Catholicos offers Jacobites peace

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Catholicos Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church on Sunday extended an olive branch to the Jacobite faction in the church, saying, “There is no reason for those having the same faith and liturgy to stay apart.”

Addressing a mammoth gathering of the faithful at the centenary celebrations of the Catholicate and the 1960th anniversary of the church at the Marine Drive, here, the pontiff said, “I am all for unity in the Malankara Church. I don’t know why it’s still a far cry, and who all are blocking it.”

Recalling a brief period of unity, Mar Baselios said he had the fortune to taste that unity once and he was longing for it again. “The Supreme Court had ruled in favour of us and what we sought was only what was due for us,” he said, referring to the church case.

The Catholicos also decla-red Rs 100 crore-worth of welfare projects at the diocese and parish levels, to mark the occasion.

This included the setting up of the Parum-ala Gregorious Cancer Centre, various projects for treating heart ailments and kidney diseases, building houses for the poor, extending help for marriage of poor girls, helping farmers caught in debt trap, and implementation of a health insurance project.

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who inaugurated the celebrations, said India showed the path for peaceful coexistence of various traditions and other countries should follow this model.
He also said that only faith in God would bring inner peace. “Material values and inner values should be combined for a peaceful life. In fact, a healthy mind is vital for physical health as well.”

Union minister K.V. Thomas, Khaldean church Archbishop Mar Aprem, CPM leader Kodiyeri Bala-krishnan, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who gave the main address, recalled the contributions of the Christian churches for national causes.

Chief minister Oommen Chandy released the centenary souvenir. Marthoma church head, Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, Archbishop emeritus of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, Mar Joseph Powathil and SNDP Yogam head Vellapally Natesn were also among those who spoke.

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