The Church of South India (CSI) has decided to pull out from the Kerala Council of Churches (KCC), an ecumenical forum of non-Catholic Protestant Churches in Kerala, in protest against the KCC decision to provide membership to the Believers Church.
The latest development has to be viewed in the backdrop of the controversy over the episcopacy claims of the Believers Church that its head, K.P. Yohannan, was consecrated by the CSI Church.
However, the CSI has outrightly rejected this claim of the Believers Church, saying that the former has never done such a thing at any point of time.
The CSI Moderator, Bishop Thomas K. Oommen, told The Hindu that the regional forum of the CSI Synod members had unanimously decided to disassociate with the KCC and its programmes.
According to him, the CSI had never consecrated Mr. Yohannan and whatever news spread in this regard were baseless.
“The CSI never considers the Believers Church as an episcopal church or accept its leader, K.P. Yohannan, a bishop. As per the CSI view, K.P. Yohannan is a layman and the KCC decision, overlooking the CSI objection, was unfortunate,” The bishop said.
He said the bishop was the constitutional head of CSI. As per the constitution of the Church, the Synod executive has to authorise the Moderator to consecrate a clergy as a bishop. The CSI Synod executive never authorised the Moderator to consecrate K.P. Yohannan as a bishop, he said.
‘Not severing ties’
However, being a founder member of KCC, the CSI was not for completely severing its ties with the KCC as it was against the very vision and mission of the Church, the coordinator said.
He said the CSI could never accept inclusion of the Believers Church in the KCC strictly on moral and ethical grounds.