Among all ancient Christian churches the Malankara Church is one with a strong democratic footing to elect her leaders.
Malankara Syrian Christian Association consisting more than 4000 members representing the whole Malankara Church is her supreme legislative assembly. Historians, therefore, depict this assembly as the parliament of Malankara.
Malankara Association elects the Malankara Metropolitan, the Catholicose, Priest Trustee, Lay Trustee, Metropolitans and Church Managing Committee members. The constitution of the Malankara Church can be amended or new by-laws can be introduced only through getting them passed in this apex body.
Episcopal election demands, however, at least 50 percent and one vote separately from the clergy and lay members, who are legally entitled to vote and be present at the Association site, to declare a candidate elected.
Members are elected to represent parishes at the Malankara Association. This election at parish level is according to the proportion of families in each parish basing the Supreme Court directives. Representatives from each parish are issued with a certificate of legitimacy (Adhikaara Pathram) on a specified format, which is sent from the Church Secretariat. Attendees then have to produce and submit this certificate of legitimacy validated by the vicars to enter into the Association Site.
Here below is the list of 11 official candidates for the Episcopal election to be held at Sasthamkotta on February 17, 2010.
Click on the names of the candidate to view their profile and photo. (The names are mentioned below according to descending order of age).
1. Fr. Dr. John Mathews (57) (Old Seminary)
2. Dr. Nathaniel Ramban (57) (St.Pauls)
3. Fr. V. M. James (56) (Mt.Horeb Ashram)
4. Thomas Yohannan Elavukattu Ramban (56) (Cathilicate center-Kozhuvaloor)
5. Fr. Zacharia O.I.C (55) (Bethany Ashram)
6. Fr. Mathukkutty (49) (Chengamanadu Ashram)
7. Yoohanon Ramban (47) (Ranni Ashram)
8. Fr. M. K. Kurian (45) (Madras)
9. Fr. Dr. Sabu Kuriakose (43) (Devalokam Aramana)
10. Fr. Dr. George Pulikottil (42) (Nagapur Seminary)
11. Fr. Dr. V. M. Abraham (40) (MGOCSM)
These candidates are filtered out through two levels of screenings from 27 nominations received towards the seven Episcopal vacancies at the beginning of the process. The Church considers this 11 member panel as the official one and wants to elect seven candidates to be consecrated as bishops out of this panel.
Although campaigning is forbidden through an official bull from the Malankara Metropolitan, pamphlets are circulating freely and there exists a fear among the faithful as well as the church administration that this anti-campaigning might considerably reduce the chance of getting seven bishop elects from this official panel.
Observes from Kottayam smell solitary voting and invalid voting being planned at various corners. This will jeopardize the election process and thereby making the results unpredictable. Therefore, IOH also thinks that chance for getting elected can be limited to between three to five candidates at the Sasthamkotta Association.