Facing allegations over a controversial land deal, the head of the Syro-Malabar Church Cardinal George Alencherry Sunday said all issues relating to it would be resolved soon. “The issue will be resolved soon,” he said in his first public statement on the controversial land deal in the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, in which the church allegedly suffered a huge financial loss.
Addressing a mass at a Church at nearby Kuravilangad, he thanked all those who gave him strength through their prayers. He urged them to continue with their prayers. “There is no place for division among Christians. Certain things occur due to the shortcomings. That will be rectified,” Alencherry said.
The Cardinal’s statement came after a section of faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church accused Cardinal Alencherry, who is also Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese, of selling prime land of the archdiocese in Kochi for “a very low price”. They had alleged the role of land mafia in the sale of land in a “non-transparent manner”, violating even civil and canon laws.
Supporters of the Cardinal had dubbed the charges against the chief priest as a ‘misinformation campaign.’ The All India Catholic Almaya Forum had urged the priests to stop the campaign being carried out against the Cardinal.
They had alleged that a handful of priests were trying to defame the Syro-Malabar Church, having over 55 lakh followers and 35 dioceses. The Presbyteral Council of Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese had alleged that a commission appointed by the Archbishop to enquire into the land business had found serious violations of canon and civil laws.
According to the priests, the commission found that revenue from sale of 3.06 acres of the land in Kochi city was expected to fetch Rs 27 crore as per the understanding, but officially only Rs nine crore had been shown as sale proceeds. They claimed that an amount of Rs 18 crore was ‘shrouded in mystery’ and remained unaccounted.