Author Topic: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch  (Read 946 times)

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His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received  (Mor)  Athanasius Thomas and Mor Nicholovos Zakaria, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh on September 4, 2017.

http://www.jacobiteonline.com/metropolitans-from-indian-orthodox-meet-his-holiness-patriarch-of-antioch/

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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2017, 11:54:33 AM »
Nice! Doing a quick search, it seems Mor Nicholovos was consecrated a Metropolitan by then Syriac Patriarch Mor Ignatius I. Does this necessarily mean he switched from the SOC/MJSOC or is it possible that the Patriarch of Antioch ordain/consecrate people in the autocephalous MOSC?

http://mosc.in/holysynod/h-g-zachariah-mar-nicholovos-metropolitan
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2017, 12:00:32 PM »
Quote
His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received  (Mor)  Athanasius Thomas and Mor Nicholovos Zakaria, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh on September 4, 2017.

http://www.jacobiteonline.com/metropolitans-from-indian-orthodox-meet-his-holiness-patriarch-of-antioch/

Pray.

Lord, have mercy! I'm really hoping this bears fruit.
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2017, 03:20:39 PM »
Nice! Doing a quick search, it seems Mor Nicholovos was consecrated a Metropolitan by then Syriac Patriarch Mor Ignatius I. Does this necessarily mean he switched from the SOC/MJSOC or is it possible that the Patriarch of Antioch ordain/consecrate people in the autocephalous MOSC?

http://mosc.in/holysynod/h-g-zachariah-mar-nicholovos-metropolitan

He switched sides sometime after his episcopal ordination.  The Patriarch of Antioch has no canonical authority to ordain in the MOSC unless, theoretically, asked and permitted to do so. 
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2017, 05:38:36 PM »
Quote
His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received  (Mor)  Athanasius Thomas and Mor Nicholovos Zakaria, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh on September 4, 2017.

http://www.jacobiteonline.com/metropolitans-from-indian-orthodox-meet-his-holiness-patriarch-of-antioch/

Pray.

Lord, have mercy! I'm really hoping this bears fruit.

+1

I'm cautiously excited
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 05:38:48 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2017, 05:50:48 PM »
Quote
His Holiness Patriarch Mor Ignatius Aphrem II received  (Mor)  Athanasius Thomas and Mor Nicholovos Zakaria, at the Patriarchal Residence in Atchaneh on September 4, 2017.

http://www.jacobiteonline.com/metropolitans-from-indian-orthodox-meet-his-holiness-patriarch-of-antioch/

Pray.

Lord, have mercy! I'm really hoping this bears fruit.

+1

I'm cautiously excited

I wonder what the significance of meeting with these Metropolitans is specifically?  Why were they there?  Did the Catholicos delegate them (and not others) to represent him specifically?  Their Holinesses Mor Ignatius Aphrem and Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose have met in person already.  But perhaps unofficially?  Is this more of an official visit?
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Offline dhinuus

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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2017, 03:58:56 AM »
I wonder what the significance of meeting with these Metropolitans is specifically?  Why were they there?  Did the Catholicos delegate them (and not others) to represent him specifically?  Their Holinesses Mor Ignatius Aphrem and Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose have met in person already.  But perhaps unofficially?  Is this more of an official visit?

This is not an official visit. Both the Bishops had gone above and beyond to clarify that this was a personal visit they were taking under their own initiative.

There was an invitation from the Patriarch to the Malankara Orthodox Church (MOC aka the autocephelous Indian Orthodox Church) Synod to send official delegates to the Patriarchal HQ in Lebenon for discussions . 

Per Malayalam news paper reports; the MOC Synod was not in favor of sending an official delegation to the Patriarchal HQ.  The majority opinion of the Synod  was that they would rather meet at some other location; rather than visit the Patriarch at his official headquarters.

As per Malayalam newspaper reports; the main purpose of the visit of these two Bishops who are making this personal visit is to ask the Patriarch; to instead send an official delegation to India for discussions.

Both these Bishops are not originally elected by the MOC Association as Bishops. They belonged to the autonomous Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church under the Patriarch. Both of them switched sides in 2001 or so.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 04:04:23 AM by dhinuus »
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2017, 08:08:13 AM »
I wonder what the significance of meeting with these Metropolitans is specifically?  Why were they there?  Did the Catholicos delegate them (and not others) to represent him specifically?  Their Holinesses Mor Ignatius Aphrem and Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose have met in person already.  But perhaps unofficially?  Is this more of an official visit?

This is not an official visit. Both the Bishops had gone above and beyond to clarify that this was a personal visit they were taking under their own initiative.

There was an invitation from the Patriarch to the Malankara Orthodox Church (MOC aka the autocephelous Indian Orthodox Church) Synod to send official delegates to the Patriarchal HQ in Lebenon for discussions . 

Per Malayalam news paper reports; the MOC Synod was not in favor of sending an official delegation to the Patriarchal HQ.  The majority opinion of the Synod  was that they would rather meet at some other location; rather than visit the Patriarch at his official headquarters.

As per Malayalam newspaper reports; the main purpose of the visit of these two Bishops who are making this personal visit is to ask the Patriarch; to instead send an official delegation to India for discussions.

Both these Bishops are not originally elected by the MOC Association as Bishops. They belonged to the autonomous Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church under the Patriarch. Both of them switched sides in 2001 or so.

Thank you, Dhinnus.  This is important information.  I was aware that Archbishop Zachariah Nicholovos had switched sides, but I had no clue about Archbishop Athanasius Thomas.  I am a little disappointed that the MOSC is not willing to accept His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem's invitation to meet with him in Lebanon and insists instead on meeting in India.  Is "home turf advantage" really such a factor here?  I would think that wherever the negotiations were held, the important thing would be that they were held in a spirit of love and mutual respect with a common goal of getting this job done and healing the schism.  If we have a fight, and I invite you to my home for dinner to make peace, and you counter by saying let's do it at my house instead, the subtext seems to be that you don't entirely trust me, or that there is something wrong with my house.  Or perhaps - not being Indian - I am missing something in my analysis?  Maybe they could do it in "neutral territory" in Addis Ababa or Cairo or something?  Whatever the case may be, I truly hope and pray that this is a step in the right direction.
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2017, 12:03:43 PM »
I'm unfamiliar with some of the claims dhinuus is making in this thread, but that is not to say he is wrong. 

From what I'm hearing (and I trust my sources), the visit is an unofficial official visit.  I've heard nothing about the bishops undertaking this visit solely on their own initiative, and I'm not even sure such a thing in this context is canonically possible. 

The few Malayalam news reports I read suggested that this delegation was authorised by the Synod to represent the Church in response to the Patriarch's invitation (one report suggested that billing this as a "personal" visit of two bishops as opposed to an official Church delegation was a claim originating from comments from the MSOC on the then-upcoming meeting which, if true, would not surprise me). 

I suppose the "unofficial official" comes into play in terms of the scope of the meeting--I don't think there was any expectation on either side that this one meeting would resolve all issues, and so it was prudent to make that clear in some way lest people be discouraged or emboldened by the results.  Reports I've come across suggest that the MSOC wanted more of a role in this process rather than being represented only by the Patriarch in direct talks with the MOSC, which on its face is a reasonable desire, but also suggests that lack of trust is not an exclusively MOSC issue and that this process has to be undertaken carefully and responsibly, even if it takes time and effort, in order to bear lasting fruit.

I am a little disappointed that the MOSC is not willing to accept His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem's invitation to meet with him in Lebanon and insists instead on meeting in India.  Is "home turf advantage" really such a factor here? 

In my discussions with people in the know, insisting on only meeting in India hasn't come up.  Our Church's delegation did meet with the Patriarch in Lebanon, so if there's an unwillingness to meet anywhere but India, it's not evident in actions taken thus far. 

I don't know if "home turf advantage" necessarily applies.  If I might hazard a guess, I think it has to do with how certain people will spin it after the fact, and how that may create problems down the line that may re-ignite a schism.  A meeting in Lebanon or Syria really is "home turf advantage" for the Syrian Orthodox Church in the sense that we have no parishes or dioceses there.  A meeting in India, on the other hand, has less "home turf advantage" because both Churches have a presence in the region.  A neutral location would be best if that was a concern, but again, I'm not really hearing a preference from my sources.

Quote
I would think that wherever the negotiations were held, the important thing would be that they were held in a spirit of love and mutual respect with a common goal of getting this job done and healing the schism.

I agree, and that's why I am not worried yet.  I haven't seen anything from our side that suggests anything other than the above, and I think I'd say the same about Antioch.   

Quote
If we have a fight, and I invite you to my home for dinner to make peace, and you counter by saying let's do it at my house instead, the subtext seems to be that you don't entirely trust me, or that there is something wrong with my house. 

The flip side is that if you were serious about making peace, you would understand if the other party felt alienated or insecure and would not be immediately turned off by a request to do things differently from what you originally had in mind because reconciliation is more important. 

These models may have some truth to them, but to suggest only one or another as the model for interpreting current events is not helpful.

Quote
Or perhaps - not being Indian - I am missing something in my analysis?

I think there are people who have an interest in preserving the status quo or even furthering the division.  No one wants a repeat of the last "peace" which was undone in only twelve years and never repaired.  There's enough blame to go around and enough genuine reasons for hesitation and concern on both sides, so this has to be done delicately if it has a chance. 
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2017, 05:46:23 PM »
From what I'm hearing (and I trust my sources), the visit is an unofficial official visit.  I've heard nothing about the bishops undertaking this visit solely on their own initiative, and I'm not even sure such a thing in this context is canonically possible.

The few Malayalam news reports I read suggested that this delegation was authorised by the Synod to represent the Church in response to the Patriarch's invitation. 

So there are no statements from the bishops themselves going "above and beyond to clarify that this was a personal visit they were taking under their own initiative"?  Ordinarily, I would agree with you 100% that bishops undertaking such a meeting of their own initiative would not be canonically possible, but I took Dhinnus' statements at face value because of the fact that the existing schism makes it possible for bishops to do what they want assured of the fact that they'll have somewhere to land (in the opposing camp) if things get too hot for them where they are.

Is there any significance to the fact that both of these bishops are people are ex-Syriac prelates?  I know you can't say for sure, but do you think the Synod might think these makes them ideal candidates for such a reason because of their familiarity with their former faction?  On the flipside, their presence could have potentially exacerbated things.

I suppose the "unofficial official" comes into play in terms of the scope of the meeting--I don't think there was any expectation on either side that this one meeting would resolve all issues, and so it was prudent to make that clear in some way lest people be discouraged or emboldened by the results. 

