Scripting a new chapter in community harmony

Published: 02nd November 2012 11:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd November 2012 11:39 AM   |  A+A-

At a time when the leaderships of the Jacobite Syrian Christian and the Malankara Orthodox Churches continue their legal battle over ownership of churches, the Malankara Christian community in a small town near Muvattupuzha has set an example by settling the dispute over the local church among themselves.

The parishioners of Kunnakkal have thus put an end to the nearly four-decade-long litigation over ownership of Thrikkunnathu Sehiyon Church. The case regarding the claim over the church has been pending before the Kerala High Court.

According to an agreement reached by both factions, they will share the properties owned by the church. 

The plot where the church is located will be allotted to the Orthodox faction where they will build a new church. The Jacobite faction will get 60 cents of land where they will also build a church.

Both factions will use a common cemetery and they will withdraw the case pending before the court. People adhering to both faiths can use the existing church for worship till June 30, 2013. After this, each faction has to set up its own facility.

“Though there was a proposal to settle the issue in 2006, it did not materialise owing to the disputes over cemetery. In Kunnakkal, all of us know each other. Many work hand in hand in political parties and social organisations. With the litigation continuing unsolved, both factions took a decision to settle the issue,” said K P Mathew, trustee of Jacobite faction at Kunnakkal parish. He said that the Church leadership, including the Catholicos welcomed the move.

“Even if the case is settled by the court, the final verdict will be beneficial to only one faction. By taking a decision to share the assets and construct separate churches, the interests of both parties have been protected,” said K M George Kavikunnel, a trustee of the Orthodox faction.

Jacobite Syrian Christian Church spokesperson Fr Varghese Kallappara said that it is a positive move that should be welcomed.

“The policy of the Jacobite Church is that wherever conciliation is possible, it should be facilitated,” Kallappara said. Malankara Orthodox Church priest trustee Fr Johns Abraham Konat shared the view.

“Conciliatory moves at the local level should be facilitated,” Konat said. 


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