Patriarch Visit: No Clarity over Talks

By Babu K Peter

KOCHI (India): Even as an opportunity beckons for reconciliation between the Antiochian Jacobite and Malankara Orthodox factions in the wake of the apostolic visit of Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch , it is still uncertain whether the Prelate would hold talks with the Orthodox faction though the Orthodox Church has expressed willingness to hold talks.

With just one day left for the arrival of the Patriarch, there is no clarity on the matter. When the Patriarch announced the apostolic visit to India, hopes of peace and reconciliation between the factions were soaring as the Patriarch, who took charge in March 2014, had stated that reconciliation of churches in Malankara was one of his priorities.

Orthodox Church head Catholicos Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose-II had sent a letter to the Patriarch, expressing willingness to hold a conciliation meeting. “It is our fervent hope that genuine steps would be initiated for reconciliation,” the Catholicos stated in the letter to the Patriarch. “The Orthodox Church has always taken an open stand towards reconciliation. But, we are not ready for talks with pre- conditions. We expressed willingness to hold talks as Patriarch Ignatius has often expressed his wish to see the dispute between the Malankara Churches solved. It is learnt that the Catholicate of Orthodox Church had not received any reply from the Patriarchate.

Meanwhile, Metropolitan Kuriakose Mor Theophilose of the Antiochian Jacobite Church said that the matter would be discussed at the synod of the Church to be held on Saturday, which will be presided over by the Patriarch.

“As of now, discussion with the Orthodox faction is not included in the schedule of the Patriarch. But, it does not mean the Jacobite Church is against the talks. The proposal by the Orthodox Church will be considered, and a change in the schedule will depend on the decision to be taken by the Synod on Saturday,” Mor Theophilose said.

The Jacobite Church and the Orthodox Church, which have the same roots, have been at loggerheads for more than 50 years over ownership of various churches and other establishments.

COURTESY: New Indian Express 06th February 2015

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