Some Thoughts On Bull E125/10 From HH Ignatius Zakka Iwas I

Written By: on Jul 7th, 2010 and filed under Columns, Features, Opinions.

On June 25, 2010 the Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch HH Ignatius Zakka I issued a bull numbered E125/10 to all members of the Syrian Orthodox faithful of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church worldwide. The bull came out at a critical and pivotal situation in the history of Christianity in India, especially that of the Christians of Syriac heritage. Therefore, it will be good to make a glance into the implications of this bull with a certain amount of analytical capacity.

1. Primarily, this bull is addressed to the Syrian Orthodox faithful of the Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church. Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch has always categorically said that ‘Jacobite’ is a term that is not official at all and therefore, not to be included in any official documents. However, in this bull, the Patriarch himself is using the term to denote the Syrian Orthodox faithful from India. On one hand there are standpoints for the Syrians and on the other hand there are paradigm shifts for the Indians. An abominable notation for the Syrians even today is used as one of dignity to the Indians by the Head of the Church himself. It won’t be wrong from the side of concerned authorities to give a thought into this issue with a critical mind.

2. The bull no 203/70 of June 27, 1970 issued by the predecessor of the present Patriarch acclaimed that St. Thomas, the Apostle of Jesus Christ to India, was not a bishop, even not a priest, and not worthy therefore to carry Salvation and grace of God to the Indians. Here in this bull St. Thomas is praised as the Patron Saint of India. Has there been any official and unequivocal shift in stands in the recent past for the Patriarch of Antioch that revoked bull 203/70 officially? If not, can the true children of St. Thomas take this bull as an official giving in that what had been said in 1970 is wrong? It is good to remember one statement of LL Dr. Stephanos Mar Theodosius on the absence of St. Thomas at the first appearance of Jesus Christ after resurrection, namely, when all the other disciples were caught under fear and were hesitating to venture a walk outside, St. Thomas dared it and that courage is what we have seen in his coming to the farthest of lands to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

3. Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and her members are alluded in the bull as ‘enemies’ (twice though). For the Patriarch, ‘they are born of hypocrisy and deception’. Through these words, the Patriarch wishes to say that anyone, who does not bow his/her head in front of him in sheer submission is to inherit sheol. Such words do not surely fit to the mouth a genuine high priestly instance, where merits and worth of the opposition are left fully unconsidered.

4. Also it is mentioned that the Malalankara Orthodox Syrian Church and her members are excommunicated in 1975 by the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Universal Syrian Church. This is perfectly alright seen from the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch. It is well within their freedom to do so for what ever reasons. However, a bull that is lavish in quoting verses from the Holy Bible has failed to note that there are verses and verses in the Holy Bible to love one’s enemies and to get reconciled with him (eg. St. Mathew 5: 21-26). I am sure that the Peshita Bible has all those verses. It is mysterious that the Holy Father from Antioch missed such verses.

5. Excommunicating persons for reason and no reason is common among the Syrian Orthodox of Antioch. A bogus apology, on the other hand, is enough to revoke such excommunications too. We can find evidences therefore in the referred bull itself. Ramban Joseph Mattam and Fr. Moses Gurgan were excommunicated and were reinstated from excommunication time and again. So was it with LL Mar Julius Isa Cicek also. A point we understand here is that excommunication is something that is to be used with carefulness and it is wisdom to use better judgment in matters of excommunication.

6. This bull made it clear that even an Abbot in a remote monastery in Kerala is appointed and removed by the Patriarch of Antioch. Now, one question can pop up. What are the responsibilities of

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12 Responses for “Some Thoughts On Bull E125/10 From HH Ignatius Zakka Iwas I”

  1. Itty Pothen says:

    Going by the wordings in this Kalpana, it’s an easy guess for any one with common sense to understand that the Kalpana was drafted in Puthencruise “wholly enriched’ with certain wordings and H.H. was asked to endorse with his signature.

    The wordings in this Kalpana run concurrently to the “Prestigious Yellow paper Publication” Viswasasamrashakan;

    (Quote): “….the enemies, who were excommunicated by the Holy Synod held in Damascus in 1975. And we saw our enemies promoting, with the sole evil purpose of harming our Church. Those born of hypocrisy and deception can only show their inherent nature”.

    (Unquote): Pity the Patriarch who had to stoop to such low language level to keep up the faith.

    Let’s recall and be reminded of the Kalpana of Jesus the King of Kings and the Prince Patriarch of all Patriarchs’;

    (Quote): But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. (Mathew 5: 44-45).

    (Unquote): Let the Malankara Indian Orthodox Church continue to pray for H.H. the Patriarch in our first Thubden, such that we may be sons of our Father in heaven.

    To summarize let us bear in mind, Mathew 7: 1-2;

    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    “But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another (Psalm 75; 7)”

    Presume the Bible in Syriac contains the above verses too.

    Itty Pothen.

  2. Philip A.C says:

    Unfortunately things are happening like that. A word on the NRIs. Gone are their glamour. People in India especially in Kerala are rich to call the shorts.
    If a Priest trusts in God, he simply does not have to leave his parish to make money for building his church. God will provide. The best example is being followed by Kallungathra Manalel Church where Rev. Fr.K.M.Zacharia is the Vicar. With a family of under 200 with hardly any NRIs they are role models in fundraising for the entire Christian community. 90% of the faithful give 1/10th of their earnings to the church. The Vicar set an example by giving his 1/10th from his earning and the people followed.

