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Updated: September 5, 2011 20:13 IST

Bishop Thuruthikonam passes away

Staff Reporter
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Bishop emeritus Peter Thuruthikonam, former head of the Vijayapuram diocese of the Latin Catholic Church, died at a private hospital in Kochi on Monday morning.

Bishop Thuruthikonam, 82, who led the Vijayapuram diocese from 1988 to 2006, had been leading his retired life here when he was admitted to the hospital with cardiovascular problems a few days ago. The end came after a heart attack at 6.50 a.m. The body was brought to the Vijayapuram Bishop's House in the afternoon. Later, it was moved to Vimalagiri Cathedral here in a procession for the believers to pay homage. A concelebrated mass was held at the cathedral with Bishop Sebastian Thekkethecheril, head of the Vijayapuram diocese, being the main celebrant.

The funeral has been scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Vimalagiri Cathedral.

Bishop Thuruthikonam had taken over the leadership of the diocese as the fourth Bishop from Bishop Cornelius Elanjickel in 1988.

Born in 1929 at Thukalassery near Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district, Bishop Thuruthikonam had an early initiation into spiritual life. He was ordained a priest in 1959 and served at various parishes in Central Travancore before being elevated as the chancellor and secretary to the then Bishop Ambrose Abasolo of Vijayapuram in 1966. In 1977, when Bishop Cornelius Elanjickel became the first indigenous Bishop of Vijayapuram, he was made the Pro Vicar General.

The diocese consists of the revenue districts of Kottayam and Idukki and parts of Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta districts.

In his condolence message, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said Bishop Thuruthikonam had always been eager to help the poor, irrespective of their religious affiliation.

In a message, Major Archbishop George Alancherry of the Syro-Malabar Church, called the deceased Bishop as a role model and a visionary who taught the fellow-bishops to care for the poor and the marginalised.

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