That makes sense.

Reports I've come across suggest that the MSOC wanted more of a role in this process rather than being represented only by the Patriarch in direct talks with the MOSC, which on its face is a reasonable desire, but also suggests that lack of trust is not an exclusively MOSC issue and that this process has to be undertaken carefully and responsibly, even if it takes time and effort, in order to bear lasting fruit.

I agree that there is probably a lack of trust - to one degree or another here - on all sides (I never intended otherwise), but what do you mean specifically by the bolded bit?  Are you saying that the lack of MSOC representation - other than the presence of the Secretary for Indian Affairs, or whatever his specific title is - indicates a lack of trust in the Indian bishops of their own faction by Antioch?  Also, since this is all very early in the "unofficial official" process, isn't it a bit early to presume that the MSOC will be excluded from the dialogue?  And doesn't the presence of the Bishop for Indian Affairs count as MSOC representation even at this "unofficial official" phase?

In my discussions with people in the know, insisting on only meeting in India hasn't come up.  Our Church's delegation did meet with the Patriarch in Lebanon, so if there's an unwillingness to meet anywhere but India, it's not evident in actions taken thus far. 

Good to know.

I don't know if "home turf advantage" necessarily applies.  If I might hazard a guess, I think it has to do with how certain people will spin it after the fact, and how that may create problems down the line that may re-ignite a schism.  A meeting in Lebanon or Syria really is "home turf advantage" for the Syrian Orthodox Church in the sense that we have no parishes or dioceses there.  A meeting in India, on the other hand, has less "home turf advantage" because both Churches have a presence in the region.  A neutral location would be best if that was a concern, but again, I'm not really hearing a preference from my sources.

All valuable and valid stuff.  Thanks.

The flip side is that if you were serious about making peace, you would understand if the other party felt alienated or insecure and would not be immediately turned off by a request to do things differently from what you originally had in mind because reconciliation is more important. 

I don't think Antioch would be put off by a request to negotiate in India.  Although doing so might make it more difficult to have the hypothetical "direct" talks (sans MSOC) you were referencing earlier.

These models may have some truth to them, but to suggest only one or another as the model for interpreting current events is not helpful.

Agreed.  It wasn't meant to be an absolute statement.

I think there are people who have an interest in preserving the status quo or even furthering the division.  No one wants a repeat of the last "peace" which was undone in only twelve years and never repaired.  There's enough blame to go around and enough genuine reasons for hesitation and concern on both sides, so this has to be done delicately if it has a chance.

From what I've read, and from what I've heard from people on both sides, I'm inclined to agree.
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2017, 07:28:13 PM »
From what I'm hearing (and I trust my sources), the visit is an unofficial official visit.  I've heard nothing about the bishops undertaking this visit solely on their own initiative, and I'm not even sure such a thing in this context is canonically possible.

The few Malayalam news reports I read suggested that this delegation was authorised by the Synod to represent the Church in response to the Patriarch's invitation. 

So there are no statements from the bishops themselves going "above and beyond to clarify that this was a personal visit they were taking under their own initiative"?  Ordinarily, I would agree with you 100% that bishops undertaking such a meeting of their own initiative would not be canonically possible, but I took Dhinnus' statements at face value because of the fact that the existing schism makes it possible for bishops to do what they want assured of the fact that they'll have somewhere to land (in the opposing camp) if things get too hot for them where they are.

Is there any significance to the fact that both of these bishops are people are ex-Syriac prelates?  I know you can't say for sure, but do you think the Synod might think these makes them ideal candidates for such a reason because of their familiarity with their former faction?  On the flipside, their presence could have potentially exacerbated things.

Metropolitan Mor Athanasius re: recent visit
Press release

If dhinuus has other information, I'd be happy to see that.  My understanding of the above (which you can confirm with him and, if there is any doubt, we can hash that out here) does not change my initial impressions; namely, that HH the Patriarch of Antioch invited a delegation from our Church (interestingly, referred to in press releases as "the Malankara Church", without any other jurisdictional qualifiers) to meet with him in Beirut and HH the Catholicos of the East authorised the two bishops (after consultation with the Synod) to accept the invitation and begin the process. 

These bishops, AFAIK, could not undertake such a trip without prior authorisation.  Your concern that bishops can do what they want and have a safe place to land if things get dicey is, IMO, misplaced in this situation for two reasons.  First, situations in which such things have happened in the past had to do more often with "personal" issues, while this has to do with the two Churches as a whole.  If they spoke for us without our Synod's authorisation, it would be dead on arrival.  Second, the two bishops involved were formerly under the Antiochian jurisdiction: they're not necessarily as safe to go back as someone who was never subject to it.  It makes more sense to believe that they were selected because they have long-standing relationships with the officials involved and know the issues from both sides of the divide. 

Quote
Reports I've come across suggest that the MSOC wanted more of a role in this process rather than being represented only by the Patriarch in direct talks with the MOSC, which on its face is a reasonable desire, but also suggests that lack of trust is not an exclusively MOSC issue and that this process has to be undertaken carefully and responsibly, even if it takes time and effort, in order to bear lasting fruit.

I agree that there is probably a lack of trust - to one degree or another here - on all sides (I never intended otherwise), but what do you mean specifically by the bolded bit?  Are you saying that the lack of MSOC representation - other than the presence of the Secretary for Indian Affairs, or whatever his specific title is - indicates a lack of trust in the Indian bishops of their own faction by Antioch?  Also, since this is all very early in the "unofficial official" process, isn't it a bit early to presume that the MSOC will be excluded from the dialogue?  And doesn't the presence of the Bishop for Indian Affairs count as MSOC representation even at this "unofficial official" phase?

By the bolded, I meant that the MSOC probably has what it believes are legitimate concerns regarding the situation at the local level that it would want the Patriarch to speak to rather than ignoring them for the sake of peace or because he's not as familiar with them to argue strongly on their behalf.  But there is also reason to believe that relations between the Patriarchate and the MSOC are not without their own internal difficulties, which might make them feel extra pressure to be involved so that they can be sure to get their points across. 

The secretary for Indian Affairs, AFAIK, is not a member of the MSOC synod, but of the Antiochian synod, so I don't think anyone would say he represents the MSOC even if it's better than nothing. 

Quote
The flip side is that if you were serious about making peace, you would understand if the other party felt alienated or insecure and would not be immediately turned off by a request to do things differently from what you originally had in mind because reconciliation is more important. 

I don't think Antioch would be put off by a request to negotiate in India.  Although doing so might make it more difficult to have the hypothetical "direct" talks (sans MSOC) you were referencing earlier.

Right.  And I'm not sure if our Church has a preference for whether or not the MSOC should be involved.  That should be a decision made on their side. 
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2017, 09:02:36 PM »
Metropolitan Mor Athanasius re: recent visit
Press release

If dhinuus has other information, I'd be happy to see that.  My understanding of the above (which you can confirm with him and, if there is any doubt, we can hash that out here) does not change my initial impressions; namely, that HH the Patriarch of Antioch invited a delegation from our Church (interestingly, referred to in press releases as "the Malankara Church", without any other jurisdictional qualifiers) to meet with him in Beirut and HH the Catholicos of the East authorised the two bishops (after consultation with the Synod) to accept the invitation and begin the process. 

I can't read or speak Malayalam, but based on the fact that you're posting them, I assume this video and press release corroborate your interpretation of the events we're discussing and deflate Dhinnus' assertion that Their Eminences went out of their way to make it clear that this was a personal visit taken of their own initiative?

These bishops, AFAIK, could not undertake such a trip without prior authorisation.  Your concern that bishops can do what they want and have a safe place to land if things get dicey is, IMO, misplaced in this situation for two reasons.  First, situations in which such things have happened in the past had to do more often with "personal" issues, while this has to do with the two Churches as a whole.  If they spoke for us without our Synod's authorisation, it would be dead on arrival. 

I emphatically accept the bolded.  It would be pointless for them to go and meet with the Patriarch about what they'd like to see happen if it didn't have the support of the Synod.  The "personal" vs. "Churches as a whole" bit, I'm not so sure how much of a difference that makes considering that there seems to be a longstanding game of "gotcha" going on between the MSOC and MOSC, and stealing a bishop from the other side could always be seen as a finger in the eye of the other side, which brings me to the next point.  Before I go there though, I will acknowledge that you may indeed be right on this point.  I'm just not entirely convinced, for reasons I'll outline below.

Second, the two bishops involved were formerly under the Antiochian jurisdiction: they're not necessarily as safe to go back as someone who was never subject to it. 

Perhaps, but then again, perhaps not.  When you have a prominent public figure switch sides - especially someone like Mor Nicholovos who was a vocal, articulate and pointed critic of the MOSC before he left the MSOC - it would always be a win to get him back.  He could then proceed to publically trash the other side with his trademark rigor, enumerating the reasons why he tried to give them a chance for the sake of unity or whatever, but then saw from the inside how they were what he'd always said they were.  Like I said, it seems like the longstanding "gotcha" game could work in the favor of any would-be defector from either side.  I'm just speaking theoretically here of course.  And no offense intended at all, but I've been following the drama in the Malankara Church for a long time, since I love our communion, and I think pretty much anyone would admit that before he switched sides, Mor Nicholovos' English-language critiques of the MOSC were great weapons in the hands of its detractors.  I apologize in advance, but I have to admit, when I first read them, I found them to be compelling.  It still blows my mind that after writing such papers, he switched sides.  I've never seen him disavow his former works either, but would be happy to see if he did.

Plus, Antioch seems pretty happy right now to mend fences with any rogue bishop or priest willing to return to the fold and play ball, so there's that.

So long story short, while I take your point, I'm not entirely convinced.

It makes more sense to believe that they were selected because they have long-standing relationships with the officials involved and know the issues from both sides of the divide. 

It does make sense.  It could've backfired, but I am happy to say it looks like it didn't go that way. :)

By the bolded, I meant that the MSOC probably has what it believes are legitimate concerns regarding the situation at the local level that it would want the Patriarch to speak to rather than ignoring them for the sake of peace or because he's not as familiar with them to argue strongly on their behalf. 

This makes perfect sense.

But there is also reason to believe that relations between the Patriarchate and the MSOC are not without their own internal difficulties, which might make them feel extra pressure to be involved so that they can be sure to get their points across. 

Again, this makes sense.  I feel they would be justified to press for direct involvement.  Otherwise, Antioch is making the MOSC's point about overplaying their hand in Indian affairs in a dictatorial, paternalistic manner.  Still, I'm sure the temptation to streamline and avoid getting bogged down in longstanding local grudges is there.

