Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christian Network
Very Rev. Kuriakose Moolayil Corepiscopos
The next issue Georgy takes up in his sojourn is the myth he creates to see the Catholicate and the Mafrianate in the Syrian Church as two different ecclesial institutions. I quote Georgy's statement of fact under ''myth' caption and his 'myth' described as 'fact'. Please read him below,
1." Myth: The Catholicos of the Jacobite faction in India is the no. 2 in the universal Syriac Church. Fact: There's no Catholicos in the real sense of the term in the Syriac Church. The Indian wing of the church is actually headed by a Maphryan/Maphryono. This is because although the head of the Indian wing of the Syriac Church takes the title Catholicos, Damascus envisages the arrangement as one of a Maphryan presiding over a Maphryanite. In the Syriac Church, the terms `Maphryan/Maphryono' and `Catholicos' are used interchangeably, but the two are conceptually different."
I have no hesitation to reaffirm that the Catholicose in the Syrian Church is the second in rank in the Syriac Orthodox Church. Georgy tries to see this as a Myth. It is not at a myth as any genuine member of the church can investigate through documents and events in the church. Georgy in his pursuit of degrading the rank of the SOC Catholicate holds on one side the Nestorian hierarchical definition and on the other side holds the Syriac hierarchical system. You have to set your foot at one base. Are you defining the hierarchical position in the Syrian Church or are you mixing the definitions of the posts in the Syrian Church with the traditions of the Nestorian or of any other church.
I have dealt with the Catholicate/Mafrianate issue in one another posting. Anyone interested can go to this link and read that.
Here I will confine only to say that when the Catholicate in Selucea, Persia fell into the Nestorian heresy the SOC had to create the post with the same authority and function in Tigris, Persia under the title Mafrian. This two titles were for differentiation purpose and were used as synonyms. The famous Catholicose Bar Ebraya testifies to this. He says of himself with satisfaction as the second in rank in the Syrian Church. In the 1912 Kalpana of the deposed Patriarch Abdul Messiah it is referred that he is transferring the Mafrianate (of Tigris) to India. (I am not going into the de facto question whether a Patriarch can by himself - here a deposed patriarch- without synod do such an act of establishing a post that was abolished by a synod decision in 1860 referred by Georgy.) The title Catholicose was taken in India in 1912,1964 and again in 1975 by SOC too, because all the reasons for the change of name became irrelevant in the new context in India. The jurisdiction, authority and ecclesial position of Catholicate is equivalent to the Mafriate. That is the reason why Dr.Neale stated that the 'Catholicose means the Mafrian and the Mafrian means the Catholicose'. A look at the photo gallery of the recent patriarchal jubilee celebrations or the consecration of the Patriarch in the year 1980 under the leadership of the late Basilius Poulose 11 will prove the status of the Catholicose/Mafrian in the SOC. There is no conceptual difference between the Catholicose and the Mafrian in the Syrian Church.
2. The next statement to be noted in this thread by Georgy is the following:
"What was envisaged was not the transfer of the moth- eaten Maphryanite obeying the diktats of the Syriacs, but the independent Persian Catholicate with all its rights and privileges."
I don't know why Georgy says this with closed eyes? The 'authorization' letter as described by Georgy of Kumbhom 8, 1913 admonishes that Abdul messiah has ordained a 'MAFRIAN that is the Catholicose' according to their request and never to slacken the Petrine faith upon which holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church is built. By stating that he envisages the MAFRIAN THAT IS THE CATHOLICOSE it is crystal clear that he refers to the 'moth- eaten' Mafrianate of Tigris.The establishment here in 1912 was the real 'diktat' of M.A.Achan and associates! All know even the Kalpana of this helpless deposed Patriarch is another example of the 'diktats' in the 1912 spisode. Archbishop Mor Ivanios testifies to this. The so called Abdul Messiah document has mentioned nothing as authorization connecting to the Persian Catholicate. We are sure that he has no right to do this as well. Nevertheless we are accepting this as an 'accomplished fact' because of the later developments and acceptance followed it in the peace process in the church.
But what is your authority to say the above statement connecting to the Persian Catholicate? Moreover how can you say that he or anyone else can establish an institution within a church with the ecclesial privileges in another church? Can a bishop be ordained in the IOC in accordance with the constitution of the Marthoma Church or the CSI? Any ordination or definition of a position in the hierarchy in the church can only be made in accordance with the canonical settings, theology , synodal decisions and practices of that particular church.
3. I want to ask Georgy how he can co relate the above statement with the following sentence below. In the above, you say that the Catholicate was established in India as independent in the model of the Persian Nestorian church and now you say that the 1934 constitution provides for spiritual primacy of the Patriarch in Malankara.
"The Constitution that the Church formulated in 1934 clearly demarcated the boundaries between Malankara and the Syriac Church — no temporal authority for the Patriarch in Malankara, but he continues to be spiritually superior."
