KOCHI: In a major development for the Jacobite Syrian Church, Bishop Joseph Mor Gregorios, Metropolitan of Kochi Diocese, was elected Metropolitan Trustee on Wednesday by a secret ballot held at the Patriarchal Centre in Puthencruz. The decision to appoint a bishop to this post was taken as per the managing committee’s opinion. Meanwhile, the Bishop Thomas Mor Thimothios faction alleged that this election violated the Church constitution.
The position of the Metropolitan Trustee has been lying vacant since Catholicos Baselious Thomas I stepped down in May. Nineteen members of the Synod took part in the voting. Mor Gregorios won with a margin of 12 votes. While Mor Thimothios received four and Abraham Mor Severios secured two votes.
“This election is a clear violation of the Patriarch’s directive. He has directed to appoint the Metropolitan Trustee through a proper election and not through any secret ballot,” said Mor Thimothios, Synod Secretary.
The Synod of bishops held under the aegis of Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Aphrem II at the Patriarchal Centre in May had appointed a three-member panel to oversee the administrative proceedings of the Church.
Mor Thimothios, Angamaly Metropolitan Mor Severios and Mor Gregorios were members of the panel. The Synod convened by the Patriarch had decided to appoint the Metropolitan Trustee through a general body election scheduled to be held on August 28 at Puthencruz.
Paul Varghese, working president of the Jacobite Almaya Forum, suspects a clear back-stage conspiracy behind the elections. “The Metropolitan Trustee should be elected by the association, which includes representatives from around 800 churches. The Church constitution clearly states this. This election is simply a violation of the constitution,” he said.
However, the Catholicos faction prefers to see this new development as a step towards resolving the administrative crisis plaguing the Church of late.
“The Metropolitan Trustee manages the Church administration. The position has been lying vacant for months. Therefore, when an opinion came from the committee, the Synod unanimously agreed to elect the trustee,” said Jacobite Church official spokesperson Kuriakose Mor Theophilose.“The name is subject to the Patriarch’s approval,” said Theophilose.