Saturday, 5 June 2010

Ecumenical Dialogue and Malankara Churches

DEDICATION “That All May Be One” I give thanks to God Almighty who calls me to participate in the Priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ. I dedicate this humble work to the Blessed memory of the Servant of God Mar Ivanios, who desired the unity of all the Malankara Churches in the Catholic Communion. And also I dedicate it to those who desire for the unity of the Malankara Church. INTRODUCTION
The Church as reconciled and reconciling community cannot serve God’s purpose in the world as it should when its own life is torn by divisions and disagreements. The members of the Church, wherever they are found, are part of a single people, the one body of Christ, whose mission is to be an anticipatory and efficacious sign of the final unification of all things when God will be all in all. Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only. This one Church is divided in to many groups today. Ecumenical movement is a help to bring the divided churches in to unity. The first divisions occurred in the East, either because of the dispute over the dogmatic formulae of the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon, or later by the dissolving of ecclesiastical communion between the Eastern Patriarchates and the Roman See. Still other divisions arose in the West more than four centuries later. These stemmed from the events which are communions, national or confessional, were separated from the Roman See. These various divisions, however, differ greatly from one another not only by reason of their origin, place and time, but still more by reason of the nature and seriousness of questions concerning faith and Church order.1 The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches. The present work is to find a history of the Ecumenical movements and the Ecumenical dialogues that helps the Catholic Church to bring the Sisters Churches together. Primacy of Pope is one of main problem in the ecumenical union of many orthodox Churches, here my duty also to make a historical and biblical sources for the origin of the Primacy of Pope.
Relevance of the Title The Primacy of the Pope or of Rome has a particular role in the ecumenical dialogue with the other Christian Churches. Therefore, we must give adequate information of this topic. As a Seminarian in the Malankara Catholic Church I found it more important to give an ecumenical history of the Church in general and of course the current situation of the ecumenical dialogue in the churches especially between the Catholic and the Malankara Orthodox Churches. The Servant of God Mar Ivanios the visionary of the Orthodox Church in India became Catholic and founded the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church for the Unity of all the divided Malankara communities together in to the Catholic Church in the late 19th century. Taking his vision, I try to find some of the major problems in particular the Primacy of the Pope which divides our sister churches to the ecumenical unity. Structure of the Study This study contains four chapters as well as a general introduction, conclusion and bibliography. The first chapter is a historical analysis of the origin, development of ecumenism and ecumenical dialogue. This chapter also explains the various divisions in the Church in particular in the East and in the West. Ecumenism is an invitation to stretch our minds and hearts; it is a call to broaden our horizons and enrich our tradition. As we work together, each step of the way, we must acknowledge that ecumenism is ultimately a gift from God. The Catholic view of ecumenical dialogues and that helps the Eastern Churches to have the unity with the other sister churches in the Eastern Christendom. The nature, scope, meaning of the catholic view of ecumenism gives an authentic teaching in order to have an ecumenical dialogue with the Eastern and Oriental Churches. The second chapter analyses ecumenism with the Eastern Churches in particular to the Oriental Orthodox Churches Then I try to explain the history of the ecumenical dialogue with these Churches and the current situation of the ecumenical dialogue between the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Churches of India and its scope. The third chapter analyses the history of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, her origin and vocation to the unity of the all her sister churches. The careful and prayerful study about ecumenism brought us an opportunity not only to warm our hearts, but also to reach out to create occasions for study, prayer, and action with our fellow Christian believers. The fourth Chapter deals with the current ecumenical dialogue with the Malankara Orthodox Churches and the dialogue on the Primacy of the Pope or of Rome. In second part we give a brief account of the Primacy of Rome and then the Primacy according to Malankara Orthodox Churches in the ecumenical dialogues. Then I would like to argue on the historicity of the collegiality in the apostolic college and the biblical basis for the Primacy of Peter. Sources of this study In this study we have made use of the different Church documents and agreements between the Catholic Church and Malankara Syrian Orthodox church, besides the Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms of Ecumenism from the Pontifical council for Christian unity. We have utilized different documents from the Holy See. Secondary Sources are comprised of valuable books and articles on ecumenism and the Papal Primacy. And also a general bibliography at the end of this study shows the primary and secondary sources. Limits of Study Ecumenism is a vast subject and this study is a comprehensive one. Therefore I cannot include all the aspects of ecumenism. So I limited my studies only to the brief history of ecumenism, ecumenical dialogue and the dialogue on the Primacy of Pope. Even in history I could not add all the matter but limited myself to necessary things. There are a lot data lacking in the ecumenical dialogue with the Malankara Orthodox Churches. I have found only limited books. This is only a first attempt to do a scientific work. I hope that it would be better to do in deep and systematic way in the future.
1.1The Meaning of Ecumenism and the Ecumenical Dialogues 1.1.1 The Term and the Meaning “The word ‘ecumenism’ is derived from Greek word ‘oikoumene’, which means ‘the inhabited World’”,2 and was historically used with specific reference to the Roman Empire. In its broadest sense, Ecumenism refers to initiatives aimed at worldwide religious unity. “This term also refers variety of approaches to the theology and relationship among the various Christian Churches and denominations.”3 In a narrower and more common sense Ecumenism is the movement that promotes unity among Christians. The word is used predominantly by and with reference to the Christian Churches and denominations separated by doctrine, history and practice. It is essential to remember that ecumenism is a reform and renewal movement within the Churches that is rooted in a search for a common mission, is nurtured in common spirituality, is lived in common service, and is developed in the variety of cultural contexts in which the Church of Christ finds itself incarnated. Most of all, the call of Christ to the unity of the Church is a call to Spiritual renewal that is realized in prayer, mission, ministry, service, and dialogue.4 2 New Catholic Enciclopedia, Catholic University of America, Vol.V, Washington, D. C. 1967. 96. 3 PETER M. J. STRAVINSKAS, (ed.) Catholic Dictionary, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Divisions, Chicago 1993, 189. 4Cf. K. RAHNER - H. VORGRIMLER, Theological Dictionary, Herber and Herder, New York 1965, 144. 1.1.2 The Word ‘Ecumenical Dialogue’ The words “ecumenical” and “dialogue” are constantly appearing in the papers and journals of our time. They point to a need and a desire. The need is evident. The Church of Christ by his own commandment should be one. Christ made the unity and union of his followers a symbol whereby they might be known. Today there is not only a nervous recognition of the Lord’s command but a growing desire to fulfill it. “Ecumenism” and “dialogue” are words for this effort to bring the churches together. “Converse is dialogue, if we put it in the simplest language, we would say that dialogue is talking together. It is neither a fight nor even a debate. It is a friendly exchange of ideas.”5 No one wishes to outwit his partner in the conversation. Both sides sincerely with to learn from the other and in turn inform the other. This is a new thing in inter-church relations and it is pleasant. It will take time, patience and a tolerant spirit to make our conversations easy and fruitful. Above all, the first efforts must be made by men who know both their own faith and the faiths of others. Good will cannot substitute for knowledge. Knowledge and good will make a sound partnership. On such a foundation our conversations will be worthwhile. In an Ecumenical dialogue we have to first discuss what we have in common; we try to understand better what divides us, and to engage in dialogue regarding the issues involved. Such a dialogue in truth and in love is not only an exchange of ideas, but an exchange of gifts, which can always enrich and challenge both the partners. Dialogue presupposes partners who have, and who are aware of, a strong sense of the identity of their respective churches. Accordingly, ecumenical dialogue has nothing to do with relativism and indifferentism towards the doctrine of the faith. “Its goal is not syncretism or unity on the lowest common denominator or peaceful coexistence in division, but full visible communion in faith, sacramental life, apostolic ministry and mission.”6 Full communion does not mean uniformity; exist alongside cultural diversity, but 5 J. BOSC – J. GUITTON – J. DANIÉLOU, The Catholic Protestant Dialogue, Helicon press, Paris 1960, 7. 6 W. KASPER, Harvesting the Fruits-Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue, Continuum Publication, New York 2009, 6. complementary emphases and perspectives, etc. in this sense “ecumenism is directed precisely to making the partial communion existing between Christian growth towards full communion in truth and charity.7 1.1.3 Scope of Ecumenical Dialogue The core of ecumenism we can see in the Gospel of St. John, where Jesus prays for the unity of all. “I pray not only for them, but also for those who believe in me because of their message. I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me. I gave them the same glory you gave me, so that they may be completely one, just as you and I are one: I in them and you in me, so that they may be completely one, in order that the world may know that you love them as you love me.” (Jn. 17: 20-23). This is the message for all Christians, who are longing for ecumenism or the unity of all Christians. Nowadays, the Christian Movements are growing, which aims towards the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only one Church of Christ. This means ecumenical dialogues have entered into a delicate and crucial stage. The ecumenical movements and Dialogues are grace of God, given by the Father in answer to the prayer of Jesus (Cf. Jn. 17: 21) and the supplication of the Church inspired by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8: 26-27). While it is carried out within the general mission of the Church to unite humanity in Christ, its own specific field is the restoration of unity among Christians.8 Setting aside theological differences, we can help each other in the things we all agree upon. That effort is commonly referred to the scope of ecumenism. 1.2 What Ecumenical Dialogues Look for? Some elements of the Roman Catholic perspective on ecumenism are illustrated in the following quotations from the Council's decree on ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio and in Pope John Paul II's encyclical Ut Unum Sint. Every renewal of the Church is essentially grounded in an increase of fidelity to her own 7 Cf. UUS, n.14. 8 Cf. UR, n. 5. 12 calling. Undoubtedly this is the basis of the movement toward unity…; there can be no unity of Church, worthy of the name without a change of heart.9 For it is from renewal of the inner life of our minds, from self-denial and an unstinted love that desires of unity take their rise and develop in a mature way. We should therefore pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace to be genuinely self-denying, humble, gentle in the service of others, and to have an attitude of brotherly generosity towards them. The words of St. John hold good about sins against unity: ‘If we say we have not sinned we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.’ So we humbly beg pardon of God and of our separated brethren, just as we forgive them that trespass against us. The grace of God has impelled the members of many Churches and ecclesial Communities, especially in the course of this present century, to strive to overcome the divisions inherited from the past and to build a new communion of love by prayer, by dialogues, by repentance and by asking pardon of each other for sins of disunity past and present, by meeting in practical forms of cooperation and theological dialogue. These are the aims and activities of what has come to be called the ecumenical movement.10 The Catholic Church solemnly pledged itself to work for Christian unity at the Second Vatican Council. This unity which of its very nature requires full visible communion of all Christians is the ultimate goal of the ecumenical movement.11 Divisions in the Church distort her witness, frustrate her mission and contradict her own nature. If the Church is to demonstrate the Gospel in its life as well as in its preaching, it must manifest to the world the power of God to break down all barriers and to establish the Church’s unity in Christ, because Christ is not divided. 1.2.1 A Change in Our Way of Thinking Christian ecumenism, in the narrower sense referred to above, is the promotion of unity or cooperation between distinct religious groups or 9 Cf. UR, n. 6- 7. 10UR, n. 4. 11 Cf. Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, Vatican City 1993, 20. 13 denominations of Christianity. For Catholics it can have the goal of reconciling all who profess Christian faith to bring them into a single, visible organization, i.e. the one and unique Church of Christ. The most important fact in Christian ecumenism is that people have to focus priMarily on Christ, not on separate Church organizations. Pope John XXIII, who convoked the Second Vatican Council, that brought the emphasis on this change, said that the Council's aim was to seek renewal of the Church itself, which would serve, for those separated from the See of Rome, as a gentle invitation to seek and find that unity for which Jesus Christ prayed so ardently to his heavenly Father.12 Christians cannot underestimate the burden of long-standing misgivings inherited from the past, and of mutual misunderstandings and prejudices. Indifference and insufficient knowledge of one another often make this situation worse. Consequently, the commitment to ecumenism must be based upon the conversion of hearts and prayer, which will also lead to the necessary purification of past memories. With the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Lord's disciples, inspired by love, by the power of the truth and by a sincere desire for mutual forgiveness and reconciliation, are called to re-examine together their painful past which regrettably continues to provoke even today. We believe that this unity subsists in the Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time. Any person who engages in ecumenism comes to realize that the work of unity is the task of the spirit and not a human project. The directory for the application of principles and norms on ecumenism meant to be an instrument at the service of the whole church and especially of those who are directly engaged in ecumenical activity in the Catholic Church, it also intends to motive, enlighten and guide this activity.13 1.2.2 Catholic Meaning of Ecumenism The opening statement of the Unitatis Redintegratio (UR) the Decree on Ecumenism promulgated by the Second Vatican Council states that: “The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the 12 Cf. UR, n. 2. 13 Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, n.12. 14 Second Vatican Council.”14 The Catholic Church embraced the ecumenical movement at the Second Vatican Council and recognized it as a movement of the Holy Spirit, and the Church solemnly pledged itself to work for Christian unity at Council. The Catholic understanding of Christian unity in the early times, the ecumenical movement considered as a Protestant affair and Catholics had no need to search for Christian unity as this comes with unity to the Chair of Peter in Rome in the Mystical Body of Christ. Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Ecclesiam Suam (His Church) emphasized that the ecumenical movement “derives from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,”15 and is a source of holiness in the Lord. It is generally noted that the participation of the Catholic Church in the Ecumenical Movement was fifty years late with respect to the Protestant Churches. The Second Vatican Council Renews the Church Union The Second Vatican Council (1962- 1965), was the golden step from the part of Roman Catholic Church, that promoted ecumenism at large. The Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis Redintegratio states, “This sacred Synod exhorts all the Catholic faithful to recognize the signs of the times and to participate skillfully in the work of ecumenism.”16 Pope John Paul II definitely remained faithful to his firm commitment to the unity of Christians. The unity of Churches is an essential condition of effective witnessing and for the spreading of the Gospel. 17 The disunity contradicts the nature of the Church itself. It disfigures and obscures the face and form of the body of Christ. A divide witness shall always be a serious handicap. All of the ecumenical pioneers, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox realized so well, the work of ecumenism is a renewal movement that can only be accomplished when believers are prepared to humble themselves, and by the prayer and penitence, reform themselves, entering deeply into the mystery of the 14 SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL, Unitatis Redintegratio (UR), 1964, n.1 in AAS 57 (1965), 90-112. 15 Cf. PAUL VI, Encyclical Letter - Paths of the Church: Ecclesiam Suam, Pauline Books & Media, Boston 1964, 39. 16 UR, n. 4. 17 Cf. POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter - Ut Unum Sint on Commitment to Ecumenism, Paulines Publications, Nairobi 1995, 5. 15 Lord’s death and resurrection. As Pope John Paul II reminds us in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint, unity is essential to the very identity of the Christian and cannot be seen as peripheral part of Church life. The call to be Christian is the call to Trinitarian life: the koinonia of the people of God symbolizes the mystery of the Blessed Trinity.18As we are in the third millennium, the entire Church is being repeatedly requested to commit herself fully to the cause of ecumenical dialogues. Early in 1960’s, the Second Vatican Council gave an ecumenical orientation to the Catholic Church and created a much more favorable climate for restoring unity among all Christians. 1.2.3 Ecumenical Christology In the second half of the 20th century, the Churches began to have a reevaluation of the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon and make an intense effort to see whether the languages of the various churches could be made understandable to the other Churches. Thus the Byzantine Orthodox Churches and Oriental Orthodox Churches entered into ecumenical dialogue and it bore abundant fruits. After their meeting they came to the conclusion that the difference existing among the Churches in Christology is chiefly due to terminology and not based on the essence of the Christological faith. In the content of the faith, both the Church families hold the same Apostolic faith. And they made a joint statement that “on the essence of Christological dogma we found ourselves in full agreement. Through the different terminologies used by each side, we say the same truth expressed.” Both sides found themselves fundamentally following the Christological teaching of the one undivided Church as expressed by St. Cyril.19 1.3 History of Ecumenism in the Early Church To understand the history of the ecumenical movement, we must first look at the history of the Churches themselves. The divisions came about as the result of disputes over doctrine in the past, particularly in the fifth, eleventh and 18 Cf. UUS, n. 8. 19 Cf. G. CHEDIATH, Christology, A Publication of the Oriental Institute of Religious Studies, Kottayam 2002, 159. 16 sixteenth centuries. All those disputes were heavily influenced by political and cultural factors. In the fourth century one of the major disputes in the Church was Aryanism. After the councils of Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381), the divisions begun by the Arius, an Alexandrian priest, were gradually resolved. The first councils called to heal divisions, those of Nicaea and Constantinople gave precision to Christian understanding of Christ and Trinity.20 Eventually five of the bishops (Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem) were recognized as patriarchs. (We must know the bishop of Rome never called to be a patriarch). These patriarchates were important in stabilizing the Church’s teachings in the ancient world and adapting it to the various cultures of the Empire. The councils of the fifth century, called by the Emperor to unite the debating Churches, focused on the relationship of the divinity and humanity of Christ in the Incarnation. At the council of Ephesus (431) the Churches attempted to resolve their differences in speaking of Mary as the mother of Jesus Christ only (Christotokos) or as mother of God (Theotokos) as well. Unwillingness to speak of the “God bearer” appeared to some to question the full divinity of Christ, while to others the use of the title appeared to question of his full humanity. The Persian Church did not accept the Council and fell out of the communion with the five apostolic patriarchates. After some years another heresy developed that is Nestorianism (Monophysitism). In Greek, Monophysitism means “one nature” and has been applied to those who have stressed Christ’s divinity to the point of overlooking, even denying his humanity.21 The Council of Chalcedon condemned the error, teaching that in “one and the same Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son, must be acknowledged in two natures, without confusion or change, without division or 20 Cf. H. GREEN, A New History of Christianity, Contiuum Publication, New York 1996, 33. 21 Cf. DOM CHARLES POULET, A History of the Catholic Church, vol. I, B. Herder book co., New York 1934, 241. 17 separation.22 A group of Eastern Churches they also rejected the Christological formula of the Chalcedon Council and today those Churches collectively known as the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in India is also a part of this Church.23 “The most distressing schism is that which has opposed the four Eastern Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem to the Western patriarch of Rome since 1054.”24 The claims of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to be the new Rome and the claims of the Bishop of Rome to a universal primacy that was more than one of honour have never been resolved and have often caused tensions among them. Even at this point, the Church was still considered to be one. 1.3.1 Western Schism We could see in the sixteenth century the West was split by the Protestant Reformation. Anglicanism and Protestantism, with its two great branches of Lutheranism and Calvinism, became rivals of Catholic Christianity, and claimed to teach the pure doctrine of the Gospel which the Bishop of Rome had contaminated in the course of time. Because of its emigration to America and its missionary zeal, Protestantism has since become a worldwide phenomenon. All of Northern Europe and important sections of Central Europe separated from the Roman communion, not just in matters of discipline but in matters of faith.25 Martin Luther’s (1483-1546) attack on indulgences drove him to ask questions like “How can I find a favorable God?”, “How can one be certain of salvation?” The response to his question about a favorable God, he personally discovered a forgiving, justifying God. This doctrine, often spoken as “justification by faith alone” and he described the Church as the assembly of those enjoyed justification by faith. The Council of Trent (1545-1563)26 became the reforming arm of the Catholic Church. It was in this Conciliar forum that a level of reaction to 22 Cf. R. G. ROBERSON, The Eastern Christian Churches: A Brief Survey, Edizione Orientalia Christiana, Roma 1985, 173-177. 23 Cf. GEORGE. H. TAVARD, Two Centuries of Ecumenism- The Search for Unity, Tran. W. Hughes, Meter Omega Books, Notre Dame 1962, 16. 24 Cf. GEORGE. H. TAVARD, Two Centuries of Ecumenism- The Search for Unity..., 14. 25 Cf. GEORGE H. TAVARD, Two Centuries of Ecumenism- The search for Unity…,15. 26 E.G. JAY, The Church, vol.1, SPCK, London 1977, 107. 18 Protestantism arose. In theological areas, the council clarified Catholic teaching where there had been confusion and examined the reformers’ views on the Scriptures, justification, predestination, and the sacraments. The Catholic reformation achieved an eventual purification of the Church. The First Vatican Council (1870) clarified the role of the papacy in the context of the infallibility of the Church. Catholic Canon Law was codified in 1917. For precision’s sake, we should also mention a schism which did not involve the Catholic Church, but which affected Russian Orthodox Christianity in the seventeenth century. Liturgical and canonical reforms stirred up the opposition of a large minority in the Russian Orthodox Church. In 1666 it resulted in the “raskol” or schism of the Old Believers or “starovites.” They themselves spilt into two groups, the Popovtzi and the Bezpopovtzi. 27 The Old Believers became very numerous, always maintaining very narrow relations with the official Church. In the same epoch, the Church of Rome suffered a new schism. The Archbishop of Utrecht rejected the condemnation of Jansenism by the Bull Unigenitus in 1713, and drew some Dutch Catholics into schism. Later on, this Jansenist Church drew recruits from among the German and Swiss Catholics who rejected the dogma of papal infallibility after the Vatican Council in 1871. It wasn’t the first time that a definition of faith provoked a schism. It happened as early as 451 at the close of the Council of Chalcedon. Later, when the dogma of the Assumption was defined, it seemed evident that definitions increase the obstacles to the already difficult tasks of ecumenical rapprochement, even if they are not the occasion of a schism. 28 Schisms have also taken place very recently, moreover. The Independent Philippine Church, called the “Aglipayan” Church, separated from Rome at the beginning of last century. 1.3.2 Developments and Origin of Ecumenical Movement in Western Church Since the beginning of the Church there have been heresies and schisms. The Church’s attempt to reunite them pertains to general church History. In the 27 Cf. GEORGE H. TAVARD, Two Centuries of Ecumenism- The search for Unity…, 16. 28 Cf. GEORGE H. TAVARD, Two Centuries of Ecumenism- The search for Unity…, 15. 19 20th century this attempt starts as a movement. “At the Edinburgh Missionary Conference (1910) Anglican and Protestant missionaries became more deeply convinced that divisions among Christians were a powerful obstacle to the spread of Christianity.”29 They recognized hostility, contentions, and even differences among Christians as a scandal and realized that many causes of these divisions seemed irrelevant in non-Christian lands. The International Missionary Council was formed not only to spread information about effective missionary methods, but also to lessen the scandal of Christian divisions by avoiding competition in non-Christian countries. In 1925 the Life and Work Conference at Stockholm studied the application of Christian principles to international relations and to social, industrial, and economic life. Almost simultaneously the Faith and Order Conferences began to discuss doctrinal matters, with a view to unity in faith and order. From these three organizations was formed in 1948 the World Council of Churches (WCC), with headquarters at Geneva, Switzerland. Separated brethren, therefore, laid the foundations of the 20th century ecumenical movement. The Catholic Church’s entry into the “ecumenical movement” officially began with the Second Vatican Council, before it, ecumenical initiatives had already been taken, especially in the organizing of prayer programs for Christian unity. Father Paul Wattson, for example, as far back as 1908, while still an Anglican, began the Church Unity Octave in Graymoor, New York. Also, there was the French man, Abbé Paul-Iréné Couturier, who in 1933 introduced in Lyon a triduum (Three days) of prayer for church unity. Later in the decade, this became known as the Worldwide Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and it continues to be celebrated in the northern hemisphere in January and in the southern hemisphere in July.30 Faith and Order Conferences at Edinburgh (1937) and Lund (1952) increased realization of the death of doctrinal differences and of the tenacity of denominational traditions. Paradoxically, efforts at unity have increased denominational loyalties. World associations have been developed by Anglicans, Baptists, Congregationalists, Disciples of Christ, Lutherans, 29 FREDERICK M. BLISS, S. M., Catholic and Ecumenical: History and Hope, Rowman & Littlefield Publication, New York 2007, 97. 30 Cf. FEDERICK M. BLISS., Catholic and Ecumenical: History and Hope…, 1. 20 Methodists, Pentecostalists, and Presbyterians. These world “confessional” associations had the immediate effect of increasing denominational consciousness; but in the long run they may enable unions to be formed on a wider scale. 1.3.3 Attempts for a Unity The early twentieth century has often been described as the moment of birth of an ecumenical movement. Following are the important attempts made for unity:31 • In 1902 Joachim III, Patriarch of Constantinople, and the Holy Synod sent an encyclical to all Orthodox Churches dealing with the means of possible rapprochement with those who believed in the true God of the Trinity so that the day of union of all Christians might eventually come. • In 1908, Spencer Jones, an Anglican clergymen, and Paul Wattson, a priest of the Episcopal Church in the United States who later became a Roman Catholic, Proposed From a week of prayer for unity. • 13 to 23 June 1910, The World Missionary Conference(Edinburgh) summed up and brought into focus to give the gospel to the world. • In 1920 the Church of Constantinople issued an encyclical to all the Churches of the world. It was an invitation to all Christian Churches to form a league of Churches. • The following year Mott and Oldham presided a meeting of the International Missionary Council, which was an outgrowth of the Edinburgh Conference. The meeting sought to promote study, coordination, and organization for Christian mission.32 These ecumenical activities were a source for preparing the World Council of Churches. Second World War delayed the creation of the World Council until 1948.33 The war period proved to be a time of deepening and intensifying ecumenical fellowship. One of the features that may be noted in the above narrative is the conspicuous absence of Roman Catholic participation. All of this changed when Pope John XXIII in 1960 created the Secretariat for Promoting 31 Cf. W.G. RUSCH, Ecumenism- A Movement toward Church Unity, Fortress Press, Philadelphia 1985, 26. 32 Cf. W.G. RUSCH, Ecumenism- A Movement toward Church Unity…, 29. 33 Cf. GEORGE. H. TAVARD, Two Centuries of Ecumenism- The Search for Unity…, 143. 21 Christian Unity. After that a regular contact between the Roman Catholic Church, the other Churches and the World Council has become possible. 1.3.4 Catholic Involvements in Ecumenism Catholic involvement in ecumenism is a recent phenomenon. Moreover, Catholic participation, although late, has been generally enthusiastic, especially on the part of recent Popes. Pope Pius XI had great interest in the Eastern Churches. Between 1922 and 1939 he issued 23 documents concerning them. He reorganized the Pontifical Oriental Institute, entrusted it to the Jesuits, and provided it with a new building and a large library. He also established the Ethiopian, Ruthenian, and Russian colleges in Rome.34 Pope John XXIII decisively promoted Christian unity. He deprecated the polemical tone used by some Catholic and frequently spoke about separated brethren with respect and affection. His encyclicals Mater et Magistra and Pacem in terries included statements indicative of his concern for Christian unity. Vatican Council II was summoned by John XXIII to stimulate the movement toward unity, among other things. The second Vatican Council in its Decree on Ecumenism Unitatis redintegratio (1964) (UR) declared the restoration of unity among all Christians to be one of its principal concerns. “With this Decree the Second Vatican Council formally brought the Catholic Church into the ecumenical movement, and set in motion a series of ecumenical dialogues on the international level, but also on the regional and local levels”.35 Since the Catholic Church entered the movement, she has demonstrated a developing and deepening commitment to the work of Christian unity In May 1995, for instance, John Paul II wrote two important documents. The first of these was an Apostolic Letter, Orientale Lumen (The light of the East), in which the Pope suggests that the time has arrived for the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church to deepen their level of communication. The second document was an encyclical on ecumenism, Ut Unum Sint (On Commitment to Ecumenism), that 34 New Catholic Enciclopedia, Catholic University of America, Vol.V, Washington D. C 1967, 97. 35 W. KASPER, Harvesting the Fruits-Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue..., 1. 22 calls on all Christian peoples and churches to renew their enthusiasm for the restoration of Christian unity: PCPCU has also contributed ideas to these encyclicals. 23 Chapter II ECUMENISM WITH THE EASTERN CHURCHES 2.1 Negotiation among Western Church and Eastern Church By the thirteenth century the slowly evolving division between Eastern Orthodoxy and the Latin Churches of the West had solidified, and it continued. Even as the divisions were being created; simultaneous attempts were often made to overcome them. The first legislative attempt for union was the Second Council of Lyons (1274).36 This Council was called by Gregory X, with three aims: Union with the Greeks, convocation of a crusade, and Church reform. The fourth session of this Council on July 6, the decision in favour of union was proclaimed, and the imperial party signed a creed that accepted the primacy, the filioque, belief in purgatory, and the seven sacraments, but the attempt for unity was failed. Numerous attempts at union among the Monophysite Churches have met with some degree of success. The Maronite Church, which returned to Catholic Communion in 1181, is a former schismatic group that followed Monophysitism. It is concentrated in Syria and Lebanon. A reunion with the Armenians of Cilicia lasted from 1198 to 1375.37 The Council of Florence (1438-39) attempted a shortlived union of all the Monophysite Churches. The attempts were renewed in the sixteenth century and since then a Syrian Church in union with Rome exists. Some of the Armenians united with Rome in the eighteenth century. “In the nineteenth century a group of Ethiopian Copts did the same. Finally, in 1930, the reconciliation of a strong minority of Indian Jacobite introduced the Syro- Malankara Rite into the Church.”38 It should come as a conclusion. 36 Cf. FEDERICK M. BLISS., Catholic and Ecumenical: History and Hope…, 84. 37 Cf. GEORGE. H. TAVARD, Two Centuries of Ecumenism- The Search for Unity…, 143. 38 GEORGE H. TAVARD, Two Centuries of Ecumenism- The search for Unity…, 15. 24 2.1.1 Ecumenical Dialogue in the Eastern Catholic Churches Inspired by the Second Vatican Council’s view on ecumenism, the Code of Canons of Eastern Churches (CCEO) gave legal expression to the ecumenical endeavors of the Council. Therefore, the promulgation of CCEO has created in ecumenical matters a disciplinary situation for the faithful to the Oriental Catholic Churches. The Apostolic Constitution Sacri Canones stated: “But what pertains to the universal ecumenical movement stirred up by the Holy Spirit to perfect the unity of the whole Church of Christ, the new Code is in no way the least obstacle but rather greatly advances it. For the Code guards this fundamental right of the human persons, namely that the faith be professed in whatever their rite, for the most part derived by them in their mothers’ wombs, which is the rule of all ecumenism.”39 Regarding the special ecumenical obligation of the Oriental Catholic Churches, Sacri Canones stated that “distinctly there is place in a clear light by Second Vatican Council that especially ‘a religious fidelity to the ancient traditions’ along with ‘prayers, example of life, mutual and better knowledge, collaboration and fraternal esteem for objects and attitudes’ bring it about that the Eastern Churches having full communion with the Apostolic Roman See, fulfill ‘a special task of fostering the unity of all Christians, especially Eastern Christians’ (OE 24) according to the principles of the decree on ecumenism.”40 In CCEO, the titles XVII and XVIII are directly concerned with the ecumenical question. The title XVII deals with the “baptized non- Catholics coming into full communion with the Catholic Church” while the title XVIII precisely focuses on the “ecumenism or fostering the unity of Christians.” Canon 143 §3 discuss of the non-Catholic participation in the Patriarchal Epharchial Assemblies. Another aspect of ecumenism, the communicatio in sacris, is discussed especially in canon 671 §2, §3. Also, there can be certain collaboration in the sacrament of Baptism and Marriage with Orthodox Churches according to the given norms. Furthermore, there are norms that guide the sharing of churches, 39 AAS 82 (1990)1035. 40 AAS 82 (1990) 1035. 25 cemeteries and liturgical objects for religious ceremonies with the Orthodox sister Churches. 2.1.2 Pro Oriente and Oriental Orthodox Churches After the Second Vatican Council, the Pro Oriente Foundation in Vienna took up the challenge of theological discussions and sponsored a historic series of discussions between theologians of the Catholic and Oriental Orthodox Churches. The First “Non-Official Ecumenical Consultation between theologians of the Oriental Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches” took place in Vienna in September 1971.41 It was a real search for truth and in the final Communiqué; the theologians affirmed that a common basis has been found in the apostolic traditions and in the first three ecumenical councils. After rejecting both Eutychian and Nestorian Christologies, they expressed their common faith in Christ. Later, in September 1973, in the second meeting of Pro Oriente, Christology again became the subject of theological discussions. In the final Communiqué, the theologians added to what has stated in 1971 that the mystery of Christ is incomprehensible, and that all concepts about Christ are limited. Thus correct Christological formulations can be wrongly understood, and behind an apparently wrong formulation, there can be a right understanding. This fact enabled them to affirm that “the definition of the Council of Chalcedon, rightly understood today, affirm the unity of person and the indissoluble union of Godhead and Manhood in Christ despite the phrase “in two natures”.42 There are definitive progresses in the area of ecclesiology between the Churches, although certain differences still remain to be resolved. The Oriental Orthodox Churches have accepted only the first three ecumenical Councils. Since the Oriental Orthodox Churches have no experience of primacy among their five independent 41 Cf. XAVIER K, JOHN. P, Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Joint International Commission for Dialogue Publications, Kottayam, 2001, 20 42 Cf. XAVIER K, JOHN. P, Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 25. 26 Churches, the basic concept of primacy itself needs to be discussed.43 Within their Church they have a different concept of primacy, distinct from that of the Catholic concept. Infallibility is another disputable concept. The principle of conciliarity was a solution put forward, and they recognized the need for a structure for coordination between the autocephalous Churches. 2.1.3 Oriental Orthodox Identity of Syro-Malankara Churches On 22 October 451 the Holy Synod of Chalcedon approved a definition of faith that in Christ there is one person (the divine Logos) but two natures (one human and one divine). This Chalcedonian Christological definition was supported by the Byzantine Imperial government and it was accepted within the Empire. But outside its borders, especially in areas where there was strong attachment to the earlier formula of Cyril of Alexandria, this Chalcedonian definition was rejected by the faithful.44 They were more attached to the formula of Cyril of Alexandria, about half of the Patriarchate of Antioch and the distant Churches of Armenia and Ethiopia. Those who rejected the council of Chalcedon were called Monophysites; while the Oriental Orthodox Churches accused that the Chalcedonian Council followed the path of Nestorius. At Present there are six Oriental Churches, which, although each is fully independent, are in communion with one another. They are the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Coptic Orthodox church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Indian Orthodox Church (Malankara Orthodox Syrian), the Syrian Orthodox Church (Jacobite- Malankara Syrian Orthodox), and the Antiochian Catholic Church in America is theologically aligned with these Churches, but is not in full 43 Not even a limited form of primacy exists similar to the role that the Patriarchate of Constantinople plays among the Orthodox Churches. In 1976, at the third Pro Oriente meeting, the Communiqué describes the areas of agreement on the nature of the Church and the notion of conciliarity. It states “one and the same Church, for there cannot be more than one, is manifested both locally and universally as koinonia of truth and love, characterized by Eucharistic communion and the cooperate unity of the episcopate. The unity of the Church, has its source and prototype in the unity of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, into which we have been baptized. Communiqué, Wort und Wahrheit, Supplementary Issue n. 3, Vienna, 1976, 223. 44 Cf. G. CHEDIATH, Christology, A Publication of the Oriental Institute of Religious Studies, Kottayam 2002, 158-159. 27 communion with them.45 The Malankara Orthodox Churches belong to this family of Oriental Orthodox Churches who were also called Pre-Chalcedonians by accepting the Antiochian Liturgy and theology. The Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church is an autonomous Church under the supervision of the Patriarch of Antioch while the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is an autocephalous Church. Each church has the strength of approximately 1,000,000 faithful. 2.2 Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Catholic Church The Syrian Orthodox Church periodically sought communion with the Holy See of Rome even after the Council of Chalcedon. In the second half of the Sixteenth Century, two partriarches, Ignatius Abd-Allah (1520-1556) and Ignatius Nemat-Allah (1557-76), professed the Catholic faith and tried to bring the Syrian Orthodox Church in to the Catholic communion. By the efforts of Patriarch Nemat-Allah in Rome, his nephew and successor David-Shah (1576-1591) was also confirmed by the Holy See as the Patriarch of Antionch in 1581. The Apostolic Nuncio, Leonardo Abel, and Patriarch’s brother Bishop Thomas could not agree upon a clause in the Profession of Faith. Therefore, negotiations were suspended in 1586, and the reunion movement came to a standstill.46 In 1620’s, the European missionaries, the Franciscans, Capuchin, Carmelites and Jesuits opened mission and centers in Alleppo and elsewhere in the middle East. They received individual laymen priests and bishops into the Catholic communion. From 1630 onwards, the Capuchins and the Franciscans of Aleppo were in touch with the Jacobite Archbishop. The Archbishop and two of his priests had inclination of joining the Catholic Communion. The missionaries found the Archbishop more heretical than the priests. In 1662, when the Patriarchate became vacant, the Catholic party was able to elect one of its own, Andrew Akhidjan, as Patriarch. This provoked a split in the community, and after Akhidjan’s death in 1677, two opposing Patriarchs were elected, from both parties. But when the 45Cf. P.HAFFNER, Mystery of the Church…, 85. 46 Cf. PHILIP N., Ecumenical Obligations of Syro-Malabar Church in Relation to the Orthodox Churches in India, Excerpta ex Dissertatione ad Doctoratum, Pontificium Institutum Orientale, Roma 1999, 8. 28 Catholic Patriarch died in 1702, this brief line of Syrian Catholic Patriarchs died with him. In 1782, the Syrian Orthodox Synod elected Metropolitan Michael Jarweh of Aleppo as Patriarch. Shortly after his enthronement, he declared himself Catholic. This caused a strong revolt against him, and the Patriarch took refuge in Lebanon. After Jarweh, there has been an unbroken succession of Syrian Catholic Patriarchs. 2.2.1 Common Declaration of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Shenouda III of Alexandria47 The initial statement of their Common Declaration expresses their agreement on faith in the Word Incarnate: “In accordance with our apostolic traditions transmitted to our Churches and preserved therein, and in Conformity with the three early ecumenical councils, we confess on faith in the one Trine God, the divinity of the Only Begotten Son of God, the effulgence of His Glory and the express image of His substance, who for us was incarnate, assuming for Himself a real body with a rational soul, and who shared with us our humanity but without sin. We confess that our Lord and God and Saviour and King of us all, Jesus Christ, is perfect God with respect to his divinity, perfect man with respect to his humanity. In Him His divinity is united with His humanity in a real, perfect union without alteration, without division, without separation. His divinity did not separate from His humanity for an instant, not for twinkling of an eye. He who is God eternal and indivisible became visible in the flesh, and took upon Himself the form of a servant. In Him are preserved all the properties of the divinity and all the properties of the humanity, together in a real, perfect, indivisible and inseparable union”48 2.2.2 Common Declaration of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Ignatius Yacoub III The official visit of Syrian Patriarch Ignatius Yacoub III49 to Pope Paul VI in Rome and the consequent common declaration (27 October 1971) is the first 47 rc_pc_christuni_doc_19730510_copti_en.html 48 Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, (Ed.) Xavier Koodapuzha- John Panickar, Joint International Commission for Dialogue Publication, Kottayam 2001, 24-25. 49 rc_pc_christuni_doc_19711025_syrian-Church_en.html 29 important opening in the ecumenical relation between the Syrian Church of Antioch and the Catholic Church in the last century. Pope Paul VI said: “The history the relation between our Churches shows many light and shadows. We recognize that difficulties which have been created over centuries are not always easily overcome. Each of us is motivated by a sincere desire to be faithful to our Fathers in the faith and to the tradition they have handed down to us. Yet this very desire to be faithful to them impels us to search with ever greater zeal for the realization of full communion with each other.”50 The common elements the Churches inherit were many, and Pope enumerates a few such as “a common sacramental life and common Apostolic tradition, particularly as affirmed in what is popularly called the Nicene Creed. The dogmatic definitions of the first three Ecumenical Councils form part of our common heritage”. The Pope expected that they could encourage the common efforts being made for a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of this mystery which, far from raising doubts about the two different ecclesiastical traditions, can reinforce them and show the basic harmony which exists between them. The Patriarch in his address to the Pope expressed his expectation that there will be “a day when we will have even a greater visible unity and that too without sacrificing our individuality and the cultural contribution each of our Churches can make towards the speedy spreading of the Kingdom of God on earth”.51 2.2.3 Common declaration of Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas In order to strengthen the bonds that exist between the Church of Rome and the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, and thus to progress further towards full Communion, Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch, came on pilgrimage of the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul and visited Pope John Paul II and the Church of Rome from 20-23 June 198452. The Patriarch was 50 Cf.PHILIP.N, Ecumenical Obligations of Syro-Malabar Church in Relation to the Orthodox Churches in India…, 13. 51 Cf. PHILIP N., Ecumenical Obligations of Syro-Malabar Church in Relation to the Orthodox Churches in India…, 14. 52 rc_pc_christuni_doc_19840623_jp-ii-zakka-i_en.html 30 accompanied by the Catholicos of the East, His Beatitude Mar Baselios Paulos II, the Head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and a group of bishops, priests, and laity. A common declaration was signed by both the heads of the Churches at the end of the Patriarch’s visit to Rome on 23 June 1984. Pope John Paul II and the patriarch professed the faith of their two Churches as formulated at the Council of Nicea and acknowledged that the confusions and schisms of subsequent years stemmed from the terminology, culture and different formula used by different theological schools. They admitted that today these differences do not affect the substance of faith. 