THIRUVANTHAPURAM: Yesterday the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was elevated to the status of Major Archiepiscopal Church and its Metropolitan Cyril Mar Baselios as the first Major Archbishop and Sreshta Catholicos.
Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, the Apostolic Nuncio to India, read out the Papal Bull in this regard at the St Mary’s Cathedral in Thiruvananthapuram.
Thiruvalla Bishop Isaac Mar Clemis, who felicitated the newly appointed Catholicos, expressed gratitude to Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Igance Mousa Daoud, Prefect of the Apostolic Nuncio for elevating the church to an Archiepiscopal church.
Replying to the felicitations, the new Sreshta Catholicos said that a long cherished dream of the Malankara church was realized through the elevation.
After the function, the Nuncio and other Bishops visited and said prayers at the tomb of Mar Ivanios and Mar Gregorios, the late Metropolitan Archbishops of Thiruvananthapuram and the predecessors of the new Sreshta Catholicos.
In 1930 Mar Ivanios of Malankara Orthodox Church with a small faction joined Pope of Rome as a rite. They still use the Malankara Orthodox Church liturgy and clergy vestments. Russian Orthodox Church is constantly fighting against the divisive activities of Rome in recent times and this will be a major setback to Malankara Orthodox Church as a whole. This may be the first Maphrianite of Rome with a new title to its Arch Bishop.
Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
In 1930, a serious setback happened in the Malankara Orthodox Church. It started with the betrayal of mother- Church by Mar Ivanios (Fr.P.T.Geevarghese) of Bethany. While he was a priest he earned the confidence of St. Dionysius of Vattasseril and was appointed as the principal of M. D. Seminary High School. As a Metropolitan, in 1919 he initiated the Holy Order of Imitation of Christ at Bethany in Ranny Perunadu. By that time he was seemed to be a promising Metropolitan of Malankara Orthodox Church. Mar Ivanios secretly transacted correspondence with the Roman Catholic Church for he was afraid of the Patriarch of Antioch’s divisive actions in Malankara Orthodox Church. His transactions started with the intention of saving the Church from Patriarch. But it slipped away and finally he joined with Rome as a rite under the Popes rule by abandoning the mother Church.