yes, indeed, yohannan is doing all this in non-denominational fashion, without worrying about conversion. and yes, ratzy is not a catholic. 2632 acres! this in land-starved kerala. this is the reason land prices have gone up dramatically in kerala: lots of foreign money coming in.
i have believed for a while that one of the most lucrative business opportunities in the US is setting up a christist church and milking the gullible. yohannan has proved me right.
tsunami, cyclone. earthquakes: the very picture of the ambulance-chasing godman who take advantage of natural disasters. no wonder the myanmarese are scared of these blighters showing up and creating more unrest among the karen and other christistized tribes. they didn't show up in szechuan because i guess they were scared the hans would shoot them! (that's one thing i appreciate about the hans -- they have created the 'official christist church' which reports into beijing, not the vatican.)
an article in today's kerala kaumudi says a lot of christist and hindu phoney godmen are fronts for mohammedan money from the middle east, especially dubai. because mohammedan godmen are being watched by the money-laundering guys (who have black lists of suspected terrorist links) they are diverting the funds to godmen.
An archbishop's spiritual factory
source: Indian Express, June 17, 2008
With his Believers' Church attracting foreign funds worth Rs 1,040 crore, Yohannan's dealings have come under scrutiny
Thiruvananthapuram, June 16
While carrying out its drive against fake godmen and street-side spirituality retailers, investigating agencies in Kerala stumbled on the empire of Kerala-based evangelist and self-consecrated archbishop Dr K.P. Yohannan.
Last week, Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had revealed that Believers' Church, founded by Yohannan, had received foreign remittances of Rs 1,040 crore in the last 18 years. "The state will seek a probe by a Central agency to look into the foreign funds Yohannan received," he said.
Yohannan has been a Pentecostal follower and president of Gospel for Asia (GFA), a group set up in the early eighties to promote biblical teachings. Yohannan's highly spirited preaching won him lakhs of followers across the world. Athmeeya Yathra, one of the dozen trusts Yohannan set up, has been broadcasting religious radio programmes. Yohannan's GFA has 54 Bible colleges in various countries, where over 8,000 missionaries train to spread the word of Christ. The GFA Biblical Seminary near Thiruvalla houses students from 31 different evangelical denominations. His GFA had faced the wrath of Hindu organisations several times in the past, over forced conversions.... deleted
Yohannan's real estate interest came to the fore in 2005 when Believers' Church purchased 2,263 acres of rubber estate from Harrison Malayalam Limited for Rs 63 crore. He also owned Cheruvally estate, one of the best-managed rubber estates in Kerala. Besides, his church owns several tracts of land, paddy fields and islands with tourism potential in various parts of central Kerala. The land tracts were purchased on behalf of the trusts Yohannan headed. Nobody was under any illusion that the rubber estate and paddy fields were meant for sowing the seeds of gospel.
Yohannan got into many more controversies, among them over the alleged misuse of a tsunami rehabilitation fund. But political parties have rarely bothered to look into the transactions of the Church.
Despite the police probe and controversies, Yohannan's team at Thiruvalla remains unfazed. According to Church sources, the self-styled archbishop is engaged in relief activities in the cyclone-hit Myanmar.
"We welcome any kind of investigation. Our accounts are transparent," said Jacob Pothan, central administrative officer of Believers Church. "It is true that the Church has received Rs 1,040 crore since 1990. But only 144 crore has been diverted for real estate dealings in Kerala. The rest has gone into charity," said Pothan, who took a voluntary retirement from the Rubber Board to join Yohannan's spiritual company.
Pothan said the Church carries out rehabilitation projects for poor children, Dalits and backward communities, irrespective of their religious moorings. "We also financially support over 10,000 families. However, conversion has never been on our agenda," Pothan claimed. He justified the Church's real estate investments, saying such projects have to be seen as income-generating ventures to carry out charity work.
DGP (Intelligence) Jacob Punoose told The Indian Express that a state-level probe would be held into the funds that Believers' Church got. "Our investigation has revealed that the church maintains accounts about the money that had flowed into its kitty. However, they have to probe where the money has been deployed," Punoose said.
Besides, the State Revenue Department has initiated a probe into land dealings by the Church. "The Government and media have been trying to tarnish and destroy a nation-building organisation," said Pothan.