NEW JERSEY: A Memorandum was handed over to Dr. Alexander Karackal, Sabha Secretary of Malankara Orthodox Church at a Civic reception given to him at Bergenfield, New Jersey by leaders of Kerala Christian Community of America.
The Kerala Christian community requested Dr. Karackal to convey to all warring factions of the ancient Malankara Christians and their leaders the deeply hurt feelings and concern at the non-Christian path followed to resolve the half a century old dispute. The Memorandum was presented by Alex Vilanilam Koshy and signed by the leading community leaders of North East USA. The speakers like T.S. Chacko, Andrew Pappachen, Prof. Sunny Mathew,Varghese Plamoottil,Annamma Mapillassery,Vicars of Catholic and Marthomite churches also expressed their concern while appreciating Dr. Karackal for his excellent leadership shown at this crucial time.
Dr. Karackal the Orthodox Sabha Secretary and Philipose Philip the Orthodox Sabha Managing Committee member from USA assured all positive actions and hoped that within the near future all issues would be resolved with the help of God’s Guidance.
TO THE LEADERSHIP OF THE CONTESTING CHURCH FACTIONS IN KERALA FROM CONCERNED KERALA CHRISTIANS IN AMERICA
This Memorandum is submitted by a few concerned Malayalee Christians from various denominations living in the US, for the urgent consideration of the leadership of the warring church factions in Kerala, whose words and actions are a matter of grave concern to the Christian community all over the world.
Two Christian factions of Kerala Christians have been engaging in legal suits against each other for more than half a century, and it has reached a stage of street fights, demonstrations, destruction of public property, and attack on public servants. The leadership of both factions instigates their followers to take law into their hands, and manipulate the elected political leaders for their material gains. Leaders of other Christian groups in Kerala are either indifferent or have given up their attempts to resolve the issues on Christian principles. Regrettably, some political leaders who only want to ‘fish in troubled waters’ have no interest in ending the conflict. The result is that we have become an object of scorn and ridicule, and are bearing a false witness before the world. And the ripple effect is felt even here on the far away shores of United States.
Both factions have bred a generation of blindfolded ‘Faith Protectors’ who, knowingly or unknowingly, add oil to fire. It has to be noted that similar situations existed in many troubled parts of the world as prelude to the birth of movements such as ‘talibanism’ and ‘al-queda’. So, it is up to the present generation of leaders in the community to realize the dangers lurking behind such negative forces, and correct their words and actions at the appropriate time to prevent catastrophic disasters.
We, Christians from Kerala who have settled in America, respect all Christian leaders of Kerala and work hard to keep the light of faith burning, and to pass it on to the subsequent generations. We look to our roots to get inspiration from, and to find role models for our children. Unfortunately, the news from home of actions by our Christian brothers and sisters, especially that of the warring factions, is terribly disappointing and disheartening.
The generation that gave rise to the ‘issues’ behind the fracas has gone behind the curtain. They lived in a very different world with very different perceptions. This generation of ours, with a broader worldview, living in a world without borders, must be able to settle this for ever.
We, therefore, appeal to all concerned to put an end to all types of lawsuits and political maneuvers to resolve issues among themselves, with guidance from the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We make the following suggestions for the serious consideration of the two factions of Malankara Orthodox/Jacobite Christians in Kerala and elsewhere:
1. Obey the law of the land and the final verdict of the Supreme Court of India.
2. Open all churches for the worship of all, irrespective of factional belonging.
3. Allow the dead to be buried in the cemeteries where their ancestors were buried.
4. Even if the Supreme Court grants ownership of churches and property to any particular faction, let a church be owned and administered by the faction that has majority of membership in that parish. This is to be done as a benevolent gesture (as shown by Father Abraham while dividing the properties) by the ‘actual owner’ identified by law. At the same time the minority faction should be provided with another place of worship and facilitate using of cemetery as a common property.
5. Alternately, both the factions could manage all disputed church properties jointly. [Example is the joint management of Chengannur Cheria Pally by Marthomites and Jacobites even after 150 years’ of separation!]
6. Accept each other as ‘Brothers in Christ’, fully surrendering the egos, legalities, and technicalities before the all-embracing Love of the Lord Jesus Christ, so as to leave a true ‘Christian Legacy’ for the future generations.
The following signatories representing different Kerala Christian communities in America, present this Memorandum to Dr. Alexander Karackal, Sabha Secretary of Malankara Orthodox Church, with a request to convey it to all concerned, and to the general public in Kerala.
We pray and hope that Christian charity and humility will prevail upon all decision makers of the factions, and His Wisdom will guide and strengthen them in their attempt to establish peace in the Christian world.
Place: Bergenfield, New Jersey, USA
Date: August 16,2005
1. Alex Vilanilam Koshy
Chairman, Kerala Association of NJ
Board Member NJ State MLK Commission
Board Member World Malayalee Council
2. Mr. T.S. Chacko
Board of Trustee Member, FOKANA
3. Andrew Pappachen
Global Chairman, World Malayalee Council
4. Prof. Sunny A. Mathews
Regional Chairman, World Malayalee Council
Board of Trustees Member, Bergen County Malayalee Christian Fellowship
5. Dr. George Jacob
Advisory Board Member of World Malayalee Council
6. Mr. George Abraham
Founding Board Member, Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations in North America (FIACONA), NY
Founding member and Coordinator, Indian Christian Forum (ICF)
7. Varghese Plamoottil
Executive Committee Member, Kerala Cultural Forum
9. Annamma Mapillassery
Vice President, Kerala Cultiral Forum, NJ
10. Kurian Abraham
Exec. Director, Kerala Christian Adult Homes Inc., NY
Vice Chairman, WMC NJ Province