Kochi: A Jacobite family in Kerala donated an 86-year-old woman’s body to Ayurveda medical college, Tripunithura, Kochi due to fights between factions of the church. Karakkattil Sara Varkey passed away on Friday. She belonged to Kanniattunirappu St John’s Church in Ernakulam.

As the family was conducting the final rites in the church, members of the Orthodox faction began arguing with the family. In 2017, the Orthodox faction had won a case in Supreme Court against rituals being performed by Jacobite priests for burials

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The Orthodox faction argued that the Jacobite family could not bury the body in the church premises, which also serves as a cemetery, as a Jacobite priest had performed the last rites.

The family refused to be part of the fight and decided to donate the body of the deceased to a medical college.

According to the court verdict, members of both Jacobite and Orthodox have equal rights to attend church and bury the body of family members in the cemeteries, but only the clergy appointed following the 1934 Constitution possess the rights to conduct burial ceremonies.

At the same time, a group from the Jacobite faction has come forward alleging that the Orthodox group are violating the fundamental rights of people by denying proper burial to faithful devotees. Replying to this, the Orthodox faction has said that they are not against any burial but won't allow a Jacobite priest to conduct the final rites.