Clash erupts over unified holy mass in St Mary’s Basilica prior to Xmas, altar vandalised

st marys basilica kochi protest

Kochi: A violent clash erupted at Saint Mary’s Cathedral Basilica on Saturday morning regarding unified holy mass. The supporters of unified holy mass entered the church while the other group were offering mass facing the people. The altar was completely demolished in the clash that followed between the two groups.

The believers who support the mass facing the people had offered the mass on Friday night too. The conflict broke out when those who support the mode of mass approved by the Synod arrived at the Cathedral to mark their protest on Saturday.

The protesters vandalised all objects placed on the altar and wreaked havoc to seize control of the church before 10 am, the time to offer the mass. Though more cops were deployed to disperse the protesters, the efforts ended up in vain.

Even amid the skirmishes, a section of believers tried to perform the holy mass in front of the altar. The police refrained from severe action as the clash happened inside the basilica. The believers who support unified holy mass alleged that the rebel group has been conducting the “mass of evil” for the last three days by threatening the administrator.

The supporters of the mass facing people accused police of shoving off the believers who were offering mass. The police facilitated the protesters who attempted to humiliate the holy mass, accused the priests.

The people who have camped inside the church were expelled to avoid clash, informed the police.

For several decades, diocese under the Syro-Malabar Church have been following different modes of offering mass. While a section of priests offer mass facing the people, another does so facing the altar. In certain other dioceses, the Church follows a mix of both. As per the uniform mode of offering mass, priests and bishops across the Church in all dioceses have to perform the ritual facing the altar throughout the service.

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