OCP News Service – February 2014
The Leaning Cross Church – The Historic Monument of Orthodox Revolt against Roman Catholic and Western Imperial Domination:
“ By the Father, Son and Holy Ghost that henceforth we would not adhere to the Franks, nor accept the faith of the Pope of Rome, nor any foreign rule.” – From the Event of Leaning Cross Oath of 1653.
“A few years ago, I asked a prominent Roman Catholic priest of Cochin, how the Roman Catholic Church viewed the tussle within the Orthodox Churches in Malankara. Being a friend of mine, he was frank enough to admit that his Church wanted these problems to fester and worsen. The Roman Catholic Church, he added candidly, never missed an opportunity to take advantage of the internecine problems in other Christian churches anywhere in the world.” – P V Mathew
India: The Secretariat of Orthodoxy Cognate Society expressed high concerns over the recent agreement(December – 2013/January-2014) made between the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church. The agreement was made during the recent session of the official dialogue committee for Church unity. As per the news release, sharing of sacraments will be made in special circumstances based on certain stipulations. But nothing has been made clear on the nature of circumstances or the stipulations.
In a letter addressed to the President Metropolitan Gregorious Gabriel of Ecumenical Relations Department of the Indian Orthodox Church, the OCP Secretariat members in which they expressed their at most concern regarding the agreement.
The Letter states “We are afraid that the Church is moving towards a false union and it seems that IMOC has made is a habit to sign agreements with Rome. Previously the churches made agreements to share Churches and cemetery. Now they have agreed that Holy confession and Holy Communion can be shared at certain circumstances with respect to some stipulations.
Vatican as we all know play diplomacy and all these dialogues are to woo Orthodox Churches. Now they are using the ‘softness’ of Pope Francis and the shadow of ‘Christian persecution’ as tools of operation.
There are so many issues to be settled between Eastern Orthodox Churches and Oriental Orthodox Families as well as within the Oriental Orthodox family. We need to check weather, any other Eastern Orthodox or Oriental Orthodox churches such agreements with Rome. India is a secular country and what we need is strategic alliance with the Roman Catholic Church. There has been several agreements made between Eastern Orthodox Churches and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Several historical agreements have been achieved and we cannot forget the contributions made by late legends like Metropolitan Gregorious Paulose and Fr Dr V C Samuel the Orthodox Church in India.
There exist pastoral agreements between Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and All East and the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and All East (1991), also between Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria and All Africa and the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and All Africa. More here:
More dialogues between both families have not been revamped in the expected manner due to jurisdictional, political, theologian problems, internal schism, question of primacy, as well as lack of initiation and over commitments of Orthodox Churches to ecumenism.
There are also several unsettled issues with the Eastern Catholic Rites in India, particularly the Malanakra Catholics Rite who has provoked the Indian Orthodox Church with their ruthless actions.
We shall note the fact that the Coptic Orthodox Church has not yet recognized the sacraments of Roman Catholic Church, in particular the holy Baptism.
We shall not forget the Koonankurish Oath (Leaning Cross Oath) of 1653 which was the first recorded mass revolt against the Western colonialism in history. This heroic declaration of independence by the Malankara Christians (also known as Malankara Nazrani’s) was to free itself from the imposition of Western Roman Catholic supremacy in matters concerning the Church and its practices.
These type of agreements will only confuse our faithful who still think that Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy are same except the case of Pope and some minor differences.
How can we justify these agreements when our own families stay divided with internal schism and court cases?”
The Secretariat members also requested to reconsider such agreements in future and to focus more on inter-orthodox dialogues and to have diplomatic and strategic involvement in ecumenical movements. No response have been received form the President Metropolitan of the Ecumenical Relations Department So far.
(Secretary – OCP Society & Director- Dept. of External Church Relations)
Kisha D Dorado
(Director- Dept. of Church Research and Studies)
Abraham P Koshy
(Treasurer – OCP Society and Director- Dept. of Finance)
Ajesh T Philip
(OCP Delegate and Chief Project Coordinator – MARP)
(OCP Delegate – UAE , Gulf & Levant Region)
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