KOCHI: The Orthodox faction of the Malankara Church on Friday termed “totally baseless” reports that the churches it controlled were denying funeral rites to the Jacobite faction members.
Since the Supreme Court order of 2017, which gave control of Malankara churches to the Orthodox group, 32 funerals of Jacobite faction members were held in churches now controlled by the Orthodox group by Orthodox priests following the request from their relatives, said a statement from spokesperson of the church Fr Johns Abraham Konat. “Baseless allegations are being levelled to tarnish the image of the Orthodox church. Cemeteries of the church are not for the public, but only members of the diocese. When family members of the deceased approach the person in-charge of the church, funeral rites are held there. There is no confusion over this,” he said.
“It was decided in-principle to use the cemetery only by the diocese members. The Patriarch faction had been following this for a long time too,” he said. Following the tension between the two factions, he said the Jacobite faction had refused permission for the funeral of the grandmother of a renowned cine actor at a Jacobite church in Kumarakom and the last rites of Fr Joseph Vendirappilli at Vadavucode church.
“Conducting funeral rites at a church without the consent and participation of the respective priest is illegal. There is no objection to conducting the funeral rights with the consent and presence of the priest,” he said.