The Kerala High Court recently reserved its verdict on an appeal moved by parishioners of St Mary’s Syrian Orthodox Cathedral at Piravom, previously with the erstwhile Jacobite faction, against a single-judge order that refused to intervene in the consecration of new catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church without canonically inviting the Patriarch of Antioch [KA John & Anr v. State of Kerala & Ors.].A Division Bench of Justices A Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas considered the appeal over the course of several hearings. .The petition, filed through advocate Haris Beeran had sought a declaration holding that the consecration of Catholicos without inviting the Patriarch was invalid as it violated the judgment of the Supreme Court in KS Varghese v.St. Peters & St. Pauls Syrian Orthodox Church & Ors that upheld the validity of the 1934 Constitution as binding on the Malankara Church.A different petition had been filed at the Kerala High Court days before the consecration meeting that was held on October 15 seeking to prevent the consecration of new Catholicos.However, the meeting went on as planned with a new Catholicos, Dr Mathews Mar Severios who adopted the new name of Baselios Mar Thoma Mathews III Catholicos, after he was consecrated.The petitioners contended that manner of consecration of Catholicos is dealt with in section 114 of the 1934 constitution. The condition that, ‘if there be a patriarch recognized by the Malankara church’ was dispensed with by the Supreme Court by holding that the present patriarch of Antioch is the patriarch envisaged under Section 114 of the 1934 constitution. Therefore, it was argued that the canonical invitation of the patriarch for the consecration of the Catholicos is a mandatory condition..However, Senior Advocate S Sreekumar appearing for the respondent Orthodox faction had argued that the patriarch's role is diminishing and there is no patriarch recognised by the orthodox faction.Moreover, he contended that the observations regarding Section 114 of the 1934 constitution made by the Supreme Court can be considered findings, not directions. He thus argued against the maintainability of the petition as it is seeks to enforce findings of the Supreme Court..The single-judge concurred with this argument and dismissed the plea holding that the Church is not a State under Article 12 of the Indian Constitution, and no writ will lie against churches..In the appeal, the petitioners contended that the single-judge failed to take note of the fact that several orders have been passed by the Kerala High Court itself to enforce the judgment in KS Varghese.It was argued that while the reliefs sought by the respondent Orthodox faction have been granted by the Kerala High Court based on KS Varghese invoking the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution, those sought by the appellant-Jacobite faction based on the same judgment have been denied."If the impugned judgment is allowed to stand, those who violate the judgment in K.S.Varghese case stand to gain and those who pointed out the violation and approached the court to set right the violation stand to lose", the appeal stated. Therefore, the appellants sought orders to set aside the single-judge's decision and restraining the new Catholicose from exercising spiritual, ecclesiastical and temporal powers in the capacity of Catholicose of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church as his consecration is in violation of the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Varghese case..The State of Kerala has witnessed prolonged clashes between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions in the State despite directions from the Supreme Court to solve the dispute.