The controversial appointment of Rev. D. S.
Thiagarajah as the fourth Bishop of Jaffna has triggered a
bitter battle which has now resulted in the Jaffna Diocese of
the Church of South India (JDCSI) taking a decisive step to
sever all links with the Church of South India (CSI).
With links with the CSI completely cut off, the
JDCSI has reverted to the American Ceylon Mission (ACM) as a
protest against what it terms "the imposed Bishop" who was
appointed on August 21,2006 by the CSI Moderator, Rt. Rev. B. P.
A vast majority of the Jaffna Diocesan Council
decided through a circulated decision-making process (due to
travel restrictions) that it is best for JDCSI to sever ties
with the CSI and revert to the ACM, a statement by Rev. Milton
Solomon, Secretary to the Erstwhile JDCSI said.
Accordingly, the JDCSI has no ties whatsoever
with the CSI with effect from July 3, 2007.
The dispute arose after the third Bishop of
Jaffna retired on March 31, 2005 leaving the Bishopric vacant.
The accepted practice was for the Jaffna
Diocesan Council to meet and elect a panel of candidates before
the incumbent steps down, the statement said.
But, in this case, it was not done because the
successor earmarked by the outgoing Bishop was not qualified on
the requirements of the minimum age of becoming a Bishop", it
After paralyzing the Executive Committee and the
Diocesan Council through legal action, the candidate earmarked
by a few was consecrated secretly in a synod committee room
after he attained the necessary age, the statement asserted.
"This was done by a few without the knowledge of
the JDCSI council members".
"That’s not correct", Bishop Thiagarajah argued.
"My appointment was upheld by courts of law both in Sri Lanka
"How can this Milton Solomon call himself
‘Reverend" when his ordination has been revoked and he no longer
has any status in the Jaffna Diocese?", he asked.
"He is now a layman", the Bishop claimed. "He
cannot issue statements on behalf of the JDCSI as a ‘Reverend’".
Asked for his comments on allegations by JDCSI
that he was personally involved in getting a woman warden of a
children’s home managed by the Diocese arrested in a bid to take
control over the institution, the Bishop replied: "Totally
"The Church had nothing to do with this
incident", he maintained. "There was intervention by probation
officers and the court case is pending".
He said the Diocese has no jurisdiction over
this home and the manager who was removed was doing an honorary
"Any Tom, Dick and Harry cannot just sever ties
like that", Bishop Thiagarajah shot back when asked about JDCSI
cutting off links with the CSI.
"All these are attempts by desperate people to
create unnecessary problems", he claimed. "The Jaffna newspapers
refused to carry the JDCSI statement".
Rev. Milton Solomon, Secretary to the Erstwhile
JDCSI, could not be reached in Jaffna for his reaction to the