KOCHI: In what could be called a revolutionary decision, the Syro-Malabar Church, one of the three Catholic denominations in India, has decided not to bury bishops in the sanctuary (madbaha) of churches. The decision was taken at the Synod of the church that began at Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad, the headquarters of the Church, on Tuesday.
“From now onwards, deceased bishops and metropolitans will be laid to rest in the crypt (an underground burial place in churches) if such a facility is available, or at the chapel attached to the cemetery,” said Syro-Malabar Church spokesperson Fr Paul Thelakkatu.
“There is no special reason for the synod to take such a decision. It is just a decision taken in tune with the times,” he said. Madbaha is always considered to be a sacred place for both the clergy and the faithful. There is a general feeling that it should not be used as a burial place,” Fr Thelakkatu said. At Tuesday’s meeting, the bishops reviewed the trend of vocation among the youth in the Syro-Malabar Church. “Vocations are on the rise in the Chicago, Kalyan and Delhi dioceses,” the bishops observed. It has also been decided to conduct a survey to understand the changes in vocations.
A three-member committee, headed by Archbishop Joseph Perunthottam and Bishop Joseph Kallarangat; and Bishop Jose Puthenveetil as member, has been constituted for the Vadavathoor Apostolic Seminary.
As many as 45 bishops of the Church are attending the Synod, which will conclude on August 30.