Kerala HC orders to hand over 6 more churches to Orthodox faction

Pradeep Joseph / Mathrubhumi News

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Kerala High Court | Photo: PTI

Kochi: A single bench of Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church to hand over the control of six churches to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in the state.

The court gave an ultimatum of two months to implement its order. The court suggested the use of police protection while handing over the churches.

Meanwhile, reacting to the development, the metropolitan trustee of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church Mor Gregorios Joseph said that the majority of believers in six churches are Jacobites. He added that they would move an appeal before a division bench.

The ruling comes at a time when the Jacobites-Orthodox row over control of churches is in the limelight. As per the court's order, the Jacobite faction has to hand over Saint Mary's Church, Odakkali, Saint Mary's Church, Poothrikka, St Thomas Cathedral Mazhuvannoor, St Thomas Church Karikode, St John's Church Pulinthanam, and St Mary's Church Attikunnu.

The dispute between the two factions dates back to 1912 when the Malankara church split and the Jacobite faction was born. The quarrel over the head of the church led to the split. Since then, all Supreme Court verdicts in the matter have favoured the Orthodox church.

In 2017, Supreme Court gave the Orthodox faction the right to administer 1000-odd churches and asked Jacobites to hand them over.

However, implementing the 2017 verdict was not an easy task due to the stringent opposition from the Jacobite faction. Both factions have previously resorted to violent measures.

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