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Joined: Mar 2021
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I'm sure many have heard of the situations going in the Syro-Malabar Church, which is a heavily Latinized church although employing the liturgies and rites of the East Syriac rite (Chaldean). So latinized that many of the common faithful call themselves "RC".

Link from Pillar Catholic - https://www.pillarcatholic.com/where-things-stand-in-the-syro-malabar-liturgy-war/

So the Syro-Malabar Synod Liturgy often called "50:50" consists of versus populum at the "bema" during the introductory rites and bible readings. For the Liturgy of the Eucharist the priest would head to the actual altar and will be in the ad orientem position. for the final prayers and blessings, the priest would came back to the bema and complete the Liturgy versus populum. This was made as a compromise between the Latinization factions and Oriental factions within the church (the Latinization factions preferred versus populum as it's very common in the Latin Church).

the Problem is - things ran into a problem at the Major Archeparchy of Ernakulam - which is also the See of Major Archbishop(MAB). a large number of priests (around 300-400 or so) and a bunch of laity in support of them will not allow to implement the Synod Liturgy in the major archeparchy. They want a full - 100% - versus populum liturgy. The Synod or bishops don't want to punish any of the priests. They have no clue what else to do (clearly the bishops have no control of this jurisdiction). the Major Archbishop George Alenchery from the Oriental faction was elected MAB in 2011. But ironically the Ernakulam Archeparchy is a major center of Latinization faction. So those priests saw the MAB as an outsider.

What's an apt solution for this? Isn't it better for the Major Archeparchy of Ernakulam to split/separate from the rest of the Syro-Malabar Church, and operate itself as a sui uiris particular church??

(bema explanation - the bema was historically a table at the center of the nave of the Malabar churches where the liturgy of the word took place. the priest would be among the faithful during this part of the liturgy (facing the same direction as the people) and only go to the actual sanctuary right before the anaphora. but in modern times, this bema is placed right in front of the church- in front of the actual altar/sanctuary)
adding a picture of the bema and how it relates to the sanctuary here--> http://www.dstsisters.org/dst/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/chapel.jpg
the altar/sanctuary would be covered/veiled while the bema is in front of it.

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James of Malabar,

Your Opening Post is very informative and puts things into a clearer perspective for me. Actually, I wish your post was combined into the recent post in "Curch News" as it is a follow up to the recent OP about the same issue.

This is all very interesting as it seems a "new and unexpected twist" on efforts by the Church to encourage return of Eastern Rites to their purer, older practices.

You state:
"the Problem is - things ran into a problem at the Major Archeparchy of Ernakulam - which is also the See of Major Archbishop(MAB). a large number of priests (around 300-400 or so) and a bunch of laity in support of them will not allow to implement the Synod Liturgy in the major archeparchy. They want a full - 100% - versus populum liturgy."

So, in order to understand this dilema even better- what exactly is their objection to the priest facing East at certain times of the Liturgy, after all it is in their history? Why is the 50-50 compromise unacceptable to them? What reasoning do they have that it is wrong? They " will not allow the implimentation of the Synod Liturgy"...........but Why?

Thank you for a very interesting and timely topic.

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Latinization of heart and mind, many in the Syro-Malabar Church identify as RC, what Rome does is the only real catholic practice, etc

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Originally Posted by Hutsul
So, in order to understand this dilema even better- what exactly is their objection to the priest facing East at certain times of the Liturgy, after all it is in their history? Why is the 50-50 compromise unacceptable to them? What reasoning do they have that it is wrong? They " will not allow the implimentation of the Synod Liturgy"...........but Why?

.

They bring up a strange point. Since the late 60s or so - the bishop of that time in that jurisdiction started celebrating the Liturgy versus populum. So it's been going on for the last 53 some years or so. So the argument the rebel priests and their lay friends rely on is sacred tradition - they argue it's a 53 some years old tradition in Ernakulam jurisdiction to celebrate the Liturgy versus populum smile

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Thank you for your answer JOM.

This is a new twist on "tradition" for sure. I find this whole issue so intriguing. Quite frankly, it makes me reconsider the whole notion of " tradition". Basically, it seems a local tradition can take root and be held as gospel in just one generation. This seems so contrary to the notion of tradition being a function of time. Couple this with the modern desire of Eastern Churches to re- instate their ancient practices, and it is quite bewildering to me.

It really makes you wonder how Roman Catholics would react if a 50-50 compromise were to be made with the Tridentine advocates. Perhaps "tradition" is way more relative than I assume......

Thanks again for what I believe to be a so -appropriate topic....

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Originally Posted by Michael_Thoma
Latinization of heart and mind, many in the Syro-Malabar Church identify as RC, what Rome does is the only real catholic practice, etc

Michael Thoma,

Ok, but if this is the case. -total Latinization- why are they celebrating the East Syriac Liturgy......( or are they?)
It makes sense that if you have an Eastern Liturgy, the celebrant is positioned according to that liurgical Rite.

Last edited by Hutsul; 01/17/23 05:23 PM.
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They are celebrating a latinized form of the East Syriac liturgy, which has been restored over decades - however some clergy choose to include more Latinizations than others. The division isn't just latinizers vs Easterners, there are also Indianizers and modernizers in the mix. This last group wants a modernized liturgy - which to them usually mimics the Novus Ordo style. Additionally, there's a smaller group that wants an "indigenous Indian" liturgy - whatever that is. And Lastly among all of the non-Eastern minded, there are some who incorporate a charismatic mode - which is antithetical to anything Eastern at its core.


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