(Orthodox Herald) - A petition has been filed before the Ernakulam Munsiff Court by Jacobite Almaya Forum seeking to declare that the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church and Catholicos Baselios Thomas I have no right or authority to establish any diocese outside India, the territorial jurisdiction of the Church, and to depute priests or bishops for foreign dioceses.
The petition was filed by Mathachan Thukalan of Mulanthuruthy and Paul Varghese, president and secretary of the forum respectively.
It is alleged that Catholicos had gone to the extent of functioning as the Catholicos of the Universe, though his authority is limited to India. “The members of the Church in India and followers are part of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church under the supremacy and control of Patriarch of Antioch. The Catholicos is the regional head in India. He has no authority to function in any foreign country,” the petitioner said.
It is submitted that the exercise of authority by the Catholicos outside the territorial jurisdiction of India adversely affected the cordial relationship among the members of the church in foreign countries.”
The petitioners further pointed out that as per the constitution of the Church, the regional head of Jacobite Syrian Church should be the president of regional synod and his jurisdiction should be throughout India.
“But the Catholicos created many dioceses in foreign countries namely Dubai, Bahrain, Sharjah, Ireland, Europe, the United States and Australia and deputed metropolitan,” the petitioners said.
“All the churches and congregations of Jacobite Christians established outside India automatically come under the Patriarch of Antioch.
Any act on the part of the regional head related to declaring of dioceses in foreign countries and controlling them are nothing but challenging the authority of the Patriarch,” the petition said.