The secretary for Indian Affairs, AFAIK, is not a member of the MSOC synod, but of the Antiochian synod, so I don't think anyone would say he represents the MSOC even if it's better than nothing. 

Maybe not represents them directly, but isn't he - as a son of the MSOC - a kind of advocate for the MSOC in the Antiochian Synod?  I know the situation is not a precise analogue for a number of reasons - not the least of which is because the Eritrean Church is autocephalous - but H.G. Abune Makarios is an Eritrean born member of the Coptic Holy Synod and his input on matters pertaining to the Eritrean situation is given a tremendous deal of weight by the Coptic Synod.  The Secretary for Indian Affairs has to go home to face his community and some point, and I doubt he'd want to be seen as the guy who failed to speak for them when he had the chance.

Right.  And I'm not sure if our Church has a preference for whether or not the MSOC should be involved.  That should be a decision made on their side.

Agreed.
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Offline dhinuus

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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2017, 11:29:19 PM »
Metropolitan Mor Athanasius re: recent visit
Press release

If dhinuus has other information, I'd be happy to see that.  My understanding of the above (which you can confirm with him and, if there is any doubt, we can hash that out here) does not change my initial impressions; namely, that HH the Patriarch of Antioch invited a delegation from our Church (interestingly, referred to in press releases as "the Malankara Church", without any other jurisdictional qualifiers) to meet with him in Beirut and HH the Catholicos of the East authorised the two bishops (after consultation with the Synod) to accept the invitation and begin the process. 

I can't read or speak Malayalam, but based on the fact that you're posting them, I assume this video and press release corroborate your interpretation of the events we're discussing and deflate Dhinnus' assertion that Their Eminences went out of their way to make it clear that this was a personal visit taken of their own initiative?

This is the newspaper article I am referring to. This is published in Malayala Manorama.. whose editors are members of the MOC.


The line I am referring to is the last line on the second column. The literal English translation is:  "It is not at the direction of the MOC synod that I am visiting the Patriarch; but I have informed the church leadership about the visit - said Thomas Mar Athanasious"
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 11:30:37 PM by dhinuus »
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2017, 08:08:26 AM »
Metropolitan Mor Athanasius re: recent visit
Press release

If dhinuus has other information, I'd be happy to see that.  My understanding of the above (which you can confirm with him and, if there is any doubt, we can hash that out here) does not change my initial impressions; namely, that HH the Patriarch of Antioch invited a delegation from our Church (interestingly, referred to in press releases as "the Malankara Church", without any other jurisdictional qualifiers) to meet with him in Beirut and HH the Catholicos of the East authorised the two bishops (after consultation with the Synod) to accept the invitation and begin the process. 

I can't read or speak Malayalam, but based on the fact that you're posting them, I assume this video and press release corroborate your interpretation of the events we're discussing and deflate Dhinnus' assertion that Their Eminences went out of their way to make it clear that this was a personal visit taken of their own initiative?

This is the newspaper article I am referring to. This is published in Malayala Manorama.. whose editors are members of the MOC.


The line I am referring to is the last line on the second column. The literal English translation is:  "It is not at the direction of the MOC synod that I am visiting the Patriarch; but I have informed the church leadership about the visit - said Thomas Mar Athanasious"

Thank you, Dhinnus.
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2017, 11:09:45 AM »
Metropolitan Mor Athanasius re: recent visit
Press release

If dhinuus has other information, I'd be happy to see that.  My understanding of the above (which you can confirm with him and, if there is any doubt, we can hash that out here) does not change my initial impressions; namely, that HH the Patriarch of Antioch invited a delegation from our Church (interestingly, referred to in press releases as "the Malankara Church", without any other jurisdictional qualifiers) to meet with him in Beirut and HH the Catholicos of the East authorised the two bishops (after consultation with the Synod) to accept the invitation and begin the process. 

I can't read or speak Malayalam, but based on the fact that you're posting them, I assume this video and press release corroborate your interpretation of the events we're discussing and deflate Dhinnus' assertion that Their Eminences went out of their way to make it clear that this was a personal visit taken of their own initiative?

Since he has provided at least one news article supporting his version of the story, I hesitate to say my sources "deflate" his, but rather add some more information.  If dhinuus can explain how they all confirm his version of events, I'm happy to look at that. 

Quote
I emphatically accept the bolded.  It would be pointless for them to go and meet with the Patriarch about what they'd like to see happen if it didn't have the support of the Synod.  The "personal" vs. "Churches as a whole" bit, I'm not so sure how much of a difference that makes considering that there seems to be a longstanding game of "gotcha" going on between the MSOC and MOSC, and stealing a bishop from the other side could always be seen as a finger in the eye of the other side, which brings me to the next point.  Before I go there though, I will acknowledge that you may indeed be right on this point.  I'm just not entirely convinced, for reasons I'll outline below.

I think you exaggerate the "gotcha game" just a bit.  Yes, "victories" get flaunted for polemical purposes in the moment (and so do "defeats"...those who cross over are often defamed by those left behind), but it's usually not something taken too seriously.

Quote
Second, the two bishops involved were formerly under the Antiochian jurisdiction: they're not necessarily as safe to go back as someone who was never subject to it. 

Perhaps, but then again, perhaps not.  When you have a prominent public figure switch sides - especially someone like Mor Nicholovos who was a vocal, articulate and pointed critic of the MOSC before he left the MSOC - it would always be a win to get him back.  He could then proceed to publically trash the other side with his trademark rigor, enumerating the reasons why he tried to give them a chance for the sake of unity or whatever, but then saw from the inside how they were what he'd always said they were.  Like I said, it seems like the longstanding "gotcha" game could work in the favor of any would-be defector from either side.  I'm just speaking theoretically here of course.  And no offense intended at all, but I've been following the drama in the Malankara Church for a long time, since I love our communion, and I think pretty much anyone would admit that before he switched sides, Mor Nicholovos' English-language critiques of the MOSC were great weapons in the hands of its detractors.  I apologize in advance, but I have to admit, when I first read them, I found them to be compelling.  It still blows my mind that after writing such papers, he switched sides.  I've never seen him disavow his former works either, but would be happy to see if he did.

Well, I don't wish to comment on any particular case in a public setting (though I could), but as a general principle, it's not uncommon for people to do what they have to do in a particular context in order to make their mark. 

Quote
Plus, Antioch seems pretty happy right now to mend fences with any rogue bishop or priest willing to return to the fold and play ball, so there's that.

I think the details of this particular situation make your proposed scenario rather difficult to envision, even if Antioch is exceedingly friendly to rogue clergy, the non-Orthodox, etc. 

Quote
But there is also reason to believe that relations between the Patriarchate and the MSOC are not without their own internal difficulties, which might make them feel extra pressure to be involved so that they can be sure to get their points across. 

Again, this makes sense.  I feel they would be justified to press for direct involvement.  Otherwise, Antioch is making the MOSC's point about overplaying their hand in Indian affairs in a dictatorial, paternalistic manner.  Still, I'm sure the temptation to streamline and avoid getting bogged down in longstanding local grudges is there.

I can see it both ways.  On the one hand, they have a presence in India and in the diaspora and feel like they have concerns that should be addressed.  Any lasting peace will need to take them into account in a real way.  On the other hand, involving the MSOC in the talks is an internal matter of the Syrian Orthodox Church.  The MOSC is not brokering a peace with a local division of a bigger whole, it is brokering it with the whole, with a sister autocephalous Church.  I don't see why our Church should not take it for granted that the Syrian Orthodox Church knows how to conduct its affairs and that its faithful will abide by its decisions.   

Quote
The secretary for Indian Affairs, AFAIK, is not a member of the MSOC synod, but of the Antiochian synod, so I don't think anyone would say he represents the MSOC even if it's better than nothing. 

Maybe not represents them directly, but isn't he - as a son of the MSOC - a kind of advocate for the MSOC in the Antiochian Synod?  I know the situation is not a precise analogue for a number of reasons - not the least of which is because the Eritrean Church is autocephalous - but H.G. Abune Makarios is an Eritrean born member of the Coptic Holy Synod and his input on matters pertaining to the Eritrean situation is given a tremendous deal of weight by the Coptic Synod.  The Secretary for Indian Affairs has to go home to face his community and some point, and I doubt he'd want to be seen as the guy who failed to speak for them when he had the chance.

Unofficially, anything is conceivable.  But I don't think he was there to represent the MSOC.  There was enough time to arrange for actual MSOC bishops to attend this first meeting if that was desired.
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2017, 11:10:55 AM »
The line I am referring to is the last line on the second column. The literal English translation is:  "It is not at the direction of the MOC synod that I am visiting the Patriarch; but I have informed the church leadership about the visit - said Thomas Mar Athanasious"

So, unless you can help me clear up the confusion, it looks like we have Mor Athanasius vs Mor Athanasius.  ;)
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2017, 02:45:39 PM »
Since he has provided at least one news article supporting his version of the story, I hesitate to say my sources "deflate" his, but rather add some more information.  If dhinuus can explain how they all confirm his version of events, I'm happy to look at that. 

So, would you mind giving a synopsis of what your sources say and how they contrast with Dhinuus' for the benefit of those of us who can't read or speak Malayalam?

I think you exaggerate the "gotcha game" just a bit.  Yes, "victories" get flaunted for polemical purposes in the moment (and so do "defeats"...those who cross over are often defamed by those left behind), but it's usually not something taken too seriously.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree here.  All I'm saying is that it's not entirely unreasonable to think that should the schism persist, and should they reach out, Antioch might consider taking one or both of these bishops back.

Well, I don't wish to comment on any particular case in a public setting (though I could), but as a general principle, it's not uncommon for people to do what they have to do in a particular context in order to make their mark. 

I won't ask you for further details in public, but it sounds like you're saying that either:

a. His original polemics against the MOSC were insincere and he penned them merely to make a name for himself in the SOC (which I would find hard to believe)

b. He did in fact recant of his former opinions, but perhaps in not as public a fashion as they were originally presented, upon joining the MOSC

c. All of the Above

I won't press further, but if you'd care to clarify via PM I would be most grateful.

I think the details of this particular situation make your proposed scenario rather difficult to envision, even if Antioch is exceedingly friendly to rogue clergy, the non-Orthodox, etc.

Maybe.  Maybe not.  I don't think there's a way to prove either of our points here, and God willing, it will all remain idle speculation once rapprochement is achieved.

I can see it both ways.  On the one hand, they have a presence in India and in the diaspora and feel like they have concerns that should be addressed.  Any lasting peace will need to take them into account in a real way. 

Agreed.

