Mar Raphael Thattil is new head of Syro-Malabar Church

The position had been lying vacant since December 7 when Cardinal George Alenchery stepped down from the role.
Mar Rapheal Thattil
Mar Rapheal Thattil
Written by:

Bishop Rapheal Thattil has been elected the new Major Archbishop of the Syro Malabar Church. Currently the bishop of the Shamshabad diocese in Telangana, Bishop Thattil was elected as the head of the Syro Malabar Church by a synod of bishops on Wednesday, January 10. Convened in Ernakulam on January 8, the only agenda of the synod was to elect the next Major Archbishop. The position had been lying vacant since December 7 when Cardinal George Alenchery stepped down from the role. 

Cardinal Alenchery’s resignation was preceded by years of controversy over alleged discrepancies in two land sales of the Ernakulam-Angamaly diocese. He was accused of selling prime properties belonging to the diocese at prices significantly below market value. 

Later, disputes over the imposition of a uniform code for observing the mass had also seen widespread opposition to Alenchery’s leadership. A divisive question emerged regarding the positioning of priests during the ritual, with one faction advocating for the priests to face the public and others saying they should face the altar. 

It is believed that he resigned following the instructions from the Vatican. The Vatican representative in Delhi, Apostolic Nuncio Leopoldo Girelli, had met Alencherry on December 5, before he announced his resignation. Along with Alenchery, Bishop Andrews Thazhath, then apostolic administrator of Ernakulam-Angamaly diocese, had also resigned. 

The newly appointed Major Archbishop Thattil, who is 73 years old, was born in Thrissur. He attained priesthood under the Thrissur diocese in 1980, and became a bishop in 2010. He first served as the auxiliary bishop in Thrissur diocese, as well as the titular bishop of Buruni. In 2017, he was appointed the first bishop of the newly formed Shamshabad diocese, headquartered in Hyderabad.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute