KOCHI: Even as opinions continue to be divided on the final resting place of Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara, the Syro-Malabar Church on Thursday issued a statement categorically reiterating that the final resting place of Fr Chavara was Mannanam in Kottayam district. “Fr Chavara was a leader of renaissance in Kerala. He lived and died in Koonammavu here and his mortal remains are kept at Mannanam,” observed the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church being held at Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad, the headquarters of the Church. The observation by Syro-Malabar Church bishops’ Synod gains significance in the wake of the differences of opinion between the Latin Catholics and Syro-Malabar community over the resting place of Fr Chavara. The Latin Catholics have already expressed their protest over giving importance to Mannanam than Koonammavu, where Fr Chavara lived the last seven years of his life, died and was first buried. The mortal remains were later shifted to Mannanam.
Recently, Kerala Latin Catholic Association (KLCA) a prominent organisation of the Latin Catholics, had come out with a statement expressing protest over the alleged misinterpretation of history in government procedures, in connection with the canonisation of Blessed Fr Kuriakose Elias Chavara. “Fr Chavara spent the last seven years of his life at the St Philomena’s Church, Koonammavu.
He died here. The room in which Fr Chavara lived and his tomb are visited by thousands of devotees. “It is unfortunate that the government gives undue importance to Mannanam, which is the final resting place of Fr Chavara,” said KLCA leaders in the statement.
The KLCA also does not admit the claim that it was Fr Chavara who issued a pastoral letter asking to set up schools attached to the churches in the State. “The pastoral letter was issued by Archbishop Bernard Becchinelli, the then head of Verapoly Vicariate. In the Catholic Church, the authority to issue pastoral letters is vested with bishops only. Fr Chavara, who was the vicar-general, could not have issued a pastoral letter,” the KLCA leaders point out.