Staff Reporter

Mor Sevarios elevated as Archbishop

KOTTAYAM: Mor Sevarios Kuriakose, Metropolitan and head of the Malankara Syrian Knanaya diocese, has been elevated as Archbishop and Chief Metropolitan by the Patriarch of Antioch. Making the official declaration, the new Archbishop told mediapersons at the church headquarters at Chingavanom near here on Saturday that the diocese had been elevated as archdiocese.

The small but closely knit Knanaya community, believed to be the descendants of Syrian settlers who arrived on the Malabar coast in 345 AD, is spread over the Catholic and Syrian rites. The new Archbishop-Chief Metropolitan of the Archdiocese would have `immediate, universal jurisdiction' over the entire Syrian Knanaya community whose supreme head is the Patriarch of Antioch.

This is for the first time that an Archbishop is being consecrated in the Syrian Church here. According to Mor Sevarios, the growth of the 96-year-old diocese during the past decades, the spread of its members all over the world, the strong ecumenical relations the Church has established with sister Churches and the work it has done in the area of charity were taken into account while bestowing the new position by Antioch. With the elevation, Mor Sevarius has emerged as the de facto number two in the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church after Catholicos Baselius Thomas I.

The archdiocese would get a new auxiliary bishop soon. Auxiliary bishop-elect Fr. C.T. Kurian will be consecrated in Damascus by the Patriarch on February 2, the new Archbishop said.