Mar Raphael Thattil elected new supreme head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
KOCHI — Mar Raphael Thattil was on Wednesday elected as the new supreme head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.
The election was held on Tuesday.
A rank outsider to the topmost post of Major Archbishop, his election has come as a surprise to all, as there were other names which were doing the rounds.
Born in Trissur in 1956 as the youngest of 10 children, he did his schooling at St Thomas College High School, joined St Mary’s Minor Seminary, Thope in 1971, and was ordained priest in 1980.
He was then sent to Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome for his Bachelor of Theology and Doctor of Canon Law.
In 2010, he was elevated as a bishop and was appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of Syro-Malabar Catholic Archdiocese of Trissur.
Pope Francis named him the first Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Shamshabad in 2017, the post that he currently holds.
In his comments soon after taking over, he said when he came to take part in this meeting, he never ever thought of being the new head.
“It’s God’s will that has taken place and I humbly accept this new responsibility and I will do my duty,” said Mar Raphael Thattil.
The election to find a new supreme head became a necessity after incumbent Cardinal George Alencherry expressed his desire to step down and his request was accepted by the Pope.
Christians in Kerala make up around 18 per cent of the state’s 32 million population, of which Catholics are the dominant group, comprising 50 per cent of the community in the state.