Catholicos Thomas I to step down

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Three-member panel to oversee Jacobite Church affairs for now Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and head of the Universal Syriac

Orthodox Church, has accepted the offer by Catholicos Baselios Thomas I to step down. The Patriarch has appointed a three-member committee to take care of the day-to-day affairs of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church in India until a new head is appointed, Church sources said on Thursday. Catholicos Baselios Thomas I had offered to step down from the leadership of the Church earlier this week apparently following differences between him and the newly elected managing committee. The Patriarch has appointed a committee comprising Bishops Abraham Mar Severios of Angamaly, Thomas Mar Themotheos of Kottayam and Joseph Mar Gregorios of Kochi. Church sources said that a new head for the Jacobite Church is to be appointed during the visit of the Patriarch to Kerala beginning May 24. Differences Sources in the Jacobite Church said that there had been some differences between members of the new managing committee, elected in November last year. The Patriarch is scheduled to visit Kerala on May 24. His visit acquires significance against the background of the Supreme Court verdict of July 3, 2017 handing over control of all parishes in the Malankara Church to the Orthodox faction. The Patriarch is likely to hold talks with State government representatives on a host of issues, including the issues raised by the Supreme Court verdict. The Jacobite Church, a faction of the Malankara Church, has been functioning sepately since 2002.