Monday, June 9, 2014

Jacobite Catholicos accused of commercializing church

Jacobite Catholicos accused of commercializing church

A group of Jacobite Christians has approached their Patriarch accusing the Indian leader Catholicos of commercializing the church by establishing dioceses outside India and appointing priests and metropolitans in them.
A few days after the new Patriarch Ignatius Aophrem II assumed office, Jacobite Almaya Forum based in Kerala, has lodged a complaint with the Patriarch urging him to restrain Catholicos Baselios Thomas I from appointing metropolitans and priests for churches outside the country.
The forum has also filed a complaint before the District Munsiff Court raising the same issue, the Indian Express reported.
In the complaint to the Patriarch, it is alleged that the Catholicos had commercialized the church. 
The Forum leaders said that the Catholicos had no right to announce the formation of new dioceses and appoint Metropolitans in a foreign country as his territorial jurisdiction is restricted to India.
“The practice of declaring dioceses outside the country is an act challenging the supremacy of the patriarch. The Catholicos started this taking advantage of the bad health condition of former patriarch Ignatiuz Zakha Iwas.
Churches and congregations of Jacobite Syrian Christians outside the country were established by the Syrian Christians, who had migrated to respective countries. The Catholicos deputed metropolitans and priests of his choice to collect money from the laity for him,” the forum leaders alleged.
Meanwhile, the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church authorities said that the Jacobite Almaya Forum was not an official laymen organisation of the Church. “Any person can raise allegations and they also have the freedom to file a complaint before the court. It's a fact that the power of Catholicos is restricted within India.
But the appointment of metropolitans and priests are with the approval of the Patriarch. It may also be recalled that, the churches outside the country are established by migrated Syrian Christians from Kerala.
Therefore, it is just practical to appoint Bishops from Kerala,” said Fr Varghese Kallappara, spokesperson of the Church. 

Source: New Indian Express

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