On the other hand, involving the MSOC in the talks is an internal matter of the Syrian Orthodox Church.  The MOSC is not brokering a peace with a local division of a bigger whole, it is brokering it with the whole, with a sister autocephalous Church.  I don't see why our Church should not take it for granted that the Syrian Orthodox Church knows how to conduct its affairs and that its faithful will abide by its decisions.   

Again, agreed.  I would add, however, that it would be unwise of the Syriac Church to exclude its local bishops from matters that would affect them and their flocks more than anyone else (particularly people outside of India).

Unofficially, anything is conceivable.  But I don't think he was there to represent the MSOC.  There was enough time to arrange for actual MSOC bishops to attend this first meeting if that was desired.

I see what you're saying, but permit me to press for a bit more clarity.  I don't think he was there to represent the MSOC in any official capacity either.  But, part of his job, presumably, would be to advise the Patriarch on affairs pertaining to Kerala.  There's a reason and Iraqi or a Lebanese bishop doesn't hold this post.  I don't think it is unreasonable to presume that his input would be reflective of a "Jacobite" (for lack of a better term point of view.  Unless, perhaps, he's "above the fray" and totally objective, and that is why he was selected for the job.
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #18 on: September 09, 2017, 01:40:31 AM »
Some background is necessary to understand what is going on currently and I think that will be more beneficial than cherry picking news reports.

The current movement in Malankara is on account of a defining verdict of the Indian Supreme Court on 3rd July 2017 (incidentally the feast of St Thomas) wherein the claims of the present Jacobite party were rejected.  The Court orders have already applied to 4-5 parish churches which were disputed between the parties. The SC verdict has a representative character and will sooner or later be made applicable to all parishes in Malankara. 

Mar Athanasius and Mar Nicholovos never switched sides. In the aftermath of a defining Indian Supreme Court verdict in 1958 which was in favour of the claims of the " Catholicos Party", there was a mutual acceptance between the Patriarch and the Catholicos and the Church in Malankara united under Catholicos Geevarghese II.   After the demise the said Catholicos, the Patriarch in accordance with the Constitution and bye-laws was invited to Malankara and consecrated the succeeding Catholicos Mar Augen.

In 1972 after the troubles restarted, the united Church again split into 2 factions and legal suits and disputes restarted. Till a final resolution was achieved, the courts imposed a Status Quo and both parties were asked to maintain status quo till a final verdict.  Mar Athansius, Nicholovos , Miletius, Severios etc were consecrated for the Malankara church within the Patriarchal party during the period of status quo.

In 1995, the Supreme Court issued a final verdict very substantially in favour of the "catholicos party". Parties approached the court to seek clarifications on the 1995 order, all Jacobite bishops provided sworn affidavits accepting the 1934 constitution that governed the united church (1958-72/73) to take benefit of the status quo till further clarifications were received.  In the interim various discussions for peace took place between the parties and various committees were constituted by the Patriarch & Catholicos to bring about a settlement. The Court too laid out a procedure for the Church to unite in accordance with the Constitution of 1934.

For reasons best known to them, a significant number of people belonging to the erstwhile Patriarchal party boycotted the Courts process and boycotted the Association (General Assembly of the Malankara Church) called under the supervision of the Supreme Court. A parallel association was then called and a new Church called the Jacobite Syrian Church under a new constitution of 2002 was created.

Mar Athansius, and 3 other bishops refused to participate in the process of creating a new Church under a new 2002 constitution since that was not in line with 1995 verdict of the Supreme Court that adjudicated the dispute between 2 factions of the Malankara Church.
Instead they participated in the process supervised by the Supreme Court in line with the order of 1995.   There is no side switching, they were ordained for Malankara and they remain a part of the Malankara Church.  One bishop Mar Severios then expressed HG's desire to join the Jacobite church due to personal reasons to HH the Catholicos (MOC) and then did so. 

However in hindsight the 1995 order contained a significant loophole. While the 1995 SC order had touched upon the applicability of the 1934 constitution on the parish churches in general, the SC held back from making a detailed observation on the rights of parish churches without hearing them in detail.

After the creation of the 2002 Jacobite Syrian church comprising the majority of the erstwhile Patriarchal party, the Jacobite party argued that the 1995 verdict did not apply to the individual parish churches and thus parishes could choose to accept the 2002 constitution if the majority desired so. Using the loophole in the SC order, many of the parishes of the erstwhile Jacobite party switched to the 2002 constitution.   Now once again, suits started on a parish to parish basis to determine how they should be governed.

Around 6-7 suits had reached the Indian Supreme Court and the suit related a very prominent parish (St Peters & St Pauls Kolenchery) was heard by the SC as a representative suit since the issues under litigation were common in all the suits and will hold good for all the 1064 parishes listed as part of the Malankara Church in the suits that began in the 1974. The appeal in the SC was filed by the Jacobite church after the High Court had decided the matter in favour of the Malankara church. A verdict was ordered by the SC on July 3rd (coincidentally the feast of translation of the relics of St Thomas from India to Edessa) and the legal loophole that had allowed the Jacobite party to hold on to the parishes of the erstwhile Patriarchal party was closed.

This defining verdict will sooner or later apply to all parishes in Malankara and says the following

1. The Church in Malankara is one and will be governed by the 1934 constitution as accepted by both the parties and the Patriarch during the period of unity. This constitution is also applicable to all parishes of the Church.

2. There cannot be a system of parallel administration within the same Church. If somebody feels that they want to be directly under the Patriarch they are free to do so but cannot claim the parishes and properties of the Malankara church.

3. If required in the interest of a settlement, 1934 constitution can be amended as mutually agreed and in line with the constitutional provisions.

4. The Church must revert to the position before the suits began i.e 1974 and thus the benefits under the Status quo ante are no longer available even to those who gave affidavits that they accept the 1934 constitution and then created the 2002 constitution.

5. Unusally for suits that relate to religious matters, the Court unequivocally apportioned blame for torpedoing the peace process post 1995 on one party.

This verdict has already become applicable to 5 parishes.  This is the background.

This verdict is not unsurprising; although a prominent Jacobite bishop said that the Orthodox had asked a flower and the court gave them a garden of flowers.   The 1995 verdict had already touched upon the rights of the parishes and what applies to common properties like the Kottayam & Aluva Seminaries will apply to parishes also. But the leadership of the Jacobite party sought to use a legal loophole to buy time and create facts on the ground that will be impossible to roll back.

Added to all this are the rumours that relations between the Patriarch and the Jacobite Catholicos are at rock bottom.  In Malankara, the general understanding is that the coup attempt made against Pat. Aprem by 6 Syriac metropolitan's was supported and backed by the Jacobite leadership in Kerala.

In light of the Supreme Court verdict of July 3, discussions with some prominent Metropolitans of the Jacobite church have reportedly taken place.  The Catholicos of the MOC, wrote to the Patriarch updating the situation in light of the SC order and asked for a positive intervention. 5 Jacobite metropolitans visited Beirut to update the Patriarch. The Patriarch through his secretary for Indian affairs reportedly invited the MOC to meet HH at Beirut and in response 2 Metropolitans met HH. on an unofficial basis but with the consent and permission of HH the Catholicos.

I think even the Patriarch is aware that even HH takes a  stand for peace, there is no guarantee that the Jacobite party in Kerala will respond positively. The Jacobite

On the MOC side, there are people who are reluctant to place too much trust on any intervention from the Patriarch given that 2 Patriarchs ( Yaqub III & Zakka I) let go of opportunities for peace and efforts of 2 Malankara Prelates ( Malankara Metropolitan Dionsyius IV & Catholicos Geevarghese II) who visited the Patriarchs in Turkey and Syria during 1920-1940 bore no fruit.
Further, it is a unhealthy sign that peace is only thought of when unfavorable legal orders come through.

I personally believe that unity cannot be thwarted, it will take place.  With one stroke of the pen, the SC could have divided the Church for eternity but by the prayers of St Mary the Theotokos, Mar Thoma and all the saints that was averted. However peace will need silence and restraint from both sides. From July 3rd till date, that silence existed on this forum as well.

Those interested to know the background in detail need to refer to the orders of the court in order to understand the issues that were under litigation.

http://malankaraorthodox.tv/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Order-1-1.pdf

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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #19 on: September 09, 2017, 11:19:34 AM »
Thank you, Surajiype, for your detailed and informative post.  This is a lot to digest, and I want to make sure that I am understanding you correctly.  It seems that you are saying that the current negotiations are taking place chiefly because the Syriac Church is in a place of dire straits.  The MSOC is in a state of rebellion and supported the abortive coup against the Patriarch and the relationship between His Holiness and his flock in India is - in your words - "at rock bottom".  Further, the MSOC recently took an enormous hit in the courts, and basically, if I am understanding you correctly, has the right to exist, but not the right to most of the churches they presently pray in.  They will have to vacate those and surrender them to the MOSC.  So, because their backs are against the wall, the SOC now wants to negotiate.  Meanwhile, the MOSC has always wanted to do the right and loving thing, and is happy to do so now, even though if they wanted to they could press all of their obvious advantages to the detriment of the other side.  Finally, the bishops who everyone regards as having switched sides actually never switched sides at all, from a certain point of view, because even though they were serving in the MSOC, and in the case of one of them wrote papers highly critical of the MOSC, they were actually part of a united Malankara Church.  Am I getting all of this right?  Thank you.
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2017, 12:55:50 PM »
AN,

Read the verdict and draw your own conclusions. 200 odd pages is not too much for something that started in 1910.  Somebody wanting to understand a bitter dispute would always be better off trying to objectively assess the facts himself rather than relying entirely on the parties themselves. In fact, you must at some point also peruse the 2 judge majority judgment of 20th June 1995, the minority judgement of Justice Sahai who dissented with the majority on the same date (the minority judgement was entirely in favour of the MOC), and subsequent amendments and decrees to gain an understanding of the issues involved.

I don't remember referring to the SOC being in dire straits, the situation of the SOC has nothing to do with what is going on now. God protect the SOC  in this difficult time.

The faithful in India revere and respect the Antiochian Patriarchate, the Jacobite faithful particularly so.  However, the relations between a section of the leadership of the Jacobite Church and the Patriarch is now at rock bottom.  That is also reflected in the strained relations between several Metropolitans and the Jacobite Maphriana & some lay leaders.  Its fairly well known that the visit of Patriarch Aprem to Kerala was nearly foiled by certain sections that resented the Patriarchs intervention in certain matters and the visit could be rescued only through the intervention of the Jacobite Metropolitan of Kottayam and some very senior retired priests.

