Representatives of the Orthodox faction met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the aegis of Mizoram Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai. The representatives — Youhanon Mar Diascoros (Madras Metropolitan), Thomas Mar Athanasius, and Youhanon Mar Demetrios (Delhi Metropolitan) — have requested the PM’s help in implementing the Supreme Court order of 2017 giving the Orthodox faction the right of all institutions, churches, and institutions.
The representatives of the Orthodox faction also told PM Modi that the two factions need to come together. They added that the actions of the Jacobite faction in pressuring the state government into making laws advantageous for the latter would lead to anarchy. Meanwhile, Narendra Modi will be meeting with the representatives of the Jacobite faction to sort out a solution to this problem.
Addressing media persons, Thomas Mar Athanasius said, “The Jacobite faction’s claim of dividing the Malankara church using the public mandate doesn’t have legal support and it is a loss for them. Therefore, it is better for both of us to go together and the fundamental document to support it would be the Supreme Court verdict. It is not a victory for anyone; instead, it is a well-researched solution to a problem.”
The Jacobite and Orthodox factions were in a collision since 1912, which had led to violence, deaths and police action on several occasions. During a police action, several Jacobite priests were injured. More than 300 churches were closed because of litigation and violence and all the government-backed mediations to resolve the issue had hit a roadblock.
A Supreme Court verdict on July 3, 2017, had given the Orthodox faction of the Kerala Malankara church the right to all the properties including churches, parishes and institutions. A review petition filed by the Jacobite faction on November 18, 2017, was dismissed by the court thus giving the Orthodox faction the right over properties including 1,100 churches and parishes. The apex court’s earlier verdicts in 1958 and 1995 had also gone in favour of the Orthodox faction.