Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, who passed away on Friday, will be buried alongside his predecessors at the sanctuary of St. Mary's Basilica in the city on April 10.

Bishop Bosco Puthur, who was given temporary charge as administrator of the Syro-Malabar Church, announced here on Saturday that the funeral service would begin at St. Mary's Basilica at 2.30 p.m.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, head of the Synod of Bishops in India, and Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, among others, would attend the funeral.

Bishop Puthur said there would be special prayers at all churches between now and the burial. Black flags would be hoisted on the churches as a mark of mourning.

The body of the Cardinal would lie in state at St. George Basilica, Angamaly, from 8 a.m. on April 9. The body would then be taken to Mount St. Thomas. A mass would be offered at the mount at 10.30 a.m. The body would be brought to St. Mary's Basilica for the public to pay their respects by 4 p.m.


The Ernakulam district committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party has extended its condolences at the death of the Cardinal.

A statement issued by the party unit here on Saturday said simplicity was the hallmark of the late Cardinal's life. He was a great model and had deep and enduring friendship with several party leaders, including Murli Manohar Joshi. The Cardinal worked for religious amity and uplift of the ordinary people, a statement issued by the Ernakulam Karayogam here said. It said the Karayogam recalled with great respect the Cardinal, who worked for the good of all.

Alex Attoollil, chairman of the Varappuzha Archdiocesan unit of the Franciscan Laity group, expressed sorrow at the death of the Cardinal and said there was no difference between his words and his life.