ORTHODOX CHURCH IN KERALA ASKS BRIDE TO PRODUCE VIRGINITY CERTIFICATE

The boy, who is the Joint Secretory of the Orthodox Church Youth Movement and a local leader of Youth Congress, to ease the situation, persuaded his wife to convert to Orthodox Church, and go in for a regular church marriage. At this point, Father Jacob asked them to produce a virginity certificate before officiating the rituals. The couple found this demand humiliating.

ORTHODOX CHURCH IN KERALA ASKS BRIDE TO PRODUCE VIRGINITY CERTIFICATE

Recently, Father Jacob Baby aka Shibu from St. Mary's Orthodox Church, Pathanamthitta, asked a bride to produce a certificate of virginity from a doctor before performing the ceremonies. The boy was from an orthodox sect, the girl a Roman Catholic. The two sects are not the best of friends. Their families too were not friendly.

The boy and the girl, therefore, opted for a registered marriage, under the Special Marriage Act, at the office of the registrar. When the news of the tie up reached Father Jacob, he tried to get the marriage document from the registrar's office. He failed. He then filed a RTI appeal for obtaining relevant information, and failed again.

The boy, who is the Joint Secretory of the Orthodox Church Youth Movement and a local leader of Youth Congress, to ease the situation, persuaded his wife to convert to Orthodox Church, and go in for a regular church marriage. At this point, Father Jacob asked them to produce a virginity certificate before officiating the rituals. The couple found this demand humiliating.

Thankfully, the President and Secretory of the church committee immediately resigned in protest against Father Jacob's actions.The diocese too intervened and decided to go forward with this marriage on 15th July. The marriage ceremony took place in the presence of many influential personalities like P. J. Kurien, who served as the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, and other state and local leaders.

However, this did not stop Father Jacob from creating more roadblocks. He bickered over errors in the document provided by the church itself regarding the girl's conversion and later settled by making the girl sign a Rs 200 pro-note confirming her conversion.

It was just a year ago when four out of the five priests of the Malankara Orthodox Church who allegedly sexually abused a woman after threatening to make her confession public were charged with rape and outraging her modesty.The four accused, Father Abraham Varghese, and Father Job Mathew of Niranam Diocese, Father Johnson V Mathew of Thumpamon Diocese, and Father Jays K George of Delhi are still awaiting trial.

It is only recently that a senior Bishop, Alexios Mar Eusebius --Metropolitan of Indian Orthodox Diocese of Southwest America-- was deported from the USA on sexual harassment charges.

Incidents like this have eroded the credibility of the Church