Couple ties knot outside Knanaya church after authorities deny nod despite HC order

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Justin John and Vijimol exchanged garlands in front of St Xavier's Church

Rajapuram:The betrothal of Justin John, a devout follower of the Knanaya Catholic Church, and Vijimol, a member of the Thalassery Archdiocese of the Syrian Catholic Church, was celebrated as a significant milestone in the history of the Knanaya Catholic Church. However, the marriage function took an unexpected turn when the authorities denied permission for the couple to have a ritualistic wedding within the church premises. Despite this setback, the couple decided to proceed with their marriage and exchanged garlands surrounded by their dear friends and relatives outside the church.

It is learnt that at the last minute, the church authorities concerned refused to issue consent to solemnize the marriage as per the rituals of the community.

Earlier, the Kerala High Court order had scrapped the ban on Knanaya community members marrying non-Canaanites. The couple had received a consent letter from St Anne's Church, Kottody under Knanaya Catholic Church to conduct the betrothal at St Xavier’s Church on April 17. The wedding date was fixed on May 18. During the betrothal and Justin received a letter from St Anne’s Church for the same. However, the Knanaya Church changed its stance and refused to issue consent for the marriage at St Xavier’s Church. As Justin does not belong to Thalassery Archdiocese, the authorities of St Xavier’s Church too declined permission for the marriage.

Meanwhile, the vicar of St Anne’s Church Fr Sijo Stephen Thekkumkattil maintained that the application for consent was submitted only on the previous day of marriage even though the engagement was conducted in April. The church required more time to carry out the faith-related procedures of the marriage and the decision regarding the consent had to be taken by consulting with the higher authorities in the diocese as the issue is under the consideration of the court, said the vicar.

The bridegroom Justin said that he would move a contempt of court petition in the High Court against the Knanaya Catholic Church.

The Knanaya Catholic Naveekarana Samithi (KCNS) has approached the Supreme Court to put an end to the endogamy practiced among the Knanaya community members under the Kottayam archeparchy.

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