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Thousands pay homage to Cardinal Vithayathil

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The body of Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, head of the Syro-Malabar Church, was laid to rest at 8.30 p.m. on Sunday at the St. Mary's Basilica here.

The ceremony slated for 5.30 p.m. was delayed as thousands of people from different walks of life continued to pour into the Basilica late into the evening on Sunday to pay their last respects to the Cardinal. Priests, religious, nuns and laymen came in large numbers to lay wreaths, to pray, and to catch a last glimpse of the mortal remains of the prelate, who endeared himself to his Church as a man of kindness and simplicity. The Cardinal was buried at the sanctum of the St. Mary's Basilica. The flow of people into the Basilica could not be contained even late into the evening as hundreds of volunteers were seen overseeing the queues that led to the coffin at the Basilica.

As many as 72 bishops and archbishops from the Catholic Church and other denominations were among those who came to get a final glimpse of the Cardinal.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari was among those who paid their respects to the Cardinal at the Basilica. Union Ministers of State K.C. Venugopal and K.V. Thomas; State Ministers K.P. Rajendran, M.A. Baby and T.M. Thomas Isaac; former Ministers P.J. Joseph and K.M. Mani; K.G. Daniel, CSI Bishop; Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore A.M. Chinnappa and Archbishop of Bangalore Bernard Moraes paid their homage.

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