KOCHI: The attempt to defuse tension between the two sections of the Malankara Church, in connection with the opening of Kolenchery St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church, failed with the Orthodox faction alleging that they don’t agree to the conclusion reached in the District Collector’s office.
Police had broken open the locks to enter the church after priest Fr Pothumkattil Abraham hesitated to hand over the keys on Monday. The priest informed the RDO, who was on the church premises, that the Orthodox leadership had not informed them about opening the church.
District Collector Mohammed Hanish, on Sunday, said that the Jacobite-Orthodox factions had reached an agreement regarding the opening of the church. The church will be open on Tuesday also as part of the annual festival.
It was decided to open the church on Monday, to be cleaned up by both the factions. After the Orthodox faction showed unwillingness to open the church, the cleaning was carried out by the Jacobite faction.
Devotees thronged the church for worship, which was opened on Monday after its closure in 1998 following the long dispute between the two factions.
According to the new agreement, the Holy Mass by the Jacobite faction would be held on Tuesday from 6.30 AM to 8.30 AM and that by the Orthodox faction from 9 AM to 11 AM.
Meanwhile, church managing committee member CM Kuriakose, who participated in the discussion convened by the District Collector on Sunday, said that no such agreement on opening the church had been taken. It was a unilateral decision and would not be accepted by the Orthodox faction, he said.
Hundreds of devotees thronged the church premises as part of the festival. Small-scale traders had gathered on the church premises with vegetables and rare varieties of household articles.