31 Chapter III THE ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT IN THE MALANKARA CHURCHES 3.1 History and Ecumenical Movements in the Malankara Churches 3.1.1 St Thomas Christians (Marthoma Christianikal) Our Lord Jesus Christ sent his twelve disciples to the four corners of the world as heralds of the Good News of salvation. In divine providence, the Indian Church was blessed to have an apostolic foundation in 52 A.D. through the evangelization mission of St Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. St Thomas preached the Gospel in Kerala and the other parts of India and laid the foundation for the Christian Church here. On account of it, he is regarded as the Apostle of India. The Christians here are known as Thomas Christians (Marthoma Christianikal), in the same sense that they received the Gospel message through his preaching. Even today they are known as Thomas Christians.53. This Apostolic Church was in Catholic Communion from the early centuries. It came in contact with the Syro-Chaldean Church of the Middle East and consequently adopted the East Syrian Liturgy. The Church of St Thomas Christians was an autonomous metropolitan Church, headed by a metropolitan of all India, appointed by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch and governed by an indigenous archdeacon of all India, assisted by the general people of God.54 Since the St Thomas Christians, who kept intact their Catholic faith and liturgy, maintained the same socio-cultural life of the autochthonous people, their tradition was considered one of the religions of India. 53 Cf. G. CHEDIATH, The Malankara Catholic Church, Bethany Sisters’ Publication, Vadavathoor, Kottayam 2003, 11. 54 P. PALLATH, The Catholic Church in India, Mar Thoma Yogam, Rome 2005, 69. 32 3.1.2 The Brief History of Malankara Churches Those who are not familiar with the history of the St Thomas Christians in India could misunderstand the historic background of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, talking it as a new Church, from the time of its re entry to the Catholic Church in 1930, and forgetting the fact that the Malankara Church is part and parcel of the apostolic church of the St Thomas Christians, which was in Catholic communion till 1652. As part of the ancient apostolic church in India, the Malankara Catholic Church is deeply rooted in the spiritual tradition and cultural heritage of India. 3.1.3 Synod at Diamper and Coonan Cross Oath The beginning of the Latin Church in India was when Vasco da Gama, who discovered the sea route to India, landed in the harbor of Calicut on 21 May 1489. Followed by Vasco da Gama the Franciscan missionaries, Jesuits, Dominicans, Augustinians and Carmelites arrived and start their evangelization work and converted many Hindus all over India.55 Beyond doubt the history of the Latin Church in India is essentially connected with two institutes, namely the Portuguese Padroado and the Roman Congregation of Propaganda Fide. Hence there started the conflicts between these two missionary agencies. In the sixteenth century, the Indian Apostolic Church came into direct relationship with the Western Church through the Portuguese missionaries. The Portuguese extended the Padroado agreement in their evangelization programme over India and wanted to bring the Indian Church of the St. Thomas Christians under this jurisdiction. The arrival of the Portuguese missionaries was a turning point in the internal administration and liturgical traditions of the Thomas Christians and, in 1653 brought about, a split in the Church. The Church in India which was rooted in the socio-cultural environment and which enjoyed autonomy in internal administration in communion with the Universal Church, resisted the unwanted intervention of the Portuguese who brought with them the Western ecclesiastical traditions. The Portuguese missionaries, ignorant of the Oriental 55 P. PALLATH, The Catholic Church in India…, 43. 33 traditions of the Indian Church, had the conviction that anything different from the Western Church was schism and heresy. Hence they wanted to Latinize the Syrian Christians of India.56 In 1599 Bishop Franciz Roz (1599-1624) convoked a Synod at Diamper and imposed latinization on the Apostolic Church of India. This was a blow to the identity of the Indian Church. The Church of St.Thomas Christians could not withstand any more the denial of her autonomy. The initial resistance slowly gave way to discontentment, which ended up with the revolt in 1653 known as the Koonan Cross Oath. Describing the Revolt, Mathias Mundadan, a well- known Indian Church historian, writes: “Tempers rose and the Christians assembled in or before a shrine or near an open-air cross (“the Coonan Cross”) and took the Oath that they would never be under the Paulists, that is the Jesuits, and in future they would never obey Jesuits missionaries.”57 Thus, the one Church of the St Thomas Christians was split into two. A large majority of the broken-away-group hesitated to sever ties with Rome and they remained in communion with Rome, but, under the Latin Hierarchy. This group came to be called the Pazhayakûttukar, (later Syro Malabar Church). The other group of Thomas Christians wanted, at any cost, to hold on to their liturgical traditions and autonomy. So they opted to remain outside the Latin rule, with the unfortunate result of losing the Catholic communion, they were known as Puthenkûttukar. This group made several attempts to come in communion with Rome safeguarding their autonomy and ritual patrimony. Failing to re-establish communion with Rome, they happened to come in communion with the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, and they came to be known as the Malankara Church. These developments were not acts against the Apostolic See of Rome but against the Portuguese missionaries and their policy of Latinization. Even after the communion with the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, the Malankara Prelates Mar Thomas I (+1670), Mar Thomas II (+1686), Mar Thomas III (+1688), Mar Thomas IV (+1728), Mar Thomas V (+1765), Mar Thomas VI (+1808) and Mar Thomas VII 56 Cf. G. CHEDIATH, The Malankara Catholic Church…, 36. 57 A.M. MUNDADAN, Indian Christians: search for Identity and struggle for Autonomy, Bangalore DharMaram 1982, 92. 34 (+1815) one after the other had attempted reunion with the Holy See, but all ended up in failure. Until Mar Thoma V, both the Puthenkur and Pazhayakur factions were using the same East Syrian liturgical texts corrected and latinised by Bishop Roz. Nobody was against the East Syrian liturgy. It had been in use in Malankara for centuries and handed over from generation to generation. However, when the community got divided and moved away from each other, the Puthenkkuttukar began to use the Antochene liturgical tradition brought by the Jacobites in more parishes.58 3.1.4 Further Split among the Malankara Church From the Malankara Church a small group became independent in 1772, under the leadership of Mar Coorilos Kattumagatt. They are known as the Independent Syrian Church of Malabar, or the “Thozhiyoor Chruch”, a name given after the place in which this community is mainly settled. Later the Puthenkûr community came under the influence of the British missionaries in the 19th century. In 1836, some of the Malankara faithful joined the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S) due to the Anglican influence. Again in 1875, another section became independent also because of Anglican influence on their theology and on their tradition. They are known as the Reformed Syrians, or the Mar Thoma Syrian Church. This church can be rightly called “the Anglicanized Malankara Church”. From this Church in 1961, the St. Thomas Evangelical Church broke off, accusing the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of deviating from the reformation spirit. The remaining Malakara Church was divided into three Churches, namely, the Malankara Orthodox Church, The Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church under the Patriarch of Antioch, and the Malankara Catholic Church which came into Catholic Communion in 1930.59 58 Cf. G. CHEDIATH, The Malankara Catholic Church…, 68. 59 Cf. G. CHEDIATH, The Malankara Catholic Church…, 9. 35 60 3.2 The Attempt for Catholic Communion in the Malankara Church On the part of the Malankara church there had been many attempts to regain catholic communion, ever since the division which took place in 1653. Unfortunately, those attempts did not succeed due to various reasons. There were many individual reunions during this period but it was only in 1930 that the attempt to enter into the catholic communion succeeded as a movement. Most of the Malankara prelates entered into correspondence with Rome for this purpose.61 3.2.1 The Failed Attempts for a Reunion Initially the leaders of the “Puthenkur” had no intention of abandoning the Catholic faith, nor the Chaldean rite. An examination of the history of the pseudo bishops (Mar Thomas I to Mar Thomas V) who governed the schismatic group from 1653 to 1808 demonstrates that only when their efforts to get united 60 61 S. KANJIRAMUKALIL, Punaraikya Rekhakal (Mal), documents of the Reunion, OIRSI, Kottayam 1989, 17. 36 with the Catholic Church had failed, did they turn to the Antiochian patriarch as a last resort for obtaining Episcopal consecration for ensuring the spiritual good of their faithful62 The efforts for reunion at that epoch failed mainly because the heads of the Malankara Church demanded that they be consecrated bishops and be received into the Catholic Church with jurisdiction over their faithful. But the Carmelite’s vicars apostolic of Malabar (late Varapoly), the Portuguese Padroado authorities and the Congregation of Propaganda Fide were not prepared to receive the separated group with their head as a bishop with jurisdiction, since it was detrimental to their authority over the St. Thomas Christians. And they were fear of the reception of the separated group with their leader as bishop of “their own rite and nation” might have signified the reunion of all the St Thomas Christians under one head as before the sixteenth century and there would be the probable end of the authority of the Latin bishops over the St. Thomas Christians. “In fact, the policy of Propaganda Fide with regard to the St Thomas Christians was manifested in the very mandate given to the first vicar apostolic Sebastiani which require him to divert the St Thomas Christians from the Chaldean rite and convert them gradually to the Latin rite, and evidently this was impossible of a native bishop was admitted into the Catholic Church with Episcopal jurisdiction.”63 One must also note that, even if the first five heads ( Mar Thoma I to V) of the separated community were not consecrated bishops, they exercised all the Episcopal functions, including the ordination of priests. Consequently there was the doubt that at least some successors of Mar Thomas I, selected from among the “priests” not validly ordained, were simple laymen. The reunion efforts of the fifth successor to Mar Thomas I deserve our special attention. “Until Mar Thoma V, both the Puthenkur and Pazhayakur factions were using the same East Syrian liturgical texts corrected and latinised by Bishop Roz.”64 At the time of Mar Thoma V, there came from West Asia three Jacobie bishops, Mar Baselios, Mar 62 Cf. C. MALCHARUVIL, The Syro-Malankara Church, Bethany Publication, Alwaye 1973, 19,102-110. 63 Cf. P. PALLATH, The Catholic Church in India…, 167. 64 G. CHEDIATH, The Malankara Catholic Church…, 68. 37 Gregorios and Mar Ivanios. It was these three bishops who tried to introduce the West Syrian Antiochene liturgy in the place of the centuries old East Syrian Liturgy. On 29 June 1761 Mar Thomas V raised to “Episcopal dignity” Fr Joseph Parambil who succeeded him in 1765 with the title Mar Thomas VI. From 1765 itself Mar Thomas VI began his attempts for a reconciliation with bishop Florence of Jesus OCD (1750-1773), the vicar apostolic of Malabar, but based on the suggestion of missionaries, Propaganda Fide was ready to grand only a Brief conferring the dignity of Protonotary Apostolic to the “mitred layman” if he desired to become an ecclesiastic or the dignity of Knighthood (Speron d’Oro), if he would prefer to remain in the lay state. The intention of the Congregation was to convert the “mitred layman”, offering him some honorific titles and to reunite his people to the vicariate apostolic of Malabar.65 But such proposals became irrelevant since even before they were made known to Mar Thomas VI, he was consecrated bishop by the Antiochiane bishop Gregorios in the first week of January 1772 under the name Mar Dionysius I. after his valid Episcopal consecration Mar Dionysius continued the efforts for reconciliation through the Propaganda vicar apostolic of Malabar, regarding his attempts through the vicar apostolic to Pope Pius VI through Mar Cariattil, the head of the pazhayakur. Notwithstanding this, according to the proposal of the Congregation, on 10 July 1784 the Holy Father granted all the necessary faculties to archbishop Mar Cariattil to receive Mar Dionysius into the Catholic Church with his Community. With this provision of the Pope, about five years of intense travail of the Indian herald of ecumenism in Rome and Lisbon produced the desired result, thus unleashing a ray of hope for the re-composition of the unity of all the St Thomas Christians. 65 Cf. P. PALLATH, The Catholic Church in India…, 169. 38 3.2.2 The Unexpected Death of Mar Cariattil and the Last Blow to Reunion After further delay, on 23 April 1785 the return voyage of the two pioneers of ecumenism began. The archbishop reached Goa on 1 May 1786. Unfortunately, on 9 September 1786 Mar Cariattil died in Goa, causing an irremediable and perpetual loss to the Church of St Thomas Christians. He passed away in the archbishop’s house and was buried in the Cathedral on the following day. If Mar Cariattil had reached Kerala, Mar Dionysius I and his community would have been received into the mother Church (before any division and before officially accepting the Antiochene rite) and the St Thomas Christians would have remained one and undivided, without any of the numerous divisions found among them today. As matter of fact the premature death of Mar Cariatttil extinguished the last flames of hope that the old wound would eventually heal. After the death of Mar Cariattil, Mar Dionysius I sincerely continued his efforts until 1799, but did not achieve final success, especially because of the opposition and objections of the Carmelite vicar apostolic of Malabar (Varapoly) and his missionaries, who were largely responsible for the ultimate failure of the ecumenical Endeavour’s of Mar Dionysius I. He died on 13 May 1808 without realizing his dream of Mar Dionysius the unity and communion of all the St Thomas Christians with the bosom of the Catholic Church.66 3.2.3 The Ecumenical Efforts of the Twentieth Century and the Origin of the Syro- Malankara Catholic Church After the death of Mar Dionysius I in 1808, we find only one serious attempt for reunion during the governance of Mar Dionysius V (1876-1909), which also failed.67 As we have seen above, following the schism the Malankara Church became the victim of Antiochenization, Anglicanization and several divisions. In the end the Malankara Church became the part of the Antiochene patriarchal structure and the patriarch became the supreme head of the Church, without leaving any room for reunion attempts in Kerala. But the division of the 66 Cf. P. PALLATH, The Catholic Church in India…, 170. 67 C. MANCHARUVIL, The Syro-Malankara Church…, 119. 39 Malankara Church and the independence of the Malankara Orthodox Church from the patriarch the establishment of an autonomous Catholicate in 1912 placed this church in a position to determine its own destiny and hence once again the quest for entering into full communion with the Catholic Church came to the fore. The synod of bishops held at Perumalai in Tiruvalla on 1 November 1926, presided over by the Catholicos of the Malankara Church His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios authorized Geevarghese Mar Ivanios, the metropolitan of Betheny to enter into negotiations with the authorities of the Roman Church with a view to full Communion. 3.2.4 The Attempt of Mar Ivanios In accordance with the decision of the synod, in 1926 Mar Ivanios sent an unofficial memorandum to the Holy See, in which he prospected the entry of his Church into the Catholic Church,68 preserving the Antiochian rite and rituals, retaining the jurisdiction of the individual bishops and the prerogatives of the holy synod which consecrated bishops and metropolitans and performed all patriarchal functions with the Catholicate, as well as accepting the supremacy of the Roman Pontiff. He made it clear that the Holy Synod did not to be placed under the jurisdiction of the Syrian Catholic patriarch of Antioch.69 After obtaining full details concerning the Malankara Church from Mar Ivanios, on 5 August 1929 the Holy See answered the memorandum assuring the preservation of the pure Antiochian rite, the jurisdiction of the returning bishops over their flock and the complete independence of the Malankara Church from the Catholic Syrian patriarch of Antioch. It seems that since the Holy See denied the title of “Catholicos” and synodal structure, the Catholicos Mar Baselios lost all interest in the reunion. But clarifications and communications continued between Mar Ivanios and the Holy See regarding the disputed questions.70 Finally on 4 July 1930 the plenary session of the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church took 68 Cf. G. CHEDIATH, The Malankara Catholic Church…, 117. 