Thiruvananthapuram

It’s cremation for Mar Thoma Church clergy

In an unprecedented move, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church has given permission for cremation of the mortal remains of its clergy.

In a circular issued to all parishes of the Church with regard to burial of its clergy and their family and usage of tombs/vaults, the Metropolitan of the Church, Joseph Mar Thoma, said the clergy would be allowed to be cremated. So far, the Church had allowed only some lay people to be cremated as per their prior request.

“The Metropolitan/Episcopa reserves the right to permit the cremation of the mortal remains of the clergy either in an electric crematorium or otherwise on the basis of a prior request by the clergy,” the circular stated.

The Metropolitan is the head of the Church and the Episcopa is the diocesan bishop.

However, it added: “This could be permitted only after the burial service is completed at the parish.” “The mortal remains after cremation must be buried in either the family vault or single vault,” it added.

Further, the Church synod decided that permission can be granted for doing so after cremation of the body in a foreign country also.

On the rationale of such move, Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma said the Church had decided to do so because of the limited space in cities.

“Today many are moving to cities from villages, this includes clergymen. Some times we face lots of problems to provide space for all for a burial in city parishes.”

Joseph Mar Barnabas Episcopa, Thiruvananthapuram diocesan bishop of the Church, said only one priest of the Church was cremated in Singapore years ago, which was an exception, as the Singapore government allowed only cremation.

Said Mar Barnabas: “There was a belief among Christians earlier that body should not be cremated as it has to be resurrected. This thinking is changing today. God can bring back life even if it becomes ashes. The Church is leaning towards to this ancient concept of Hindu culture.”




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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 9:57:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/It%E2%80%99s-cremation-for-Mar-Thoma-Church-clergy/article14477350.ece

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