More than 500 schools are being set up by self-styled bishop KP Yohannan’s Believer’s Church. The schools have been named St. Johannes International School implying that KP Yohannan has declared himself to be a saint now.
Believers Church, which had been started as a pentecostal church, has been transformed into an episcopal church now.
Narada News received an internally circulated school manual prepared by the Believers Church in Kerala which states that every St Johannes International School will have the best infrastructure. More than a dozen schools in Rajasthan are already operating. Nine out of the 12 schools planned in southern part of Rajasthan are already functioning under Udaipur Diocese of Believers Church and affiliated with Rajasthan government education department.
“The school name across all schools will be branded as St. Johannes School. If the school location and infrastructure are good, then the brand can be St. Johannes International School,” says a privately circulated ‘School Manual’ titled as ‘Believers Church Schools’ published by the Believers Church Synod Secretariat office in Kerala.
The schools are located in the vicinity of the upscale residential areas in the small towns of southern Rajasthan.
All the above-mentioned schools are run by the local coordinators of the Believers Church and are not meant for ‘charity’, they say.
NaradaNews conducted an investigation which exposes K P Yohannan and Believers Church funnelling vast amounts of foreign fund received for charity to their burgeoning business empire.
When NaradaNews visited some of the schools posing as an admission seeking parent, the school coordinators explained everything about their new business venture. Coordinators of four schools and a priest in the Udaipur diocese who have been filmed using a spy cam admit that they are not running these schools for charity.
They also admitted that the name of the schools- ” St Johannes” is another form of the name of their Metropolitan-“K P Yohannan” .
” We have to allocate 25 per cent of the seats to the poor children for free education according to a rule by the Rajasthan government. They made it compulsory for all the private schools. We will collect a fee from the rest of the students. We are planning to build 519 schools across the country to provide education with international quality. We are planning to build schools in the neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka etc also. These schools do not come under our charity projects,” said Prithviraj, Coordinator of St Johannes English medium School at Kapasan.
In the history of Christianity, precisely, Orthodox and Catholic community, no living person have
been declared as a saint. In Catholics, take the example of Mother Teresa. Her entire life went to a noble cause. She passed away in 1997 and her sainthood process is still going on and beatification has taken place while canonization is still to take place; only after that will she be declared a saint.
In Orthodox Christianity rituals also, no living person has been elevated as a saint. One of the oldest Orthodox church in world, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, which is 2000 years old has only three persons declared as saints. Saint Baselios Yeldo, Parumela Thirumeni and Vattasseral Thirumeni.
St Baselios Yeldo was from Iraq and he worked for Jacobite church, breathing his last in Kerala in 1693 at the age of 92 and was declared a saint in 1947.
St Gregorios of Parumela Metropolitan, also knowns as Parumela Thirumeni, died in 1902 and attained sainthood in 1947.
Vattasseral Thirumeni died in 1934 and attained the status of a saint in 2003.
In Indian Catholic Church, only three persons have been recognized as saints. One is Sister Alphonsa who died in 1946 was canonized in 2008.
Second is Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara who died on January 3, 1871, is the first canonized male saint of Indian origin on November 2014.
Marth Euphrasia Eluvathingal also called Saint Euphrasia Eluvathingal was baptised as Rosa Eluvathingal (17 October 1877 – 29 August 1952).
She was an Indian Carmelite nun of the Syro-Malabar Church which is an Eastern Catholic Church and a part of the Saint Thomas Christian community in Kerala.
She was canonised as a Saint by Pope Francis on 23 November 2014 in Vatican City.
But interestingly, KP Yohannan, who was from a Marthoma family, through Operation Mobilization (OM), he joined Pentecostal (Protestant) Church.
After this, he went to the US as an assistant pastor of the Southern Baptist Church.
He started Gospel For Asia in Dallas 30 years back for supporting Indian missionaries.
In the beginning of 90s, he started his own Believers Church. Later he became a self-appointed episcopal bishop without following the normal procedures and transformed his church into following episcopal rituals like Catholics and Orthodox.
Now he has declared himself a saint and named the schools he plans on running for profit after himself as “St Johannes International School”.
In the history of Christianity, this would be the first time that such a self-made sainthood happened.
During the Narada News investigation, one of the principals of St Johannes International School answers on camera as to why the School has been named St Johannes. She explains: “It’s the name of our bishop and Metropolitan from Kerala. There are instructions from the office to name all schools as such.”
NaradaNews investigation reveals KP Yohannan has not used the same name that he chose for his school anywhere in Kerala where he is known by the local people fearing a backlash. He has opened St Johannes International Schools only in north India where people don’t know about him.
In the internal communication, it has been mentioned that Believers Church will invest more than Rs 10 million (within a span of five years in setting up St Johannes International Schools. These schools will function as normal schools taking school fees, tuition fees like any other private school and are not being run for any charity purpose.
However, the funds used to built these schools is coming from the funds from the west for charity purposes like rehabilitation of poor children, drinking water facilities, educate the poor while not taking a single penny from them for these purposes.
These funds are also meant for supporting missionaries and church planting. According to US laws, from where most of the donations are coming from to Yohannan, the funds are not to be used for any profit-making venture, acquiring any land, setting up any school or institutions for the affluent classes.
KP Yohannan’s former employees have filed a lawsuit against him in a Texas court for misusing charity funds to the tune of $200 million.
A similar suit has been filed in Canada by a former employee of Gospel For Asia.
After a preliminary inquiry of Evangelical Council for Accountability, found KP Yohannan violating rules and regulations and terminated membership of Gospel for Asia. The National Religious Broadcasters also canceled his membership as a result of evidence pointing towards him misappropriating charity funds.
US citizens who are donating funds were getting a tax benefit and after the revelation that KP Yohannan has been diverting charity funds to build his business empire, there have been strong reactions against the self-professed godman accusing him of breach of trust.
Believers Church collect their funds through Gospel For Asia which is registered as a tax-exempt nonprofit organisation under the section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.
An organisation registered under this section must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, and no part of section 501(c)(3) organization’s net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.
Gospel For Asia claims on their websites (which are not accessible from India) that they spend 100 percent of the donations received, for charity.
It is now known that KP Yohannan’s Believers Church have acquired a land bank worth more than Rs 100 billion ($1500 million) after siphoning off charity fund of Gospel For Asia. The matter is being investigated by Enforcement Directorate and economic intelligence wing in India.