Alleppey diocese gets coadjutor bishop

Father James Raphael Anaparambil will succeed Bishop Stephen Athipozhiyil when he retires two years later.

Father James Raphael Anaparambil will succeed Bishop Stephen Athipozhiyil when he retires two years later.

By Matters India Reporter

New Delhi: Pope Francis on December 7 appointed Father James Raphael Anaparambil as the coadjutor bishop Alleppey diocese in Kerala.

This was announced at noon time in Rome and its corresponding time in India, says a statement from the headquarters of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.

Father Anaparambil is in charge of the revision of the Malayalam translation of the Bible at Pastoral Orientation Centre, Ernakulam. He was also member of the College of Consulters of the Diocese of Alleppey.

He was born in Chellanam, a parish in Alleppey diocese on March 7, 1962. He completed his seminary studies at the Major Seminary, Alwaye, Kerala, and was ordained a priest for the same diocese on December 17, 1986.

He studied Biblical Theology in Rome at the Pontifical Urbanian University, where he obtained a Doctorate. He also holds a Masters in Judaism from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

After ordination he served the diocese in the following ministries: Chaplain, St. Thomas Parish, Thumply (1986-1987); Prefect and Procurator, Sacred Heart Minor Seminary, Maithara, Alleppey (1989-1993); Diocesan Director of Vocations Centre (1989-1993); Professor of Biblical Theology and Hebrew, St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Carmelgiri (1998-2013); President of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye (2003-2006); Rector, St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, Carmelgiri (2009-2012); Vicar General for Clergy, Religious and Seminarians, Alleppey (2014-2016).

He will succeed Stephen Athipozhiyil when he retires on reaching 75 years. Bishop Athipozhiyil turned 73 on May 18.

Alleppey Latin rite diocese was carved out Cochin diocese in 1952. It lies along the Arabian Sea between the dioceses of Cochin and Quilon, covering an area of 333 square kilometers.

Bishop Michael Arattukulam was the first bishop of Alleppey. Bishop Chenaparambil succeeded him in 1984. When Bishop Chenaparambil retired in 2001, Bishop Athipozhiyil assumed office.

Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha, was once described as the Venice of the East. A great commercial port in the past, it had trade relations with ancient Greece and Rome. Today it is the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha district. The name “Alappuzha” means “the land between the sea and the network of rivers flowing into it.”

As on April 1, 2015, the diocese had more than 175,000 Catholics in a population of 795,000. They lived in 49 parishes that were served by 132 priests, including 25 religious, and 486 sisters.

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