In  India an influential section within the Jacobite church wants no negotiations or settlement. This remains undoubtedly true of an influential section within the MOC too.  However the majority in both parties want a settlement that is dignified and in accordance with the law.   

Everybody who knows the truth realizes that no Bishops changed sides at any point. The SC order of 1995 established a process for the convocation of the Malankara Association that was to be attended by both parties . Note : 2 different churches were not merging; but two parties within the same church who were operating in parallel under a system of Status Quo were supposed to come together for a joint assembly.  The Supreme Court assigned a retired Supreme Court judge as observer to supervise the whole process and report to the court. Both the parties remitted to the courts the fees applicable for the services of Justice Malimath.  Accepting the arguments of the erstwhile Jacobite party, the constitution was amended in order to ensure proportional representation in the assembly.  Consequently on the appointed day, 4 Metropolitans, some priests and some parishes from the Kandanad, Thrissur and American dioceses participated in the process and completed it.   

Indeed people commonly talk about switching sides, but it is because they speak from a narrow sectarian perspective rather that seeing the Church as a whole.  The people in the present Jacobite Syrian church do so since it is in their interest do so (after all they boycotted at the last moment, a process they were part of) and in order to de-legitimize the union (however limited in impact) after the SC order of 1995.  The people in the Catholicos party who speak of switching, do so from the perspective of being the party whose arguments were substantially upheld in the courts and since these Bishops now accept positions in certain matters that are antithetical to what they might have held earlier.

But what is shameful in that? The whole point of adjudication (especially when you are a party to litigation) is to be accept a binding verdict.  To rest your argument and accept a binding order is more honorable than trying to continue the dispute in some other form.

Regarding right to exist et.al; you must remember that this is not the first time this has happened in Malankara.  The reform movement within the Malankara church (that later became the Marthoma church) fought a bitter battle that was very similar to the present situation. They lost in the Royal Court and had to vacate the common properties and all parishes (except around 3 that are shared with the Orthodox till date and a few that they won in court). After the verdict, then the Malankara Metropolitan Mor Dionysius V met their leaders and offered to abdicate in order to preserve unity subject to the reform party dropping its positions on matters of faith and discipline. However their leader the Met. Thomas Athanasius and his Vicar General Kovoor Iype Kathanar were not willing to compromise on what they considered to be matter essential to salvation.

Even earlier, when a substantial portion of the Church went under Rome, there were disputes and violence regarding parishes and common properties. At that time, the local princes and the colonial powers (the Dutch and the English) partitioned the parishes between the Orthodox and Eastern Catholics  in order to stop the dissensions.  Based on the allocation of the prominent mother parishes, the local population in that area and the subsidary parishes and chapels switched allegiance. Kottayam become Orthodox, the next nearby Christian centre Changanacherry become Catholic. Allapuhza become Catholic, the next nearby Christian centre of Niranam become Orthodox and so on.

So the State and the judiciary have intervened at various fateful points in the Indian church and these actions have decided the course of our history.

In summary, court verdicts must ideally give rise to reflection in both parties, to see if settlement is still possible. What matters is not whose argument held up in the courts, what matters is the future. In this particular case (unlike with the latinized eastern catholics and the anglicized reformers) our faith is one, we are the same people. So this division, this blood feud must end.  Unity must be re-established. That is what is behind the present discussions and it is welcome.


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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2017, 02:30:15 PM »
The line I am referring to is the last line on the second column. The literal English translation is:  "It is not at the direction of the MOC synod that I am visiting the Patriarch; but I have informed the church leadership about the visit - said Thomas Mar Athanasious"

So, unless you can help me clear up the confusion, it looks like we have Mor Athanasius vs Mor Athanasius.  ;)

Please listen to the following speech by H.G Mathews Mar Severious a senior Bishop of the MOC and till recently the secretary of the MOC Synod.
https://youtu.be/-J_CIvH2BBI

This is why I said that people have gone above and beyond to clarify that the visit of Mar Nicholavas and Mar Athanasios is on an individual capacity and the MOC has nothing do with it. Or in the words of Mar Severious they went to Lebonon for Kappi and Kanji.

The English translation of the above speech is:

Quote
"When the Malankara Synod was going on itself, the Patriarch through his secretary send a Kalpana to the Synod , inviting the Malankara Church for discussions and to give a report based on which the children of the our church can unite.  The Malankara Synod after discussions send a reply to the Patriarch.. that there is no need for the Malankara Church to discuss with any outside groups.  The Patriarch faction just needs to accept the court verdicts and come and join the Malankara Orthodox Church and there is no relevance for any type of discussions.

If the Patriarch likes to have a discussion; the Patriarch needs to first inform the Malankara Church that he will obey the MOC constitution and the Indian secular court orders.  If the Patriarch meets the above condition, the Malankara Church may consider thinking about sending delegates for discussions with the Patriarch at some other third location.

This is the reply that we (MOC Synod) has given to the invitation of the Patriarch.

When I say this, some of you might ask me that .. we saw newspaper reports about two MOC bishops going to Lebanon and meeting with the Patriarch. The explanation is simple; if you have a visa to visit, anyone can go to Lebanon and have coffee or kanji (rice porridge) and come back. There are no issues with that. Malankara Church has no relationship with such visits. Anyone can go to Lebanon; even you can go. But that is not a concern of the Malankara Church and the Malankara Church has nothing to do with such visits.

If anyone is misunderstanding these visits as peace efforts of the Malankara Church; all I have to say is that those people are in a fools paradise."
H.G Mathews Mar Severious,  MOC Bishop of Kandanad

There is a very similar statement from Bishop Geevarghese Mar Yulios of the MOC.  Mar Yulios has also stated that one of the conditions of unity with the autonomous Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church (known as the Jacobite Church) is for all the Bishops of the Jacobite Church to retire to Monasteries as monks.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 02:45:15 PM by dhinuus »
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2017, 02:50:51 PM »
In summary, court verdicts must ideally give rise to reflection in both parties, to see if settlement is still possible. What matters is not whose argument held up in the courts, what matters is the future. In this particular case (unlike with the latinized eastern catholics and the anglicized reformers) our faith is one, we are the same people. So this division, this blood feud must end.  Unity must be re-established. That is what is behind the present discussions and it is welcome.

An appropriate ending to an extremely confusing story.  When issues descend towards church property, I feel it becomes unbecoming for communion to be broken.
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2017, 03:45:57 PM »
Read the verdict and draw your own conclusions.

I have.  I'm not asking you to interpret the events or documents in question for me.  I don't need that.  I'm asking you to clarify your own interpretation of the relevant events as outlined in your most recent post.  Am I understanding your post correctly?  If the answer is yes, that will do.  If the answer is no, please explain how I have misunderstood your point of view and what you have typed.

I don't remember referring to the SOC being in dire straits

Do not play semantic games.  Your post painted a rather grim picture of the present state of the Syriac Orthodox Church and made it seem as if they were coming to the table at least in part out of a sense of desperation because their relationship with their flock in India was "at rock bottom" - the MSOC had in fact supported the coup against the Patriarch - and because the MSOC was losing the battle in the courts.  I think the term "dire straits" fits the above-described scenario well enough.  I won't quibble with you over the term at all.  Is it your opinion that the Syriac Church is now seeking to negotiate because they realized that the MOSC now has the upper hand?

the situation of the SOC has nothing to do with what is going on now.

That's not what your post above seems to indicate.  I'm glad you're clarifying and walking back that idea.

The faithful in India revere and respect the Antiochian Patriarchate, the Jacobite faithful particularly so.  However, the relations between a section of the leadership of the Jacobite Church and the Patriarch is now at rock bottom.  That is also reflected in the strained relations between several Metropolitans and the Jacobite Maphriana & some lay leaders.  Its fairly well known that the visit of Patriarch Aprem to Kerala was nearly foiled by certain sections that resented the Patriarchs intervention in certain matters and the visit could be rescued only through the intervention of the Jacobite Metropolitan of Kottayam and some very senior retired priests.

In  India an influential section within the Jacobite church wants no negotiations or settlement. This remains undoubtedly true of an influential section within the MOC too.  However the majority in both parties want a settlement that is dignified and in accordance with the law.   

So, now you are clarifying that relations between His Holiness and his flock in India as a whole are not at rock bottom, but only that relations are strained between His Holiness and a small group bent on maintaining schism at all costs?

Why do you use the abbreviation MOC for the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church as if Syrian were not part of the name?

Everybody who knows the truth realizes that no Bishops changed sides at any point. The SC order of 1995 established a process for the convocation of the Malankara Association that was to be attended by both parties . Note : 2 different churches were not merging; but two parties within the same church who were operating in parallel under a system of Status Quo were supposed to come together for a joint assembly.  The Supreme Court assigned a retired Supreme Court judge as observer to supervise the whole process and report to the court. Both the parties remitted to the courts the fees applicable for the services of Justice Malimath.  Accepting the arguments of the erstwhile Jacobite party, the constitution was amended in order to ensure proportional representation in the assembly.  Consequently on the appointed day, 4 Metropolitans, some priests and some parishes from the Kandanad, Thrissur and American dioceses participated in the process and completed it.   

Indeed people commonly talk about switching sides, but it is because they speak from a narrow sectarian perspective rather that seeing the Church as a whole.  The people in the present Jacobite Syrian church do so since it is in their interest do so (after all they boycotted at the last moment, a process they were part of) and in order to de-legitimize the union (however limited in impact) after the SC order of 1995.  The people in the Catholicos party who speak of switching, do so from the perspective of being the party whose arguments were substantially upheld in the courts and since these Bishops now accept positions in certain matters that are antithetical to what they might have held earlier.

But what is shameful in that? The whole point of adjudication (especially when you are a party to litigation) is to be accept a binding verdict.  To rest your argument and accept a binding order is more honorable than trying to continue the dispute in some other form.

You're going to great lengths here to make it out as if the Malankara Church is not in fact divided and that individuals on both sides of the very obvious and real schism are free to move back-and-forth as they like without "switching sides" because it's really all "one Church" anyway.  I don't think that any impartial observer reading - or even most people on either side of the Indian divide - would buy this, oratorical acrobatics and "everybody who knows the truth realizes..." alleged certainty fallacies aside.  Here in North America, for example, one of the bishops you're referencing cannot celebrate the Liturgy in places he used to celebrate it.  We can't say that he "never switched sides" anymore than we can say that about Ethiopian bishops who joined the Synod in Exile.  There is a schism, and going to great lengths to point out that it is a schism within one Church (a point which no one would dispute) doesn't negate that or nullify the possibility of switching sides.

