Roman Katholics (Syro- Malabar Katholics) and their historians have been propagating a story that Marthoma VI (Valiya Mardivannasiyos) was interested to join Katholic church. In their opinion, he did contact Roman Patriarch and wrote a letter to express his wishes. As an evidence, they put forward the so called letter and its translations. This continuous propaganda and stories slowly crept in to the minds of Malankara Nazranies and their priest historians started to agree with this proposal. Many Malankara Sabha historians started to write that Marthoma VI actually interested to join Katholic church .
This is an attempt to study the veracity of these claims and put some light in to the mind of the great visionary called Marthoma VI. Original of this write up was prepared for a reply to “”Sunday Shalom”” in 2000, and subsequent reply to Nasrani .net . This may be a help to those who want to know the truth about the actions of great visionary Malankara Moopan called Marthoma VI.
Let us see what is Niranam Grandhavari states about this.
http://marthoman.tv/Books/Niranam%20Grandhavary.pdf (From page 90)
Why did MarthomaVI allow a dialogue with Kariyattil team? To get an answer we need to understand the social situation of Malankara Nazranies and Romo-Syrians during that time.
Romo-syrians were ruled by foreign bishops during this period. They had very little involvement in temporal matters of the Church. This was questioned by one group who wanted to create a local hierarchy. It was rejected by PADROADO/PROPAGANDA and treated them a second -class citizen. This has insulted the educated among them. When they fed up with Propaganda they turned to Padroado and vice versa. Latinization turned in such a way that they have lost their culture, traditions, noyambs, church names, personal names, taksas, and pally architecture
What was the condition of Malankara Nazranies?
They have their Malankara Moopan as their metropolitan and their Pallies were ruled by Palliyogakkars. Though they had enjoyed freedom in temporal matters, infiltration in to daily affairs of church was started by Antiochian prelates. Propaganda by supporters of these prelates made confusion in the mind of Malankara Nazranies that the Malankara Moopan need to be re-consecrated. This kind of attitude existed among the Malankara Nazranies since the advent of foreign prelates. This is a trait in built in Malankara Nazrani mind (among minority group), which caused many problems in their development. The dispute between the Prelates (Mar Gregorios & Mar Ivaniyos) and Marthoma VI end up in re-consecration of MarthomaVI as Divannasiyos metropolitan. Most of the prelates visited Malankara tried to overpower Malankara Moopan in Pally matters .The saddest thing is that these prelates came with our invitation and tried to create split among us for the benefit of money &power. This was the situation during MarthomaVI period. He understood the situation and wanted a lasting solution .
Educated Kariyatil malpan was thinking of a plan to achieve his goal of getting a Romo-syrian hierarchy directly from Rome. For this he need to convince the Rome that Rome will be benefited if he could be in charge of their church in Malankara. Kariatil knew the Marthomas struggle against foreign prelates and his victory (marginal) over the prelates. Marthoma also knew the Kariyattil –Paremakkil movement for a local bishop. It is also to be b noted that many of the pallies were shared by Malankara Nazranies and Romo-syrians. This lead to the said dialogue
Kariatil Joseph malpan and Paremakkil Thomman kathanar visited MarthomaVI for unification of Malankara Nazranies. The idea was welcomed by Marthoma but he had an intention of bringing back deserted sheep to original Nazrani faith. The condition of Romo-syriyans was pathetic under Jesuits and Carmelites while Malankara Nazranies had their hierarchy without many problems except the greediness of those foreign prelates and their few supporters. Marthoma was open in his discussion and said that his church have great regard for Roman Patriarch and will accept his seniority and guidance provided that the Patriarch accept the Malankara Moopan as the head of all Malankara church (Malankara Nazranies and Romo-syriyans).It is also to be noted that MarthomaVI wanted to continue the Aramaic traditions of Malankara church (use of Ammeera, noyambu, traditions, married priests etc.)Marthoma VI put forward a proposal that he had no problem in accepting the roman patriarch his senior if Rome accept the united Malankara church under him with old traditions which existed pre Roman period.
MarthomaVI was a great visionary who could think of a Malankara Sabha without any foreign interference in temporal matters. As far as spiritual &theological matters we were never been a dogmatic people. We accepted whoever came in Christian love and had given a chance to explain their views . Also please not that during this period prelates from Coe, Chaldean Antiochian visited Malankara and Malankara Nazranies treated them with warm hearts
But knowingly or unknowingly Kariatil failed to represent the proposal to Rome in right perspective. Rome rejected the proposal. Rome’s proposal was not acceptable to the Valiyamar Divannasiyos and he rejected it out rightly. Before getting any conclusion on this one should analyze it with documentation available.
The documentations related with this subject are
(1)Varthamanapusthakamby Paremackil Thomman kathanar
(2)Manuscripts/copies of letters
(3)Niranam Granthavari-which include diaries ofMarthoma VI .
