Believers Church files defamation case against Bishop Oommen

Believers Church spokesperson issued a statement on October 16

Tiruvalla: The Believers Church has filed a defamation case against the head of the southern India’s top Protestant group for allegedly issuing statements against their supreme head and constitution.

Father Sijo Panthappallil, spokesperson of the Kerala-based Believers Church, issued a statement on October 16 saying their Bishop Joju Mathew of Niranom filed the case against Bishop Thomas K Oommen, moderator of Church of South India (CSI).

The Judicial First Class Magistrate in Alleppy has admitted the case for issuing what he says are defamatory statements against their supreme head Archbishop K P Yohannan Metropolitan and other bishops.

The petition claims the Believers Church was established with historical and constitutional episcopacy. Questioning the Church’s episcopacy and making misleading and defamatory statements against their leaders were unfortunate and motivated by malice and personal hatred, it says.

The petitioner states that the ceremonial consecration of KP Yohannan as the first bishop of the Church was solemnized by none other than former CSI Moderator Bishop K.J. Samuel in February 2003. The consecration ceremony was attended by renowned personalities in the socio-political spheres.

The petition also alleged that the CSI moderator has been propagating that the CSI had never considered K.P. Yohannan as a bishop.

The consecration of K P Yohannan was held at St. Thomas Believers Church Cathedral in the presence of seven bishops, including J W Gladstone who later became the CSI moderator.

It also states Bishop Oommen has defamed and tarnished the reputation of Yohannan Metropolitan through an article published in a national newspaper saying, ‘CSI never considered K. P. Yohannan Metropolitan as a Bishop.’

Bishop Oommen’s wife had worked with Believes Church Theological Seminary as a teacher until 2010, even after the bishop’s consecration. In a souvenir the Church published on the occasion of its tenth anniversary, Bishop Oommen had given a message on his own letterhead felicitating Yohannan Metropolitan.

“It is to be believed that there is a conspiracy behind the publishing of the defamatory article after 14 years of bishop’s consecration and 14 months of membership with Kerala Council of Churches,” Father Panthappallil said.

According to him, all documents and records, including the CSI Bishops’ Council minutes, prove that the Episcopacy of the Believers Church was obtained in accordance with all prevalent norms and procedures. The Church has submitted them to the court.

Believers Church, the spokesperson added, will continue to respect and have cordial relationship with bishops, priests and members of CSI. Believers Church was forced to file the case as the CSI moderators’ remarks were aimed to defame and tarnish the Church’s reputation.

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3 thoughts on “Believers Church files defamation case against Bishop Oommen

  1. I am not at all familiar with church sects in Kerala. However, the name Believers’ Church is indicative of some kind of a Pentecostal/ Evangelical sect. Such sects do not believe in clerical ordination or the episcopacy. But now they too seem to find it convenient to call themselves “Father” and “Bishop”. The brethren have become clericalised in a highly brahminical Indian society. Oh the loaves of office! Who doesn’t love them?

  2. What a tragedy that Christian faith has so many groups who, for the most part. are not able to see eye to eye. Even if theological difference could somehow be sorted out, the god of power and money will ensure that they all will remain disunited. Money is king.

  3. This religious drama will be turning like another long lasting conflict in between the two sides of the Orthodox Churches in Kerala.

    Bishop K. P. Yohannan’s poor family dedicated him for the Lord’s service. After graduating from High School, straightaway joined the ” Operation Mobilization” founded by George Verwer from New Jersey, who became a follower of CHRIST through Dr. Billy Graham Crusade in New York. I had personal correspondence with him from 1967-1970, that was the beginning stage of the Operation Mobilization which was spreading to other countries including India. Now at 80, still doing great work for the Lord, met him personally for the first time in Atlanta at the official dedication of their international Headquarters in a tiny town off Atlanta, Georgia.

    One of the pioneers of the Fundamental movement in the U.S., Dr. W.A. Criswell in Dallas helped him to come to study at the Criswell Bible College. The foundation of his spiritual career was upon the backing of the Baptist Churches, not the Anglican Church. CSI is part of the World Anglican movement.

    In getting Foreign Support, his Church and two other Organizations are leading in the nation in crores of Rs/year. Now their construction of the headquarters in Texas costs several million dollars is in big question; and Bishop K.P. Yohannan and the rest will be faced with some judicial challenges both in Little Rock, Arkansas and in Dallas, Texas next year.

    Massive misappropriation of funding in real estate-engineering colleges-Medical College etc are caught up in a big cesspool of troubles for the Church already. Bishop met PM Modi along with Sri. P.J. Kurian, he has political leverage in Kerala and India. But this turn of events will be fully throwing cow dung upon the Christians of India.

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