial communities in India (except among the Latin Catholics) and, officially or otherwise, provisions are made to accommodate their praxis in all of those Churches.

As you surmised, marriage contracted outside the Knanaite community will effectively result in one's ecclesial ties to the community being severed, although the individual isn't excommunicated. Crossing boundaries between the OO and OC Knanaya communities is acceptable, however, as the bond of the community is apparently stronger than that of the ecclesial affiliation. Marriage across that line will ordinarily result either in the female translating to the male's Church or the Catholic translating to the Church of the Orthodox spouse. In North America, I think the latter is almost always the case; in India, I think the distinction may be more a matter of local praxis.

(There is a Knanaya body within the Marthomite Church - a Protestant church - but both OO and OC Knanaites reject its legitimacy and those who convert to it are lost to their Knanaite community. In that particular instance, my impression is that the degree of separation is almost akin to the shunning practiced within Amish communities.)

Since you referenced reading about the Knanaites at CAF, I'm certain you have heard that there is a great deal of controversy surrounding them at times. From the outside, there is much hostility aimed at what is perceived as an exclusionary body and one the justified existence of which depends on matters often perceived as fairy-tales or recently invented claims to origins in antiquity.

From within, the controversy is relative to the endogamy and the distinct separation that they attempt to maintain, even from their co-religionists (in large part to lessen the likelihood of intermingling between their young folk and other Indian Christians, with resultant risk that the former will contract marriages outside the community). Although they won't bar non-Knanaites from worship with them - and they will worship with their co-religionists if they are located somewhere in which there is no Knanaite temple, they much prefer to worship with their own and be served only by priests of their tradition. Obviously, the difficulties involved in maintaining such tightly knit communities increase when their members relocate to the West - particularly the US, Canada, and, I suppose, Australia. (Although I don't know anything about their numbers or situation in Oz, I suspect it's pretty similar to that here.).  

In North America, I think that the issues are currently festering mainly on the OC side, but are beginning to make inroads to their OO counterparts as well. The OO, I believe, have provided a separate diocesan structure for the Knanaya in the US/Canada; the OC have not. The OC Knanaites have only a deanery within the Eparchy of St Thomas in Chicago of the Syro-Malabars and, from what I understand, they're not pleased with that nor with the fact that outside the personal jurisdiction established for them in their historical homeland (the autonomous Metropolitan Arch-Eparchy of Kottayam of the Knanaites), they are not necessarily assured clergy of their own tradition, having to sometimes 'make do' with Syro-Malabarese presbyters. The biggest issue to them in regard to that situation has nothing to do with liturgical praxis or anything of the like, it's a (probably correctly) perceived lack of support from those clergy for the community's insistence on  maintaining absolute endogamy. The OCs believe the situation would change had they their own hierarch.

However, there are overt moves among some younger folk (and some not so young) in both the OC and OO communities in North America to break free of the bonds of absolute endogamy. You have to understand that the community stance is so iron-clad that, as an example, they won't accept adopted children of married Knanaites, unless the children were themselves born of Knanaite parents.

Here's three promises from a 2009 election campaign for office in one of the North American Knanaite organizations (this one happens to be an OC membership group):

Quote
4. KCCNA will stand with our youth for their right to choose their life partner without fear of loosing membership in the community. However, KCCNA will encourage our youth to choose their life partner from our own community.    

5. KCCNA will stop discriminating against adopted children of Knanaya families and proudly welcome them to our next convention.

7. KCCNA will sponsor a DNA test campaign for our community members so that we can prove our purity and justify our practice. If the test results prove that we are a pure community, we can proudly continue our strict ENDOGAMY practice. In case the test shows that we do not have a pure Jewish background, we can stop expelling our own people and their families from our community in the name of purity.
(emphasis in original)

Note that these promises are being made by the same candidate - I promise to let youth marry anyone and you can bring the mongrel children you adopted to the next convention but we'll do a DNA test and if we are pure, we'll continue strict endogamy. Oh, ok, no contradictions there  Roll Eyes

So, that's a thumbnail version of what Knanaites are all about. I stand to be corrected on any of this by my good friend, Deacon Phil, but I'm pretty comfortable suggesting to you that with the expected differences in faith and the usual - "who's commemorated in the diptychs?" - what's culturally true of OC Knanaites is true of OO Knanaites and vice-versa.

