Kundara Seminary Synod And Origin Of
Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
Vattasseril Mar Dionysius discussed
the Bethany Metropolitanís flirting with the roman catholic Church in
a meeting of the Episcopal Synod held at the seminary at Kundara in
either late 1929 or early 1930.The invitees were Catholicos Baselius Mar
Geevarghese II, Metropolitan Mar Gregorios Of Pampady, Mar Ivanios and
Mar Theopilos, Fr. Abraham Poothakuzhiyil, E. J. John and E. J.
Philipose. Mar Ivanios did not attend the Synod meeting since he had
objection to the presence of non-Synod members, although they were
special invitees at the instance of Malankara Metropolitan. Mar
Theopilos followed his Masters voice.
The major decisions of the Synod were
i. The permission given to Bethany to start parish churches under itís
control was withdrawn.
ii. Mar Ivanios was forbidden to start
new parish churches under the control of Bethany.
iii. In case Mar Ivanios acted in contravention of these decisions, the
assistance given by individuals and parishes will ordered to be with
Mar Dionysius communicated these decisions to Mar Ivanios.
Management of M. D. Schools- M. D. School Case
Mar Ivanios was earlier entrusted with the management od 60 odd Mar
Dionysius Schools run under the auspices of the Church. Immediately
before Mar Dionysius had proceeded to Mardin in 1923. Following the
decisions of the Synod afore mentioned, Mar Dionysius asked the Bethany
Metropolitan to hand over the management, which he refused. In this
situation Mar Dionysius filed a a suit in the Munsiffís court at
Thiruvalla against Mar Ivanios for release of management of the schools
to his care. Mar Ivanios, shrewd as he was, had informed the Trusts in
the names of his brother and relatives and transferred the Bethany
institutions to the charge of these Trusts. The church had to proceed
with the legal suit.
In 1926, mar Ivanios had sent a memorandum to Rome which proposed a
union of the Malankara Church with the catholic Church.
1. preserving the ancient rites and rituals.
2. retaining for the Holy Synod and for the individual Bishops their
jurisdiction over all the Jacobite Syrians that come into re union and
3. accepting the supremacy of the Holy See, the Pope being the successor
of St. Peter, the chief of Apostles of Our Lord.
Holy See answered the memorandum on 5th August 1929 which inter alia
(i) As regards rites: In conformity with the declaration already made in
January, 1929, the principle on which the Holy see deals with the
adherents of a historic rite sanctions the retention of that rite on
their return to catholic unity. This principle will be applied to
returning Jacobites in so far, of course, as their rites and ritual
books contain nothing that is contrary to catholic faith and morals or
inconsonant with ecclesiastical decorum. This principle is is natural
subject to exception where particular circumstances of person or place
render the retention of a certain rite practically impossible.
(ii) In reference to the desired assurance that Bishops returning to
unity to the unity of the church together with a notable part of their
priests and people shall be confirmed in their government of their
flock, this again is the ordinary rule on which the Holy See proceeds
given , of course, the required guarantees regarding Orthodoxy of faith,
validity of Orders and personal repute in those concerned , and this is
the rule which the Holy See proposes to follow in regard to the reunion
of Jacobites in Malabar.
(iii) On the question of hierarchical organization, it is to be
considered as settled that Jacobites of Malabar returning to the unity
of the Church either individually or in groups, are to be in no way
dependent on the Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch.
The Catholic Church took a final decision in the plenary session of the
sacred congregation for the Oriental churches on 4th July 1930. The
proceedings of the sacred congregation is reported as under." In
the plenary session on the July 4th last, Their Eminences the cardinals
of the congregation for the Oriental Church have duly examined the
question of " The Desiderata" exposed by the Jacobite Bishops
of Malabar, belonging to the Metran party, and especially of the Most
Rev. Mar Ivanios, Metropolitan of Bethany and Mar Theophilos his
suffragan, about their reunion with the catholic Church....."
It was therefore, convenient to meet the desiderata of the aforesaid two
Bishops, as it has already been done in greater part.
1. Assuring that the pure Syrian Rite of Antioch will be maintained and
that , therefore, they will not be confounded with Syrio Malabars whose
Rite of Syrio Chaldean origin
2.More over, assuring them that, having verified the validity of the
baptism and of the S. Ordination and consecration of the above said two
Bishops, they will be kept in their respective office and jurisdiction,
ie, Mar Ivanios will remain Bisop of Bethany with the personal title (ad
personam) of Arch Bishop Metropolitan and Mar Theophilos Bishop of
3. As for the title of the Catholicate and or Catholicos it is not
advisable to touch this question. In view also that, as the present
Catholicos is not going to be converted, it is premature to decide now
what should be done in case of his conversion. Te Arch Bishop of Bethany
and the Bishop of Thiruvalla (in presenibus return adjunctis) will at
present depend directly on the Holy See, without any dependence on the
Syrian Patriarch of Antioch.
4.Regarding the liturgical books (Missal, Ritual, Pontifical which are
those coming from Propaganda, the same will be kept, correcting,
however, the expressions not proper and erroneous, which eventually have
5. regarding the name, these new Catholics may be
called"Syrio-Malabar catholics of the Antiochene Rite" or
Syrio Malabar Church" or "Malabar Antiochene Church" or
"Syrio Malabar Church".In this way they will be distinguished
from the Malabar Catholics of the Chaldean Rite...."
The above decision was communicated to Mar Ivanios. It was also made
clear to him that Mar Ivanios and Mar Theophilos would depend directly
on the Pope and that the uniting people will be received into catholic
Churches a particular church. In this manner, "Mar Ivanios of
Bethany and his suffragan Mar Theophilos, Bishop of Thiruvalla, accepted
the decision of the Holy See and thus on 20 Sept. 1930, together with
the representatives of their followers, were received into the Catholic
church after having their profession of Faith before Msgr. Benziger
O.C.D.; Bishop of Quilon.
Mar Ivanios was made the Arch Bishop Metropolitan of the new community
with residence at Thiruvanthapuram and Mar Theophilos, Bishop of
Thiruvalla. Later through the Apostolic constitution (Christo Pastorum
Principi) Pope Pius XI constituted a special hierarchy on June 1932,
with the ecclesiastical province for the reunited Syrio Malankara