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Kundara Seminary Synod And Origin Of Syro-Malankara Catholic Church

The Holy See answered the memorandum on 5th August 1929 which inter alia clarified:

(i) As regards rites: In conformity with the declaration already made in January, 1929, the principle on which the Holy see deals with the adherents of a historic rite sanctions the retention of that rite on their return to catholic unity. This principle will be applied to returning Jacobites in so far, of course, as their rites and ritual books contain nothing that is contrary to catholic faith and morals or inconsonant with ecclesiastical decorum. This principle is is natural subject to exception where particular circumstances of person or place render the retention of a certain rite practically impossible.

(ii) In reference to the desired assurance that Bishops returning to unity to the unity of the church together with a notable part of their priests and people shall be confirmed in their government of their flock, this again is the ordinary rule on which the Holy See proceeds given , of course, the required guarantees regarding Orthodoxy of faith, validity of Orders and personal repute in those concerned , and this is the rule which the Holy See proposes to follow in regard to the reunion of Jacobites in Malabar.

(iii) On the question of hierarchical organization, it is to be considered as settled that Jacobites of Malabar returning to the unity of the Church either individually or in groups, are to be in no way dependent on the Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch.

Final Decision

The Catholic Church took a final decision in the plenary session of the sacred congregation for the Oriental churches on 4th July 1930. The proceedings of the sacred congregation is reported as under.” In the plenary session on the July 4th last, Their Eminences the cardinals of the congregation for the Oriental Church have duly examined the question of ” The Desiderata” exposed by the Jacobite Bishops of Malabar, belonging to the Metran party, and especially of the Most Rev. Mar Ivanios, Metropolitan of Bethany and Mar Theophilos his suffragan, about their reunion with the catholic Church…..”

It was therefore, convenient to meet the desiderata of the aforesaid two Bishops, as it has already been done in greater part.

1. Assuring that the pure Syrian Rite of Antioch will be maintained and that , therefore, they will not be confounded with Syrio Malabars whose Rite of Syrio Chaldean origin

2. More over, assuring them that, having verified the validity of the baptism and of the S. Ordination and consecration of the above said two Bishops, they will be kept in their respective office and jurisdiction, ie, Mar Ivanios will remain Bisop of Bethany with the personal title (ad personam) of Arch Bishop Metropolitan and Mar Theophilos Bishop of Thiruvalla.

3. As for the title of the Catholicate and or Catholicos it is not advisable to touch this question. In view also that, as the present Catholicos is not going to be converted, it is premature to decide now what should be done in case of his conversion. Te Arch Bishop of Bethany and the Bishop of Thiruvalla (in presenibus return adjunctis) will at present depend directly on the Holy See, without any dependence on the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch.

4. Regarding the liturgical books (Missal, Ritual, Pontifical which are those coming from Propaganda, the same will be kept, correcting, however, the expressions not proper and erroneous, which eventually have been introduced.

5. Regarding the name, these new Catholics may be called”Syrio-Malabar catholics of the Antiochene Rite” or Syrio Malabar Church” or “Malabar Antiochene Church” or “Syrio Malabar Church”.In this way they will be distinguished from the Malabar Catholics of the Chaldean Rite….”

The above decision was communicated to Mar Ivanios. It was also made clear to him that Mar Ivanios and Mar Theophilos would depend directly on the Pope and that the uniting people will be received into catholic Churches a particular church. In this manner, “Mar Ivanios of Bethany and his suffragan Mar Theophilos, Bishop of Thiruvalla, accepted the decision of the Holy See and thus on 20 Sept. 1930, together with the representatives of their followers, were received into the Catholic church after having their profession of Faith before Msgr. Benziger O.C.D.; Bishop of Quilon.

Mar Ivanios was made the Arch Bishop Metropolitan of the new community with residence at Thiruvanthapuram and Mar Theophilos , Bishop of Thiruvalla. Later through the Apostolic constitution (Christo Pastorum Principi) Pope Pius XI constituted a special hierarchy on June 1932, with the ecclesiastical province for the reunited Syrio Malankara group”

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