Bishop's Efforts to Sabotage the Synod Appointed Committee Foiled

It would have been better for Bishop Kuruvilla to step down like how Mubarak and Ben Ali did in Egypt and Tunisia. But no. Possessed by an unregulated appetite for more money and power, the bishop continues to conspire, throw tantrums, hurl abuses, and remain overprotective of his chair. The thought that he has lost all moral legitimacy to continue as the bishop of North Kerala Diocese has still not dawned in his mind and he remains hell-bent on subverting all democratic processes to have his way.

On the morning of 22 February 2011 at Shantigiri Ashram, near Aluva, Bishop Kuruvilla and a coterie of his loyal followers, which included Rev. Daniel George, Rev. Kurien Peter, Rev. N. K. Prasad, Rev. P. G. Thompson, Rev. Abraham Kuruvilla, Rev. Prince, Rev. Jacob Daniel, Mr. Jayan Samuel and Mrs. Soumini Jayan came to meet Rt. Rev. Vasantkumar, the Moderator of Church of South India. Overwhelmed by the number of visitors who had arrived at his room uninvited, the moderator ushered everyone out, since whatever has to be discussed would be between him and Bishop Kuruvilla and no one else.

Subsequently, the moderator reprimanded the bishop for all the trouble he had caused in the diocese and gave him a letter reconstituting the Synod appointed committee by removing two members from the existing committee and appointing three members loyal to the bishop. The moderator made it clear that he was doing this favour under the condition that all cases filed by the bishop would be withdrawn; no vindictive action would be taken against any member or clergy in the diocese; the finances of the diocese would be managed by P. C. John, a member of the synod appointed committee and a former IAS officer; and the bishop would not interfere in the financial matters of the diocese. Considering the moderator had done him a favour by appointing three of his loyalists into the synod appointed committee, the bishop should have been quite pleased. But, he was not. He stormed out of the moderator's room, using abusive language against the latter and calling him a thief bigger than Earnest Edapally. So much for his defence of 'ecclesiastical authority'.

Later that day, representatives of CSI North Kerala Laity Fellowship met with the moderator and conveyed their anguish over rendering relief to a bishop, who by his subversion of democratic processes brought about this impasse, when those aggrieved were the faithful members of the church who had been denied their democratic rights, and who now had no one to address their grievance to. The moderator, after giving a patient hearing, explained that it was the present circumstances that compelled him to take such a decision. The accounts of the synod and the various dioceses are under the investigation of Income Tax authorities, and the possibility of CSITA losing its Income Tax exemption is imminent. Under such circumstances, he preferred not to have any instability in the administration of the diocese as a result of prolonged litigations. He assured the representatives of the laity fellowship that this was only a temporary arrangement, for a period of three months within which, a new diocesan council and executive would be elected; the elections would be fair and Bishop Kuruvilla would not be allowed to interfere with it; in case the synod appointed committee failed to conduct elections within the stipulated time, he reserves the right to reconstitute a new committee and hold the elections; and finally, Bishop Kuruvilla would not be allowed to touch the diocesan money and all financial matters will be managed by a trustworthy member of the synod appointed committee, namely P. C. John. The moderator then sought the cooperation of the laity for the smooth administration of the diocese till 31st May 2011.

However, some of the later developments have raised certain serious questions about the legality and viability of the newly reconstituted synod appointed committee. Firstly, on 13 January 2011, through a proxy, Bishop Kuruvilla had acquired a court order from Hon. Munsiff Court, Kalpetta, restraining the original synod appointed committee from taking charge. On 16 February 2011, this court order was vacated. But, this ruling was kept in abeyance, as per the request of the plaintiff (bishop's proxy), until an appeal could be filed in an higher court. However, till today, bishop's proxy has neither acquired a certified copy of the court order nor gone for an appeal. In essence, the court order restraining the synod appointed committee from taking charge continues to stand as it is. This being the reality, the claim made by the bishop to the media that the newly reconstituted synod appointed committee has taken charge is nothing but a misrepresentation of facts.

