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to preach the catholic doctrine and to attend the provincial councils assembled at Goa, and to observe all the decrees which might then be made for his diocese. In consequence of this letter he attended the third provincial council assembled by Don Vincent de Fonceca, archbishop of Goa, and made a new confession of faith, to which he added (if we may believe the Portuguese historian) a formal renunciation of his errors, and bound himself to obey the decrees of the council, and to deliver up to them all the heretical books in his diocese, in order that they might burn some and correct others. The council finding that in his ordination of priests, he put no wine into the calice when he placed it in the hand of the candidate, pronounced the ordination null and void, and obliged him to re-ordain them in the presence of two Jesuits from the college of Vaipicotta. So that these priests were ordained, three several times !
Some time after the council, Mar Abraham, appreheuding that his Patriarch would be offended at his proceedings, wrote a letter to him informing him that he had attended the council of Goa, from fear of the Portuguese “ who were as close upon his head as the hammer upon the anvil ;"—and that he had carrierl with him his confession of faith, which was highly applauded by the bishops. This letter was intercepted.
His apprehensions of the displeasure of the Patriarch, appear to have been well founded, for about this time a Syrian arrived in Malabar, named Mar Simeon, who gave out that he was sent by the Patriarch of Mosul to succeed Mar Abraham. The whole diocese was thrown into confusion by the parties, and mutual excommunications of the two prelates, Mar Simeon being supported by the Queen * of the country at carturte, and Mar Abraham by the Portuguese, to whose protection he appealed. After some time however Simeon was pursuaded by some Franciscan Missionaries, in the interest of the opposite party, that he would never be secure in the possession of his dignity, till he obtained the sanction of the Pope. He therefore went to Rome, to solicit it ; and Sixtus V. the reigning Pontiff, according to Gouvea, finding on examination that he was a Nestorian, that he was not a bishop, and that there was no proof of his being even a priest, obliged him to recant his errors, and confined him in a monastery, till he should be instructed in the Catholic doctrine. The sentence, pronounced by the Pope himself, declared that he was not a bishop, and forbade him to exercise any episcopal function, or even to celebrate Divine Ser
Called by the Portuguese, Rainha de Pimenta.
vice. The principal reason of this sentence according to Gouvea, was a letter which Mar Simeon had written to the Patriarch of Mosul, and which had been intercepted by the Portuguese. He there represented to him that on his arrival in India, finding the authority of the Patriarch so weakened, the bishop of the Malabar so infirm, and the Portuguese so determined to overthrow the rites and doctrines of the Syrian churches, he thought he was rendering a service to God by assuming the title and exercising the functions of bishop, in order to preserve the authority of the Patriarch. He therefore entreated him to confirm the orders which he had given, and to send him letters, declaring him archbishop of the christians of Malabar. Such is Gouvea's account, but it is difficult to give implicit belief to so partial and prejudiced an historian; and the more natural interpretation of the letter is that Mar Simeon had been consecrated without a title, (as is common with the oriental churches) and sent by the Patriarch to enquire into the disorders of Malabar ; that finding that they required a prompt and immediate remedy, he assumed the government of the church, and requested the Pa. triarch now to confirm what he had done and to send his Sustaticon or letters patent, for the legal possession of the diocese.
From Rome Mar Simeon was sent to Portugal, and confined in the Franciscan convent at Lisbon. From thence he wrote every year to the churches that recognized his authority in Malabar, and particularly to a Catanar, or Priest, named Yacoob, whom he had appointed his vicar general. These letters, in which he styles himself Alexis de Metropolitan of India, contain all the errors of Nestorius. Don Menezes finding one of them when he visited Malabar in 1599, sent it to the Inquisitor General at Lisbon. After this we hear no more of Mar Simeon.
His rival was now left in full possession of the See, though Yacoob, the vicar general of Mar Simeon, refused to own his authority. Don Matthias, archbishop of Goa, held at this time (A. D. 1590) the fourth Provincial council of India, and summoned Mar Abraham according to the brief of Gregory XIII. but that prelate feared to trust himself a second time to the good faith of the Portuguese, especially as he had not adhered to the promises that were extorted from him in the preceding council. To every summons he answered in the words of an Arabic proverb-- The cat that has once been bitten by an adder, is frightened even at a string.
The Portuguese having informed the Pope (Clement VIII.) of the refractory conduct of Mar Abraham, obtained a brief, addressed to the famous Don Alexis de Menezes, then newly appointed arch
bishop of Goa, enjoining him strictly to enquire into the life and doctrine of that prelate, and if he found him guilty of the charges brought against him, to send him to Goa under a sure and honorable guard, and to transmit to Rome authentic copies of the proceedings, in order that the holy See might form an exact and precise judgment.
To prevent however any evil to the diocese of Angamale, either in spiritual or temporal matters, the Pope directed the archbishop to appoint, a vicar Apostolic, who should if possible be well acquainted with Syriac, and that in future no prelate should be admitted to that diocese who was not elected by the holy See. This important document, on which were grounded all the subsequent persecutions of this unfortunate and injured people, was dated from Rome, the 27th January 1595.
Don Alexis de Menezes, on his arrival in India, transmitted a a proces verbal to Rome of the information required. But the great age and infirmity of Mar Abraham, which confined him entirely to his house in Angamale, prevented him from securing his person. Learning however that the church had written to the Patriarch of Mosul to send a new bishop, he sent orders forbidding the Portuguese at Ormus under pain of ecclesiastical censure to allow any priest or bishop of Chaldea, Persia, or Armenia, to pass into India. This order compelled the new archbishop, who had received the letters of the Patriarch and was waiting at Ormus, for a passage, to return to Persia. The strictest search also was ordered of all Syrians and Armenians who might arrive in any Port of India.
