Rift in the Church of Knanaya in the foreground

A tense situation reigned on Sunday at the premises of the Catholic Archdiocese of Knanaya in Kottayam when some of its lay people clashed with the official group over a decision by the former to install the statue of Thomas of Cana ( Knayi Thoma) here in the morning. .

The episode began to unfold around 10:30 a.m. when a rebel-led procession with a statue of Thomas of Cana reached the church headquarters here. They faced stiff opposition from the official group backed by the Archeparchy leadership, prompting police intervention.

Discussions held

Following this, a team led by the Kottayam West Circle Police Inspector held discussions with the protesters. While the rebels held on, they were evacuated at 1.30 p.m. and convicted of illegal assembly.

An official statement from the Archeparchy of Kottayam later said that a group of people attempted to install the statue without permission, challenging an earlier decision by the church to erect a statue of Knai Thoma alongside that of ‘Uraha Mar Ouseph (Bishop Joseph of Uraha) at the church seat here.

“Although the Catholic Congress in Knanaya contacted them with assurances to install the statue in other places, they refused to see the reason and continued.

In this context, official committees and church nurturing organizations raised opposition. Moreover, there was no way that it could have been accepted or welcomed as this decision could set an unnecessary precedent, ”read the statement issued by Father George Karukapparambil, official spokesperson for the church. .

He further noted that the protest held in front of the Archdiocesan office had nothing to do with love or respect for the Knanaya community.

“Incite hatred”

“The statements made by the demonstrators during an argument with the police were intended to incite discord and hatred towards the community and its leaders, including the Metropolitan of Archeparchy,” he added.

Protesters, on the other hand, accused church leaders of being submissive to the Syro-Malabar church and of attempting to manipulate the history of the Knanaya church to fit their agenda. .

The installation of the statue, which had been brought here in a procession from Wayanad, was intended to highlight the rights of the laity in the administration of the church.

Jerry B. Hatch