  3. IOC is now seems to be underhands on some NRI and Rich people
    Where are the beleivers? Are we lanting seeds on violence here
    Do we have enough strength other than few NRIs
    I see some preist conducting “Film shows” in Dubai – for building some hall.Are we doing marketing here in the name of god? Is it wise for a priest to collect money by that sort of “Cinematic Dances”
    Seeing only mud throwing here.Quiting reading this site.
    It should publish good thngs which will help our community to grow.
    Day by day I am seeing IOC becoming a commodity for few to sell…There is no hard beleivers or prayers in Jesus.No reason one why Pentecost growing there.
    [email protected]

  4. anup says:

    I feel JOC and IOC have common faith so ecumenism is easy (but accept as seperate chruches and respect each other). Think problem exist only in few churches and that can be solved (Pray 4 the solution).

    Commenting on all and igniting the young minds with hatred (nothing more all these people with better writing skills and tounge will do).

    People should avoid commenting Supreme Heads, Bhishops and about chruches etc of both faction.

  5. AC Philip says:

    In short what Anup says is take whatever nonsense somebody writes about us. Don’t defend. How can you have double standards? If people like Dr.Biju was in the Jacobite faction, these types of bulls will never see the light of the day. Unfortunately how can you expect people like him to be amongst their midst. That is meant for those narrow minded and feel like the frog in the pond.

  6. anup says:

    Why dear Dr BIJU you scrutinize this much?. It was the stand point view of Jacobite Christians for jacobite Christian, and it is not send to you (or to the Head of Orthodox Chruch of Indian). For jacobite Christans (Those who accept the supreme athority (spirituality) to the HH Mor Ignathiose Zakka IWAS I) these is neccessary and all of them accept.

    I belive that IOC And SOC can join as two sister chruch if the problems (in malankara) are settled. Let us pray for that. Since IOC and SOC have same faith, same tradition.

    People like us should change first. We should not start discriminating then Bhishops will solve out the problem?

    Let us hope for a better tommorrow.

    Anup Thomas

  7. Editor says:

    Bull is available at the end of the article

  8. AC Philip says:

    The bull is available on MTV.
    The reason why we pray for our enemies is because we use the same Bible most Christians use. But when we come to SOC, they may have the famous doctored (kappi kannon) version, may be edited by Rev.Kurianparambil Kaniyan Cor-episcopa.

  9. Thanks Dr. Biju Mathew for your comments on this bull125/2010. Is there any way we could have accessibility to the original or photocopy of the bull?

  10. Eventhough the bull E125/10 dated 25 June 2010 is meant for the people in the’Malankara Jacobite arch diocese’ of the universal syriac church we are concerned with only the language used against us by the patriarch.If we are enemies for the patriarch then the patriarch and his followers are enemies for us also.But still we can pray for our enemies.

    2.As we are going to celebrate the 100th year of our independence the church leadership should open their eyes to read such comments about us and act as per the suggestions put up by the learned people in the church.At least implement some of the points suggested in chapter no.10 (page1339) of the book “Indian orthodox church-History and culture”(2002)compiled by Rev.Dr.Joseph Cheeran,Adv.pulikottil,and Mr.K.V.Mammen.

  11. Philip A.C says:

    Thank you Dr. Biju Mathew for such an outstanding view on the Bull of the Patriarch.

    I am not trying to add much to it. With regard to your point nos.10 & 11. I can categorically say that it all originates from Kerala that includes the famous 203/70 of June 27, 1970 of HH Yakob III. I know a Arabi/Syrian friend who had issues with HH Yakob III on this very Kalpana. He confirms that HH Yakob III had succumbed to the pressure of the Malankara Church.

    Infact HH Zakka himself has in one of his bulls to his daughter Church in Malankara has written, ‘’… you are not informing us any of the developments there and at last you use to take certain decisions and ask us to approve it. That means you consider us only as a person to put the seal and signature on your decisions what ever it may be. As you know, this is a critical time concerning our Church there and any hasty or unwise decision will affect the innocent faithful whom you are representing. And if we sign any improper decision taken by you all the blame will come upon us.”

    Yes His Holiness, the blame will continue until somebody bold stands up in Antioch to say, ‘Stop this nonsense. There is no spirituality in this’.

    But I doubt, even though they claim followers of St.Peter – the Apostle, they still carry the traits of the old Kefa, the fisherman Peter who was always wavery. You need to have people with the metal of St.Thomas saying, ‘Let us follow Him, even if we have to die’.

    Meanwhile, have a look at the difference in quoting St.Paul to the Corinthians in the present Bull. The English version says it is 2 Corinthians 5:13 and the Malayalam says 1 Corinthians 5:13.. Atleast the person who typed the said Kalpana I hope is not an outcast who is sitting in front of any government office with a typewriter who simply types what you give and can make the odd mistake! Even that be the case, we can see a difference of opinion between the drafters of the English and Malayalam version.

    If HH really meant. 2nd Corinthians 5:13, ‘If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you’, does it sent any signals. No I doubt, because given the History of HH Zakka, there is no hope.

    I am not here trying to point out this mistake, but what His Holiness is trying to do is to, seal the hole with darkness’. If H.H is so found of quoting the Bible, let him follow them in real life and make his followers follow it.

  12. Editor says:

    Comments with proper name and place are solicited. Dubious ones will be deleted.


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