Twenty five long years! I was consecrated as Metropolitan of Thrissur diocese of Malankara Church and assumed office in a solemn function held at Mannuthy headquarters on 1990 December 26th evening. To mark the completion of those 25 years of long presence with God and with my priests and people in the diocese a “Thanks Giving Service” was organized at the headquarters chapel on 2015 December 26th. I celebrated Holy Eucharist in the morning to thank God for His benevolence and gifts He showered upon me and the diocese. A brief meeting was conducted afterward to thank my priests and people. I briefly narrated the path we travelled. It was not an easy one. First since the Church was divided in to two and the two groups were in the court of law to prove each one right. By God’s grace the apex court of India ruled that both were wrong and hence the issue had to be settled by both groups coming together. I was in charge of the litigation committee, of the patriarch faction, in the Supreme Court of India. I accepted the order of the court and started working for re-unification. But that brought another split in the Church.
This initiated the second difficult period in our lives. A section of the erstwhile patriarch faction did not like the idea of establishing peace and bringing in unity in the Church. They started taking over Churches in Kottayam, Kandanadu, Angamali, Kochi and Thrissur dioceses against the ruling of the court. We in Thrissur diocese lost several Churches to their aggressive and violent methods of capturing Churches. I had to stay indoors for over a year lest the residence I built during my first five years term in the diocese be taken away by the people who captured the Churches. Several priests were thrown out of their serving Churches disregarding their legal rights and the wishes of the majority of the faithful. People who opposed the capturing were beaten up and thrown out of the Churches. Even a dead body was used to capture the parish Church of the diseased, though did not succeed due to the timely intervention of local police. I was physically attacked and was injured. My car was vandalized twice. I was broke financially. I had to sell the gold chain gifted by my family when I became a bishop to support myself during my “house arrest period”. But my priests and people took turns and kept vigil at night in my residence that I could sleep in safety. I did not have anything to feed them. So they brought their own provision while they were here at night protecting my life. I was able to move out of my residence only after I got a protection order from the Hon. High Court of Kerala against those anti-social elements. I should remember H.H. Baselius Marthoma Mathews II, H.G. Dr. Thomas Mar Makkarios Metropolitan (both in heaven), H.G. Dr. Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan of Kandanadu, H.G. Zechariah Mar Anthonios Metropolitan of Kochi and Mr. Pavunny of Malankara Mission Hospital, Kunnamkulam, to mention the leading persons, for their care and support during my troubled days.
Even while we were facing this most difficult time in our history, we were able to make progress in the development of the diocese in several ways. I had the privilege of providing protection to the priest who led the physical attack on me in Perumbavoor, when he in turn faced threat to his life from his metropolitan who instigated him to attack me. I hold no grudge of hatred against any one, but only sympathize with them who calls themselves Christians and do just the opposite. Looking back, I have reason only to thank God and my priests and people for caring and supporting me in my attempt to establish peace in the Church. This particular day was used to thank them. So I prepared mementos to be given away to my priests and people. The mementos were designed and labelled by me only to say I mean it with all my heart. I presented a brief note about the path we travelled in Malayalam prior to giving away the mementos. Priests and people from all my parishes and congregations attended the day’s event. I thank them for taking time out to be present on Dec. 26th 2015 at Mannuthy on my request. Over the years I have been blessed with hundreds of friends all over the world who pray for and support me and our diocese and its mission in various ways.
This video is with a video clip and pictures from the day. My brief note makes the voice track of the video.
I thank everyone all over the world who stood by me in showing to the world that a Church has to be an agency of the LORD in this world to establish peace and amity among people. Thank you all and God Bless You.