New Catholic saints

In the Catholic Syrian Churches those who were formally assigned the title of saint have to be distinguished from those who are 'blessed'. There is not always a difference of opinion that would be a problem from an ecumenical point of view. But there is on the other hand uncertainty about those whose lives were directly connected with church unions in some way. The nineteenth-century Malabar priest Kuriakose Elias Chavara (d. 1871), a descendant of an old Indian Christian family, is not only known as the founder of a new monastic congregation, but also for his particular commitment to the Holy See. It was definitely the pope's side that he took when conflicts arose in his Church, although people were longing for an indigenous hierarchy and a better protection of Indian (Syrian) Christian traditions against Latinization. He is an example of a person who was too divisive to be accepted as a saint. He could not figure as a bridge-builder between the churches, compared with those without controversial backgrounds who are respected and venerated across borders.

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