New bishops appointed for Syro Malabar church
By: Matters India Reporter
Kochi: John Nellikkunnel, hailing from Kadaplamattam in Palai and James Athikkalam from Pulimkunnu, have been appointed the Bishops of the Syro-Malabar dioceses of Idukki and Sagar, Uttar Pradesh, respectively.
The announcement was made here on January 12 by Cardinal George Alencherry at the church’s headquarters St. Thomas’ Mount, Kakkanad.
The new appointments are being made in place of the present Bishops of the two dioceses attaining the retirement age of 75, said the Cardinal.
The announcement was officially made simultaneously at Vatican in Italian time 1200 hours and at Indian time 1630 hours.
The official date of assuming the charge would be informed later.
Father John Nellikunnel was born on 22nd March, 1973, at Kadaplamattom, Kerala. He joined St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary, Kothamangalam on 18th June, 1988. He was ordained priest on 30th December, 1998 at St. Mary’s Church, Mariapuram.
He obtained a Licentiate in Philosophy from Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (2001-2003) and Doctorate in Philosophy from Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome (2003-2006). From 2007 to 2010 he served as Eparchial Chancellor and Secretary to the Bishop. He served as Director of Catechetical Department and Bible Apostolate. From 2015 to 2017 he was Dean of Philosophy at Mangalapuzha Seminary. Till the present, he is the Secretary of the Corporate Education Agency of the Eparchy of Idukki.
Father James Athikalam , was born on 5th July, 1958, at Pulincunnoo, Changanacherry. He was ordained priest on 22nd March, 1984, for the Missionary Society of St. Thomas the Apostle (MST).
He holds a Master’s Degree from Mysore University and has obtained a licentiate in Biblical Theology and Doctorate in Patrology from Rome.
As a priest he worked at Barnagar in the Diocese of Ujjain, and later was appointed professor and procurator of the Diocesan Minor Seminary of Ujjain and professor at the MST Minor Seminary. In 1991, he was appointed Director of the Missionary Orientation Course at Jeevan Jyothi, Mandya, professor of Patrology in Ruhalaya Major Seminary, Ujjain, of which he was later appointed Rector.
He became the Director General of the Missionary Society of St. Thomas the Apostle and served in that office till 2017. At present he is the Director of Nirmal Jyoti Mental Health Programme, Bhopal.