Some Facts To Counter The Mother Of All Spins-I


This refers to the posting in the SOCM-Forum by Rev Fr Kuriakose
Moolayil Cor-episcopa against HG Mor Yuhanon Meletius' explanation
of the recent Supreme Court judgement.
I believe achen's posting is riddled with several factual errors.

He says:

>>I know for certain that he and his comrade bishops know very well
that the SC in 1995 has not accepted the status of Mathews 11 Bava
as the Malankara Metropolitan.<<

My reply: The Supreme Court judgement of 1995 unambiguously held
that HH Mathews II was the real Catholicos of the undivided church.
I quote from entry no.10 of Justice Jeevan Reddy's majority
judgement:

``This does not, however, mean that installation of Mathew
Athanasius, elected as the Catholicos on December 31, 1970, in
October, 1975 is to be ignored. Similarly, the election and
installation of sixth Catholicos, Mathew II (third
respondent in the present appeals) cannot also be ignored.
They are accomplished facts and shall remain unquestioned.''

Therefore, the Supreme Court unquestionably ruled that HH Mathews
II's election and installation as the sixth Catholicos was
an ``accomplished fact and shall remain unquestioned''.
The technicality involved here is that the Supreme Court forgot to
mention his status as the Malankara Metropolitan. According to the
1934 constitution, only the Malankara Metropolitan can convene the
Malankara Syrian Christian Association. Only in his absence are
there other provisions to convene the Association.
Realising this loophole, the Jacobites started a series of delaying
tactics to ensure that an association of the united church never
took place. I will repeat most of what I've said in a previous post
(ICON #13705):
1.) The Jacobites first told the Supreme Court that Articles 71
and 46 of the 1934 Constitution did not give them a fair chance to
prove their strength at the Malankara Association. The time given
for both sides to give suggestions on this count meant a delay of
one more year. Articles 71 and 46 of the MOSC Constitution were
finally amended by the Supreme Court vide its order dated March 25,
1996.
2.) More appeals and objections followed from the Jacobites. The
Supreme Court judgement of 1995 was finally decreed on February 5,
1997. Another appeal followed for correction of the decree. This was
disposed of in 1999. Through these manipulations, the Jacobites thus
gained four more years of life for their illegal faction.
3.) The Jacobites then changed tack. They argued that HH
Catholicos Baselius Mathews II (of blessed memory) was not the
Malankara Metropolitan and, therefore, could not convene the
Malankara Association. They moved the High Court and even managed to
obtain a favourable judgement (April 6, 2001). Another two years
gained by manipulating the legal system.
This is the high court judgement Moolelachen refers to when he says:
>>This was later declared in unambiguous terms by the Kerala High
Court.<<
Good show achen. But you have conveniently forgotten to mention what
the Supreme Court thought about it when we appealed.
4.) On November 28, 2001, the honourable Supreme Court of India
set aside the above mentioned high court order and ruled that fresh
elections to the
Association ``shall be called by Moran Mor Baselius Marthoma
Mathews II by issuing necessary kalpanas to parishes''. The Supreme
Court
further ruled that ``no court other than this court will entertain
any suit,
application or interfere with the elections or the election process
or results
at any stage''.

5.) Moolelachen further says against HG Meletius:
>>He and his friends who stabbed the church from behind,
unilaterally submitted deed in writing accepting Mathews 11 Bava as
Malankara
Metropolitan. This was really an illegal act with vested interest.<<

My reply: What achen has conveniently forgotten to mention:
Maphryan Baselius Thomas I, then known as HG Thomas Mar Dionysius,
also submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court of India in 1998
swearing allegiance to the 1934 constitution (No. AS 117). In plain
words, the present Jacobite Maphryan, had in the year 1998 sworn
before the Supreme Court of India that HE WILL UPHOLD AND BE LOYAL
TO THE 1934 CONSTITUTION. He did so because the Supreme Court in
1996 ruled that only those who swear loyalty to the 1934
Constitution can hold any position in the Malankara Orthodox Church.
This is the same person who now says that the churches are separate.

Therefore, we can say that the Maphryan insincerely swore before the
Supreme Court that he will uphold the 1934 Constitution. On the
other hand, HG Meletius of his own volition, and for the sake of
peace in Malankara Sabha, submitted before the Catholicos. Whose
deed was noble, and befitting a shepherd?