Regarding right to exist et.al; you must remember that this is not the first time this has happened in Malankara.  The reform movement within the Malankara church (that later became the Marthoma church) fought a bitter battle that was very similar to the present situation. They lost in the Royal Court and had to vacate the common properties and all parishes (except around 3 that are shared with the Orthodox till date and a few that they won in court). After the verdict, then the Malankara Metropolitan Mor Dionysius V met their leaders and offered to abdicate in order to preserve unity subject to the reform party dropping its positions on matters of faith and discipline. However their leader the Met. Thomas Athanasius and his Vicar General Kovoor Iype Kathanar were not willing to compromise on what they considered to be matter essential to salvation.

Even earlier, when a substantial portion of the Church went under Rome, there were disputes and violence regarding parishes and common properties. At that time, the local princes and the colonial powers (the Dutch and the English) partitioned the parishes between the Orthodox and Eastern Catholics  in order to stop the dissensions.  Based on the allocation of the prominent mother parishes, the local population in that area and the subsidary parishes and chapels switched allegiance. Kottayam become Orthodox, the next nearby Christian centre Changanacherry become Catholic. Allapuhza become Catholic, the next nearby Christian centre of Niranam become Orthodox and so on.

So the State and the judiciary have intervened at various fateful points in the Indian church and these actions have decided the course of our history.

In summary, court verdicts must ideally give rise to reflection in both parties, to see if settlement is still possible. What matters is not whose argument held up in the courts, what matters is the future.

All very interesting - and not entirely unfamiliar - but this isn't what I was asking.  I was simply asking if you were saying that the MSOC was about to lose most of its physical property to the MOSC and that this was another factor in the SOC suing for peace.

In this particular case (unlike with the latinized eastern catholics and the anglicized reformers) our faith is one, we are the same people. So this division, this blood feud must end.  Unity must be re-established. That is what is behind the present discussions and it is welcome.

With this I agree, though this sentiment seems somewhat inconsistent with some of the shots taken at the other side above.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2017, 03:49:25 PM by Antonious Nikolas »
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2017, 11:14:50 PM »
Mathew GM,

Like you I have heard these speeches; like you I have also heard the the speeches of Mar Coorilose of Niranam & Mar Ostathios & the videos of the actions of the Jacobite faithful at Nechoor & Varikoli & other churches and how well they behaved within the church premises.

I can put those videos here but it wont edify anyone, besides it will hinder the reconciliation that will eventually come.  I put on record my disagreement of the personal remarks of these bishops.  Those are personal remarks and that's all that is to it. 

But what puts you in a great position to highlight these things. I haven't heard you ever voice disapproval of the many tactics adopted by the Jacobite party in the last 15 years.  I haven't seen a word of condemnation or even mild disapproval from your end for all that happened and continues to happen. My request to you would be to think again before seeking the moral high ground.  What good are these brownie points btw.

Little by little, news of what was discussed during the meeting of the Jacobite Maphriana with Mar Athanasius at Kothamangalam and what was discussed in Beirut is coming out. Which section within the Jacobite church stands in the way of peace and for what reasons is very well known now.










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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2017, 01:29:21 AM »
Mathew GM,

Like you I have heard these speeches; like you I have also heard the the speeches of Mar Coorilose of Niranam & Mar Ostathios & the videos of the actions of the Jacobite faithful at Nechoor & Varikoli & other churches and how well they behaved within the church premises.

I can put those videos here but it wont edify anyone, besides it will hinder the reconciliation that will eventually come.  I put on record my disagreement of the personal remarks of these bishops.  Those are personal remarks and that's all that is to it. 

But what puts you in a great position to highlight these things. I haven't heard you ever voice disapproval of the many tactics adopted by the Jacobite party in the last 15 years.  I haven't seen a word of condemnation or even mild disapproval from your end for all that happened and continues to happen. My request to you would be to think again before seeking the moral high ground.  What good are these brownie points btw.

Little by little, news of what was discussed during the meeting of the Jacobite Maphriana with Mar Athanasius at Kothamangalam and what was discussed in Beirut is coming out. Which section within the Jacobite church stands in the way of peace and for what reasons is very well known now.

Not really answering AN, old stick.  Forgive me, but this reads a bit like pure MOSC propaganda to me.  What you say is hurtful to Syriac Orthodox of the Patriarch of Antioch like myself and thus hinders reconciliation.

Also, I believe it is extremely inappropriate for any Syriac Christian in India on either side of the schism to criticize the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch or describe it as being in "dire straits" in a political sense, when the Syriac Orthodox in Iraq and Syria remain victims of a genocide, a process of ethnic cleansing against all Christians in the region, which has only slowed, but not stopped, in recent months, with the progress made against ISIL.

I believe right now the killings of Syriac, Coptic, Armenian and Ethiopian Christians by ISIL and other Islamists, and the persecution of the Eritrean Orthodox by their government, and the sustained attempts by evangelicals to infiltrate the Coptic Church, should be the only concerns of the OO community.  The MOSC and MSOC really need to call for a temporary truce on their quarrel.  It just comes across as being intolerably petty and a ridiculous distraction in light of the very real disasters befalling our church elsewhere.

I don't wish to minimize historical abuses, insensitive and injurious actions between the MOSC and MSOC by either side.  Rather, all I am saying is, right now, I really very strongly feel the two Syriac churches in India, the Catholicosate and the Maphrianate, ought to, in a spirit of Christian forgiveness, temporarily set aside this issue and focus on assisting their Orthodox brethren who are suffering elsewhere.  I would like to see volunteers from the MOSC and MSOC jointly travelling to Egypt to volunteer helping with the repairs to the bomb damage at the historic chapel next to St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, to volunteer to work in Coptic orphanages and Syrian refugee camps, to adopt Syriac and Armenian orphans or rather provide foster care for them; I would like to see volunteers from the two churches preparing first aid kits and blankets to send to the Middle East, and I would like to see Protestors from both churches instead of protesting each other, protesting outside the embassies and consulates of Eritrea.
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2017, 10:51:06 AM »
Mathew GM,

Like you I have heard these speeches; like you I have also heard the the speeches of Mar Coorilose of Niranam & Mar Ostathios & the videos of the actions of the Jacobite faithful at Nechoor & Varikoli & other churches and how well they behaved within the church premises.

I can put those videos here but it wont edify anyone, besides it will hinder the reconciliation that will eventually come.  I put on record my disagreement of the personal remarks of these bishops.  Those are personal remarks and that's all that is to it. 

But what puts you in a great position to highlight these things. I haven't heard you ever voice disapproval of the many tactics adopted by the Jacobite party in the last 15 years.  I haven't seen a word of condemnation or even mild disapproval from your end for all that happened and continues to happen. My request to you would be to think again before seeking the moral high ground.  What good are these brownie points btw.

Little by little, news of what was discussed during the meeting of the Jacobite Maphriana with Mar Athanasius at Kothamangalam and what was discussed in Beirut is coming out. Which section within the Jacobite church stands in the way of peace and for what reasons is very well known now.

Dear Suraj,
I am not claiming any moral high ground. The point of posting that video is just in the context of the visit of the two Metropolitans from the MOC to the SOC Patriarchate.  The point that I made originally was that this was a personal visit and the MOC has gone above and beyond to clarify that it is not the official position of the MOC Synod. 

There was other evidence provided to deflate these claims by me.  So I just provided evidence of a statement made by none other than the the former secretary of the MOC Synod which substantiates my first post. 

Please don't read anything beyond that. Me personally, nor any group or church that I am associated with, is not morally superior to any other church in the OO communion.  Period. I am not making any claim of superiority.

And I am not even saying that H.G Mathews Mar Severious of the MOC is wrong from a strictly secular legal point of view as per the views of the secular Indian court. If administrative control of  church buildings and cemeteries are important.. then following the path laid out by Mar Severious will work.  However if re-establishing "Eucharistic communion" and creating unity of hearts is more important than administrative control.. then a different approach is better.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 11:02:31 AM by dhinuus »
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2017, 03:17:19 PM »
May I suggest something? Consider the frustrations of a brother here.

Whenever these topics show up, we always get two sides of the story.  Predictably, the MOSC side strictly from MOSC posters, and the MSOC strictly from MSOC posters.  Everyone seems to have references or sound bites or friend of a friend on the inside that tells them what is going on.

Now given the many years I have been posting here, I will say one positive thing first.  The manner in which disagreements are presented here has not reached fever pitch and seems to be for the most part respectful. 

Nevertheless, it pains me once again to see that really all I see is what has been happening in Indian courts, plaintiffs and defendants sharing their sides of the story ignoring other parts or at least implying they're not ignoring them by saying "I'm not saying we're perfect either" or something similar.

Just an observation from a friend and brother to both MOSC and MSOC people who I love dearly, but who also gets frustrated when reading the convoluted "history" of the court cases and church in-fighting that gets described.

I just hope that His Holiness Mar Ignatius Ephraim has the strength and patience to deal with this frustrating situation while trying to revive a recovering Syrian and Iraqi faithful from the ravages of war and persecution.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 03:19:14 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2017, 04:27:07 PM »
May I suggest something? Consider the frustrations of a brother here.

Whenever these topics show up, we always get two sides of the story.  Predictably, the MOSC side strictly from MOSC posters, and the MSOC strictly from MSOC posters.  Everyone seems to have references or sound bites or friend of a friend on the inside that tells them what is going on.

Now given the many years I have been posting here, I will say one positive thing first.  The manner in which disagreements are presented here has not reached fever pitch and seems to be for the most part respectful. 

Nevertheless, it pains me once again to see that really all I see is what has been happening in Indian courts, plaintiffs and defendants sharing their sides of the story ignoring other parts or at least implying they're not ignoring them by saying "I'm not saying we're perfect either" or something similar.

Just an observation from a friend and brother to both MOSC and MSOC people who I love dearly, but who also gets frustrated when reading the convoluted "history" of the court cases and church in-fighting that gets described.

I just hope that His Holiness Mar Ignatius Ephraim has the strength and patience to deal with this frustrating situation while trying to revive a recovering Syrian and Iraqi faithful from the ravages of war and persecution.

+10000000000000000000000000000 to infinity, to the infinite power

This is my point exactly.  I am so tired of this POINTLESS schism.  Both sides acted in an unChristian manner.

Also, I believe that ancient canon law precludes recourse to civil authorities for ecclesiastical disputes within the same local church; the Ecumenical councils were a special case involving all parts of the Catholic church.

