Says members free to vote on their own will

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church has made it clear that it will not “politically sponsor” any candidate or party in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking to the media following the conclusion of the Episcopal Synod here, synod secretary Mathews Mar Savarios Metropolitan, head of Kandanad (West) diocese, said the Church had always respected the freedom of its members to vote on their own will.

“We would like them to vote for those who stand for truth, justice, secularism, and social harmony,” he said.

“We are only happy about anyone coming to power in the established, democratic manner,” he replied to a question regarding the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Referring to the comments made by two orthodox bishops who welcomed Mr. Modi on his arrival in the State a few days back, Bishop Savarios said the comments made by them were not the “general position” of the Church.

“They had very close personal relations with political leaders in the North, including Mr. Modi, during their stint as heads of the dioceses there. It was only natural that they made a personal visit to him during the BJP leader’s visit to Kerala,” Bishop Savarios said.

The Church had welcomed the development works being taken up by Mr. Modi in Gujarat, he said, however, as in every administration, there would be shortages and defects.

The Metropolitan refused to side with either the LDF or the UDF in their approach to the grievances of the Church and said both the alliances had taken steps which were welcomed by the Church and resented by it.

He, however, said the Church had welcomed the steps taken by the police in the break-in at the Thrukkunnathu seminary recently. “We are of the opinion that Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala had acted in a just manner. We also welcome his stance that no one will be allowed to take law into their own hands,” Bishop Savarios said.

Reacting to a question, the Metropolitan said wealth was not the criteria on which church disputes with the Jacobite church had been held. “It is based on justice. Supreme Court judgments are there on which the authorities should take the initiative to release the disputed properties,” he said.

This was the first synod of the Church held this year. The next one has been scheduled for August.

Baselius Mar Thoma Didimos I, (Catholicos emeritus) who is enjoying a retired life, was celebrated with unction of the sick by the metropolitans who participated in the synod.

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