Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The Jacobite Syrian Christian Church observed Sunday as a `thanksgiving day' and the Church leadership expressed its solidarity with the efforts of the State Government to find a solution of the Church dispute.

The Jacobite Church expressed its solidarity with the State Government for what a spokesman for the group described efforts to find a lasting solution to the dispute within the Malankara Church.

He said that the Sunday masses at more than 800 churches were followed by meetings to express solidarity with the Government. Thanksgiving prayers were also offered while special prayers were held for peace within the Malankara Church.

Catholicos Baselios Thomas I led the prayers at St. Mary's Church, Kuruppampady, near Perumbavoor. The Catholicos said that the Jacobite group would participate in a meeting being convened on February 3 to discuss the dispute.

The Church spokesman said that the Jacobite group looked forward to a democratic settlement of the outstanding issues so that the churches that remain closed could be reopened with rights given to both the groups to offer prayers.

This arrangement could continue, he said, until the court verdicts came so that the churches could be taken care of. If the churches remain closed they would fall into disrepair, he said.