Let us pray, peace be with us:

"The Cross that has been the cause of our good and by which our mortal humanity was set free,
O Lord, be for us a strong fortress. And by this Cross, we shall overcome the wicked one and All his devices."

(Syro-Malabar Qurbana)


                     THE NAZRANI        "The Truth will make you free"

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------          Vol. 20, No. 11             New Delhi            November, 2010                         --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Five Anglican bishops have announced their resignation from the Church of England with the intention to set up an English Ordinariate in communion with the Pope. Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, regretfully accepted their decision and wished them well. The bishops include Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough, John Broadhurt, Bishop of Fulham, Edwin Barnes, ermeritus Bishop of Richborough, and David Silk, an emeritus assistant Bishop of Exeter. In a statement released by the bishops, their reason for leaving the Church was over “developments they believed to be incompatible with the historic vocation of Anglicanism in faith and order”. This comes after a change in the Anglican church to allow the ordination of women as bishops and other liberal innovations. Speaking to The Telegraph, Bishop Burnham compared the Church of England to a failing chain of coffee shops that loses customers because it does not offer the same menu in every branch. The Members of the Church  no longer know what they will find when they walk into an Anglican Church, with some offering highly traditional services and others employing women as priests, he said.


The Syro Malabar Church is also like a failing chain of coffee shop that loses customers because it does not offer the same menu in every branch. The members of the Syro-Malabar Church no longer know what they will find when they walk into a Syro Malabar Church, with some offering highly traditional services and others according to the whims and fancies of priests and the choir. There are signs it is forgetting and losing a sense of where it came from. We have reached a stage now in the Syro-Malabar Church where there are so many different “products” that you don’t know what you’re going to get. Ever since this Church was raised to a Major Archiepiscopal Church and in every Assembly we hear the uniform mode of celebration of our Liturgy. Even in the recently concluded Assembly somebody raised this point, probably without knowing the fact that this issue was deliberated in all the previous Assemblies! The question should have been: Why was it not implemented?


In 1970's the Commission for Oriental Code presented a "theory" through Placidachan to the Holy See that if and when the Pope speaks as the head of the Latin Church the Orientals have no obligation to obey, but if he speaks as the head of the Universal Church he cannot show any partiality  and favouritism to the Latins. All the Oriental Patriarchs said "Fr.Placid, you have put a bomb". After the Vatican Council documents came to end the slavery, our Bishops had no courage to implement it.  Later through the same Placidachan a letter to the then SMBC was sent informing the Bishops that it has the full power and authority to establish Dioceses in India for the Orientals; no one questioned, but the leaders had no guts to implement. Reason: They did not want to go out of Kerala! Those who understood the Council documents were isolated and stamped as a separatist group. Those who studied the documents had requested the Cardinal Prefect to at least start bifurcating the given dioceses, but our Bishops were hesitant. Jurisdiction and territory came into the Church for the welfare of the spiritual growth of the people, not for the power politics of bishops. So far the Syro-Malabar Church has been blessed with Major Archbishops either from Latin Diocese or Latin Congregation! There is a Congregation to look after the affairs of the Oriental Churches viz. Oriental Congregation. The Orientals are not binding on the instructions of any other Congregations including the Congregation for Divine Worship. The Latin Church was permitted altar women by the Congregation for Divine Worship. However, to make changes in the liturgical norm and practice of an Oriental Church invoking an Interpretation of a Canon of the Latin Code (Can. 230.2) looks odd. Yet the Major Archbishop encouraged altar women in the Syro-Malabar Church without even discussing such an important issue in the Bishops Synod! When Mar Jacob Manathodath was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Ernakulam he had started the 50 days fast on Monday (instead of Ash Wednesday) as it is the practice of the Syro-Malabar Church everywhere. However the Major Archbishop, who is the Head and Father of the Church, reversed this decision and encouraged Ash Wednesday !


May we quote the words of Mar Abraham Mattam: "The Syro-Malabar Church is facing serious problems, confusion and indiscipline especially in liturgical matters. For any individual authority to make changes seems illogical and unjustifiable. That will only add to the problems we are presently facing.”


In 1990 after 25 years since closing the Eccumenical Council (1965), the Code of Canons for the Eastern Church was imposed! What the Council did was a temporary measure for the Orientals until a situation arrives when they themselves could take up the plan and programme. Each and every Church is free and equal among themselves and, therefore, no substitution can be satisfying to fix norms or arrange the details.  The declaration of the Ecumenical Council that each and every Church is free and equal among themselves is sufficient for the freedom of our Church. In 1965 itself we should have declared independence and acted accordingly. By 1957 the restorations were almost complete. Our enemies tried their best to prevent it from being enacted.  By 1993 our Church became the one which they wanted and was declared Major Archiepiscopal but obstructions continue even today.