Administration of Malankara Orthodox Church is a combination of democratic and episcopal systems.IN FACT IT WAS 100%DEMOCRATIC IN PRE- COLONISATION ERA(THAT IS UP TO 14TH CENTURY)Episcopal system started to become powerful in the church as a consequence of its interaction with other Churches,Catholic, Protestant,Oriental Orthodox,to be precise.Surprisingly,even Protestant Churches which are considered to be more democratic in character have influenced the malankara church to move towards more episcopal administration.Yes,Malankara Church in pre- colonisation period had been more democratic than even Protestant Churches.The synod at Udayamperoor held at the initiative,leadership and stewardship of Bishop Menzies of Catholic Church ( hailing from Portugal) had a majority of delegates from the laity.That Bishop Menzies chose to ignore the Canon law of the Catholic Church, that a Synod which has laymen participation becomes null and void for that reason alone,is a living testimony to the influence of laity in the pre colonisation days in Malankara Church.Bishop Menzies knew quiet well that he will not be able to implement any decision without taking into confidence the laity in Malankara Church.
Weakening of the Palliyogam (meeting of the Church representatives) started with the advent of an Indian Bishop as the head of Malankara Church. By no strach of imagination can Marthoma I be accused of being responsible or even being remotely causing the decline of the power of Palliyogam. It so happened that the events post consecration of Marthoma I led to a progressive decline over centuries to the relegation of the authority of the representatives of the laity. Today the representatives of the laity have only one function-to elect the various church functionaries. Once the Episcopal elections are over, the Palliyogam has absolutely no control over them.
Today the situation is that elections to Church bodies are turned into a farce by virtue of nomination powers enjoyed by the Episcopacy. The most glaring misuse of power is the nomination of persons who lost the elections to the same body. By that act the Episcopal leadership is ridiculing thePalliyogam.When the Episcopal eldership decides that a person who has been found unsuitable by thePalliyogam to be a member of a certain Church body,the voice of the laity is being thrown into the dustbin. This is a glaring case of misuse of power.
The logic of nominations can be summarized as follows:
1. To give representation to the strains of opinions which are not there in the elected component?
2. Get persons with expertise in fields that the Church will need from the elected quota
3. To foster a sense of belongingness to miniscule sections like mission churches and different linguistic groups like Brahmavar.
But today the nominations serve very many other purposes, but not the ones stated above. It is rumored that money plays a major part.Calibare of most nominated persons is not worth writing home about. Some of them have bad reputation. Then come the persons who lost the election. On the whole, the nominations stink and stink badly.
As the saying goes, owe corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There should be some norms for the Episcopal leadership to exercise the powers vested on them. It is not a healthy development for the Church where the laity has to raise in revolt against the Episcopal leadership