How can an autocephalous independent church with all 'conceptual clarity' with its de facto credentials of antiquity and prestige' can afford to have such a 'humiliation' of a 'foreigner' be its spiritual head. To keep myself brief to the point I am not going into the details of the demarcating lines between the spiritual and temporal authority or whether this temporal authority over the properties are awarded upon the basis of the distance between Kottayam and Damascus or is it on the basis of the citizenship or is it granted in accordance to the validity of the election procedures or on the basis of the acceptance by the people?
4. Georgy in this part has also very wittingly and with a spirit of sarcasm expressed his low estimation of the 'poor' Jacobites who were given the 'gifts' of the post of Catholicose by 'Damascus'. He also tried to limelight that the former litigations were initiated by the Jacobites before 1958. He has given an explanatory note to say that the starting of the litigation in the year 1928 followed by the one started in 1938 were all initiated by the Jacobites. He has emphatically mentioned the 'right' of the Catholicose group in this century to initiate litigations against the Jacobites because their forefathers started the former cases. It is really a very pathetic stoop to justify the unending litigations in this century. If this thread goes there will be no end to it and the net result will be nil. See Georgy's own acceptance of the fact that the litigations did not gave the much sought for 'autocephaly de jure' . He also suggests for the only possibility of the positive result by a consensus to create a peaceful co existance. He says about the Jacobites that they will one day will attain 'self respect' and 'pride' to gravitate with the IO people.
Georgy concludes for their satisfaction that the establishment of the 1975 Catholicate was a result of the 'forgetfulness' of the Patriarch. He says that they were opposing the cause of the Catholicate before. Please read the following words from Georgy himself ,
"Our Jacobite brothers, who too had consistently opposed the concept of a Catholicate in Malankara from 1912 onwards, and had just ended an uneasy unity under a Catholicos in a bitter manner, suddenly jettisoned their rancorous, often violent opposition to the idea, and accepted Damascus' gift of the title of Catholicos for their own prelate. Surely, we laboured and they too profited?"
"They then went one step further and named the prelate so consecrated as Baselios Paulose II. Any idea who was Baselios Paulose I? No prizes for guessing."
Some may think that the author of the above statement is a very simple person who ignorantly wrote this. No! Georgy is a very well read person and is a very good researcher. So I am forced to think that he willfully hides some facts and tries to justify his partisan spirit. Georgy, you have to see the facts on the basis of the following points.
1. The Jacobites opposed not the concept of the Catholicate in Malankara. We were and is still opposing the illegitimate and uncanonical establishment of the Catholicate.
2. There are no synodal decrees effecting to the establishment or transferring this post.If the 1912 Catholicate is an insitution of the Syriac Church, the Transferring was not consulted with any authority of the church anywhere. If it is a Nestorian establishment,as Georgie says, who has the authority to do this? What is the role of the deposed Patriarch in this?
3. The deposed Patriarch Abdul Messiah had no canonical authority to do this or any other patriarchal prerogatives inside the church or outside.
4. The deposed Patriarch before this installing had uncanonically consecrated a monk as a Metropolitan without following proper and canonical stipulations.
5. He used the same uncanonically consecrated bishop as the co celebrant to consecrate the (voluntarily retired) Murimattom thirumeni as the Catholicose.
6. Moreover after the immediate demise (lived only less than a year) of this old prelate nobody has succeeded in his post, even though the 1913 document known as the 'authorization letter', envisages a successor to be appointed in his place. He was continuing his retired life at Pampakuda evenafter receiving this post of ' self esteem, pride, autocephaly and independence'. Vattaseril Thirumeni was holding the helm of his faction.
7. Even there was no continuity to this uncanonical post for 13 long years.Malankara Metropolitan is proved to be having more powers than the Catholicose.
8. Vattaseril thirumeni never considered the Catholicose as the symbol of authority over church affairs.
9. He was reluctant to receive this post or even participate in the uncanonical installing
Dear Georgy, the Jacobites
opposed only the uncanonical post. In 1958 Patriarch accepted the
Catholicose 'for the sake of peace' and he came over to preside over the
canonical installing of the catholicose in 1964. We the Jacobites welcomed
the Catholicose when the post was accepted by a canonical Patriarch in a
legal manner and accepted and fully co operated with the catholicose who was
duly installed and who stood for the oneness of the Church. When he declared
autocephaly we installed a canonical Catholicose in the legitimate lineage
of the Catholicate/Mapfianate of the East. Georgie makes fun by asking for
the identity of the Poulose 1, in the succession line to Basalius Poulose
11, assuming wrongly that it is none other than Murimattom Bava. I cannot
believe that Georgie has not read the canonical list of the Mafrians before
raising this as an issue. This distortion of lineage was purposefully
created in 1975 and the parrot writers are repeating it in our times. I
myself had written about this in 1975 itself. Mr. Thomas Daniel has pointed it
in the posting in ICON
Paulose I (728 – 757) is the 8 th Catholicose / Maphriyono In the lineage of
Catholocsoe / Maphriyono of Syriac Orthodox
We, the Jacobites want to continue this post of Catholicose not because of any pseudo 'self respect and pride', but because it was reconstituted in India in the canonical procedure and was created in the correct lineage of the church. So it will have to continue.
Next : Value erosion
Original Posting of Mr. Georgy S Thomas in IOCN Malankara's Mythical Minefields-VI