Peace must be the only way for peaceful co-existence and better Christian witnessing HH Patriarch:
Obituary note on the late Patriarch Ignatius Zakka Iwas
: Missed Opportunities Based Challenges for his Successor.
(Dr K M George : firstname.lastname@example.org)
Our Holy Father departed for his heavenly abode recently. As St Paul says, “oh death where is your sting and where is your victory”. As such if we are in Christ Jesus, we are a new creation even after our death. I pray that the Holy Father may find solace in the lap of Abraham, who is the father of all believers.
This great shepherd of the Syraic Orthodox Church from 1981 to 2014 was one of the presidents of the WCC for a long time. He was widely respected in the Arab world too. I had the rare honour of meeting the Patriarch a couple of times. He was a perfect host, may be comparable to Pope Francis. He outsmarts in his hospitality even HB Baselious Thomas I.
Misguided-Misinformed and Confused Leader:
He came from a class of aristocracy on account of his ancestral worldly fortunes and possessions. To begin with, many of his good intentions were not implemented, may be due to palace coups or due to colonial instincts promoted by multitude who wanted to be yoked under servitude! To lend credibility to the above observation, many of the “Bulls” signed by him were discarded in letter and spirit reportedly with his connivance. He squandered excellent opportunities to become the prince of peace due to his pliable and manipulative personality. Otherwise Zakka I the erstwhile Patriarch would have gone into world history in golden letters in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount- “blessed are the peace makers—–.” What else one would read from the manipulative and intimidating Damascus Synod of 1981 and its resultant show cause notice to the then Catholicose HB Baselious Paulose II?
Again, as mentioned earlier, the Bull no. E.175/95 and the 6th Nov 1996 synod decisions, are all glaring examples of confusion and or contradictions dwarfing his tall stature. The Bull no. 30/ 1999, categorically castigates the Jacobite faction in India for thwarting the peace process, reconciliation and confidence building measures.
Let me also add that it is not fair to blame the late patriarch alone for the “anti witness” testimony. The sordid vested interest groups and place coup coterie in,” Devalokam” with their ‘holier than thou” attitude is equally responsible for aggravating the situation for the church to put on the filthy rags of the leper as mentioned by the late Holy Father. It is worth recalling Isaiah 64:6 as well. Admittedly it is unfair to talk ill of any one and particularly a departed spiritual leader, who did shower personal hospitality on me a couple of occasions in Damascus in Syria. But my only objective is to recall him as a great shepherded in the Christian world who broke ice with the Catholic Church and was a well respected king without any kingdom of his own in the Syrian Church! However with the inclusion of the Indian diocese ( popularly known as one of the dioceses of the Syraic Orthodox Church ), the Jacobite Church, its numerical weakness is taken care of by this one single diocese.
1) The above note is a challenge to the new patriarch to emerge as the prince of peace ,unity and reconciliation. As he knows several languages and well versed with the Indian situation, he has an edge over his predecessors to make decisive and well informed decisions. Again being very young with international exposure and wide ecumenical experience, presumably he has the required inner strength too to be a decisive man of action! It is an established fact that, among the Oriental Orthodox Churches, it is only the Indian church which exhibits any vibrancy judged by number of parish churches and believers and those who avail holy communion.
2) It is a challenge to WCC to take initiative for peace and unity in the Indian Church on respectable terms without any one emerging as victor or vanquished.
3) Even HH Pope Francis may use his good office and moral persuasion with the new patriarch and the Indian Catholicose to become active and proactive peace makers.
4) The new generation church leaders from, among the Jacobite church, headed by HG Gregorios- Synod Secretary, who is a very close confident of the new patriarch, coupled with his erstwhile comrade HG Dr Thomas Athanasius , a forerunner of peace and unity within the Malankara Orthodox Church may be persuaded by the new patriarch and WCC to facilitate the process of confidence building and peace and unity as well as reconciliation for empowered Christian witnessing during this millennium. It may also be worthwhile to have some well meaning laity to be included who are objective and peace centric to have this mission accomplished. This laity representation may be left to the above two bishops. Blessed are the peace makers .Why not the new Patriarch be known as the blessed peace maker in the annals of history?