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Church dispute: Orthodox faction comes down heavily on Patriarch

The Patriarch made the comment at Manjanikkara in Pathanamthitta. 

Published: 26th May 2019 03:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th May 2019 03:02 AM   |  A+A-

Mor Ignatius Aphrem II

By Express News Service

KOTTAYAM: The already strained relations between the Jacobite and Orthodox factions further worsened on Saturday after Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II said court orders cannot bring peace in the Church.

The Patriarch made the comment at Manjanikkara in Pathanamthitta. “Though the Jacobite faction opened its doors for ushering in peace, we didn’t get a positive response,” he said. 

Rather than calming the nerves, the statement enraged the Orthodox faction. They accused the Patriarch of making a ‘battle cry’. Coming down heavily on the Patriarch, Yuhanon Mar Dioscoros, Episcopal Synod Secretary of the Orthodox faction, said the Patriarch’s stance was unfortunate and it closed the doors of peace between the two factions.

“By claiming that he stands for peace, the Patriarch, in fact, was giving a call to battle. Stating in public that the order of the highest court of India was irrelevant and they cannot abide by the order is nothing short of a battle cry,” he said.

Dioscoros said challenging the Indian legal system on its own soil was not only contempt of court but also sedition.

He also asked the Patriarch to clarify why the Jacobite faction kept on approaching the courts at different levels repeatedly if court orders were not remedies for the dispute.

“The Orthodox faction is not ready to initiate any step that would sabotage the Indian legal system. The Supreme Court’s order is law of the land. Everyone is bound to abide by and implement it,” he said.

Countering the Patriarch’s statement that the Jacobite faction didn’t get a positive response for peace, Dioscoros said there were plenty of opportunities to reach a peaceful settlement through talks. 

“Even the Supreme Court in 1995 also put forward ways for the merger of the two factions. However, ignoring it, the Jacobite faction formed a new constitution instead,” he said.

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