THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Thiruvananthapuram Bishop Gabriel Mar Gregarious joining the state government’s Renaissance Values Protection Council (Navothana Moolya Samrakshana Samithi) has embarrassed the Orthodox church which is at loggerheads with the government over its handling of the Church dispute. It had also filed a contempt of court petition against the government.
The Renaissance Values Protection Council was converted into a formal structure on October 7 this year. It installed SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan as its president, Bishop Gabriel Mar Gregarious as vice president and KPMS general secretary Punnala Sreekumar as general secretary. The council has 18 members comprising the president, general secretary, treasurer, organising secretary and other members of the secretariat.
Bishop Gabriel Mar Gregorious joining the Council has apparently not gone well with the Orthodox denomination which has distanced itself from the decision. “Bishop has joined the Council on his own volition and the Church or the denomination has nothing to do with this,” Father Johns Abraham Konat, the Church spokesman told TNIE.
When asked whether he had sought the consent and permission of the Orthodox church, the Bishop said “I don’t think that it is necessary for such a consent. I am basically a person who believes in Gandhian values and ideals and I joined the Council owing to the fact that this will take the society forward and that it is apolitical. If I find it turning into an affiliate of a political organization, I will quit,” Bishop Gabriel Mar Gregorius told TNIE.
Orthodox groups have been in confrontation with the state government against its reluctance to hand over the disputed churches following the Supreme Court order.
The government, meanwhile, has been on a firefighting mode to bring the denomination into its fold.