But right now, the focus needs to be on praying for and helping the persecuted Syriac Christians of Iraq and Syria; this should be the first priority for MOSC and MSOC alike.  The second priority should be helping the persecuted Armenians and members of the Assyrian and Ancient Church of the East, and other ethnic groups, like the Antiochians, the Syriac Catholics (who are particularly endangered due to their predominant geographical locality in Northwest Syria. If memory serves), and others.  The third priority should be helping the persecuted Copts in Egypt recover from terrorist attacks.  The fourth priority should be helping the persecuted Church of Eritrea.  There is a lot India could do as a country to help with that, and if the MOSC and MSOC dialogued with the other St. Thomas Christians, the Catholics, and the Anglican Churches of South and North India, pressure could be put on Modi to persuade the Eritrens to grant peace to the Orthodox.  Christians are the third largest religion in India, outnumbering the combined total of Sikhs and Jains, only Islam and Hinduism are larger, the latter obviously being the largest.

The fifth priority, to be addressed once things get better, should be working out a prayerful resolution to the current schism, based on the principles of forgiveness, brotherhood and unity in Christ and the Oriental Communion.

Until then, I feel the two sides should call a truce, to focus on more pressing matters.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 04:27:33 PM by Alpha60 »
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2017, 06:34:52 PM »
May I suggest something? Consider the frustrations of a brother here.

Whenever these topics show up, we always get two sides of the story.  Predictably, the MOSC side strictly from MOSC posters, and the MSOC strictly from MSOC posters.  Everyone seems to have references or sound bites or friend of a friend on the inside that tells them what is going on.

Now given the many years I have been posting here, I will say one positive thing first.  The manner in which disagreements are presented here has not reached fever pitch and seems to be for the most part respectful. 

Nevertheless, it pains me once again to see that really all I see is what has been happening in Indian courts, plaintiffs and defendants sharing their sides of the story ignoring other parts or at least implying they're not ignoring them by saying "I'm not saying we're perfect either" or something similar.

Just an observation from a friend and brother to both MOSC and MSOC people who I love dearly, but who also gets frustrated when reading the convoluted "history" of the court cases and church in-fighting that gets described.

I just hope that His Holiness Mar Ignatius Ephraim has the strength and patience to deal with this frustrating situation while trying to revive a recovering Syrian and Iraqi faithful from the ravages of war and persecution.

+1

Very well said, Mina.

I am eager for this painful schism to end, and I find it frustrating when even "conciliatory" posts here are laced with barbs for the other side.  How can anyone hope to achieve peace like this?  And just so my "general" statement isn't misinterpreted or misapplied, I'm speaking chiefly about Suraj here.  Mor (MOSC) and Dhiunus (MSOC) disagreed in places, but were at least above taking cheap shots at "the other side".  Suraj comes off like a lawyer with an axe to grind who can't resist adding just a splash of rancid vinegar to the sugar water he's serving up.  Polite, but foul.  What my older relatives call "nice nasty".  When I started reading this thread - inclusive of Mor's and Dhinuus' divergence of opinion - I was very hopeful.  After reading Suraj's post - which brought to mind all the rancor of the past I think we're all sick of - less so.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 06:35:41 PM by Antonious Nikolas »
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2017, 08:37:47 AM »
I still wish the Patriarch would personally beseech the Indian Orthodox of both churches to volunteer to provide humanitarian service in Syria and Iraq, as I am sure some are doing already, and beseech both the Catholicos and the Maphrian to repeat his request.  Some Indian Orthodox might enjoy living in the beautiful lands of the Nineveh Plains and Syria when the war ends, to connect with the cultural heritage of their religion, and posess a range of technical expertise which would be useful in the rebuilding, so, inviting Indians to travel to Erbil and Damascus right now as humanitarian volunteers, and after the war, as civil servants involved in architecture, power and telecom infrastructure, and other engineering disciplines, as well as doctors and nurses in hospitals, well, I think that would be very good.
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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2017, 11:11:39 PM »
AN,

Actually I have had it with cliches and aphorisms that are meaningless and not backed up by actions.   That is my grouse.  You don't need to be a lawyer to realize that facts are the gold standard.  Hold yourself against them, only then will there be true understanding and that will be key towards true reconciliation. Anything else is pretension. 

I see that this thread has degenerated into ad hominens and personal attacks. Also nice to see questions like why have you used MOC instead of MOSC and somebody advising Indians to go live on the Nineveh plains; pretty much sums up things.

People really should not be talking about things they have no idea of.
 

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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #32 on: September 18, 2017, 10:30:21 AM »
Polite argument like is today's ecumenism, polite but meaninglesss and mortally damaging in the long run. 

People like polite argument , because it does not force anyone to question their biases and prejudices. Everybody can just get along only if some things could be different.

I am saying , let's cut out the noise, the empty sentimentality that pretends to be pious. Let's reckon without our warts (not yours or mine but ours) but also let's fix accountability . Then perhaps we can find a way out.






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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #33 on: September 18, 2017, 12:48:33 PM »
Actually I have had it with cliches and aphorisms that are meaningless and not backed up by actions.   

Such as?  Please be specific?  Which meaningless aphorisms and clichés do you have in mind, Suraj?

That is my grouse. 

My grouse is that you seem to pepper your superficially conciliatory posts with digs at "the other side" and make great leaps to make it out as if the division between the MOSC and the MSOC is so meaningless that bishops are free to drift from one side to the next as they wish without actually having "switched from one side to the other".

You don't need to be a lawyer to realize that facts are the gold standard. 

Fact: the division between the MOSC and the MSOC - which includes an actual breach of communion - is real, and a prelate leaving one faction for the other can accurately be said to be switching sides, oratorical contortionist exhibitions aside.

Hold yourself against them, only then will there be true understanding and that will be key towards true reconciliation. Anything else is pretension. 

The facts are what they are.  When someone stubbornly refuses to elaborate upon their interpretation of said facts when asked to do so, communication becomes impossible.

I see that this thread has degenerated into ad hominens and personal attacks.

Not really, no.  Criticisms have been made of your method of posting, but that doesn't equate to ad hominem.  If you want to use that as a means by which to dodge requests that you clarify and elaborate upon your previous posts - including the slights to Antioch and the MSOC - then by all means, go ahead.  You won't be fooling anyone though.  Perhaps you've spent too much time debating this matter in Keralite cyberspace and the experience has rendered you incapable of actual communication with anyone who is not a pitch man/propagandist for one faction or the other.

Also nice to see questions like why have you used MOC instead of MOSC and somebody advising Indians to go live on the Nineveh plains; pretty much sums up things.

Your conflating my request that you clarify your abbreviation with Alpha60's ridiculous fantasies is what "pretty much sums up things".  How about simply answering the question?

People really should not be talking about things they have no idea of.

And people shouldn't get their undies in a wad when their attempts to propagandize the boards and avoid actual communication aren't swallowed whole because not everyone recognizes their "expertise".  If you think me or anyone else posting here is ignorant concerning this situation, how about actually educating us and communicating with us?  You can start by answering the questions I've already put to you in previous posts.

Polite argument like is today's ecumenism, polite but meaninglesss and mortally damaging in the long run. 

People like polite argument , because it does not force anyone to question their biases and prejudices. Everybody can just get along only if some things could be different.

I am saying , let's cut out the noise, the empty sentimentality that pretends to be pious. Let's reckon without our warts (not yours or mine but ours) but also let's fix accountability . Then perhaps we can find a way out.

Then perhaps when someone cuts through the "politeness" and presses for clarity - even in terms you find to be less than polite - then you should try communicating with them as opposed to dodging and lecturing.
Now accepting brief PMs.

Offline surajiype

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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2017, 11:52:54 PM »
AN,

Anybody who knows what happened in India after the 1995 Supreme Court verdict knows that there was no switching sides.

4 bishops who were consecrated in the erstwhile Patriarchal party within the Malankara Church continued the process of reconciliation that included court supervision by an observer nominated by the courts and paid for by the parties. These bishops, some of their diocesan clergy and some parishes then completed that process and integrated into the unified Malankara Church.

A section of the erstwhile Patriarchal party then went and formed a new church, the "Jacobite Syrian Church" (not MSOC as you claim). They omitted the words Malankara and Orthodox as use of those words could presumably invite adverse court action. You were the one asking me to justify the use of "MOC", I presume you have nothing to say about the name "Jacobite Syrian Church".
http://syriacchristianity.info/pdf/2002Constitution-jc.pdf

Legally there is no continuity between the Patriarchal party in the Malankara Church (c 1972-1995) and new Jacobite Syrian Church with a new constitution.  On the ground however, using a loophole in the 1995 verdict that did not adjudicate on the rights and obligations of the individual parishes;  the new JSC held onto the parishes it controlled under the Status Quo.

The latest Supreme Court order of 2017 has again given a definite order.

1. The Parishes belong to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church or the Orthodox Syrian Church of the East.
2. The Jacobite constitution of 2002 has no place in the administration of the Malankara Church.
3. The Patriarch has no temporal rights in the Malankara Church and can exercise spiritual authority subject to the 1934 constitution and the institution of the Catholicate in Malankara.

I have time and again substantiated my arguments, given you documentary evidence. I told you to read the verdict and make up your own mind. 

As far as I can see you have no comments about anything substantial except harping on about peripheral issues. I am under no obligation to massage your ego or your prejudices.  You accuse me of dodging, please show me one substantial argument you have made.

Reg. break in communion, the less said the better.

A seminary roommate and classmate of my close relative could not become a bishop in the MOSC and went over to the Jacobite party. He was made Metropolitan by the present Maphriana. Ask your Jacobite friends if Mar Barnabas made a confession of faith on joining the Jacobite party. This Metropolitan is now in court with his brother, because evidently Mar Barnabas was made bishop only after he wrote away his ancestral property to the Jacobite Maphriana. Incidentally, Mar Cleemis of the Jacobite party who belongs to the prominent ' Thukalan' family that has been at the forefront of the dispute in Malankara since 1910 has openly come and alleged on TV that he was made Metropolitan after the payment of Rs 3 Crore (USD 460000) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwWBnCjLA0Y

So please continue with  your break in communion nobody is loosing sleep here.

In 1958 after loosing in the courts, the Patriarch , his delegate in India and the Metropolitans of the Patriarchal party made peace.  One fine morning, all excommunications and accusations of heresy were put away and peace happened. God willing it will happen again.

This thread began on a positive note with cautious welcomes everywhere. Then the spinning started.

Spin # 1 :  The MOC turned down the patriarchs invitation to come to Beirut and the insinuation was of the bad faith displayed by the MOC. 

Nobody has seen the text of the so called invitation so one does not know what the text said.  In any case 2 Metropolitans with the permission of the Catholicos traveled to Beirut and met the Patriarch. Even if it were an unofficial meeting what was the harm?

