Kochi: Christmas mass will not be celebrated tonight inside the St Mary's Cathedral Basilica, which is the headquarters of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese.
The decision was arrived at following a meeting the police held with the rival factions that clashed inside the Basilica since Friday over disagreements on the unified mass.
The tense situation inside the church that is the headquarters of the archdiocese had escalated Saturday morning when a section of the laity favouring the unified mass obstructed priests celebrating a mass in the congregation-facing style.
The altar was dragged and liturgical objects were destroyed in the scuffle, following which the church had been closed.
The decision to not observe the traditional midnight mass on the eve of Christmas was taken following the meeting held thereafter.
Kochi City Police Commissioner, CH Nagaraju, said the believers were allowed inside the church even under the circumstances on the account of Christmas.
'Painful and deplorable'
Meanwhile, administrator Andrews Thazhath, who is opposed by the majority that favours the congregation-facing mass, termed the incidents painful and deplorable.
He accused the priests who conducted the congregation-facing mass of tarnishing the spirit of the church.
"The protests carried out on the altar by various factions are serious offences. Stern action will be taken on those who insulted the holy mass," the administrator noted in a press release.