KOCHI: As Piravom became the setting for the high drama for wresting control of St Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Jacobite Syrian Cathedral (Piravom Valiyapally) on Monday, what led to the development was pretty obvious - the government’s attempt to avert another major embarrassment before the Kerala High Court, which on Tuesday is scheduled to hear the petition filed by the Orthodox faction seeking the court’s directive to settle the case.
When the case had come up for hearing during November-end, the HC made a scathing observation, terming the government’s inaction ‘double standards’. According to the HC, while over 1,000 police personnel were deployed in Sabarimala, the authorities couldn’t provide security to 200 people at the church.
Clearly, the government does not fancy another dressing-down from the court on Tuesday, and want to convey unambiguously the message: “ We have sent the police force to protect the Orthodox members when they enter the church,” said Fr Varghese Kallappara, convener, Quest For Peace and former spokesman of the Jacobite Church. “Today (Monday), no Orthodox church members turned up to take over the management of Piravom church,” he said.
The Supreme Court had intervened for the fourth time in November last year in the century-old dispute between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the state’s Malankara Church by dismissing petitions filed by the Jacobites seeking a review of the apex court’s July 3, 2017 verdict giving the Orthodox group control over more than 1,100 parishes and their churches including the Piravom church.
Fr Kallappara pointed out the statement made in the Assembly said only 20 per cent of the 2,500-strong Malankara Church households is Orthodox while the overwhelming majority of the parish members belongs to the Jacobite church. “Now, the government can say it had to return to ensure peace as the situation will have turned from bad to worse,” he said, adding, ‘talks and negotiations’ are the only way to ensure an amicable solution to the vexatious issue.