69Cf. Archives of the Archdiocese of Trivandrum (=AAT), 10/1929; C.MALANCHARUVIL, The Syro- Malakara Church, 122-123. 70 G. CHEDIATH, The Malankara Catholic Church…, 118. 40 the definitive decision to receive Mar Ivanios, archbishop of Bethany and Mar Theophilos, bishop of Tiruvalla to the Catholic Church. 3.2.5 The Reunion After four years of discussion, there came the day for union. Mar Ivanios, and his suffragan Mar Theophilos, accepted full communion with the Catholic Church. By this time all the other prelates withdrew from the union project. According to Hambye, a famous historian who studied the history of the Malankara church says “…..the Catholicos, Basil II, who stood by Mar Ivanios, died in 1928. His successor hardly wanted to accept Ivanios views. This reluctance was all the more understandable; because the Catholicos’ party had just won some important law suits against the patriarch’s side”. It is quite unfortunate that the whole Malankara orthodox Syrian church could not enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. But nothing could shake the decision of Mar Ivanios and Mar Theophilos, since they had accepted it as the divine gift and plan for them. In his letter to the Apostolic Delegate, Mar Ivanios wrote about his decision to accept the Catholic Church. But he did not rule out a re union of the Catholicos, I do hope that at a later stage His Beatitude and the remaining Bishops will see the light and seek reunion. On 20th September 1930 Mar Ivanios, Mar Theophilos, father John O.I .C, Deacon Seraphion OIC , and Mr. Chacko Kilileth were received into the catholic church by bishop Aloysius Maria Benziger of Quilon, who was specially deputed to that by the Holy See. The group, consisting of a metropolitan, bishop, priest, deacon and layman, symbolically represented the church. On 11th June 1932, through the apostolic constitution christo pastorum principi, Pope Pius XI granted a hierarchy to the Malankara Catholicos.71 According to the apostolic constitution, Mar Ivanios was appointed the archbishop of Trivandrum and head of the Malankara Catholic Church and Mar Theophilos the bishop of Thiruvalla. So the entry of a section of the ancient Malankara church into the full communion of the Catholic Church, and the acceptance of the primacy of the pope as the successor of St. Peter, Marked the beginning of a new ecclesial life in Malankara. Such is the origin of the Syro- Malankara Catholic Church. The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church is known as the Malankara Catholic Church. The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church has found new strength by the reunions of Joseph Mar Severios, the Metropolitan of the 71 Cf. AAS 24 (1932) 289.292. 41 diocese of Niranam in the Malankara Orthodox church in 1939, Thomas Mar Dioscoros, the head of the Malankara knanaya community in 1939 and Paulose Mar Philoxinos, the head of the independent church of Malabar in 1977. 3.3 Malankara Catholic Church and Vatican II The ecumenical directory of 1993 explicitly states that one of the key concepts which came out of the second Vatican council was its communion ecclesiology.72 The church is no longer defined or viewed as a perfect society, or as a great organization with a powerful center upon which all the particular churches should converge or depend for their survival. The second council brought home the idea that the universal church is a catholic communion. For the council, the visible unity of the church presupposes pluralism in the church. Unity is not uniformity. The diversity manifests the beauty and richness of the Catholic Church and therefore it is necessary to preserve proper freedom in the various forms of spiritual life and discipline, in the variety of liturgical rites, and even in theological expressions. They are the richer expressions of the authentic catholicity and apostolicity of the church.73According to the ecumenical directory, the unity of the church is realized in the midst of a rich diversity and this diversity in the church is a dimension of its catholicity.74 The Malankara Catholic Church is a Major Episcopal Church sui Iuris in the Catholic Church, adding beauty and richness within the Catholic Church by proclaiming the Gospel to the world under the direction and care of the supreme pontiff.75 The presence of the Malankara Catholic Church in Catholic communion is an affirmation of the council’s communion ecclesiology, and it is an invitation to the Malankara non Catholic Churches to work for full communion within the universal church. It is also an assurance that it is possible for the Eastern churches to be united with the universal Catholic Church under the pastoral care of the bishop of Rome, without renouncing their eastern character and autonomy. 72 Directory for the application of principles and norms on ecumenism, n. 12. 73 Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 4. 74 Cf. Ecumentical Directory n. 16. 75 OE.Orientalium Ecclesiarum n. 3. 42 3.3.1 Malankara Catholic Church Today 10 February 2005 is a day that is engraved in golden letters in the history of the Malankara Church. The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church was raised to the status of a Major Archiepiscopal Church by Pope John Paul II. The Hierarchical Head of the Church was elevated as Major Archbishop who exercises patriarchal powers and governs the Church assisted by the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Church. The Major Archbishop also assumed the title “Catholicos” according to the Antiochian - Malankara tradition. This is the crowing event of all the ecclesial communion endeavours since 1653.76 After then The first Holy Episcopal Synod constituted the Permanent Synod and the various Synodal Commissions headed by Bishops to take care of various Apostolates of the Church. On Saturday, 14 July 2007 Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis, the second Major Archbishop-Catholicos declared Archbishop Mar Ivanios as Servant of God on the basis of the petition for the cause of canonization of Archbishop Mar Ivanios the Prophet of Reunion Movement. Now the Malankara Church is blessed with two archdioceses and six dioceses and having more than 5, 19,000 faithful. 3.4 The Role of Malankara Catholic Church in the Ecumenical Movements In his encyclical letter on Ecumenism, Ut unum sint, Pope John Paul II stated that “it is absolutely clear that ecumenism, the movement promoting Christian unity, is not just some sort of ‘appendix’, which is part of Her life and work, and consequently must pervade all that She is and does.”77 The Syro- Malankara Catholic Church, as an Oriental Catholic Church of Antiochian liturgical family, has therefore, a great responsibility to these important obligations of the Church. We have a good relationship with the Malankara Orthodox Churches, to whom the Syro-Malankara Church shares an undivided 19 Centuries of history and the Churches remain in the same West Syrian liturgy and traditions. 76 77 Ut Unum Sint, n. 20. 43 As a particular Sui Iuris Church in the Catholic Communion, Syro- Malankara Church has a special ecumenical role towards her sister Churches. The Syro-Malankara Church, who lives side by side with the Orthodox Churches, has the responsibility to cooperate with the Orthodox Churches where common witness is recommendable. The Churches can share its spiritual resources, places, and sacraments, according to the established norms of the Church. The Syro- Malankara Church has the responsibility to work together with the Orthodox Churches for the well being of the society and the common good. In India, it is inspiring to see that there are very many such common endeavors. More such mutual cooperation is helpful to give a unified witness of Christians before the secular society in India and to keep the desire for unity alive. It is evident that the work of preparing and reconciling those individuals who wish for full Catholic communion is of its nature distinct from ecumenical action. But there is no opposition between the two, since both proceed from the Marvelous ways of God.78 When individual are convinced of the necessity of entering into canonical communion with the Catholic Church, according to their conscience they are free to enter into it. If person out of conviction enter into the Catholic communion either as individuals or as group, Catholic Church does not hinder them. But Catholic Church does not encourage any coercion. The Catholic Church is against proselytism. It respects the freedom of individuals. But it earnestly seeks the communion of Churches.79 3.4.1 Why there is a Dialogue with Malankara Orthodox Churches As we know the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church has not yet any direct relation with her sister Orthodox Churches, she relate with them by the help of other two Catholic rites in India namely Syro Malabar Church and the Latin Church, so always the Malankara Church dialogues with them through the other rites. Ever since the division among the St Thomas Christians in 1653, there have been attempts for reconciliation between the churches as we have seen in the first 78 UR, n. 4. 79 Cf. G. CHEDIATH, The Malankara Catholic Church…, 247. 44 Chapter. St Thomas Christians who remained in the Catholic communion were always encouraging these attempts with their own recommendations and delegation s. But due to the negative attitudes of the Latin missionaries, who were generally afraid of losing their authority in Malabar and sometimes the scrupulous attitudes of the Orthodox Church leadership, these attempts were futile. Now as a particular Oriental Catholic Church in the Catholic communion the Syro-Malankara Church sincerely fulfils her vocation of ecumenical obligations in all levels- in organization, formation and cooperation- towards her sister Orthodox Churches, so that gradually there will be created an ecumenical convergence among the St. Thomas Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox. Furthermore, the prayer for unity from the heart of St. Thomas Christians with the intercessions of their forefathers who sincerely worked for reconciliation and who kept the unity intact for six long centuries may reach the Triune God, who alone can create the ultimate and true ecclesial unity. 3.4.2 The Attitude of the Orthodox Churches toward the Syro Malankara, Malabar Catholic Churches Later, the reunion movement under the leadership of Mar Ivanios and the subsequent flow of Christians from the Orthodox Church to Catholic communion changed the ecumenical climate in Kerala. For the Orthodox Community, this move by a few bishops, priests and a group of faithful was a kind of “sheep stealing”, and still there is a constant accusation by some Orthodox of, sheep steeling: by the Pope, by the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church.80 There fore, they were hesitant to have any ecumenical conversations and collaborations. The Malankara Church was always considered as a ‘rite’ by the Orthodox Churches in Kerala. One of the reasons why the reunion model of Malankara Church is unacceptable to Orthodox Church is it often leads to a weakening of the status of the Eastern churches. Theoretically, the eastern Catholic Churches are considered equal dignity with Roman Church. But in practice, their status within the big Catholic Church is often considered to be low. 80 Cf. G. CHEDIATH, The Malankara Catholic Church…, 248. 45 Though blessed with Apostolic origin, having plenty of faithful and vocation to priesthood and religious life, some of these churches are deprived of their right to exercise their autonomy. Since autonomy is very dear to the East, a weak Eastern Catholic Church would cause great problems for the Orthodox Churches who aspire to full communion with the Catholic Church. Therefore, this lowering of the status is, in actuality and ecumenical problem. The Orthodox Churches value their autonomous character and individuality highly. 3.4.3 Pope John Paul II’s Meeting with Mar Baselios Paulos II, Catholicos of Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church. On 7 February 1986 during his pastoral visit to India. Pope remarked that his declaration with His Holiness Mar Ignatius Zakka I Iwas with its doctrinal and pastoral implications was an important step in relations between the two Churches and affirmed that it was a decisive step in relations between our two Churches as we move towards unity. Pope John Paul II praised His Beatitude for his interest to emphasize the importance of the declaration and made proposals for putting it in to practice. His Holiness expressed his hope that the Church would find a new and effective means of going forward together in theological dialogue and in pastoral collaborations. The meeting of the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, with the Catholicos of the East, His Beatitude, Mar Baselios Paulos II, was a stimulation for the ecumenical relations with the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church. Further steps in the ecumenical relations, such as the formation of the joint commission for the theological dialogue between the two Churches and the subsequent agreements especially in the mixed Marriage, were certainly encouraged by these fraternal concerns.81 81 Cf. PHILIP N., Ecumenical Obligations of Syro-Malabar Church in Relation to the Orthodox Churches in India…, 20. 46 3.5 Ecumenical Dialogue between the Malankara Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Churches In the part of the Catholics there was a feeling of self insufficiency which tied them to passivity. Even after Vatican II, this ecumenical frigidity continued among the Churches. A breakthrough to this passivity and suspicion seemed to take place in early 1980’s with an ecumenical move for a Church in Nilackal, where St. Thomas the Apostle, their Father in Faith had been believed to have founded a Christian community. There after the friendly relations between the churches has been in steady progress, with annual Christian bishops meetings and the ecumenical priests’ gatherings. The official Ecumenical dialogue began in 1989 with the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and in 1990 with the Syrian Orthodox Church. The ecumenical relation with the Malankara Orthodox Churches of India has got historical, theological and juridical importance. The theological, especially ecclesiological consensus leads to more collaboration between the churches regulated by the norms of the Churches. The Catholic Church has agreements with the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church in pastoral collaboration and in mixed Marriage and Christological agreement with the Malankara orthodox Syrian Church. At the same time the existing differences between the Churches negate the full communion between the churches. Since it is an intermediary situation, both the Churches ask to be conscious of the sensibilities of the others avoiding the ecclesial indifferentism. It is, of course, a tough and necessary task that demands great prudence and necessary knowledge of the Churches especially of the developments in ecumenical dialogue. Ecumenical formation to the whole Church is one of the important responsibilities of the Syro-Malankara Church. Those who are involved in pastoral work in the Church should have knowledge of the history of the St. Thomas Christians, of her divisions, the agreement between the Churches, the unifying elements and the points of difference between these Churches. The ongoing dialogue with the Malankara Orthodox Churches in the international level is to clear the misunderstanding between the Churches which may lead to a better knowledge of each other. The agreements already achieved in 47 Marriage and Christology with these Churches has opened new ways of mutual acceptance and express the existing communion, though not full, with these Churches. We can reasonably hope that this dialogue will draw the Churches more and more into fuller communion. In this respect the Malankara reunion movement and the event of 1930 are significant. The idea of negotiating for full communion was initiated by the Malankara Orthodox Church. It had been trying to regain the lost communion with the Catholic Church ever since it got separated in 1653. Though practically all the Malankara metropolitans tried for union with the Catholic Church they were unsuccessful in getting a movement started. 48
4.1 Dialogue between Syro-Malakara Churches and Catholic Church The Second Vatican Council helps the eastern Churches to work for the Christian unity through the ecumenical dialogues especially through the Eastern Code of Canon Law. The Syro Eastern Churches particularly the Orthodox Churches, Malankara Orthodox and Catholic Churches are on their way of unity through the ecumenical dialogues. The Joint International Commission for Dialogues between the Catholic Church and the Syro Orthodox Churches give an idea about of the contemporary progress of these Churches in the doctrinal agreement in the Christological definitions, Sacramental Theology, History of St. Thomas Christians, Inter-Church Marriage, mutual pastoral help and Common Witness of the Church.
