By Matters India Reporter
Kochi, August 30, 2019: The apex body of the Syro-Malabar Church has elected a new major archiepiscopal vicar for Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, a post created with the Vatican approval to end ongoing controversies in the Oriental Catholic rite.
Cardinal George Alencherry will continue to head the archdiocese, the seat of the Church’s major archbishop, according to a press release issued by the Syro-Malabar Media Commission on August 30.
The new major archiepiscopal vicar of Ernakulam-Angamaly is Carmelite of Immaculate Bishop Antony Kariyil of the Mandya diocese in Karnataka state and the secretary of the synod.
The synod also lifted the suspension of the archdiocese’s two auxiliary bishops and sent them to dioceses outside Kerala, the base of the Church.
Bishop Sebastian Adayanthrath, one of the suspended auxiliaries, has been appointed as the Mandya bishop while the other prelate as the auxiliary of Faridabad diocese that covers Delhi and five northern Indian states.
The synod appointed Father Vincent Nellaiparambil as the bishop of Bijnor diocese in Uttarakhand, replacing Carmelites of Mary Immaculate Bishop John Vadakkel, who retired on reaching 75 years.
The press released signed by media commission chairperson Bishop Joseph Pamplany says Cardinal Alencherry signed the appointments after they were approved by the Vatican.
The Church also organized a press conference on August 30 at Church headquarters in Kakkanad, a suburb of Kochi, where the synod was underway from August 19, to announce the appointments.
The two-week synod at Mount St Thomas, Kakkanad, was attended by 57 of 63 bishops representing the Church’s 35 dioceses.
The press release says the post of new archiepiscopal vicar was proposed by the synod in its last meeting in January. This is being done to ease the burden of the major archbishop who has to be available for the common needs of the Church that has spread to all over India and overseas. The Vatican Congregation for the Oriental Churches approved the proposal.
The synod also approved the responsibilities and rights of the vicar which will eventually become part of the Church’s particular laws. Although the vicar has independent charge of the archdiocese he has to consult the major archbishop on important decisions. At the same, the vicar has complete power regarding the financial affairs of the archdiocese.
The vicar will represent the archdiocese in civil matters, the press release clarified.
Meanwhile the laity movement of Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese has announced a press conference at 5 pm on August 30 to announce its response to the synod decision.
The movement had submitted to the synod five demands, including removal of Cardinal Alencherry as their archbishop and revoking of the suspension of the auxiliary bishops.