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Church dispute referred for mediation

KOCHI, Sept 13 (PTI): The Kerala High Court today referred the dispute between the Jacobite and Orthodox factions of the Malankara church over ownership of Kolenchery St Peter’s and St Paul’s church for mediation.

The president of Kerala mediation centre, Justice Thothathil B Radhakrishnan referred the matter for mediation on an application by Ernakulam district Collector, P I Shaikh Pareeth.

The mediation will be conducted by Senior Advocate N Dharmadan and advocate Sreelal Warrier.

Tension has been prevailing in Kolencherry since Catholicos Baelious Mar Thoma Paulose II, who heads the Orthodox faction went on an indefinite fast since Sunday evening, demanding execution of the court order which allows the faction to have the ownership of the two churches.

Catholicos Baselious Thomas I, heading the Jacobite faction, is also undertaking a fast demanding that status quo be maintained until a final settlement is reached.

The Orthodox faction will observe a protest day tomorrow in all the churches under it. A tense situation is prevailing in the area. All efforts by the Collector to sort out the issue has not so far yielded any results following which the Collector had approached the high court.