4.1.1 Official Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church
Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church is an autonomous Church under the guidance of the Antiochian Patriarch. Therefore the agreement between the Patriarch of Antioch and the Catholic Church also is applicable for this Church. Hence, we have seen the relation with the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch’s visits Rome in 1971 and the common declaration. As a part of the official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox 49 Church, a Joint Commission was set up by His Holiness Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Ignatius Zakka I Iwas. The first meeting at the local level was held at the Spirituality Centre, Manganam, Kottayam on Saturday 15 December 1990. The sessions were presided over by Bishops Pierre Duprey, the then Secretary of Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (Co-Chairman), the bishops of the two Catholic rites of India and Metropolitan Abraham Mar Cleemis (one bishop of Malankara Syrian OrthodoxChurch) jointly. In the discussions, it was decided to set up three subcommittees to discuss the following issues: a)- pastoral problems, b)- Inter- Church Marriage, and c)- Historical background of the division. The yearly ongoing dialogues were discussed the doctrinal Study on the Relation between Episcopacy and the Petrine Ministry; Historical Approach of our Common Heritage; developed and lived during the Pre-Portuguese Period. Common Witness; The Petrine Ministry in Relation to the See of Rome and the See of Antioch, The Nature of the Communion: Biblical and Ecclesiological Perspectives; Study of the St. Thomas Christians in India and the patterns of Communion in the First Millennium; Models of Communion and How to Promote Communion Today.82 They came to agreement in Christological definitions and the pastoral help in the Inter-Marriage, but still the dialogue continuing for the unity among the St. Thomas Christians. 4.1.2 Official Dialogue between Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church The new era in ecumenical relation, after the establishment of the Catholicate, begins with the visit of the Church His Holiness Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews I’s, visit to the Holy Father and the Church of Rome in 1983. During that historic visit, Catholicos requested the Creation of a dialogue commission between his Church and the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II’s meeting with the Catholicos during his pastoral visit to India in 1986 stimulated the ecumenical relations between these two Churches. As a result, a joint commission for dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Church of 82 50 India was created. The commission meets every year since 1989 to discuss different theological and pastoral issues. It published an Christological agreement with approval of the authorities.83 4.1.3 Continuing Dialogue The ongoing meetings of the Joint International Commission between the Catholic and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Churches are agreed upon Marriage between members of both Churches and the issue of Ecclesial-Eucharistic communion. They accepted the primacy and conciliarity as the complementary dimension of exercising Apostolic authority in the Church. They were both expressions and means of fostering communion. The commission also examined the problem posed by mixed Marriages. To find a solution to this question, both theological and pastoral, it was decided to continue reflection on mixed Marriage and on the Sacrament of Marriage in general in the course of the commission’s coming session.84 And also they were discussed the Unity of St. Thomas Christians, Petrine primacy in the first four centuries, Bio-ethical Issues as they emerge in the Present Day etc., On the last year Joint Commission decided to study the scope of cooperation between both the churches in outer Kerala Dioceses to share the churches and cemeteries and extending the services of the priests in funeral services were either of the churches doesn't have parishes. The commission decided to give the priests of both the churches, a printed copy of the Marriage Arrangement formed between the churches in 1994 at Vatican and to move together against the fundamentalism, terrorism and other social evils.85 4.2 Joint Agreements and Further Discussions 4.2.1 Doctrinal Agreement in Christology The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, as an Oriental Orthodox Church, holds the same Christological doctrine as that of the Coptic Church and the Syrian 83 Cfr. PHILIP N., Ecumenical Obligations of Syro-Malabar Church in Relation to the Orthodox Churches in India…, 44. 84 85 html 51 Orthodox Church of Antioch. Therefore, this Doctrinal agreement largely based on the common declaration of Pope Paul VI and Pope Shenouda III86 as well as of Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Zakka I Iwas. The members of the Joint Commission for Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church drew up a declaration in which they confess together an identical faith in Christ. The statement affirms that “we found our common ground in the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic faith held by the undivided Church of the early centuries. The faith in Christ always affirmed by both sides”, that faith could lead them to the restoration of full communion between the Churches.87 They affirm the common faith, with the same content, “but in formulating that content in the course of history, differences have arisen in terminology and emphasis.” They expressed their conviction in “that these differences are such as co-exist in the same communion and therefore needn’t and shouldn’t divide us, especially when we proclaim Him to our brothers and sisters in the world in terms which they can more easily understand.”88 The agreement clarify that Christology is substantially the same in both the Churches. It finds more existing communion between the Churches and therefore juridically it is important in the further developments in ecumenical dialogue. 4.2.2 Agreement in Inter-Church Marriage According to words of the Bishop Mar Kuriakose Kunnacherry one of the theologians of the dialogue said: “I am glad that the question of Marriages between Catholics and Syrian Malankara orthodox people is included as one of the pastoral topics in the dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church.”89 The Syrian Orthodox Church and the oriental Catholic 86 rc_pc_christuni_doc_19730510_copti_en.html 87 Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 12. 88 Cf. Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 30. 89 Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 39. 52 churches in Kerala were one and the same church until the west Syrian Prelates came to exercise ministry in Malabar. Till that time the oriental Christians here were undivided following the Chaldean Liturgy. This fact has to be born in mind in all the ecumenical discussions between the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church is only a little more than three centuries old and that too not on political or doctrinal reasons but mainly to have bishops from among the St Thomas Christians. Joint Statement on Inter-Church Marriage The joint Theological Commission of the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, having reached a deeper understanding of each others theological and pastoral position statement regarding inter-church Marriage which follows: - In all inter-church Marriage, great respect must be shown for the particular circumstances of each couple’s situation and the conscience of each party. No one, therefore, whether orthodox or Catholic, may be compelled to renounce the Church of his or her baptism. Any suggestion of proselytism should be avoided by the members of both the Churches. On the other hand, no canonical penalties may be inflicted on a person (of his/her family) who freely chooses to follow his or her conscience in this matter. - The Marriage may normally be blessed in the Church of the bridegroom and the bride may be permitted to receive Eucharistic Communion. In certain situation and by mutual agreement of the parties, the Marriage may be blessed in the Church of the bride; in this case the bridegroom may be permitted to take Eucharistic communion. - By all means the couple should see that the integrity and unity of the family in the Church life is maintained. They cannot maintain Eucharistic fellowship in both the Churches indiscriminately. However, on special occasions the husband/wife may take Eucharistic communion from the other Church by mutual consent. - The couple may by mutual agreement, take a responsible decision as to the Church (Catholic or Orthodox) in which their children should be baptized and brought up, in full harmony with the tradition of the Eucharist communion which they maintain.90 90 Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 660, 661. 53 4.2.3 Joint Statement the Role of the Episcopate in the unity of the Local Church The Orthodox- Catholic Commission discussed the topic: “The Role of the Episcopate in the Unity of the Church” and arrived at the following conclusion. We Agree that:- 1. The One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, is the Body of Christ into which the belivers are incorporated through baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 2. This ecclesial reality is the frame work for understanding the role of the Episcopate……………………………… 8. The Episcopate is one and is inseparable from the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The episcopate in the local Church and also represents the local Church outside it as well even when there is no “ecumenical” or provincial Council in session 9. This is based on the analogy of the apostolic college of the twelve, in which each shared the on apostolic authority. 91 It is in further discussion for the forth coming dialogue between these Churches. 4.3 Ecumenical Dialogue on the Papal Primacy The decision to study the Primacy of the bishop of Rome in the universal Church of Christ indicates that the Orthodox-Roman Catholic consultation is moving towards the centre of the issues that have separated our respective communions. My task is here to indicate the historical and the Biblical basis to answer the argument put forward by the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches especially the arguments of the Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and Malankara Orthodox Church. This dialogue is connected with the fact that both the current manifestation and the history of the Papacy as a challenge for non-Catholics: they provoke very different responses, It has become increasingly apparent in ecumenical circles that many non-Roman theologians and churches are actually coming to agree that some exercising of Primacy by the Roman see as "normal", "desirable" and “useful", or (to some 91 Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 165,166. 54 degree) "required".92 There is, however, a considerable difference between the official Roman Catholic view of Primacy and the type of Primacy that non- Roman theologians, churches and communions would be ready to accept for the well-being of the Church. 4.3.1 Malankara Orthodox View of Papal Primacy According to the Joint Commission the Malankara Orthodox Theologian Jacob Kurian presented the following article on the Papal Primacy. The exercise of authority in the Church has been viewed differently, with the particular reference to ‘collegiality’ and ‘Primacy’. By ‘collegiality is generally meant collective responsibility of equal partners in a group and by ‘Primacy’ is generally meant executive, appellatory, superivisory and juridical role of one partner over others. In the history of the Church, ‘collegiality’ generally refers to the collegiality of bishop in their synod or council and ‘Primacy’ refers to the Primacy of one Episcopal see or office over others regionally or universally.93 Collegiality of the Apostolic College Biblical witness is sufficiently strong, enough to substantiate at least, the following with regard to ‘collegiality’ among the apostles: i. The Apostles were promised authority, granted the Holy Spirit and commissioned with the evangelical task in the collective manner. ii. The important decisions like filling the place of and apostle, regulations regarding the entry of gentiles in the Church etc. were taken in council. 92 KLAUS SCHATZ, Papal Primacy-form its Origin to the Present, Tran. John A. Otto and Linda M. Maloney, Minnesota 1996. ix. 93 Cf. Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 441. 55 Therefore it is unlikely that any juridical ‘Primacy’ existed among the apostles, other than a role of ‘first among equals’.94 Collegiality and Primacies in the Early Councils In the history of the Church we should notice the evolution of ‘Primacial sees’ along with the exercise of Collegiality in Councils. Many Councils took the decision that metropolitans of provincial headquarters (in Roman Empire) and the patriarchs of the dioceses have privileges of supervision and jurisdiction over other bishops. For example the Bishop of Rome had jurisdiction over the entire Roman prefecture, the patriarch of Alexandria had jurisdiction over the Egyptian diocese. Patriarch of Ephesus had Primacial powers over Asiatic diocese. Patriarch of Caesarea over Cappadocia or Pontic diocese. The Partriarch of Thessalonica over Illyrican Orientale, patriarch of Milan over Italian diocese and the Bishop of Carthage over the African diocese. Among the Primacial powers were included the right to ordain bishops (Chalce. Can. 28) to convene synods (Theod. Ep.81) to receive appeals (Calce. Can. 9.17) and to ensure wrongdoers (Just. Novel 37. C.5). These facts imply that the principle of Primacy was endorsed with one condition i.e. the primates were subject to and answerable to the synod (councils) they themselves convened. Primacy of the Bishop of Rome (Papal Primacy)95 Primacy of the bishop of Rome seems to be a unique claim especially because it is founded on the issue of the primacy of Peter over the universal Church. To avoid any repetition of traditional arguments for and against the claim and to enable a discussion on the basis of the present state of affairs of the debate, we present the following position and observation: 94 Cf. Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 441. 95 Cf. Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 441. 56 Biblical Position On the basis of a thorough consideration of the study ‘Peter in the New Testament’ the Lutheran –R. Catholic dialogue group on Papal Primacy has affirmed three things. 1. The question of Papal Primacy cannot adequately be treated in terms of proof passages form the scripture or as a matter of Church – law. 2. We have no trustworthy evidence that Peter ever served as the supervisor or bishop of the local Church in Rome 3. There is no conclusive documentary evidence from the first century or the early decades of the second for the exercise of, or even the claim to a primacy of the Roman bishop or to connect him with Peter. 96 4.3.2 Catholic side on Primacy in the Joint Commission According to the Catholic Theologian Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt put forward the following Theological Pre-suppositions “While discussing the question of primacy and the primacies we have to respect the fact that East and West have to different ecclesiological consciousness. There was a time in the history of the church the undivided church when all the Churches have respected at least a kind of a primatial role of the See of Rome, and the bishop of Rome”.97 Primacy has been developed and popularized as a juridical and dogmatic reality. This dogmatic language is not that of the Bible. This dogma has the merit that it has preserved the importance of Peter. It is only a model. Model is not his reality. Primacy does not always mean the Roman Primacy; there are primacies. The Pre-Nicene, post –nicene, Tridentine, I Vatican, II Vatican shape of primacy and conciliarity deserves our attention. The balance between primacy and conciliarity had been and has been precarious. To what extent the Roman primacy is unacceptable to the Easterners is the basic question. The spiritual, pastoral and martyrological (witnessing) role of the primacy is to be regained instead of its universalistic and juridical natures. The expression 96Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 442. 97 Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 423. 