Columns Features Opinions

Fancy Dress at Thrikkunnath

Once again we the MOC faithful have been deceived by the very people who were supposed to play umpire at Thrikkunnath seminary.

A 10-point charter of do’s and don’ts were drawn up by the district authorities of Ernakulam headed by the District Collector and signed by the representatives of both the MOC and the Puthencruz Society. But as usual, the Jacobites, led by its Chief Celebrant in person, broke most of these conditions with impunity.

While 10 minutes each were allowed for the Heads of the two sides to offer prayers (only ‘dhoopa prarthana’, and no Holy Qurbana), the Jacobites took around 15 minutes and claimed to have conducted some sort of a hotchpotch H.Q. A few minutes were taken to dress up (or ‘undress’?) by changing the disguise of His Beatitude. The black cassock was removed and, lo and behold, there he was in supposedly sacred vestments! Those watching the video clip on India Vision TV channel were treated to a first-rate fancy dress item taking place right in front of the tombs of 4 Holy Fathers of the Church!

Another stipulation was that only 10 persons would be allowed at a time, but the ‘Shreshtan’ was accompanied by a team of around 20 persons including a few Bishops. No camera or mobile phones were to be taken inside, but the Sabha Secretary, Thampu Thukalan, could be seen taking out a camera phone from inside his shirt where it was concealed while coming inside. Though a couple of policemen on duty tried to dissuade him from using the camera phone, he simply refused to budge and went on shooting the proceedings nonchalantly. All the while, the District Collector was very much present there!

But the biggest ‘spectacle’ was yet to come. After the exit of ‘Shreshtan’ and his minions, we could see the District Collector himself coming to the exit point and lending a helping hand to zip up the bag in which the vestments used by the ‘Shreshtan’ were packed to be carried away. He is then seen directing a staff member to carry the bag for safe-keeping.

I am not the least surprised by the stealth, subterfuge and felony used by the ‘Shreshtan’ and his equally ‘shreshta’( meaning: eminent) minions, because the long and ‘cherished’ history of these Antioch worshipers is one of law-breaking, falsehood, treachery , intimidation and violence. But what I am surprised is at the blatant violation of the official tripartite agreement by the chief patron of the said agreement, namely, the District Collector himself. Clearly, the District Collector had acted in a partisan manner by not only conniving at the breaking of the law but also even lending a helping hand to the law-breakers. They may have succeeded in betraying the MOC faithful but cannot escape the judgment of the all-seeing and all-knowing God Almighty.

But the question that begs an answer is whether a District Collector, or any government official for that matter, would have dared to act in such a one-sided and treacherous manner without the green signal from the political leadership in power? Therefore, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s complicity in the matter is very much suspected here, whatever his apologists might say otherwise. It may be recalled that he had given a false assurance to the Supreme Head of the MOC, H.H. the Catholicos, on the Kolenchery church issue that the court order would be implemented if a mutual solution is not reached in 15 days. Now more than 6 months have passed and nothing has happened.

Why is that the MOC is cheated and denied justice again and again? Why is that truth is not prevailing? Why is that we are taken for granted by the powers that be? My own answer to these is that we refuse to stand united. We refuse to stand as disciplined soldiers behind the Head of our Church. We stubbornly refuse to make our voices be heard. We refuse to come out of our cozy environs and, instead, revel in making potshots at our Church leaders. Our love for the Malankara Orthodox Church is superficial and not deep rooted. We refuse to acknowledge its richness and greatness. We are not ready to make sacrifices for this mother Church of ours. Hence the sufferings and the bleeding by this Apostolic Church of ours.