To your specific questions posted above.

They would be considered members of the larger Church within which their Knanaya community existed - so, for most Orthodox Knanaites, the Syrian Orthodox Jacobite (Indian) Church, under the authority of whose local bishop they will be. Their children will ordinarily not receive the Mysteries of Initiation in a Knanaite church, nor be registered there (the parish metrical books are basically the record on which the community relies to document its continued endogamous purity). They can attend and worship there and be communed there, but cannot hold office, as sheenj has said.

But,, the possibility always exists that they may not be especially welcome to worship there - some communities may make it uncomfortable to do so. Also, an Orthodox Knanaite who has effectively ceased to be such would also be considered as not one were he to seek acceptance to a Knanaite Catholic community - and vice-versa.

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2013, 04:50:05 AM »

I don't know whom you're conversing with, but yes, there are Knanaya Orthodox, and yes, they are OO.  Are they "anything" like the Catholics?  Sure, but depends on what you mean.  Obviously the faith is different.  Many of the cultural customs are shared. 

Maybe someone else will chime in.  I'm too sleepy right now.  Tongue  Do you have any specific questions?

Not conversing with anyone specifically, I've just seen their posts come up (and the conflict that arises) while lurking on CAF.

IIRC, Knanaya Catholics cannot marry even other Catholics, and if they do they are ecclesiastically separated/removed. So in the example of an American Knanaya marrying an Irish Catholic, they would be removed from their diocese (although not excommunicated I believe) and forced to officially enter another diocese. I think it would be much more severe in a region without nearby or overlapping dioceses.

Does the above apply to Knanaya Orthodox?

As far as I can know, yes. Even an Orthodox K'nai who marries outside the accepted K'nanaya families is no longer considered K'nai. They can still commune in K'nanaya Churches, provided they are still Orthodox, but can no longer take membership or hold a position of office in the church.

This sounds basically like very definition of Phyletism.
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2013, 05:03:50 AM »

I don't know whom you're conversing with, but yes, there are Knanaya Orthodox, and yes, they are OO.  Are they "anything" like the Catholics?  Sure, but depends on what you mean.  Obviously the faith is different.  Many of the cultural customs are shared.  

Maybe someone else will chime in.  I'm too sleepy right now.  Tongue  Do you have any specific questions?

Not conversing with anyone specifically, I've just seen their posts come up (and the conflict that arises) while lurking on CAF.

IIRC, Knanaya Catholics cannot marry even other Catholics, and if they do they are ecclesiastically separated/removed. So in the example of an American Knanaya marrying an Irish Catholic, they would be removed from their diocese (although not excommunicated I believe) and forced to officially enter another diocese. I think it would be much more severe in a region without nearby or overlapping dioceses.

Does the above apply to Knanaya Orthodox?

As far as I can know, yes. Even an Orthodox K'nai who marries outside the accepted K'nanaya families is no longer considered K'nai. They can still commune in K'nanaya Churches, provided they are still Orthodox, but can no longer take membership or hold a position of office in the church.

This sounds basically like very definition of Phyletism.

Did the OO ever condemn it in any way?
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2013, 06:35:15 AM »

I don't know. There is this "there is neither Jew or Greek" thing but I have no idea whether OOs have explicitly condemned it.
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2013, 01:51:47 PM »

This sounds basically like very definition of Phyletism.

Given the context, it's more like "caste" and less like "phyletism".  From the outside, you can look at it, find it distasteful, contrary to St Paul, ask if we have condemned it, etc., but that's too simplistic a reaction, let alone a plan.   
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2013, 02:53:49 PM »

This sounds basically like very definition of Phyletism.