57 conciliarity and primacy really depends on the nature of the Church and the nature of authority in the Church. Therefore what is needed is a theological discussion on these questions. Primacy and conciliarity: Pre- Nicene Period This was the most collegial and conciliar period of the history of Christianity. To speak of the primacy of the Church of Rome during the Pre- Nicene period is a procedural concern. Before Nicea there was of course no juridical formulation of Rome’s role much less jurisdictional primacy or ministry of universal bishop. But the relation between the churches made the existence of prototype church necessary. There was the need of an ideal church to imitate a Church which could serve as a model for unity. The Churches began to look at the Church of Rome in this Case 4.4 Ecumenical Dialogue to Malankara Orthodox Churches on Primacy of Rome 4.4.1 What is the Primacy of Peter and Rome After the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Peter is the figure best known and most frequently cited in the New Testament writings: he is mentioned 154 times with the special name to Petros, ‘rock’, which is the Greek translation of the Aramaic name Jesus gave him directly: ‘Kephas’, attested to nine times, especially St. Paul’s Letters.98 The fact that the very writings that contain the strongest witness in favor of Peter were composed after his death testifies to the primitive Church’s abiding interest in the person and function of Peter. Apparently he was not merely a figure of historical significance. He remained for the Church an especially important and reliable guarantor of the Jesus tradition. Early belief in the Church is that Jesus granted Peter jurisdiction over the Church. There is no conclusive evidence, scripturally, historically or chronologically, that Peter was in fact the Bishop of Rome. Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History places Peter's arrival in Rome between 41 and 54 A.D. The earliest traditions of 98 Cf. PUAL. HAFFNER, Mystery of the Church, Gracewing, Leominster 2007.148. 58 the Catholic Church maintain that he served as the bishop of Rome for 25 years until 67 A.D. 4.4.2 Catholic View on Papal Primacy Classic Roman Catholic tradition maintained that the Universal Primacy of the bishop of Rome was divinely instituted by Jesus Christ. This was derived from the Petrine texts, and from the Gospel accounts of Matthew (16:17-19), Luke (22:32) and John (21:15-17). According to the Roman tradition, they all refer not simply to the historical Peter, but to his successors to the end of time. Today, scriptural scholars of all traditions agree that we can discern in the New Testament an early tradition which attributes a special position to Peter among Christ's twelve apostles. The Church built its identity on them as witnesses, and responsibility for pastoral leadership was not restricted to Peter. “Bishop of Rome is marked out among the early Eastern Churches as the one who has the presidency of charity and is the first bishop in rank and honor in the whole Body of the Lord. So the Pope was called Primus inter Pares (first among the equals).”99 The Church of Rome Marked by good organization and charitable activity also proved to be the stronghold of orthodoxy against Gnosticism and other heresies. The Church of Rome always had a high moral authority. The bishop of Rome was unique in assuming the authority and obligation to oversee the Churches. Our early Church Fathers Clement, Cyprian and Ignatius make this clear from the first century and the beginning of the second. If the jurisdictional Primacy of Rome had been a matter of self –aggrandizement, someone would have opposed it as they opposed other innovations and heresies in the Church. “The bishop of Rome has held the position of Pre-eminence among other bishops 99 ADRIANO GARUTI, O.F.M., Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and the Ecumenical Dialogue…, 11. 59 in the Church from its earlier years, since this is where St. Peter spent the last part of his life and where he died.”100 4.4.3 Catholic Teaching on Papal Primacy The catholic Church considers Peter the first Pope, but the first succession lists, prepared by Irenaeus (A.D. 200) and the historian Hegesippus (A.D.180) and later attested to by Eusebius of Caesarea (A.D.339), identified Linus, not Peter, as the first Pope, because Popes were, in the understanding of the early Church, the successors of Peter. Peter was not regarded as himself a Pope until the late second or early third century. He was the first disciple called by Jesus (Matt 4:18-19), served as a spokesman for the other apostles (Mark 8:29; matt 18:21; Luke 12:41; John 6:67-69), was the first to whom the Lord appeared after the resurrection (although Mary Magdalene is the primary witness in the tradition of Matthew, John, and the Marcan appendix), and was the one most frequently commissioned to preach the gospel following Easter event.101 According to Catholic teaching, the Pope continues Peter’s distinctive ministry on behalf of the universal Church. For that reason, the service which the Pope renders to the Church is called the Petrine ministry, which Jesus is believed to have conferred upon Peter at the Last Supper:102 “I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). It is essentially the same ministry of pastoral leadership that Peter is described as exercising in the first part of the Acts of the Apostles, involving the witnessing to the faith, overseeing the manner in which the local churches preserve and transmit the faith, providing assistance and encouragement to other pastoral leader in the proclamation and defense of the faith, speaking in the name of other pastoral leasers and their local churches when the need arises, and articulating the faith of the Church on behalf of the whole communion of the local churches. 100 Cf. JOHN J. DIETZEN, Catholic Questions and Answers, A Crossroad Book Publishing Company, New York 2002, 79. 101 Cf. RICHARD P. MCBRIEN, an article on The Papacy in -The Gift of the Church…, 318. 102 RICHARD P. MCBRIEN, an article on The Papacy in -The Gift of the Church…, 318. 60 Catholic Theological View on Papal Primacy The doctrine of Papal Primacy upholds the divine authority of the Successor of St. Peter to rule over the entire Church with ordinary and immediate jurisdiction. Two Magisterial texts are keys to understanding its supreme nature and the obligation of all who are not invincibly ignorant of this truth to submit to Papal authority for the sake of their salvation. Pope Boniface VIII, in his Bull Unam Sanctum (1302), spelled out the doctrine of the necessity of the Church for salvation and with it the necessity of submission to the Roman Pontiff and regarding the Primacy of authority of Peter and his successors, he stated: “This one and unique Church, therefore, has not two heads, like monster, but one body and one head, viz., Christ and his vicar, Peter’s successor, for the Lord said to Peter personally: “Feed my sheep” (Jn 21:17). ‘My’ he said in general , not individually, meaning these or those; whereby it is understood that he confieded all his sheep to him. If therefore Greeks or others say that they were not confided to Peter and his successors, they must necessarily confess that they are not among Christ’s sheep, for the Lord said in John 10:16: “there shall be one fold and one shepherd.”103 But this authority, although it is given to man and is exercised by man, is not human, but rather divine, and has been given by the divine Word to Peter himself and to his successors in him, whom the Lord acknowledged an established rock, when he said to Peter himself: Whatsoever you shall bind etc. (Matt. 16:19). Therefore, whosoever resists this power so ordained by God, resists the order of God (cf. Rom. 13:2). First Vatican Council, which in addition to defining Papal infallibility also defined Papal Primacy. The theologians who had prepared the De Ecclesia Christi schema indicated very early in the game what they had in mind as regards Papal Primacy; the council was asked to affirm that Papal jurisdiction was “authentic”, “universal,” “Episcopal,” “ordinary,” and “immediate.”104 There was an insistence on the part of the leadership to have as strong and clear a definition as possible. The following is a sumMary of the meaning of some of the major terms that either appear in the final text or else were objects of major 103 J. NEUNER, S.J.- J. DUPUIS, S.J., The Christian Faith in the doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church, Theological Publication in India, Bangalore 2004. 305. 104 Papal Primacy and the Universal Church, Edit. Paul C. Empie - T. Austin Murphy Library of Congress, Washington 1974, 147. 61 discussion. Authentic jurisdiction (chap. 3, Canon, 3064; chap. 4, 3065; numbers are from Denzinger-Schonmetzer given in Document 1) “The pope is not a mere observer, a spectator; he has the power of governing, the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the Church (Jurisdictio plena et suprema super Ecclesiam, see references given above). It was also true that the body of bishops had this power (Etiam et eamdem jurisdicionem plnam et supremam super Ecclsiam).”105 Both doctrines point the faithful to the necessity of union with the Successor of Peter. Infallibility directs our attention to the unifying role of the Pope in matters of faith, and Primacy to that role with respect to sacramental and other ecclesiastical disciplines. The Catholic view of hierarchy differs from other views by its insistence that the college of bishops is united not only inwardly by the action of the Holy Spirit, but outwardly by a visible solidarity with the Pope, who by reason of the direct succession of his powers from the first bishop of Rome, St. Peter, is the Prime Bishop. This is the doctrine of Papal Primacy. By it, the bishop of Rome is acknowledged as the first among the bishops, not only in rank and dignity, but in pastoral authority as well. 4.4.4 Collegiality of the Apostolic College The point that there were no juridical ‘Primacy’ existed among the apostles, other than a role of ‘first among equals, Any biblical and historical scholar today would consider anachronistic the question whether Jesus constituted Peter the first pope, since this question derives from a later model of the Papacy which it projects back into the New Testament. Such a reading helps neither papal opponents nor papal supporters. Therefore terms such as “Primacy” and “jurisdiction” are best avoided when one describes the role of Peter in the New Testament. Even without these terms, however, a wide variety of images is applied to Peter in the New Testament which signalizes his importance in the early church. It is well to approach the question of Peter’s role in the church by recognizing that the New Testament writings describe various forms of Ministry 105 Papal Primacy and the Universal Church…, 147. 62 directed towards the church as a whole. These writings show a Primacy concern for local communities of believers (the churches).106 The fact that Jesus’ naming of Peter as “rock” occurs in three different contexts in three separate Gospels has raised a question for biblical scholars about the original setting of the incident itself. Moreover, while the conferral of the power of the keys of the kingdom suggests an imposing measure of authority, given the symbolism of the keys, there is no explicit indication that the authority was meant to be exercised over others or that it is monarchical in character- a type of authority that developed especially in the Middle ages and thereafter. On the contrary, Peter is portrayed as consulting with the other apostles and is even sent by them (Acts 8:14). And Paul “opposes him to his face” (Gal 2:11) for his inconsistency and hypocrisy in drawing back from table fellowship with Gentile Christians in Antioch because of pressure from newly arrived Jewish Christians from Jerusalem.107 Roman Catholics convinced that the Papal and Episcopal form of Ministry, as it concretely evolved, is a divinely-willed sequel to the function exercised respectively by Peter and other apostles according to various New Testament traditions. In seeking to carry out its mission throughout the Roman Empire the episcopate frequently appealed to the theological judgment and unifying influence of the Chair of Peter (cathedra Petri) at Rome, where Peter and Paul were believed to have been Martyred. “Thus the Petrine function, already attested in New Testament times, was increasingly taken up by the bishop of Rome.”108In confronting the specific problems and errors of Petrine Primacy, Vatican Council I sensed that a concentration on the Papacy was crucially important, in order to safeguard the church’s evangelical freedom from political pressures and its universality in an age of divisive national particularism.109 106 Papal Primacy and the Universal Church…, 13. 107 RICHARD P. MCBRIEN, an article on The Papacy in -The Gift of the Church…, 318. 108 Papal Primacy and the Universal Church…, 35. 109 Cf. J. NEUNER, S.J.- J. DUPUIS, S.J., The Christian Faith in the doctrinal Documents of the Catholic Church…, 315-317. 63 Collegiality and Primacies in the early Councils The Malankara Orthodox view on Collegiality and Primacies in the early Councils imply that the principle of Primacy was endorsed with one condition ie. The primates were subject to and answerable to the synod (councils) they themselves convened. I be against it with the following reasons. Rome as Centre of Communio The early Church was as Communio ecclesiarum- the key to the ancient Church’s self-understating, is the word communio( communion). It encompasses varied dimensions: first of all, “the communio is the local church as a community of believers with the bishop as its center.”110 Beyond that, it is the community of faith uniting the Churches with one another. This includes not only Eucharistic communion but also the very important element of communication. Bishops informed each other about important events: they notified each other of their election and sent word when they condemned and excommunicated heretics so that a heretic excluded from one church would not obtain access to another.111 Part of this communio of local churches in them and with one another was that when bishops were elected the choice by the local church and the final decision of the neighboring bishops were coordinated elements. Another expression of this communion was the “communion letters” or “peace letters” bishops wrote for travelers or Christians moving from place to place. Anyone who could present such a communion letter was accepted into the new community as a Christian and a member of the catholica; he or she could participate in the Eucharistic celebration and had a claim to Christian hospitality, which meant being housed and cared for at community expense. Only bishop could write such communion letters valid for the entire Church; presbyters could address them only to the churches in their immediate vicinity. Of course it was impossible for every bishop to keep all the other bishops constantly informed. For example, the bishop of North Arica maintained communion with the whole Church through the bishop of Carthege, and the Egyptian bishops through the see 110 KLAUS SCHATZ, Papal Primacy -from its Origins to the Present…, 17. 111 Cf. EAMON DUFFY, Saints and Sinners- A History of the Popes…, 15. 64 of Alexandria. Rome thus communicated and corresponded directly with Carthage and Alexandria, and they in turn kept in touch with their provincial bishops. To begin with this system was based on equality. But when communion was disrupted in some way – when, for example, the two bishops in a single community quarreled over the Episcopal see, or when bishops from different communities mutually “excommunicated” one another, where did true communion rest? The first answer was that the true communion is “catholic”, that is, universal.112 A local church whose communion was restricted to a single region or state did not count. It is characteristic of genuine communion that it extends throughout the whole world. But how was that to be determined in the initial means, from the end of the second century onward, were regional Episcopal synods. These synods were firmly convinced that they taught the truth and the genuine apostolic tradition. There was no need as yet for a higher authority; it was only the appearance of the Arian controversy in the fourth century that would bring to light the inadequacy of the synod.113 In the interest of communion these synods exchanged word of their decisions with other churches, especially the most important ones. In this way, by the third century at least the three “principal churches” of Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch had acquired a kind of normative status. Important Church matters were often dealt with “at the highest level,” that is, by these three. They were the three most important “nodal points” of communication. Rome became a Referring Point All the same, some notion of the special authority of the Roman church was already widespread. At the beginning of the second century, Ignatius wrote extravagantly about the Roman church as ‘she who is pre-eminent in the territory of the Romans… foremost in love… purified from every alien and discoloring stain’. Ignatius admonished other churches, but for the church at Rome he had 112 Cf. KLAUS SCHATZ, Papal Primacy -from its Origins to the Present…, 18. 