KOTTAYAM: The implementation of the Supreme Court verdict ratifying the sanctity of the constitution of the Orthodox Church of 1934 with regard to the administration of the St Peter’s and St Paul's Church at Kolencherry is a seemingly difficult task as it may invite strong resistance from the Jacobite community members who are numerically strong in the region.
The main attraction of both of the communities in staking claim to the ownership of the church situated in a 4.5-acre compound (of which one acre is teak plantation) is an array of institutions including the St Peter’s College, St Peter’s Higher Secondary School, St Peter’s B.Ed College, St Peter’s Vocational Higher Secondary School and the St Peters TTC. The Kotoor chapel is situated in a 2.5 acre compound. The church had also given four acre land for lease to the Kolencherry Medical College.
According to the Orthodox Church constitution of 1934, the vicar of the church will be its administrative head, too. Now that the constitution has got the Supreme Court mandate, the vicar the Orthodox Church appoints can preside over the Pothuyogam of the Church, and will consecutively have a say over the administration of its temporal assets. As of now, the two communities conduct prayers at the church by taking turns while the funds of the church institutions are deposited at a bank account to which no one has access.
Secretary of the Orthodox Church Biju Oommen said the Jacobite faction should accept the SC verdict and allow the church to be governed by the vicar being appointed by the Orthodox Church. However, resident metropolitan of the Malankara Syrian Theological Seminary, Vettickal, of the Jacobite Church Theophilose Mar Kuriakose said the issues should be settled amicably. The parish members will protest the appointment of the vicar by the Orthodox Church, he said....