Church dispute: Jacobite faction submits mass memorandum to Kerala govt

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Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 30 (PTI) The Jacobite faction of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church has submitted a mass memorandum to the Left government in Kerala demanding a legislation to resolve their centuries-old dispute with the Orthodox faction.

The Jacobite and Orthodox are two Kerala-based Syrian church groups.

The memorandum, signed by five lakh believers of the Jacobite church, was submitted to Industries Minister E P Jayarajan at his office here on Tuesday.

It was handed over to the minister by a group of church representatives including Mathews Mor Anthimos Metropolitan, an official statement said here.

According to the petition, the centuries-old church dispute cannot be resolved by a court decision alone and that the government should intervene for an amicable solution, it said.

The Jacobitefaction is of the view of that various steps taken by the CPI(M)-led LDF government so farto settle the issues in the church including the recent Kerala Christian Cemeteries (Right to Burial of Bodies) Bill was 'bold'.

They want more such legislation to end the dispute between the two factions, it said.

The Jacobite group also said the only solution to settle the dispute between the factions was to hold a referendum in the churches and both the factions had tried and succeededin most of the churches in Malabar earlier, the statement added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held discussions with representatives of theJacobite and Orthodox factions in New Delhi this week with an aim to resolve the dispute.

He met three senior priests of the Jacobite faction at his office on Tuesday, a day after discussions with representatives of the Orthodox group there on Monday.

The feud between the two factions intensified following implementation of a 2017 Supreme Court order, granting the Orthodox faction possession of over 1,000 churches and properties attached to them.

Earlier, the CPI(M) government had attempted to mediate between the factions to end their feud over the administration of 1,000- odd parishes.

The effort by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to cobble together a peace formula acceptable to both sides did not yield results.

While the Orthodox faction stuck to their demand that the 2017 Supreme Court order be implemented, the Jacobite faction alleged that the other group was 'misinterpreting' the order and 'taking over' their churches unethically.

The protests by both the groups have often resulted in law and order issues in several parishes in the state. PTI LGK ROH ROH