113 Cf. KLAUS SCHATZ, Papal Primacy -from its Origins to the Present…, 18. 65 only praise.114 But the prestige of the Church of Rome was not at this stage priMarily a matter of the bishop’s or authority, it was the Church of Rome as a whole which basked in the glory of the Apostles and commanded the respect of other second and third century Christian communities. By the beginning of the third century, then, the church at Rome was an acknowledged point of reference for Christians throughout the Mediterranean world, and might even function as a court of appeal. When under attack for teaching of heresy, the great Alexandrian theologian Origen would send letters appealing for support not only to the bishops of his own region, but to faraway Bishop Fabian of Rome, where he himself as young man had made a pilgrimage.115Africa, in the person of its greatest theologian before Augustine, acknowledged the weight of Rome’s authority. In Rome, it was already a substantial property-owner, and by AD 251 the Church employed forty-six elders, seven deacons, seven subdeacons, forty-two acolytes and fifty-two lesser clerics, readers and door- keepers: it had over 1,500 widows and other needy people receiving poor-relief. Its total membership in the city may have been as many as 50.000. The Synod of Sardica. Rome Assumes the Task of Supervision The Council of Sardica in 342 was convoked by both Emperors of East and West. The council collapsed at the very beginning. First the eastern, anti- Athanasian bishops demanded that Athanasius and the other bishops should not be allowed to take part, but their demand was rejected. They insisted particularly on the authonomy of East and West, asserting that the West should not interfere in eastern disputes and vice versa. Finally they excused themselves, saying that they had just received news of a victory by their eastern emperor over the Persians and they felt obligated to celebrate it in their own congretations. The west continued to meet alone. One result of their deliberations was that, in light of their experience that synods were no longer sufficient to deal with ecclesiastical conflicts, they made the first attempt to establish a legal basis for Rome’s responsibility to maintain communion among the bishops. At the 114 Cf. EAMON DUFFY, Saints and Sinners- A History of the Popes…, 16. 115 Cf. EAMON DUFFY, Saints and Sinners- A History of the Popes…, 17, 18. 66 initiative of Bishop Ossius of Cordoba it was decreed that bishops who were deposed by a synod could appeal to the bishop of Rome. If he judged that the synod’s decision was incorrect he could order a new hearing before the bishops of the neighboring province; if the deposed bishop so desired, Roman presbyters could also take part. This synod was then to review the case. Strictly speaking, Rome is not yet established as a genuine court of appeal because it is not the Roman bishop himself who makes a new decision in the case. Rome is only a reviewing authority to see to it that the appeal (to a different synod) is carried out. Noteworthy in this is the reason given for the Roman bishhop’s being entrusted with this kind of supervisory function: Petri memoriam horemus (out of respect to the memory of the apostle Peter). This is typical of the contemporary state of historical awareness. The religious authority that accrues to the Roman church as the church of Peter is very general in nature. This ascribed religious authority makes it legitimate for the Roman church to accept the new legal obligation that has become necessary because of ecclesiastical conflicts.116 4.5 Biblical View Point of Papal Primacy 4.5.1 The Lutheran Catholic View in New Testament All the dialogue deal with the question of a universal ministry of unity, reveling several approaches to a Petrine ministry, especially in the biblical discussion of the role of Peter in the New Testament.117 In each of the four dialogue between Catholic and Lutheran, there has been at least initial reflection on doctrinal questions related to the Petrine ministry, such as the need for episcope at the universal level; in some there has even been a cautious/ qualified openness to the specific idea of a Petrine ministry; three of the dialogues directly mention the Bishop of Rome as the one who holds the Petrine ministry and would hold it in a united Church of the future; and at least in one dialogue, the Catholic Church’s dialogue partner expresses a willingness to receive aspects of the Petrine ministry into its life even now. The most detailed and advanced statement 116 Cf. KLAUS SCHATZ, Papal Primacy -from its Origins to the Present…, 25. 117 C. W. KASPER, Harvesting the Fruits- Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue…, 133. 67 can be found in the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) documents. They show agreement on some form of universal Primacy, indeed its necessity for the unity of the Church. According to this document “We agree that visible expression is the will of God and that the maintenance of visible unity at the universal level includes the episcope of a universal primate.118 4.5.2 The Proofs from New Testaments The New Testament speaks with many voices. It is not a single book, but a library, built up over half a century or so form traditions of the remembered saying and actions of Jesus, early Christian sermons, hymns and liturgies, and the letters of the great founding teachers of the early Church. Despite that, the Gospel offer a remarkably persuasive portrait of Peter the Apostle, a Galilean fisherman whose original name was Simon Bar Jonah.119 Warm-hearted, impulsive, generous, he was, with his bother Andrew, the first to respond to Jesus’ call to abandon his old life and become ‘fishers of men’ ardently loyal and constantly protesting his devotion to Jesus, Peter is just as constantly portrayed in all the Gospels as prone to misunderstand Jesus’ mission and intentions, angrily rejecting Christ’s prophecy of his Passion, refusing to have his feet washed at the Last Supper, snatching up a sword in a misguided attempt to protect Jesus when the Temple police come to arrest him in Gethsemane. Peter act first and thinks later. His denial of Christ in the courtyard of the High Priest- and his subsequent bitter repentance- are all of a piece with the other action of the man as he emerges from the sources. In all the Gospels he is the leader, or at any rates the spokesman, of the Apostles. Throughout the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke Peter’s name occurs first in every list of the names of the Twelve. In each Gospel he is the first disciple to be called by Jesus. At Caesarea Philippi, at the turning point of Jesus’ ministry, it is Peter who recognizes and confesses him as the Messiah, thereby explicitly expressing the Church’s faith in its Lord for the first time. Peter is the first of the inner circle of disciples permitted by Jesus to witness his 118 C. W. KASPER, Harvesting the Fruits- Basic Aspects of Christian Faith in Ecumenical Dialogue…, 134. 119 Cf. EAMON DUFFY, Saints and Sinners- A History of the Popes…, 4. 68 transfiguration on the mountain, and it is Peter who (foolishly) calls out to Christ in wonder and fear during it.120 Gospel of Matthew Of all the evangelists, it is Matthew who insists most on the centrality of Peter. In particular, Matthew elaborates the account of Peter’s Confession of Faith at Caesarea Philippi.121 In his version, Jesus declares Peter’s faith to be a direct revelation from God, and rewards it by renaming Simon ‘Kephas,’ Peter, the Rock. He goes on to declare that ‘upon this Rock I will build my Church, and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven’, the text that would later come to be seen as the foundation charter of the Papacy (Matthew 16:13-23).122 There is an equivalent scene in the final chapter of the Gospel of John. Christ, in an exchange designed to remind us of Peter’s threefold betrayal of Jesus during the Passion, asks Peter three time, ‘Do you love me?’, and in response to the Apostle’s reiterated ‘You know everything, you know that I love you,’ Jesus three times commands his, ‘Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.’ For John, as for Matthew, Peter is the privileged recipient of a special commission, based on the confession of his faith and trust in Christ (John 21: 15-17). The special status of Peter in the Gospels, his commission to bind and loose, to feed the sheep of Christ, flow from his role as primary witness and guardian of faith. In the subsequent reflection of the Church that complex of ideas would decisively shape Christian understanding of the nature and roots of true authority. The office of Peter, to proclaim the Church’s faith, and to guard and nourish that faith, would lie at the root of the self-understanding of the Roman community and their bishop, in which it was believed the responsibilities and the privileges of the Apostles had been perpetuated. 120 Cf. Papal Primacy and the Universal Church…, 15. 121 STEPHEN K. RAY, Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church…, 24. 122 Joint International Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church…, 422. 69 Proofs from Act of Apostles and Paul’s Letters The picture of peter which emerges from Paul’s writings, as the most authoritative Apostles and head of the mission to the Jews of the Mediterranean Diaspora, is developed and elaborated in the first half of the Acts of Apostles. Though other disciples pay important roles, here in these early chapters of Luke’s continuation of his Gospel Peter is the dominant figure.123 He leads the Pentecost proclamation of the resurrection, presides over the meetings of the young church, works many miracles, is rescued from prison by an angel, and even pre-empts Paul’s later role as Apostle to the Gentiles by baptizing the centurion Cornelius, having received a vision from heaven revealing that this was God’s will. The same sense the Peter’s authority is perpetuated within the Christian community is in evidence in the New Testament writing attributed to Peter himself. The First Epistle of Peter claims to have been written by the Apostle, in a time of persecution, form ‘Babylon’ an early Christian code-names for Rome. Many scholars have detected an early Christian baptismal sermon buried under the letter format, however, and the elegant Greek style of the letter makes it very unlikely indeed that it is Peter’s unaided work. Possibly it represents Peter’s teaching mediated through an educated amanuensis. Whether he wrote it or not, however, Peter is presented in the letter not merely as an apostle and witness of the saving work of Christ, but as a source for authority and responsibilities of the elders or governing officials of the Church. We have shown in the last section that Christ conferred upon St. Peter the office of chief pastor, and that the permanence of that office is essential to the very being of the Church. It must now be established that it belongs of right to the Roman See. The proof will fall into two parts: that St. Peter was Bishop of Rome, and that those who succeed him in that see succeed him also in the supreme headship. 123 Cf. EAMON DUFFY, Saints and Sinners- A History of the Popes…, 5. 70 CONCLUSION The four chapters of this dissertation we have done a historical and analytical study of Ecumenism and the current dialogue in the Catholic and Malankara Catholic Church. We conclude our study with a review of the main themes of the preceding chapters where we focused our attention on the ecumenical dialogue in the Malankara Catholic Church in India. The St. Thomas Christians of Kerala, of whom the Syro-Malankara Church is an authentic part, have a Christian tradition that dates back to the preaching of St. Thomas the Apostle in the first century. To learn about the ecumenical vision of the Church, it is necessary to look at her in the historical, ecclesial, doctrinal point of views. From the study of the history of the ecumenism we realized that the Church of Christ have a common faith, bonds of communion with the apostles, and charity appear to be the constituents of Christian communion from the beginning. Later it is divided into different Churches and ecclesial communities because of several spiritual, cultural, and theological visions. Therefore firstly this study is a search seeks to understand why the Catholic Church decided to become ecumenical and what she is doing it for. We are analyzing the history of the Church where we could find a need for Christian unity is necessary. After the Second Vatican Council Catholic mentality about ecumenism is changed. For promoting unity some important agencies like WCC, PCPCU, and Joint Working Groups are organizing lot of activities among Christians. The Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio), the Directory for the Application of the Principles and norms of Ecumenism, Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Ut Unum Sint (A commitment to ecumenism) are the important documents about restoration of unity and ecumenism. From this study we understood that the problems are not resolved by argumentation or violence, but by talking and listening and working things out in an atmosphere of goodwill. That means authentic dialogue is necessary. We understood that in the history of 71 Indian Church, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church has a particular role in the promotion of unity among Christians. The reunion movement initiated by Mar Ivanios finally found its crowning conclusion on 20 September 1930 is an important event in the history of the St. Thomas Christians. The effort to bring about the unity of the separated Churches is the duty and obligation of the Syro- Malankara Catholic Church. The reunion of 1930 generated an urge for a mission of dialogue, reconciliation, and ecumenical mission. The mission of reunion of the separated brethren means serving, healing and reconciling a divided and wounded humanity. The decision to study the Primacy of the bishop of Rome in the universal Church of Christ indicates that the Orthodox-Roman Catholic consultation is moving towards the centre of the issues that have separated our respective communions. Today, scriptural scholars of all traditions agree that we can discern in the New Testament an early tradition which attributes a special position to Peter among Christ's twelve apostles. In Matthew 16:19, Peter is explicitly commissioned to "bind and loose"; later, in Matthew 18:18, Christ directly promises all the disciples that they will do the same. Similarly, the foundation upon which the Church is built is related to Peter in Matthew 16:16, and to the whole apostolic body elsewhere in the New Testament (cf. Eph. 2:10). It is thus possible to conclude that, although the distinctive features of Peter's ministry are stressed, his ministry is that of an apostle and does not distinguish him from the ministry of the other apostles. Many theologians regard Roman "Primacy" as having developed gradually in the West due to the convergence of a number of factors, e.g., the dignity of Rome as the only apostolic Church in the West; the tradition that both Peter and Paul had been martyred there; Rome's long history as a capital of the Roman empire; and its continuing position as the chief centre of commerce and communication. This view, however, does not necessarily consider the Primacy of the bishop of Rome as contrary to the New Testament. We must understand the universal primacy of the Roman Church. Based on Christian Tradition, it is possible to affirm the validity of the Church of Rome's claims of universal Primacy. Orthodox theology, however, objects to the 72 identification of this primacy as "supreme power" transforming Rome into the principium radix et origio of the unity of the Church and of the Church itself. The Church from the first days of its existence undeniably possessed an ecumenical centre of unity and agreement. In the apostolic and Judeo-Christian period this centre was first the church of Jerusalem and later the Church of Rome - "presiding in agape" according to St Ignatius of Antioch. All the above mentioned concerns are the challenges of Malankara Catholic Church. She is in the on going ecumenical dialogue and evangelical work for the unity of all separated St. Thomas Christians. I hope this work can help to my co-brothers those who are in the ecumenical dialogue with the other Malankara Churches.
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