Many historians produced copies of the letters which said to have been written by MarthomaVI according to their church allegiances . I think these letters have no historical value. But it is interesting to note that the Governodor’s book certainly can give some credible information, but unfortunately we get very little information from this book. It is interesting to note that the Kathanar himself give us the information in chapter 47 that the book contains the details about the Marthoma’s letter on chapter(padam)13,14,15 (publishers says it is damaged by termites). Since the situation is this we are left with nothing but to study available documentation. Here, comes the importance of work like one conducted(conducting)by ISTVAN PERCZEL. Their initial study suggests that the letters produced in different languages have serious differences in content. One should check this difference with related documents such as NIRANAM GRANDHAVARI. Again, we have to compare this result with incidence took place after their Rome expedition to get the truth.
http://ces.iisc.ernet.in/hpg/ragh/ccs/photoGallery/2008-07-24-Istvan/2008-07-24-Istvan.pdf (page 68)
What happened to Kariatil expedition? Kariatil did not get any clear answer from Rome. He was advised to meet The Queen. However, he managed to get a Methran posting from The Queen and returned to Goa. The rest is history! What about the socalled unification of Malakara Nazranies?
Vested interest adopted another way to subjugate the Malankara Nazranies. This time through Thachil Mathoo Tharakan.I need not explain here the position of Mathoo Tharakan in those times. Governodor Paremakkil Thomman kathanar and Mathoo Tharakan decided to go ahead with dialogue with the political influence of Tarakan. But, Marthoma understood the situation and kept his position clear. With the influence of Mathoo Tharakan they managed to get an arrest warrant (on fabricated charges) against Marthoma. Tharakan confiscated the Episcopal staff, cross and mitre of MarthomaVI and also other landed properties of the parishes of Nirnam, Chengannur, Puthenkavu etc. Then they arrested him from Niranam pally and brought to Alappuzha and put him under house arrest. He was forced to celebrate Qurbana according to Roman rite using PATHEERA at Tathampally and sign a contract declaring his union with Roman church. Marthoma had no option but to do whatever Tharakan asked for the sake of Nazranies of Niranam, Chengannur, and Puthencavu. Once he yielded the want of one lakh twenty five thousand Kalippanam was kept aside and Marthoma was released after 32 days of imprisonment. Tharakan deputed Prakkattu Kochitty kathanar for observing whether Marthoma changes his stand or not. The Marthoma could not do anything until God heard his prayers.
Tharakan was caught by people(Kollavarsham 974 Midhunam 12) from Anchuthengu and forcibly feed him with boiled thakara without salt, cut his ear and brought him to Thiruvanathapuram .Hearing this Kochittitharakan& team fled from Chengannur. Marthoma was released from watchful eyes of Kochitty tharakan and he apologized to Malankara Nazranies for using Patheera. He celebrated qurbana for41 days using Ammeera in repentance. One should understand the political and administrative situation before criticizing him. In my opinion Malankara Nazranies have only one VALIYA MAR DIVANNASIYOS (MARTHOMAVI) to compare with Mar Athanasius of Alexandria or Mar Yacob Burdhana of Antioch.
Throughout the years Rome understands the importance of Malankara Nazranies and their heritage . Had MarthomaVI accepted Rome without any condition then the position of Malankara church would have different today. Certainly, the Indian Katholic church stature had also been different. If MarthomaVI was ready for such a step, he or his successor could have become an Indian Patriarch and could lead whole Indian Katholics. Yes, Valiya Mar Divannasiyos was may be a fool. But his foolishness becomes good for Malankara Nazranies.
Some Data for further reading and analysis.
1)Consecration of Marthoma VI by Marthoma V -1761 (Kollavrzham 936Midhunam 29 –Niranam Grandhavari.
2) In 1761Marthoma VI raised his anadaravan to thr dignity of episcopa as Marthoma VI and died in 1765,though the re-consecration of the later seems to be an admitted fact . It took place in 1770 and strange as it may appear ,this is the first and last occation when any ordination of a methran of Malankarai took place by admitted authorization of the Jacobite Patriarch of Antioch ----- The Syrian Church in India By George Milne Rae.
3) Re-consecration of Marthoma VI by Mar Gregorios & Mar Ivanios in 1770 (Kollavarsham 945 Mithunam 29) ----- Niranam Grandhavari.
4) Consecration of Ramban Kattumagattu kurien (kattumagattu family says his name is Abraham )by the blind prelate Mar Gregorios in 1771(kollavrsham 947 Vrichikam16) ---- Niranam grandhavari ,
5) Consecration of Ramban kattumangadan by Mar ivanios in 1772 ----- Suriyani kristhyanikalude Sabhacharithram by Ittupwriter.
6) Visit of Marthoma VI along with Mar Ivanios to Kandanadu to ascertain the position of consecration of Kattumangattu Ramban in 1772 (Kollavarshanm947Meenam 12))--- Varthamana pusthakam by Paremakkil Thomman kathanaar.
7) Wiil of Mar Gregorios had written on 1772(Kollavarsham 947 Makaram 23) prompted in Arabic translated by translator of Dutch company Baran paul and Palluruthy Said Ahmed Thangal ,witness writer Juaness Boss and Francis Robert – Ittupwriter in his book.
8) Mathoo Tharakan’s house at Thathampally was razed to the ground (using Elephants by Veluthampi Dalava -Kollavarsham 982 Thulam 19). He was again charged with revolt against Britishers and sentenced for Death (1809). His death sentence was reduced to compensation of Money with the influence of Arch Bishop Raymond of Joseph O.C.D. vicar apostolica of Verapoly.- Br. Leopold in his book Keralathile Latin Kristhyanikal .
8) This money was used to meet the expenses of students of Pazhaya seminary ,Kottayam. -Keralathile Latin Kristhyanikal by Br. Leopold.
9) An amount of Rs 2000/- was received by Pazhaya seminary ---Suriyani kristhyanikalude Sabha charithram by Ittup Writer .