KOTTAYAM: In a show of strength, about hundred thousand of faithful of the Indian (Malankara) Syrian Orthodox Church took part in a rally and public meeting held in protest against denial of justice to the Church and delay in implementing the Supreme Court orders in the Church case by the Kerala Government.
The rally was taken out from the Nagambadom Municipal Stadium to the Baselios College grounds, venue of the public meeting. The rally started from Municipal Stadium at 2:53 PM. Metropolitans Thomas mar Athanasius, Dr. Mathews Mar Severios, Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Paulose Mar Pachomios, Zachariah Mar Anthonios, Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios, Priest trustee Fr. Dr. Johns Abraham Konat, Lay trustee M.G. George Muthoot, Association Secretary Dr. George Joseph, the bishop elects of the Church etc led the rally which was inaugurated by Paulose Mar Milithios Metropolitan, the Catholicos-elect.
Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan Moran Mor Baselios Mar Thoma Didymus-I inaugurated the public meeting.
A gathering of nearly a lakh (hundred thousand) of believers unanimously took the oath of allegiance to the office of the Catholicate and took upon themselves the duty to do everything to secure institutions belonging to the church.
Inaugurating the gathering, Catholicos of the East Baselios Mar Thoma Didymos I, Supreme head of the church, declared that the Orthodox church was an independent church formed in India and it would not surrender its freedom to any foreign power. He said the Catholicate of the East cannot be partitioned. It is a power center as independent as that of Rome, Antioch, Alexandria or any other similar centers of power in Christendom.
In a strongly-worded speech, His Holiness said any Catholicos who functions under any other superior authority was not Catholicos of the East at all. He hoped the church would get its legitimate rights but, in what appears to be a direct indictment of the authorities, he alleged that it was unfortunate that those in power had failed to implement the directives of the court. Such an attitude would be a threat to the unity of the nation, he said.
Catholicos-elect Paulose Mar Milithios reminded the gathering that if the authorities continued with their current attitude, they would be forced to hold more such rallies. The church did not want to appropriate anything from anyone. But it would go to any extent to get its legitimate rights implemented, he said.
Thomas Mar Athanasius (Chengannur diocese) said the show of strength was not against the government in power, but against the failure of the authorities to implement the final verdict of the Supreme Court in the church case.