Knanaya Church’s unity is a model for all: Patriarch

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by Our Correspondent
“Christians are not divided,” said Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II. Photo: Onmanorama
Kottayam: His Holiness Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II lauded the Knanaya Church for holding forth to its faith and traditions.

“Christians are not divided. I am happy that there are no factions within the Knanaya Church,” the supreme leader of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church said after a massive reception accorded to him by the Knanaya Syrian Church.

He said he dreamed of a day when the churches divided for many reasons unite.

“Court litigation will only lead to loss of time and money. The differences have to be talked out. I am ready to do anything to ensure peace between communities,” he said.

He thanked Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other ministers for facilitating his travel and stay in India.

Archbishop Kuriakose Mor Severios Chief Metropolitan presided over the function.

Baselios Thomas I Catholicos was the main speaker at the event. Ministers Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, Dr Joseph Martoma Metropolitan, Archbishop Mar Joseph Perumthottam and Jose K. Mani attended the meeting.

Kuriakode Mor Gregorios, Kuriakose Mor Ivanios, Dr Ayub Mor Silvanos, church secretary Elias Zacharia Parel, trustee K.K. Kuruvila Kelachandra, general convener Thomas John Kulangara and trustee Fr Thomas Kadappanangad also spoke.

The Patriarch also attended a meeting of the Knanaya Association.

He also said that Christian values of love and respect, not courts, were the only way to solve issues related to faith.

He urged litigants to withdraw cases from courts. He was addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone for a senior house at the Beth Naharin Elias III Knanaya Church at Vallamkulam.

The Patriarch also harped on the need for unity among churches in his speeches at St Kuriakose Knanaya Church and St Thomas Church at Ranni.

He said the Knanaya community had an added responsibility to be loyal to the Patriarch of Antioch because they traced their origin to Syria. Churches can become holy only when the faithful becomes holy. A single building does not make a church. The faithful completes a church, he said.

The Patriarch urged the Knanaya community to abide by their tradition and faith. “We should set aside out individual interests. There have been misunderstandings. But that cannot be allowed to shatter the unity of the community. My doors are open for you. I am ready to do anything for you. Please pray for me so that I can complete the work god has given me,” he told the gathering at Vallamkulam