KOCHI: A day after the government took control of Piravom Valiyapally (St Mary’s Syrian Cathedral), the town wore a deserted look on Friday. Angst and dismay at the turn of events at the church, which is central to the cultural and traditional ethos of the town, were writ large on the residents’ faces. Shops remained closed and the town saw heavy police presence.
With the Jacobites restraining themselves to stay within the diktats of law, the day was largely peaceful, with vehicles moving uninterrupted.“The church authorities had declared a hartal at Piravom on Friday. The people cooperated. It was a holiday for the school and all the institutions under the church. This shows the emotions of Jacobites associated with the church,” said Sini Simon, a parishioner. The managing committee meeting at Patriarchal Centre, the headquarters of the Jacobite Church, at Puthencruz here condemned the Orthodox faction’s move to grab the church.
“The Orthodox faction, which has been demanding that the 1934 Malankara Church constitution be strictly implemented, should clarify why the authority of the Patriarch of Antioch, stipulated in the constitution, is not being respected,” said Metropolitan Kuriakose Mar Theophilose in a statement.
The Jacobite faction decided to hold protest rallies and public meetings at all its churches on Sunday. The meeting also asked the government to consider the matters relating to cemeteries and Church Properties Act. “The Jacobite Church will continue its fight for the justice it was denied. Committees have been formed to finalise the way ahead for restoring administrative control over various churches, seminaries and Bishop’s palaces which were illegally occupied by the Orthodox group. These include the Muvattupuzha Bishop’s House, the erstwhile seat of the Blessed Mar Baselios Paulose-II Catholicos; the Thrikkunnathu Seminary, the erstwhile headquarters of the Jacobite Angamaly Diocese; and the Mannuthy Bishop’s Palace, the headquarters of Jacobite Thrissur diocese,” the statement said.
‘Court saw through lies’
The Orthodox faction expressed happiness over the High Court’s verdict. “The court has seen through the lies spread by the other faction,” said Fr Johns Abraham Konat, official spokesperson of the Orthodox Church.