Given the context, it's more like "caste" and less like "phyletism".  From the outside, you can look at it, find it distasteful, contrary to St Paul, ask if we have condemned it, etc., but that's too simplistic a reaction, let alone a plan.   
I also think the Knanaya live in areas where they are a minority, where marrying out can extinguish a Church.  Not sure how much conversion to the Church is allowed, although I'm aware that the Christian do form a sizable minority there.
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2013, 05:08:53 PM »

I don't know. There is this "there is neither Jew or Greek" thing but I have no idea whether OOs have explicitly condemned it.

It's wrong?  Yes...but it's not a simple solution to remove.  St. Paul undermined slavery, he didn't abolish it.  You'll find even the ancient Church struggled with allowing former slaves being priests or bishops.  Yes, there were slaves that became bishops, and there are other places where they applied a canon of the Church that didn't allow slaves to hold ordained offices.
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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2013, 08:43:35 PM »

This sounds basically like very definition of Phyletism.

Given the context, it's more like "caste" and less like "phyletism". 

Not sure how much conversion to the Church is allowed

I agree with Deacon Phil on the point of caste versus phyletism.

Isa, the Knanaites, neither Orthodox nor Catholic, accept converts into their community.

Were one to have come into contact with a Knanaya community and, as a consequence, decided to convert - from Protestantism or a non-Christian faith- you could certainly convert to the community's larger, (I hesitate to use the word 'parent') umbrella canonical body, whether that be the Syrian Orthodox Jacobite or Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (or one of the Malankara Churches - each of which also has significantly smaller Knanaya communities within it), but it won't make you a Knanaite. That you can never be, unless you were born into a Knanaite family and have not taken any action which would cause you to have been separated from the community, which is pretty much limited to marrying a non-Knanaite.

However, you could certainly subsequently still worship with the community and receive the Mysteries of the Eucharist, Confession, and Anointing from its presbyters. I'm uncertain about the Mystery of Crowning in other circumstances but I'm almost absolutely certain that a Knanaite priest would not perform it if you, a non-Knanaite, were seeking to marry a Knanaite.

Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2013, 09:01:39 PM »

This sounds basically like very definition of Phyletism.

Given the context, it's more like "caste" and less like "phyletism". 

Not sure how much conversion to the Church is allowed

I agree with Deacon Phil on the point of caste versus phyletism.

Isa, the Knanaites, neither Orthodox nor Catholic, accept converts into their community.
I wasn't clear: I meant the powers that be in their society at large, not their own ecclesiastical communities.  In Egypt, Jordan, Syria etc.
The Church will accept converts; the state, however, puts obstacles in that path.

As the Knanaites being neither Orthodox nor Catholic....as opposed to being both...that's another discussion.


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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2013, 09:35:24 PM »

Isa, the Knanaites, neither Orthodox nor Catholic, accept converts into their community.

Were one to have come into contact with a Knanaya community and, as a consequence, decided to convert - from Protestantism or a non-Christian faith- you could certainly convert to the community's larger, (I hesitate to use the word 'parent') umbrella canonical body, whether that be the Syrian Orthodox Jacobite or Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (or one of the Malankara Churches - each of which also has significantly smaller Knanaya communities within it), but it won't make you a Knanaite. That you can never be, unless you were born into a Knanaite family and have not taken any action which would cause you to have been separated from the community, which is pretty much limited to marrying a non-Knanaite.

However, you could certainly subsequently still worship with the community and receive the Mysteries of the Eucharist, Confession, and Anointing from its presbyters. I'm uncertain about the Mystery of Crowning in other circumstances but I'm almost absolutely certain that a Knanaite priest would not perform it if you, a non-Knanaite, were seeking to marry a Knanaite.