Secondly, neither the synod nor the bishop has informed the original synod appointed committee, constituted on 13 January 2011 and took charge following the vacation of the interim injunction restraining them from doing so, of the formation of a new committee that would replace it. As far as the original committee is concerned, it continues to be an active and functional committee that cannot be reconstituted without sufficient reason and without following the appropriate procedures and protocols. It is learned that members of the original committee have now approached the court of law, questioning the arbitrary nature in which the existing committee was dissolved and a new committee was formed. Meanwhile, P. C. John, who had been entrusted with the financial responsibilities of the diocese and a member of the original and the new committees, has written a letter to the moderator expressing his unwillingness to work as treasurer in a committee with bishop as its chairman.

The final development that has sealed the fate of the newly formed synod appointed committee is the court order that came from the Ottapalam Sub-court on 1 March 2011. Following the formation of the new committee, Col. James Hunt, one of the members of the original committee and who ceases to be in the new committee, filed a case for declaring the original committee as the sole committee in charge and restraining the moderator and the bishop from handing over charges to any other committee. In response to this case, the Ottapalam Sub-court issued a court order restraining the newly formed committee from managing the finances of the diocese until the diocesan council elections are held and a democratically elected body is in place.

Given these developments, it has become clear that the move to hand over charges to a newly reconstituted committee, which was one of the last resorts of the bishop, has become null and void. Although it would be wishful thinking, at least now, good sense should prevail and the bishop should submit his resignation. If not, the restless people may soon storm the palatial bungalow he has just constructed and drive him out. The patience of the faithful believers have been tested and they are now ready to launch a people's movement to save the diocese.


wilson,kunnamkulam said...

I support save csi leaders.May God help you.

sajitha,palakkad said...

Respected sirs,
Thank you very much sir.Please try to file case against the corporate management.
We the teachers are totally desperate.
We expect help from Hunt sir.

Jackson1974 said...

We need to clean up the church and remove all these corrupt people including the bishop.

Anonymous said...

Well done Col.Hunt.The Bishop is thinking that only he and Harry can manipulate things.The CSINKLF workers should storm the Bishops house and throw him out of his office.He is number one culprit in all these issues.He should be tried and punished.The churches should boycot him.The achens who support this bandit will be doing it at their own risk.The Bishop will not be there always.Those who are hovering in TCR district should know that there are churches in Wayanad and Munnar."Jagrathe"

James Wesley Hunt said...


James Wesley Hunt-Lt Col (Retired)
Chartered Engineer
Member : Institute of Engineers
Institution of Electronics &Telecommunications Engineers
Computer Society of India

AF Communications &Electronic Association of USA
Defence Research and Development Organization, India
Army Signals Association (India)

Amnesty International (India Chapter),
Administrative Committee. North Kerala Diocese (CSI)
Your Excellency Respected Moderator Sir,


In my submissions to your Excellency, in all my humility it was pointed out that the meddling with the Administrative committee would be counterproductive; which now stand correct and legal on the ground.
It is my earnest wish to apprise your Excellency that the Synod Working Committee may find this situation to bring about the perfect rapprochement among all sections of the Church in North Kerala Diocese by advising the Bishop to reconcile with the emerging scenario, in earnest amity work towards the solution of all issues simmering in the churches. I advocate peace, harmony and goodwill and fellowship in spirit and suggest that a way forward can be created. It is proposed that the Bishop of North Kerala Diocese grant me an audience with select elders on an invite and it shall be our endeavor to work in understanding and harmony inside and outside the Administrative Committee for the Good of all concerned. In this proposal I have the support of a large section of Laity and clergy.

In working towards this peace and harmony there may and will be necessity for the Bishop of North Kerala to roll back many of the actions and directions in some difficult decisions he has taken. There may be need to roll back to the cases to the ab-niti status to get problems resolved. I t shall be my sincere effort to achieve the end result with good advice and common sense as well as prayer that will move the spirit.

. Success will be achievable I believe in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and Saviour.

Let His Name be praised.

Trusting all that I have put forth will find favour and understanding,

I Remain,

In the Service of Church and Christ

James Wesley Hunt.

To: The Moderator, Church of South India, Whites Road, Chennai
Not on Original: Copy to The Bishop of North Kerala Diocese, Shornur, Kerala

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