Moolelachen further says:
>>The SC decreed that the Patriarch of Antioch continues to be
spiritual head of the Malankara Church. He is spiritually superior
to the Catholicose.<<

My reply: What achen conveniently forgets to mention. The full
sentence reads like this:
``He is spiritually superior to the Catholicos though he does not,
and indeed never did, enjoy any temporal powers over the Malankara
Church or its properties.''

Contrary to the views of the Supreme Court, the Patriarch of Antioch
illegally continues to enjoy temporal powers over the Malankara
Church and its properties through control over the Gulf Churches,
American Diocese, Knanaya Sabha, etc. Not satisfied with all this,
article 24 of the Syriac Church's Constitution allows the Patriarch
to repatriate a whopping 10% of the income of all archdioceses. The
Jacobite Church is considered one of the 29 archdioceses in the
Syriac Church vide Article 4 of Damascus' Constitution. Further, the
takeout from monasteries (Dayros) is fixed at an eye-popping 20%.
All the Dayros frequented by thousands of pilgrims are located in
Malankara (i.e.Manjinikkara, Malecruz etc.). Therefore, this
provision can be suspected to be expressly targeted at the Jacobite
Church.
One does not know if the honourable Supreme Court would be pleased
if it comes to know about the Foreign Direct Investment from India
to Damascus despite its express prohibition.

Moolelachen next says:
>>The SC decreed that Malankara Church is a division of the
Universal Church.<<

My reply:

This is Moolelachen the spin maestro at his best. Congratulations,
achen, with all due respect. Kindly read article 1 of our 1934
Constitution.

``Article 1. Malankara Church is a division of Orthodox Syrian
Church. Primate of the Orthodox Syrian Church is the Patriarch of
Antioch.''

The Supreme Court just repeated what we in our own volition told the
whole world in 1934! Moolelachen is now spinning this as a Supreme
Court finding!! And he has also made bold to replace the words
Syrian Church used by the Supreme Court with the words `Universal
Church'. Bravo!!!

Moolelachen further says:
>>The SC decreed that the Simhasana Churches and the EAE are
directly under the Patriarch.<<

He is more or less right. I don't know about being directly under
the patriarch, but the Supreme Court agreed with the High Court
decree that the two are not an integral part of Malankara Sabha and
are not to be administered by the 1934 Constitution.

But did HG Meletius deny that the Supreme Court ruled so?

Moolelachen further says:
>>The SC decreed that the Knanaya Sabha is directly under the
Patriarch.<<

Outright lie. First, this is what the High Court decreed:
a.) Knanaya Sabha is a part of the Malankara Church
b.) The 1934 Constitution is binding on the Knanaya Sabha
c.) Catholicos is the spiritual head of the Knanaya Sabha
d.) But in temporal matters, in Knanaya Churches, the 1934
Constitution can govern only subject to the Knanaya Sabha
Constitution

The Supreme Court upheld the High Court decree. I quote:
``In all the facts and circumstances of the case, it would be enough
to declare that by their acts and conduct, D.19 (Knanaya
Sabha) has accepted that they are an integral unit within the
Malankara Church and that, therefore, the 1934 Constitution of
the Malankara Church shall govern them but subject to
their own Knanaya Constitution until such time the Knanaya Church
Samudayam decides otherwise.''

But with regard to clause C above (Catholicos is the spiritual
head), the Supreme Court made a slight modification. It said: ``The
modification is called for for the reason that when a particular
people say that they believe in the spiritual superiority of the
Patriarch and that it is an article of faith with them, the Court
cannot say `no; your spiritual superior is the Catholicos'.''
Therefore, on all the points, the High Court decree was upheld
except for the addition that the spiritual superior for the Knanaya
Sabha is the Patriarch.
But the above words, which apply only to the Knanaya Sabha and that
too in a very narrow context, have become a favourite quotable
quote in the hands of the spin masters. They cite these words at the
drop of a hat, and make false claims that this is what the Supreme
Court ruled about the Jacobite faction.