Actually, I'm not sure if it's accurate to say that the Knanaites will not accept converts.  Theoretically, you could convert to Orthodoxy in a Knanaite parish (as opposed to going there, converting elsewhere, and returning), but as you said, you would be "Syrian Orthodox", not "Knanaya Orthodox": the faith is Syrian Orthodox and that's what you would embrace, but you wouldn't be able to join the ethnic group by joining the Church.  A non-Knanaite might feel more welcome converting in a "generic" SOC parish, but I don't know if there is an absolute prohibition on their joining Knanaite parishes. 

In the jurisdictional dispute between the autocephalous MOC in India and the autonomous SOC in India, the Knanaites are actually an interesting point of unity: though canonically linked, for the most part, to the latter, they appear to have much less of the negative politics associated with this division, and so their leadership gets along with both sides.  I have colleagues in the MOC who have been invited to serve, commune, perform youth ministry, etc. in Knanaite parishes despite not being Knanaite and not being part of the autonomous Church (double whammy!).   

Again, this is really more of an ethnic "caste" issue.  Any supposed difficulties or prohibitions that appear to go against normative ecclesiastical practice need to be considered in this light.  Also, we're dealing with a specific community which traces itself to a particular wave of immigrants in the fourth century AD, as opposed to other groups of immigrants from the same region before and after this group. 
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« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2013, 11:49:31 PM »

This sounds basically like very definition of Phyletism.

Given the context, it's more like "caste" and less like "phyletism". 

Not sure how much conversion to the Church is allowed

I agree with Deacon Phil on the point of caste versus phyletism.

Mor, are you a deacon?
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« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2013, 01:04:29 AM »

Isa, the Knanaites, neither Orthodox nor Catholic, accept converts into their community.

Were one to have come into contact with a Knanaya community and, as a consequence, decided to convert - from Protestantism or a non-Christian faith- you could certainly convert to the community's larger, (I hesitate to use the word 'parent') umbrella canonical body, whether that be the Syrian Orthodox Jacobite or Syro-Malabar Catholic Church (or one of the Malankara Churches - each of which also has significantly smaller Knanaya communities within it), but it won't make you a Knanaite. That you can never be, unless you were born into a Knanaite family and have not taken any action which would cause you to have been separated from the community, which is pretty much limited to marrying a non-Knanaite.

However, you could certainly subsequently still worship with the community and receive the Mysteries of the Eucharist, Confession, and Anointing from its presbyters. I'm uncertain about the Mystery of Crowning in other circumstances but I'm almost absolutely certain that a Knanaite priest would not perform it if you, a non-Knanaite, were seeking to marry a Knanaite.

Actually, I'm not sure if it's accurate to say that the Knanaites will not accept converts.  Theoretically, you could convert to Orthodoxy in a Knanaite parish (as opposed to going there, converting elsewhere, and returning), but as you said, you would be "Syrian Orthodox", not "Knanaya Orthodox": the faith is Syrian Orthodox and that's what you would embrace, but you wouldn't be able to join the ethnic group by joining the Church.  A non-Knanaite might feel more welcome converting in a "generic" SOC parish, but I don't know if there is an absolute prohibition on their joining Knanaite parishes.

Actually, that's what I meant to convey - one could convert to the Church, but that conversion would not carry over into making one a 'Knanaite' member of that Church. Though, as to your last sentence, my strong impression is that neither O or C Knanaites would register a non-Knanaite as a 'member' of a Knanaite parish.  

Quote
In the jurisdictional dispute between the autocephalous MOC in India and the autonomous SOC in India, the Knanaites are actually an interesting point of unity: though canonically linked, for the most part, to the latter, they appear to have much less of the negative politics associated with this division, and so their leadership gets along with both sides.  I have colleagues in the MOC who have been invited to serve, commune, perform youth ministry, etc. in Knanaite parishes despite not being Knanaite and not being part of the autonomous Church (double whammy!).

