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Orthodox Church in Kerala asks Governor not to give assent to 'Church Bill' if government moves one

The Orthodox and the Jacobite factions of the church have been at war in the state since 1970, which intensified following the 2017 Supreme Court order, granting the Orthodox faction possession of over 1,000 churches and properties attached to them.
Last Updated 25 February 2024, 20:23 IST

Kottayam: Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church head Baselios Marthoma Mathews III on Sunday urged the Kerala Governor not to give his assent to any ordinance or legislation in connection with a 'Church Bill' that rumours say could be introduced by the Government of Kerala.

The Orthodox and the Jacobite factions of the church have been at war over the control of certain churches in the state since 1970.

The feud between the two factions intensified following the implementation of a 2017 Supreme Court order, granting the Orthodox faction possession of over 1,000 churches and properties attached to them.

However, the order has not been fully implemented until now due to protests from both factions.

Mathews III said there were rumours that a 'Church Bill' would be introduced.

He pointed out that the Supreme Court order is the law of the land and asked the Governor to use his discretionary power if any law or ordinance is introduced to bypass the apex court verdict favouring the Orthodox church.

'If any legislation or ordinance against that law is placed before you (the Governor) for approval to disregard the 2017 judgment favouring Malankara Orthodox Church by the ruling government of Kerala, we strongly believe that Your Excellency will use your discretion to give justice due to the Malankara Orthodox Church,' the Orthodox church head said at an event here.

While the Orthodox faction has stuck to their demand that the 2017 Supreme Court order be implemented, the Jacobite faction has alleged that the other group was 'misinterpreting' the order and 'taking over' their churches unethically.

The protests by both groups have often resulted in law and order issues in several parishes in the state.

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(Published 25 February 2024, 20:23 IST)

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