This led to Spin # 2 : These bishops were ones who had jumped sides , had said X when they were in the erstwhile Patriarchal party etc.  The idea was perhaps to de-legitimize the meeting of these metropolitans and make insinuations about their persons.

Dr Thomas Athanasius & Mar Nicholovos both come from families that led the Patriarchal party. Dr Athanasius father a priest was the one who led the Patriarchal Party in the Kandanad diocese when the then Metropolitan and later Catholicos the saintly Mar Augen made peace. Mar Nicholovos's relative Kuriakose Mar Coorilose led the Patriarchal party in the southern dioceses in adverse circumstances.

These bishops continued with the process laid down by the courts because they well and truly knew how the process for a settlement after 1995 including the negotiations undertaken under the personal leadership of  Patriarch Zakka and Catholicos Mathews II  was hijacked and destroyed to fulfill the personal ambitions a few people.

AN please accept you have nothing substantial to offer to this conversation. All I can see is word play from your end.

Offline surajiype

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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #35 on: September 19, 2017, 10:09:09 AM »
Reg. the seriousness of the so called break in communion , I will give another recent example :

The Western US bishop of the SOC and one the leaders of the coup attempt against the present Antiochian Patriarch, had some years back excommunicated Corepiscopa Joseph Tarzi of the SOC in California. The then Patriarch had also not intervened positively.  Fr. Tarzi and a number of parishioners then left the SOC.  The reasons for the excommunication of the priest may be known to many here.

Instead of becoming independent or joining the Syrian Catholics or the Maronites, Fr Tarzi through a noted and well reputed Syriac historian approached Met. Yuhanon Miletius of the MOC (who like the other 3 was a bishop in the erstwhile Patriarchal party and then participated in the unification process post 1995). The Met . was an arabic and syriac speaker having lived in the Patriarchate in Damascus for some time.

For a number of years, Met. Miletius under Synodal approval granted episcopal oversight to Fr Tarzi's parish including celebration of all the sacraments.

With the election of Pat. Aprem there were requests from the parishioners to try and explore options for reconciliation. With full knowledge and approval of Met. Miletius and the MOSC Synod, discussions were undertaken with HH. the Patriarch to prepare the way for the return of the parish to the SOC. Some time back the parish went back into the SOC under the personal jurisdiction of the Patriarch.

Met Eugene Kaplan who had lost to HH Aprem in the last SOC patriarchal election and then led the Feb coup was supported by the Jacobite party in Kerala and was supposed to be the new Patriarch if it became successful.

This episode is very illustrative of the nature of this division and its changing currents.  The only people who take it seriously are those with the vested interest in maintaining division.

Offline Antonious Nikolas

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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2017, 12:29:36 PM »
Anybody who knows...

You really love that particular fallacy, don't you?

4 bishops who were consecrated in the erstwhile Patriarchal party within the Malankara Church continued the process of reconciliation that included court supervision by an observer nominated by the courts and paid for by the parties. These bishops, some of their diocesan clergy and some parishes then completed that process and integrated into the unified Malankara Church.

And you accuse me of "wordplay".  ::)

A section of the erstwhile Patriarchal party then went and formed a new church, the "Jacobite Syrian Church" (not MSOC as you claim). They omitted the words Malankara and Orthodox as use of those words could presumably invite adverse court action. You were the one asking me to justify the use of "MOC", I presume you have nothing to say about the name "Jacobite Syrian Church".
http://syriacchristianity.info/pdf/2002Constitution-jc.pdf

And now my question has been answered.  It fits your narrative.  None of this explains this nomenclature though:



You can't claim that the terms are entirely unheard of or illegitimate, or that the MOSC is more properly referred to as the MOC.  No one would accept that as reality, despite what some legal wranglers found necessary to grind into the paperwork.

As far as the term "Jacobite", members of that faction have told me that said nomenclature is not ideal, but that it was necessary to adopt it in order to avoid predatory practices and seizure of property that families loyal to their side have held for generations by the other faction.

Legally there is no continuity between the Patriarchal party in the Malankara Church (c 1972-1995) and new Jacobite Syrian Church with a new constitution. 

That's silly.  If they're the same people and the same families, there is indeed a continuity.  If you're speaking of a legal continuity between the organizations, however, I could care less about that.  I'm not obsessed with court proceedings, and I don't particularly care what secular courts in India feel is right as it pertains to ecclesiastical matters best handled by ecclesiastical authorities.

I have time and again substantiated my arguments, given you documentary evidence. I told you to read the verdict and make up your own mind. 

I never asked you for links to legal documents that I have already seen.  I asked you to clarify some statements you've made.  So far, you have refused, because you know how inflammatory and defamatory those rotten statements are.  I simply wasn't going to allow them to pass in an ostensibly benign form.  I prefer to expose them for what they are.  It seems that you're afraid to actually answer the interrogatives put to you, and your only recourse is to flood the conversation with legalese.

As far as I can see you have no comments about anything substantial except harping on about peripheral issues. I am under no obligation to massage your ego or your prejudices.  You accuse me of dodging, please show me one substantial argument you have made.

This is another dodge, and an unhealthy dose of the wordplay you accuse me of, the work of a rank and bitter propagandist with an axe to grind and an unjustifiably large ego.  Speaking of no obligations, I haven't a single one to advance any arguments at all until the questions I've put to you have been answered.

Reg. break in communion, the less said the better.

A seminary roommate and classmate of my close relative could not become a bishop in the MOSC and went over to the Jacobite party. He was made Metropolitan by the present Maphriana. Ask your Jacobite friends if Mar Barnabas made a confession of faith on joining the Jacobite party. This Metropolitan is now in court with his brother, because evidently Mar Barnabas was made bishop only after he wrote away his ancestral property to the Jacobite Maphriana. Incidentally, Mar Cleemis of the Jacobite party who belongs to the prominent ' Thukalan' family that has been at the forefront of the dispute in Malankara since 1910 has openly come and alleged on TV that he was made Metropolitan after the payment of Rs 3 Crore (USD 460000) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwWBnCjLA0Y

So please continue with  your break in communion nobody is loosing sleep here.

It's not "my" break in communion.  I'm simply acknowledging that it exists, and not playing semantic games to pretend that it doesn't.  The reasons for its existence don't impact upon my point in the slightest.

In 1958 after loosing in the courts, the Patriarch , his delegate in India and the Metropolitans of the Patriarchal party made peace.  One fine morning, all excommunications and accusations of heresy were put away and peace happened. God willing it will happen again.

And this is all I was driving at.  You have implied again and again that the Patriarch and his people in India are only willing to pursue peace because they are losing in the courts and running out of options.  You wanted to lay it between the lies.  I wanted you to state it directly.  Now you have done so, along with stating that this was the chief or only reason that the Patriarch and his people were willing to do so in the pass.  If you are going to slur the Syriac Church here, you will do it directly.  You won't be allowed the luxury of "between the lines" insults that no one calls you on.  That's all, Suraj.

This thread began on a positive note with cautious welcomes everywhere. Then the spinning started.

Chiefly by you.

Spin # 1 :  The MOC turned down the patriarchs invitation to come to Beirut and the insinuation was of the bad faith displayed by the MOC. 

Nobody has seen the text of the so called invitation so one does not know what the text said.  In any case 2 Metropolitans with the permission of the Catholicos traveled to Beirut and met the Patriarch. Even if it were an unofficial meeting what was the harm?

This led to Spin # 2 : These bishops were ones who had jumped sides , had said X when they were in the erstwhile Patriarchal party etc.  The idea was perhaps to de-legitimize the meeting of these metropolitans and make insinuations about their persons.

Dr Thomas Athanasius & Mar Nicholovos both come from families that led the Patriarchal party. Dr Athanasius father a priest was the one who led the Patriarchal Party in the Kandanad diocese when the then Metropolitan and later Catholicos the saintly Mar Augen made peace. Mar Nicholovos's relative Kuriakose Mar Coorilose led the Patriarchal party in the southern dioceses in adverse circumstances.

These bishops continued with the process laid down by the courts because they well and truly knew how the process for a settlement after 1995 including the negotiations undertaken under the personal leadership of  Patriarch Zakka and Catholicos Mathews II  was hijacked and destroyed to fulfill the personal ambitions a few people.

This isn't "spin".  This is people asking questions and asking for clarification.  The spin began in earnest with your arrival.

AN please accept you have nothing substantial to offer to this conversation. All I can see is word play from your end.

All I see from your end is the same old recycled propaganda I've read on a thousand message boards from a thousand propagandists over the years and an unwillingness to answer direct questions.  I don't have to debate you on those terms, because that was never my point.  My point is, your whole "Let us pray that God will bring us peace...but they are wrong and desperate and only interested in peace because they are losing" routine isn't going to fly so long as I am posting here.  You will say what you have to say outright and any attempted slights woven into the web of any ostensibly conciliatory statements will be highlighted.
Now accepting brief PMs.

Offline dhinuus

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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2017, 02:15:05 AM »
I will stay on topic and at this time don't wish to respond to some baseless things you have stated in your post.  Responding to those will just derail the discussion and take it off topic. The topic of this discussion is about the visit of two Metropolitans from the Indian Orthodox Church to the Syriac Patriarchate ..

You state that you were compelled to go negative because of some spin..
         
Spin # 1 :  The MOC turned down the patriarchs invitation to come to Beirut and the insinuation was of the bad faith displayed by the MOC. 

Nobody has seen the text of the so called invitation so one does not know what the text said.  In any case 2 Metropolitans with the permission of the Catholicos traveled to Beirut and met the Patriarch. Even if it were an unofficial meeting what was the harm?

The following is a speech made by H.G Mathews Mar Severious of the MOC who till recently was serving as the secretary of the MOC Synod.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J_CIvH2BBI   I have already provided an English translation in the previous post. If you believe I have not done justice in my translation; please point it out and I will stand corrected.

This speech was made after the visit of Mar Nicholovas and Mar Athanasious to visit the Patriarch.  In the above speech H.G Mathews Mar Severious very clearly states what the invitation letter from the Patriarch stated; what the official response of the MOC Synod was to the invitation and how the MOC views the visit of the two Bishops.  After listing to this, tell us if Spin #1 that you are referring to above is actually a spin or a fact .
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 02:25:10 AM by dhinuus »
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Offline dhinuus

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Re: Metropolitans from Indian Orthodox meet His Holiness Patriarch of Antioch
« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2017, 02:25:54 AM »
duplicate
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 02:26:16 AM by dhinuus »
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