Church Feud—Concerted Actions– Some Suggestions—Inputs

Hon Chief Minister of Kerala,

Dear Hon Chief Minister,

I am Dr. KM George and from Ooramana near Kolenchery. I was born in the Jacobite church way

back in 1943 and since 1958 belong to the Orthodox Church and have had some 45 years’ work

experience with many reputed institutions like the Sardar Patel University, Bombay University, National Dairy Development Board, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank in India and later as Advisor to the Govt of Papua New Guinea– PNG, UNDP consultant, FAO Team Leader in Afghanistan, IFAD Team Member to North Korea, ADB consultant in PNG, International M &; E Advisor to the Govt of Rwanda and UN Women Expert in South Sudan. Currently I am heading a small NGO type local organisation by name Sustainable Development Forum, where your known professional friends like Justice Dr. K Narayana Kurup is the patron and Rev Dr. Abraham Mulamoottil is our Policy Advisor. SDF is fully secular and non-political. Our motto is to know and proclaim, not to argue and win. We had since 2000 some 120 seminars covering very many themes mostly on Health, Agriculture, Economic issues, addressed by eminent professionals from the ADB, WB, CMC Vellore, Kolenchery Medical College, Amrita Medical College, etc on other thematic subjects. Our programmes are funded by local resources mostly from our own members. We get for every seminar some 50 to 75 participants who are mostly villagers and local professionals as well as retired experts. Knowledge dissemination is our focus based on the world development issues including the SDGs of the UN. We wonder if we could invite you to address us on your development concerns of Kerala once the covid-19 pandemic is over.

2)Malankara Church Feud As you are well aware it is not of any Faith and Order issue as they make it appears to deceive the innocent believers. It is on account of regional independence and autonomy for which the seeds were sown in the early 1900s.While the independence

struggle was going on India, Malankara Church established its own independent Catholicate in

1912 with the blessings of the Patriarch and it came with its own constitution in 1934 even before the free India got its own Constitution. In terms of Sacraments and Faith and Order there is no difference between the warring factions, only it is about authority, power and money. For over one 100 years they were fighting in the various courts in India and at a critical juncture in 1958 the historic reunification came in to being and sadly it lasted till the early 1970s only .If they could get reunited in 1958 after the apex court verdict ,why not now after successive court verdicts of 2017, 2018 and 2020 is a moot question!

3) For our proper understanding of the history, only from the 17 th century only Malankara Church got the Antioch connection for ordaining a bishop here. Thus, out of 300 plus years history, nearly half was spent on litigations about the independence of the church.

4) Both the factions are members of the Oriental Orthodox Church family. Out of this group may be the largest today in terms of population is the Ethiopian Church. They too had some court cases for a long time with the Eritrean Church, which got independence from Ethiopian Church recently and they both co-exist peacefully being two countries. In terms of theology and progressiveness the Orthodox Church in India is at the forefront.

5) Here in Malankara one thing is very clear that the apex court judgments are to be implemented without diluting it. If the state government fails, may be the law of the land ask the central forces to implement it ruthlessly. Rule of law must be upheld at any cost. Hence the choice of the state government is very little other than to bring the warring factions to the negotiating table to sign a lasting peace agreement taking into consideration the court verdicts.

6) There is merit in asking for direction from stakeholders, if destination decisions are taken in

principle. It is said in the ancient wisdom that it takes two hands to unite a knot.

7) Please do recall that there are some 99 percent of the believers who want the church to reunified and the resources may be used for setting up hospitals, and such things

for empowering the general community around and not to squander it on litigations. But there

are a few from both groups who want to sabotage any unity or peace for their own sordid vested interests to thrive on.

8) I urge an appeal to the Hon CM to conclude this dialogue without shortcuts. You being an astute leader of courage and conviction, you can bring them to sign a lasting peace.

You may have to resort to arm twisting tactics.

9) As in the case of major conflicts like world wars, the first step in conflict resolution is to end the war by ordering cessation of hostilities. Then only talk about confidence building

measures—CBMs. The first step is to reach a conflict resolution -CR. Here both of them must come to end hostilities in the light of the Supreme Court final judgments and then agree to enter into a historic peace agreement as they did in 1958 without the humiliation of any party. The self-respect must be retained regardless of the victor nor vanquished. This is very important

that the Jacobite group must not be ridiculed or looked down upon as the vanquished. History is full of such incidents and the resultant rebellions. Hence here unity with dignity must be our slogan. Once the unity deal is signed by upholding the apex court verdicts, Hon CM may set up a core group to draw up a road map for its operational details. If you want, I am only happy to share my experiences in conflict management experiences Conflict Resolutions (CR) and confidence-building measure CBM)-I had elsewhere in PNG or Rwanda or South Sudan.

10) I wish you all the best for achieving the final deal on 5 th Oct.

 With greetings and best wishes,

Dr. KM George


SDF—Sustainable Development


1st Oct,2020

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