Back to Moolelachen's spin:
>>The Catholicose, Malankara Metropolitan or the Diocesan
Metropolitan do not have any control over any of the properties of
the parish churches.<<

The Orthodox Church has been never good at articulating its stand
with clarity. If the leadership is wanting, someone from the laity
has to speak out the truth. And the truth is that we never, never
asked the honourable Supreme Court for any title on the properties
of the parish churches. To quote the Supreme Court itself: ``Indeed,
no such specific relief has been asked for in the suit…'' Again
further, the majority judges clarify: ``We have pointed out
hereinbefore that the only place in the plaint where a reference is
made to the properties of the parish churches is in Para 24 where
all that it is alleged is that the defendants and their partisans
are trying to intermeddle in the affairs of individual churches and
are attempting to make use of the properties of the church to
further their illegal and unlawful objects…''

Therefore, we did not ask the honorable Supreme Court for any title
on the properties of the parish churches. Period. Exactly what did
we ask? Again, let's go to the honorable Supreme Court's majority
judgment:
``A. To declare that the Malankara Church is episcopal in character
and is not a union or federation of autonomous church units and is
governed in its administration by the constitution of the Malankara
Church.''
We only wanted so much:
i.)A declaration that the Malankara Orthodox Church is episcopal in
character.
ii.)A declaration that the Malankara Orthodox Church is governed in
its church administration by the 1934 Constitution.

During the course of the hearing, the patriarchal faction spun
horror stories saying such a declaration would mean ``giving the
Catholicos/Malankara Metropolitan/ the Metropolitan of the Diocese
title to or control over the properties held by the parish
churches''.

The noble-minded Supreme Court judges wanted to function as an
instrument to usher in lasting peace in Malankara Sabha through
their judgement. Therefore, when the Jacobites spun these horror
stories about epsicopal status conferring title over parish
churches, the honourable judges again and again assured them that it
wouldn't be so. I quote first from the main findings:

Assurance #1:
``We are, however, of the opinion that in this suit no declaration
can be granted affecting the rights of Parish Churches in their
absence nor can it be declared that the properties held by Malankara
Parish Churches vest in the Catholicos or the Malankara Metropolitan
or the Metropolitan of the concerned diocese, as the case may be.
Indeed, no such specific relief has been asked for in the suit.''

The assurance here is that MOSC has never made any demand for parish
property title in the first place.

Assurance # 2:
``No declaration can be claimed by the plaintiffs that their church
is episcopal in nature, if that declaration means that it gives the
Catholicos/Malankara Metropolitan/the Metropolitan of the Diocese
any title to or any control over the properties held by the Parish
Churches.''

The assurance here is that episcopal status doesn't confer title
over parish properties.

Assurance #3:
``We have pointed out hereinbefore that the only place in the plaint
where a reference is made to the properties of the Parish Churches
is in Para 24 where all that it is alleged is that the defendants
and their partisans are trying to intermeddle in the affairs of
individual churches and are attempting to make use of the properties
of the church to further their illegal and unlawful objects.''

The assurance here is a reiteration that MOSC has never made any
demand for parish titles in the first place.

The court then gets down to business:
``In the state of such a pleading, the only observation that can be
made herein is that the 1934 Constitution shall govern and regulate
the affairs of the Parish Churches too, insofar as the said
Constitution provides for the same.''
The court concedes our demand and declares that the Malankara
Orthodox Church is governed in its church administration by the 1934
Constitution.

The court then turns to the episcopal status part:

``If the plaintiffs mean merely spiritual control by saying
episcopal, probably there may be no difficulty in holding that
Catholicos and the Malankara Metropolitan have spiritual control
over the Parish Churches, but if it means control over temporal
affairs of, or title to or control over the properties of, the
Parish Churches beyond what is provided for in the Constitution, a
declaration to that effect can be obtained only after hearing and in
the presence of the concerned Parish Churches.''

The court broadly accepts our demand of declaring the church
as `episcopal', but assures the Jacobites that this won't mean
rights over parish properties beyond what is mentioned in the 1934
Constitution.

The court yet again observes:
``In sum, we observe that the 1934 Constitution governs the affairs
of the Parish churches too insofar as it does.''