As you say, they are seemingly unconcerned with matters of church division, political - and even ritual in at least one respect. Their concern is maintaining the ethnic 'purity' and praxis (which, in its differences, is mainly extra-liturgical) of their community. An example (though there isn't a 'political division' per se involved) exists among Catholic Knanaites. The Syro-Malankara have 2 Knanaite parishes within their own eparchies, but the vast majority of Knanaites are canonically Syro-Malabarese. However, not all of the latter are ritually Syro-Malabarese (East Syrian/Assyro-Chaldean Rite). There is an Episcopal Vicariate for Malankara Knanaites within the Syro-Malabarese Archeparchy; it's constituted of 15 parishes that serve the Malankara Knanaite Usage (West Syrian/Antiochene Rite). (I don't know if anything similar occurs between the Orthodox jurisdictions, as I believe those aren't quite as geographically separated as the Malabarese and Malankara Catholic ones are.)
  
Many years,

Neil
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« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2013, 01:59:46 AM »

Though, as to your last sentence, my strong impression is that neither O or C Knanaites would register a non-Knanaite as a 'member' of a Knanaite parish.  

I didn't have "registration" in mind; I'll defer to them on that issue, but I trust you.  If parish records have a genealogical and not just ecclesiastical relevance, that would explain it. 

Quote
An example (though there isn't a 'political division' per se involved) exists among Catholic Knanaites. The Syro-Malankara have 2 Knanaite parishes within their own eparchies, but the vast majority of Knanaites are canonically Syro-Malabarese. However, not all of the latter are ritually Syro-Malabarese (East Syrian/Assyro-Chaldean Rite). There is an Episcopal Vicariate for Malankara Knanaites within the Syro-Malabarese Archeparchy; it's constituted of 15 parishes that serve the Malankara Knanaite Usage (West Syrian/Antiochene Rite). (I don't know if anything similar occurs between the Orthodox jurisdictions, as I believe those aren't quite as geographically separated as the Malabarese and Malankara Catholic ones are.)

LOL, just when I think Indian ecclesiastical (dis)organisation can't get any crazier, an Irish Melkite schools me.  Syro-Malabar-Malankara Catholics!  Tongue
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« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2013, 02:36:33 AM »

Though, as to your last sentence, my strong impression is that neither O or C Knanaites would register a non-Knanaite as a 'member' of a Knanaite parish.  

I didn't have "registration" in mind; I'll defer to them on that issue, but I trust you.  If parish records have a genealogical and not just ecclesiastical relevance, that would explain it.
 

That's precisely it. On some of their 'match-making' sites, I've seen postings which, together with family names, include references to church register entries, as proof of being Knanaite.  

Quote from: Irish Melkite
An example (though there isn't a 'political division' per se involved) exists among Catholic Knanaites. The Syro-Malankara have 2 Knanaite parishes within their own eparchies, but the vast majority of Knanaites are canonically Syro-Malabarese. However, not all of the latter are ritually Syro-Malabarese (East Syrian/Assyro-Chaldean Rite). There is an Episcopal Vicariate for Malankara Knanaites within the Syro-Malabarese Archeparchy; it's constituted of 15 parishes that serve the Malankara Knanaite Usage (West Syrian/Antiochene Rite). (I don't know if anything similar occurs between the Orthodox jurisdictions, as I believe those aren't quite as geographically separated as the Malabarese and Malankara Catholic ones are.)

Quote from: Mor Ephrem
LOL, just when I think Indian ecclesiastical (dis)organisation can't get any crazier, an Irish Melkite schools me.  Syro-Malabar-Malankara Catholics!  Tongue

LOL - you cannot imagine how long it took me to find a way to phrase and explain that in readable form the first time that I ever did so  Grin . I have to go back to my original text every time the need arises to post about it, because I can't hope to rephrase it. I think the only thing that I ever found harder to understand was the ecclesiastical (dis)organization of St Thomas Christians  Tongue (and I think an explanation by you may have been the one that finally allowed me to do that).

Many years,

Neil
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 02:38:00 AM by Irish Melkite » Logged

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