Tension at Kerala Church After Orthodox Priests Prevented From Taking Possession Despite SC Order
Kochi: Tension prevailed in Piravom in Ernakulam district Wednesday as a large number of Jacobite faction priests and followers prevented those belonging to the Orthodox faction from entering a church here to take its possession as per a Supreme Court order. Hundreds of people belonging to the Jacobite faction are camping in the church, preventing the implementation of the top court’s verdict when the Orthodox faction priests tried to enter the place of worship, known as Piravom Valiya palli, at 7am. Gates of the Church were closed from inside by priests and followers of Jacobite faction, forcing the Orthodox faction priests to sit outside. Slogans were raised against the Orthodox faction. A large number of police forces have been deployed in the premises. “We hope the government would take steps to implement the Supreme Court order. We want the Court order be implemented in a peaceful manner,” an Orthodox priest told reporters. A jacobite priest said the followers of Jacobite church would not allow the rival faction to take control of the Church. “We will not leave the Church,” he said. The Orthodox faction reached the Church to take its possession after the Kerala High Court directed the police to provide protection to their priests to conduct religious services in the church. The court gave the order on a petition by the Orthodox faction of the church, seeking police protection to conduct mass and prayers in the church. Even though the Supreme Court had nearly two years ago allowed the Orthodox faction to offer prayers at the church, members belonging to the rival faction allegedly prevented them from entering it. The Orthodox faction had moved the high court after the state government failed to implement the Top Court order. Priests and followers of Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church had on Sunday entered the Kandanad St Marys Church near here and offered holy mass, two years after the Supreme Court ruled in their favour on a dispute with rival Jacobite faction over control of churches.