Just 2 days ago, a new Bishop was enthroned for the Syro Malabar Church. Unlike all the other bishops, Geevarghese Mar Aphrem belongs to the West Syriac tradition, which is in contrast to the other bishops of the Syro Malabar Church who belong to the East Syriac Tradition. In the 1910s, many Knanaya Jacobites joined the Catholic Church. (The Knanayas are an ethnoreligious group who claimed to be descendants of Knai Thomman, a Syrian-Jewish merchant. They have many uniquely Jewish traditions and are endogamic.) The Knanaya community was a split one, with 60% of them being Catholic and 40% of them Jacobite. The Catholic Knanaites follow the East Syriac tradition while the Jacobite Knanaites followed the West Syriac tradition. When these new converts joined the Catholic Church, they wanted to maintain their West Syriac traditions, which was allowed by the Pope. So basically, the Archeparchy of Kottayam (built specifically for Knanaya Catholics) was both East and West Syriac. After this, the Syro Malankara Church was formed, and the bishop of the Knanaya Jacobites Thomas Mar Diascoros also joined the Catholic Church. The Vatican however, decided that the Knanaya Catholics following the West Syriac rite should remain Syro Malabar. Even though this was the case, they did not have a Bishop of decades. Recently, the Pope decreed that they should receive their bishop making him the 2nd auxiliary bishop of the Archeparchy of Kottayam. Here is a link to his Enthronement: https://youtu.be/P_JcxJ__1kk?t=12015
Cool. I love seeing how the Church is diverse, but, at the same time, one.
Axios, axios, axios!
May the Lord God remember his episcopacy in His kingdom, now and always and forever and ever.
Fr. Deacon Christopher