In the mean time Menezes, in order to check the schism that prevailed in Malabar, wrote to the Catanar Yacoob, the vicar General of Mar Simeon, commanding him to submit to the authority of Mar Abraham. The priest refused to obey, and continued his factious conduct and heretical doctrines. He wrote also several letters to Mar Abraham, and to his archdeacon, (the only ecclesiastical dignity in his diocese) exhorting them to retract their errors, to give up their Nestorian manuscripts, and to submit to the Romish church. The aged bishop replied to these letters with frivolous excuses in order to gain time; and the manner of his death, which happened shortly after, proved that he retained his former creed unchanged.
Menezes, was engaged in a visitation of his own diocese of Goa. when he received the news of Mar Abraham's death, and was unable to
escape from bis more urgent and immediate concerns to undertake in person the enterprize that was nearest to his heart-the complete reduction of the church of St. Thomas to the authority
of Rome. As the first step however in obedience to the Pope's injunctions, he nominated Francis Roz, a Jesuit of great learning, and well skilled both in Syriac and Malayalim, vicar Apostolic of the diocese. The council of Goa disapproved of this nomination, as likely to disgust the church of Malabar, and recommended the appointment of the archd, acon George, whom Mar Abraham, at his death had left in charge of his diocese, and who was universally respected and esteemed. Menezes, in accordance with their suggestion, sent the archdeacon a new patent, appointing him vicar general, but giving him two associates in the office, Francis Roz, and the Rector of the college of Vaipicotta. In the same letter, he ordered him to make before the Rector of the college, a solemn confession of faith according to the council of Trent, together with the oath contained in the bull of Pius IV. The archdeacon objected to the appointment of any associates in his office, and Menezes yielded the point and sent him a new patent, appointing him sole vicar general, with no other condition than the confession of faith. The archdeacon received the patent, but declared that without it he was in full and lawful possession of his charge, and deferred the confession of faith, to Thursday in Passion week, ostensibly in order to make it more solemn, but really in the hope that before that time a new bishop would arrive from Mosul.
The appointed day however being come, the archdeacon declared boldly that he would not make the confession of faith demanded of him, that he did not recognize the church of Rome as having any thing to do with that of St. Thomas, and that he would never submit to the archbishop of Goa as his superior. He convoked an assembly of the priests and chief persons of the nation at Angamale who resolved that in all matters of faith, they would do nothing without the consent of the archdeacon; that they would suffer no innovation of the antient usages, that they would never suffer the law of St. Thomas to be destroyed, nor even admit any bishop into the diocese but those who come to them from the Patriarch of Babylon. They swore to maintain these articles at the peril of their property and lives, and published their resolution throughout the diocese.
From that time, they no longer suffered the Portuguese priests to officiate in their churches, as they had done before, nor the Jesuits of Vaipicotta to preach amongst them.
A. D. 1597. Menezes, alarmed at the news of this insurrection, resolved immediately to visit the diocese, and was only prevented from executing his plan, by a war which broke out between two of the chief Rajahs of the coast, which rendered the journey dangerous, and interrupted all intercourse of christians. Forced by these circumstances to defer his expedition, he wrote to the archdeacon and to the church, that he was on the point of visiting them, but that, for weighty reasons, he sbould defer his journey to the following spring; and that in the mean time the archdeacon should make his public confession of faith as he was pledged to do, that he should give up all the Syriac books in his diocese, of whatever nature they were, to be purified and corrected, and lastly that he should bring all his people into subjection to the church of Rome.
The archdeacon was alarmed and began to temporize. He declared that he was ready to make the confession of faith before persons of any other order, but that he had reasons to complain of the Jesuits. Menezes however, was entirely governed by that Order in the whole conduct of his expedition to Malabar. They had already fixed on the Episcopal dignity as the object of their ambition, and they obtained it by the credit and connivance of the archbishop. They enjoyed it subsequently, as we shall see, till the christians, weary of their avarice and their tyranny, rose en masse against them, and thus depriving the Jesuits of so honorable and lucrative a post, contributed not a little to the conquests of the Dutch, and the expulsion of the Portuguese from that coast.
Menezes was firm in his demands, and several circumstances that occurred at this time tended to widen the breach between the two churches. He sent a Franciscan Friar, who had brought him letters from the archdeacon, to receive publicly his confession of faith, and to send it to him to Goa in Malayalim. The archdeacon, intimidated by his threats, consented to make a confession of faith, provided he were not forced to make it publicly, lest it should be thought that hitherto he had not been orthodox. He made accordingly a sort of confession of faith in private before the Franciscan, and sent it to the archbishop. Menezes was exceedingly displeased with this document, because it was neither public, nor in the form prescribed by Pius IV; because the archdeacon had contented himself with saying that he was a Catholic, without abjuring the errors of Nestorius ; because he professed to believe in the Holy Church without adding the word Roman; and because he declared the Pope to be the Pastor of the church, without saying that he was the universal Pastor of the whole church of Jesus Christ.
This confession not being admitted, the Franciscans determined to extort another which should be more acceptable. They therefore proposed to him to meet them at Vaipin in the immediate