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Document Details :
Title: Een stem in de woestijn...
Subtitle: De situatie van oosters-katholieke kerken in India
Author(s): CHEDIATH, G.
Journal: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
Volume: 51 Issue: 1-2 Date: 1999
A Voice in the Wilderness: The Present Situation of the Oriental-Catholic Churches in India
Until the 16th century there was only one Christian Church in India, the Church of the Thomas Christians, with one liturgy and one tradition – the East Syrian. Due to the activities of the Western Latin, Protestant and Syrian Orthodox missionaries this one Church was divided into several smaller churches. The two Oriental Catholic Churches in India, the Syro-Malabar and the Malankara Catholic Churches, were under the rule of the Latin missionaries during three centuries (1599-1896). All attempts to gain some independence were in vain. The cry of the Thomas Christians was a voice in the wilderness. In our century the Second Vatican Council has emphasized that all Catholic Churches have the same rights and responsibilities and equally share the pastoral care of the Bishop of Rome. Although the Eastern Catholic Churches now have the right to worship according to their own patrimony and to take care of their own faithful, and although subsequent Papal and Curial pronouncements and statements have confirmed this Conciliar teaching, in fact the present situation has not changed much. The whole of India is divided into Latin dioceses. The Syro-Malabar and the Malankara Catholic Churches are still forced to restrict themselves to a tiny corner of India (Kerala). Not content with this imprisonment, they are arguing for ‘unity in diversity’ and tolerance from the part of all concerned. In India there must be closest collaboration among the Christians, especially among the Catholics of the various traditions. The Oriental Catholics have the right to worship God in their own way together with their own liturgical heads, namely under their own bishops.