A day-long standoff between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions, who are fighting over the ownership of St Mary's Syrian Cathedral known as Piravom Valiyapally, came to an end after Ernakulam district Collector S Suhas took over the church, as per the Kerala High Court directive.
The police forcefully opened the church gate and arrested the protesting Jacobite leaders. After having a discussion with the collector, the Bishops themselves courted arrest. The Metropolitan Trustee had stated that they will not leave the church and challenged the police to come inside the premises and arrest them.
The Jacobites, led by Catholicos Baselios Thomas I, have been camping inside the church premises from Tuesday, protesting against a 2017 order by the top court, which allowed the Orthodox faction to take control of Piravom church.
The Kerala High Court's order, asking the Jacobites to evacuate the church and giving protection to the Orthodox faction, had led to the protest. The HC had directed police to arrest and remove Jacobites from the church on Thursday. Hundreds of police personnel have also camped near the church to control the law and order situation.
The district collector had imposed entry restrictions for two months on 67 people, including 10 priests, of the Jacobite faction under CrPC Section 144 on Wednesday. They have been barred from entering the church and its premises for two months.
The Kerala HC has asked the state government as well as counsel for the Jacobite faction to explain under what authority were the Jacobite faction supporters preventing the faithful who wanted to enter the church. The court also directed the state government to file a report by 1.45 pm on Thursday.
The HC order was taken after a petition was filed by the Orthodox Church demanding the Supreme Court verdict to be implemented.