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New Major Archbishop installed

Staff Reporter

— Photo: H.Vibhu

New duty:Bishop George Alencherry being handed the Pastoral Staff at his installation in Kochi on Sunday.

KOCHI: Bishop George Alencherry was installed as the third Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church at a ceremony here on Sunday, attended by the bishops of the three Catholic rites in the country, hundreds of priests and believers from various dioceses in the State.

The ceremonies were held at St. Mary's Basilica Cathedral, which was packed much before 2.30 p.m., the scheduled time for the ceremonies to begin. Bishop Alencherry's election as the Major Archbishop and Rome's approval of the choice was announced officially on Thursday, at the end of a synod of bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church, in which 44 bishops participated.

Curia Bishop and Interim Administrator of the Archdiocese Bosco Puthur led the Mass. Apostolic Nuncio to India Archbishop Salvatore Pennachio and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India Telesphore Toppo were among those who concelebrated the Mass. Bishops from the Latin rite were not present during the installation as they were in Rome on their Ad Limina visit, Bishop Puthur said during his introductory address. Archbishop Pennachio read out messages from Pope Benedict XVI and from the Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches Leonardo Cardinal Sandri. The Apostolic Nuncio said he had great joy in joining the installation ceremonies . The Pope, in his message, imparted the apostolic blessings. Cardinal Pennachio also handed over a Papal gift to the new Major Archbishop.

The Major Archbishop addressed the gathering in Tamil too, greeting those who had arrived for the ceremony from Thuckalay, where he was the Bishop before his election as the Major Archbishop.

Head of the Malankara Catholic Church Baselios Mar Cleemis delivered the benedictory address. Union Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies K.V. Thomas and State Ministers K. Babu, K.M. Mani, and P. J. Joseph were present during the installation ceremonies.

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