Ready for talks with Orthodox Church: Patriarch

The Patriarch of Antioch, Mar Ignatius Zakka I, said here on Monday that Jacobites are ready to hold talks with the Orthodox Church on the basis of the 1995 Supreme Court verdict to foster ties with the two Churches.

The Patriarch told mediapersons that Jacobites did not want to fight but wanted to live in peace. “We want all the members of the Malankara Syrian Church to come together and hold discussions to have peace, which is not practical in the present circumstances'.

To a question on the possible tie-up with the Orthodox faction, his response was: “How can they come to me when they have filed a case against my visit to prevent me from seeing the people of Kerala.

India is a great nation and it would not deny permission to the head of the Church to see his people.”

Elaborating on his moves to bring about a settlement, the Patriarch said: “The initiative to end the dispute was taken several times by the Jacobite faction and we waited for seven years before anointing Catholicos Baselios Thomas I as the head of the Jacobite Church.”

The Jacobites, even in these circumstances, were ready for discussions on the basis of the 1995 Supreme Court verdict, he added.

When asked about the Church's stand if metropolitans who left the Jacobite faction after the Supreme Court verdict were willing to come back, the Patriarch said if such a thing happened, the Church would discuss it.

Referring to the activities of the World Ecumenical Movement, he said that the movement does not have any powers and it could only give advice on issues.

About the role of Christians in India, he said India is a democratic country and Christians have their own role to play and that they should be proud of their nation.

Joseph Mar Gregorious, Synod Secretary and Kochi diocese Metropolitan, said the Government should come out with a formula to end the dispute over some of the churches in Kerala.

The Government can take over the property of the disputed churches even while allowing believers to worship in these churches, he added.