Udayagiri, Vettickal, 9 December 2019


The 22nd meeting of the Joint Theological Commission for Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church was held in Malankara Syrian Orthodox Theological Seminary (MSOT Seminary) at Udayagiri, Vettickal on Monday 9 December 2019.

The meeting began with the prayer led by His Grace, Mar Mathew Moolakkatt, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kottayam. The Co-Chair of the Commission, His Grace Kuriakose Mar Theophilose, welcomed the members of the Joint Commission and conveyed the greetings of His Holiness Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of the Syrian Orthodox Church, and of His Beatitude Mor Baseliose Thomas I, Catholicos of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church. Revd Father Hyacinthe Destivelle, Co-Secretary, presented the report of the meeting and the meeting approved it.

In his introductory address, Bishop Brian Farrell, Co-Chair of the Joint Commission, communicated the greetings and good wishes of His Holiness Pope Francis. Emphasizing the importance and need of the bilateral dialogue between the Churches, Bishop Farrell gave a brief sketch of the various dialogues between the Catholic Church and the other Churches at the international level.

The meeting discussed the Joint Pastoral Guidelines for Inter-Church Marriages between the Catholic Church and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox (Jacobite) Church proposed by the subcommittee comprising Revd Dr Philip Nelpuraparampil and Chor Episcopa Dr Kuriakose Moolayil. A few more proposals were raised in the discussion and therefore a revision of the Guidelines was proposed and the subcommittee agreed to present the text in the next meeting. As planned in the last meeting, His Grace Mathews Mar Anthimus presented a paper on “A Contextual Reading of Patristic Theology”, which was discussed and appreciated by the Commission. Another paper on “Life in the Church – A Life of Koinonia – Principles of Koinonia in St. Basil the Great” was presented by Revd Dr Augustine Kadeparampil, and was also discussed and valued by the members.

The Joint Commission then evaluated and expressed concern on the existing crisis in the relations between the Malankara Syrian (Jacobite) Orthodox Church and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

The Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church delegation comprised His Grace Kuriakose Mor Theophilos (Co-Chair), His Grace Mathews Mor Anthimos, Revd Dr Adai Jacob Cor-Episcopa (Co-Secretary), Revd Dr Kuriakose Moolayil Cor-Episcopa, Revd Father Dr Prince Paulose, Revd Father Dr Aji George, and Revd Father Daniel Thattarayil. The Catholic Church was represented by His Excellency Bishop Brian Farrell (Co-Chair), His Grace Mar Mathew Moolakkatt, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kottayam, His Grace Thomas Mar Koorilos, Bishop Dr Selvister Ponnumuthan, His Excellency Mar Joseph Kallarangatt, Revd Dr Mathew Vellanickal, Revd Dr Xavier Koodapuzha, Revd Dr Jacob Thekkeparampil, Revd Dr Augustine Kadeparambil, Revd Dr Philip Nelpuraparampil, and Revd Father Hyacinthe Destivelle (Co-Secretary).

The next meeting will be held at the Spirituality Centre, Manganam, Kottayam, on Monday 9 December 2020. The following issues will be on the agenda.

1.      A paper on “The Fruits of the Dialogue” by Revd Dr Addai Jacob and Revd Dr Philip Nelpuraparampil.

2.      Ecclesiology of Jacob of Sarug by Revd Dr Jacob Thekkeparampil.

3.      Revised Joint Pastoral Guidelines for Inter-Church Marriages by Revd Dr Kuriakose Moolayil Cor Episcopa and Revd Dr Philip Nelpuraparampil