By Matters India Reporter
Kochi, June 12, 2023: The special synod meeting of the Syro-Malabar Church began June 12 with Cardinal George Alencherry bemoaning the persecution of Christians in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur.
The synod is being held at the behest of the Vatican at Mount St. Thomas, the Syro-Malabar Church’s headquarters in Kakkanad, a Kochi suburb.
Cardinal Alencherry, the Church’s major archbishop who led the opening Mass, referred to various sociopolitical and agricultural crises facing the Church. He termed as criminal the indifference of Manipur and federal government toward the brutal persecution of Christians there.
The cardinal also recalled “the selfless services and courageous leadership of Archbishop Joseph Powathil of Changanacherry, who died March 18, at the age of 92. He said the prelate’s death is a great loss for the Church as well as society.
The major archbishop welcomed new members of the synod – Bishop John Panamthottam of Melbourne, Australia, and Auxiliary Bishop Alex Taramangalam of Mananthavady, Kerala. The cardinal commended “the incomparable great contributions” made by Bishop Bosco Puthur, Melbourne’s first bishop.
He also urged the federal and Kerala governments to take a sympathetic approach to problems faced by farmers in the southern Indian state, the Church’s base.
The Kerala government should understand that even after the Supreme Court verdict on the buffer zone issue, the farmers’ concerns remain unresolved. He regretted that the state government does not come up with policies to protect the farmers even after their life and property are threatened by wild animals entering agricultural land.
The cardinal bemoaned that several lives have been lost as wild animal attacks increased significantly in the past few months.
The special session is being convened to discuss the problems existing in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly regarding the Unified Mass. The synod’s deliberations are proceeding in the light of the understanding that the Syro-Malabar permanent synod members met with the head of the Vatican Congregation for the Eastern Churches, and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, secretary of state.
The Synod session will end June 16, says a report from Vincentian Father Antony Vadakkekara, the Church’s public relations officer.