The ongoing feud between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the Church saw violent clashes at the Kothamangalam church outside Ernakulam on Thursday. This comes after the recent violence between the two factions at another church at Piravam in the district.
Around 200 Jacobite faction devotees blocked Fr Thomas Paul Ramban, the appointed vicar of the Orthodox faction at the church. Following court orders for the Orthodox faction to take possession of the church, the priest arrived to administer prayers.
However, Jacobite devotees took to violence when police arrived on the scene to implement the court order. They asserted that they would not allow police or the Orthodox faction to enter the church.
On the other side, Orthodox devotees were firm on entering and their priest said prayers would be administered.
Police arrested 20 protesters, including women, leading to further protests as others demanded release of those arrested and began a sit-in.
The vicar was appointed in 2008 by Orthodox faction and he returned to the church by afternoon for another attempt to enter the church premises.
The munsif court in Muvattupuzha had ordered handing over the rights of Kothamangalam church to the Orthodox faction after Supreme Court dismissed the pleas of Jacobite faction. The court criticised the police for the delay in implementing the court order.
The Jacobite faction felt the matter should be resolved through discussions and it was willing to give some of its land to the other faction but would not give up possession of the Kothamangalam church.