Staff Reporter

Reiterate claim over seminary and church

KOCHI: The Jacobite faction of the Malankara Church has decided to hold a relay prayer meet before the Thrikkunnathu seminary, Aluva, between January 22 and 26 as it reiterated its claim over the seminary and the adjoining St. Mary's Church.

The St. Mary's Church is currently closed to clergy from both the factions of the Malankara Church following the disputes between the groups.

The decision to launch the prayer meet was taken at a meeting of Jacobite Church officials chaired by Catholicos Baselios Thomas I in Aluva on Monday, said a press release here. The prayer meet will end on the feast and the 53rd anniversary of St. Paulose Athanasios, said Jacobite Church spokesman Varghese Kallappara here on Tuesday.

He also said that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had been officially informed of the decision to hold the relay prayer meeting and to accord a reception to the Catholicos on January 25 before the seminary premises.

The Chief Minister had also been invited to inaugurate the Mar Athanasios Charitable Trust on the same day, he added.

The relay prayer meet will be launched by the Catholicos and, over the following days, various church groups would take it forward.

The aims

Among the aims of the relay prayer meet are to reiterate the faction's claim over the St. Mary's Church and Thrikkunnathu seminary and implementation of a court directive on the dispute in the Malankara Church.

The meeting to decide on a new course of protest action was attended by Joseph Gregorios, Auxiliary Bishop of the Angamaly Diocese; Varghese Thekkekara, Manager, Thrikkunnathu Seminary and Thomas Puthiyamadathil, Vicar of the St. Mary's Church among others.

Fr. Kallappara said that the Managing Committee of the Church would meet on January 10 in Aluva and that the Episcopal Synod of the Church would be held on January 12 at the St. Thomas Church in Paravoor.

It may be recalled that on July 3 last year, the police resorted to lathicharge on the premises of the St. Mary's Church to disperse a crowd that had allegedly set on fire Additional Advocate General V.K. Beeran's car.

Several persons including priests were hurt in the incident and the Jacobite group had complained of police excesses.