Sunday, March 25, 2018

Hosanna (Palm Sunday) Celebrations at Kolenchery Orthodox Church - March 2018

St. Peters and St. Pauls Orthodox Syrian Church in Kolencherry celebrated the Hosanna (Palm Sunday) 2018 and this was the first Hosanna celebration after the July 3rd Supreme Court verdict. After the verdict, the Kolencherry Parish is under the full control of Malankara Orthodox Church. H.G Dr. Mathews Mar Severios was the chief celebrant at the Church for its Hosanna celebrations and a good number of believers gathered for the celebration at the Church.

Here are some snaps of the Palm Sunday celebrations at Kolenchery Orthodox Church on 25th March 2018.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

HG Dr. Mathews Mar Severios Visits Kolenchery Church

H G Dr. Mathews Mar Severious of Kandanad Diocese on his visit to Kolenchery St. Peter's and St. Paul's Orthodox Church a few minutes ago.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Jacobite Members Stay Away From Kolenchery Church

A day after the Supreme Court of India upheld the 1934 constitution of Malankara Church, Malankara Orthodox Church (Orthodox faction) took over the administration of St Peter's and St Paul's church at Kolenchery. The apex court in an interim order issued in 2016 had allowed the members of both Malankara Orthodox Church and Jacobite Syrian Christian Church (Jacobites) the right to pray until the final order is issued. Only the members of Orthodox faction arrived for prayers on Tuesday.

Jose C Chacko, the chief sexton of the church, opened the church as usual at 5.30am and rang the bell. As per the court's interim order, Jacobites were allotted time for prayers from 5.30am to 8.30am on Tuesday. But none of the members of Jacobite faction turned up. The Orthodox faction offered prayers from 8.30 am.

It is believed that St Peter's and St Paul's church at Kolenchery was constructed in the 7th century. The fight between two factions started way back in 1912 when a priest belonging to the Jacobites faction travelled to Syria and was ordained as a metropolitan by the Patriarch, who is the spiritual head of Syrian Church, in Antioch in Syria. When the Metropolitan returned home, the believers belonging to Orthodox faction didn't allow him to enter the church premises. This kick-started a long lasting fight between two factions and the rift continued till 1958. In 1958, the Supreme Court ordered that the 1934 constitution of Malankara Church would prevail.

Following the Supreme Court verdict, both the Jacobite and Orthodox factions united until 1973. In 1972-73 two priests from the church went to Syria and were ordained as Metropolitans. But the Orthodox faction members, who were majority in the parish, were not ready to accept and admit the authority of the new Metropolitans who belonged to Jacobite faction. This polarised both the groups again. As the tug of war between the two factions resulted in physical violence, the church had to be brought under receiver's rule during 1984-97. In 1998, a district court ordered that the 1934 constitution, which gives an upper hand to the Orthodox faction would prevail. A tense situation prevailed and the government of Kerala closed the church till 2005. In 2005, believers belonging to both the factions gave representation to district collector requesting that the church should be reopened.

In 2005, the church was reopened and both sections were given separate timings for offering their prayers. In 2007, clashes started again between the two factions,  forcing the authorities to close down the church. In 2012, Kerala high court issued an order upholding the 1934 constitution. In 2013, the Jacobites approached Supreme Court challenging the order. In an interim order, the apex court allowed both the parties the right to pray until a final verdict is pronounced.

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Jacobite Church's Plea on Kolenchery Church Dismissed by Supreme Court

In another major verdict on the Kolenchery Church by the Supreme Court of India on Monday dismissed a petition given by the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church in a case related to the ownership of the St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church at Kolenchery. This verdict is a major set back for the Jacobite faction's claims over the ownership  of the Church in Kolencherry.

The Supreme Court  has ruled that the Kolenchery church had to be governed in accordance with the constitution of 1934, and also  rejected the Jacobite Syrian Church’s request to recognize an agreement from 1913.

A bench of justice comprising of Arun Mishra and justice Amitabh Roy said that the church factions were bound by the order in 1995.

The bench said that the constitution formed by the Jacobite church in 2002 was not valid but said the 1934 constitution could be amended if needed. The Jacobite faction has stated that they do not consider this as the final order and they will come to a decision after a synod meeting.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Kolenchery Church - Orthodox Faction Re-Starts Their Services

Orthodox faction has started their services in Kolenchery St. Peters and St. Pauls Church today morning. In the midst of heavy police protection, the Orthodox priests and believers arrived on time to start their services and Holy Qurbana. Jacobite faction has raised objection regarding the high court order which was in favor of the Orthodox faction, but tight police forces has been deployed at the church to prevent any unwanted incidents. Fr. Eldhose Kakkadan of the Jacobite faction has threatened to commit suicide at the Church premises.

Fr. Jacob Kurian of the Orthodox faction is leading the services at the church and the morning services started around 8 AM in the midst of heavy police protection forces. So far things were peaceful and no negative incidents were reported.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Orthodox Faction Trapped Inside Kolencherry Church

As the Orthodox faction has entered the historic Kolenchery Church, the Jacobite faction has surrounded the church making the former trapped inside it. The Orthodox faction were promised police protection, but the SP wanted them to wait for 2 more days before they could enter the church. The Orthodox faction has gained clear court verdict from the court as the real owners of the Church and the court has also demanded the government to provide strong police protection.

But since the Orthodox Faction is trapped inside Kolencherry Church, the government officials might do something before things get out of hand. More and more people from both the factions are rushing towards the scene which makes the security issues more challenging.

Meanwhile, to make the matter worse, the Jacobite faction has poured petrol on all sides of the church and even inside it. Fire force has arrived at the scene and they along with the police force has started cleaning the area with water. The situation still remains tense.

Kolenchery Church - Orthodox Faction Enters the Church

Finally the Orthodox Faction of Malankara Church has entered Kolenchery St. Peters and St. Pauls Church which remained closed for many years. The recent court verdict was in favor of the Orthodox Faction and has demanded police protection for the Orthodox believers to enter the Church. Based on the court order, a group of people and priests loyal to the Catholicos Faction entered the Church today afternoon.

The situation inside the church was pathetic due to bad maintenance and it will take some time before it can be made and arranged in a better way.