Kerala church denominations fight over funeral of 95-year-old man

Varghese Mathew Pallikkalethu died last Sunday due to illness. Officials said the Orthodox faction of the Malankara Church did not allow to conduct the funeral at the church.

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The coffin of the deceased kept on the road after a row erupted between two church denominations in Kerala. Image: NewsMinute.

A row over the ownership of St. Mary’s Orthodox Church at Kattachira, near Kayamkulam, between two factions has delayed the funeral of a 94-year-old person who died a week ago.

Varghese Mathew Pallikkalethu died last Sunday due to illness. Officials said the Orthodox faction of the Malankara Church did not allow to conduct the funeral at the church.

“The Orthodox faction has made a condition that the grandson of the deceased, a priest, should not attend the funeral service wearing the priest’s garb. It was not acceptable to the relatives. The body is in mortuary,” an official said.

On Friday, District Collector S. Suhas convened a meeting but failed to end the impasse. The Jacobite faction has decided to go to court. The district administration has clamped prohibitory orders on church premises.

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