Having done the reassurance part, the court gets down to listing its
final rulings. First it says that the Patriarchal faction cannot
question the legality and validity of the 1934 Constitution.
``5.) The 1934 Constitution was approved at a validly convened
meeting of Malankara Association, which Association was created by
the Patriarch himself under the Resolutions of Mulanthuruthy Synod.
The defendants in the present suits (Patriarch group) cannot
question its legality and validity in view of the acts and conduct
of the Patriarch and the members of his group subsequent to the
judgment of this Court in A.I.R. 1959 S.C.31.''

Then the court comes to the specific demands made by us.
``8) So far as the declaration of the Malankara Church being
episcopal in character is concerned, all we need hold is that it is
episcopal to the extent it is so declared in the 1934 Constitution.
The said Constitution also governs the affairs of the Parish
Churches and shall prevail.''

After this ruling, the court hasn't visited the subject. Remember,
we wanted two declarations only.
i.)A declaration that the Malankara Orthodox Church is episcopal in
character.
ii.)A declaration that the Malankara Orthodox Church is governed in
its church administration by the 1934 Constitution.

On i.), the court ruled that it is episcopal to the extent it is so
declared in the 1934 Constitution.
What more could we have asked for? Hey, the court based our
episcopal status on our constitution, not that of the Syriac Church.
And our constitution is basically episcopal in character.

On ii.) after first declaring that the legality and validity of the
constitution cannot be questioned, the court says that the
said ``constitution also governs the affairs of the Parish Churches
and shall prevail''.

Both our wishes were granted, unlike what Moolelachen would have us
believe.

Why Did The Jacobites Create A Scare?

Why did the Jacobites create a scare that we are after the parish
titles. Why do they even now continue to spin false stories on this
count?
In my view, their leadership is basically afraid of the provisions
of the 1934 Constitution. Let me cite a few of them. Under the 1934
Constitution, manipulative parish leaders cannot alienate the church
property to foreigners (in the Jacobite faction many parishioners
have been intimidated by extremist leaders into converting their
parish churches into thronal churches in the name of the patriarch)
because bishops have veto power (Article 23).
Also under the 1934 Constitution, priests can be transferred by the
diocesan bishop (Article 40), and a transferred priest ceases to
have any rights over the parish (Article 40). This means priests are
legally prevented from clinging on to lucrative parishes for decades
together citing family traditions and other myths. Also under the
1934 Constitution, the church property is held in trust jointly by
the vicar and the elected trustee (Article 32). Since the trustee
enjoys office for a fixed term of only one year (Article 33), vested
interests are legally prevented from clinging on to the post, citing
family traditions and myths. All these democratic provisions of the
1934 Constitution are abhorrent to the Jacobite extremist
leadership, which is controlled by a powerful coterie on whom the
sun never sets. They have much to lose if the 1934 Constitution
prevails, and everything to gain if the spins prevail.

The rest of Moolelachen's post is a diatribe against HG Meletius. On
the honorifics issue, he and I have already exchanged views. I will
take it up again in the concluding section of 'Malankara's Mythical
Remixes: A Review'.

A Word About HG Meletius

Thirumeni has been undergoing a lot of suffering for bravely
following the courage of his conviction in facilitating a peaceful
unity in the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. He is the hope of the
youth of our church as a whole. While his scholarship and
forthrightness have endeared him to many, it cannot be denied that
many enemies of peace within our own church are envious of him. But
the younger generation is with him. Even as they fret over his
suffering, they are inspired by his tireless service to the church.
His nobility and prayerful life are our source of strength. May the
Good Lord grant him the opportunity to actualise his vision for the
future of our suffering church.

We Want The Scholarly Moolelachen Back

I have in the past publicly engaged with the Rev Kuriakose Cor-
episcopa, trying to unravel the cobwebs of misunderstandings on the
issues dividing our two factions. I have at all times been impressed
by his logical presentation of arguments, and the respectful manner
in which he has conveyed differences of opinion. But of late,
(perhaps ever since achen started working on the production of the
hate journal viswasasamrakshakan?), a sea change seems to have
occurred to him. The Moolelachen of today is an angry man as seen in
his diatribe against HG Meletius. I wish we can have the old
Moolelachen back with whom we can calmly discuss areas of dispute
and arrive at points of convergence.
Over to you achen. Kindly point out any factual errors in my two
posts.