Syro-Malabar Church synod from January 9

January 04, 2023 07:25 pm | Updated 07:27 pm IST - KOCHI

Major Archbishop Cardinal Mar George Alencherry will open the 31st meeting of the Synod of bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church at Mount St. Thomas on January 9. The three-day preparations for the Synod meet will begin on Friday with a retreat for bishops and other participants preached by Kozhikode Bishop Varghese Chakkalakkal.

The meeting would conclude on January 14, said Father Antony Vadakkekkara, media commission head of the Syro-Malabar Church, in a communication here on Wednesday. As many as 58 bishops from India and abroad, including those who have retired, will participate in the meeting.

The meeting of the Synod of bishops comes in the midst of a roaring controversy over the way the Mass is celebrated, particularly in the archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, which is the largest diocese of the Syro-Malabar Church. The widening emotional chasm between those favouring the Mass as prescribed by the Synod in August last year and those favouring a fully congregation-facing Mass is obvious.

The rift between the two groups, in which there are both priests and lay people, led to fisticuffs at the St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica, the principal church of the archdiocese, on December 23 and 24. An inquiry commission was constituted by archbishop Andrews Thazhath, the apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, to probe the incident. It will prepare a report on the incidents that led to the disruption of the Mass by those favouring the fully congregation-facing Mass at the cathedral basilica and the alleged spilling of consecrated wine and host.

Allegations have flown thick and fast with those against the synodal Mass holding Mar Thazhath and cathedral basilica administrator Father Antony Poothavelil responsible for the incidents ahead of Christmas celebrations, which prompted the district authorities to keep the church closed for Christmas Mass.

There is great curiosity among the faithful to learn the Synod’s decision on the issue, especially against the backdrop of the constitution of the inquiry commission, which has been rejected outright by those opposing the synodal Mass.

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