|History - Authority of the Patriarch of Antioch|
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Authority of the Patriarch of Antioch
The conflict between the body which adopted the reform and that which opposed it, was a serious development in the church during the 19th century. This led to the latter to appeal for help from the Antiochene Syrian Patriarch. In 1875 Patriarch Peter III came to Kerala and held a Synod of representatives of Churches .at Mulanthuruthy in 1876. This Synod adopted a number of resolutions including an admission that the Church would continue in the communion of the Patriarch and the Syrian Church of Antioch. However the Patriach tried to see in these decisions more than the Indian Church really wanted to acknowledge.
Following the Synod of Mulanthuruthy in 1876 a litigation in court between the party in favour of the reforms and the party against it continued. It came to an end in 1889 with the judgement announced in favour of the latter by the then highest court of Kerala, the Royal Court of Appeal. The majority in a panel of three judges gave their verdict admitting that from the middle of the 18th century an over- all spiritual supervision used to be-exercised by the Patriarch over the Malankara Church and that he had a right to claim it.
Patriarch Peter I1I was not satisfied with this judgement. He was keen to establish that he had full authority over the Malankara Church bothin its spiritual and in its temporal matters and not merely an over all spiritual supervision. In fact he protested though nobody responsible in the matter took note of it. His second successor Patriarch Mar Abdullah II was determined to follow up the matter. With this intention he came to Kerala in 1909 and pressed the issue. But that led to a sad division in the Church from 1911, one party siding with the Patriarch and the other lining up with Metropolitan Mar Dionysius VI of Vattasseril who stood against him and wanted to keep up the independence of Malankara Church.