THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The first Major Archbishop and Catholicos of the Malankara Catholic Church Cyril Mar Baselius passed away on Thursday. He was 73.
The Major Archbishop was diabetic and had been undergoing dialysis for the last six months. He was admitted to a private hospital here on Thursday morning following complaints of uneasiness.
He breathed his last there at 6.45 p.m. His death was unexpected as the Major Archbishop was the chief celebrant at an installation ceremony at St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, on Wednesday.
The body has been kept at the St. Mary's Cathedral, Pattom, for the public to pay homage. The funeral will take place on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral.
All educational institutions under the Malankara Catholic diocese will remain closed on Friday and Saturday. It was during his tenure as Archbishop in February 2005 that the Malankara Catholic Church was elevated to Major Archiepiscopal status. Cyril Mar Baselius was a member in the congregation for oriental churches in Rome.
A former president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, Cyril Mar Baselius was ordained priest in 1960 after his studies in the Pune pontifical seminary. He received doctorate in canon law from the Oriental Institute, Rome, in 1975 after taking master's degree in psychology from St. John's University, U.S.
Union Minister for Defence A.K. Antony expressed his condolence at the death of the Major Archbishop. In a statement, the Minister described the services rendered by the Bishop for social unity and the Indianisation of Christian church as unforgettable. Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, in a release, recalled the yeoman service the Major Archbishop had rendered in the educational, social and spiritual sectors. Minister For Education and Culture M.A. Baby said the Major Archbishop had always maintained a progressive and secular outlook. Minister for Forest Benoy Viswom said the Major Archbishop upheld values of culture. Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy lauded the role played by the Major Archbishop in the Indianisation of the Catholic Church.
Nationalist Congress Party leader K. Karunakaran said the Major Archbishop had always succeeded in winning the hearts of the people. KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala said the services rendered by the Major Archbishop would always be remembered.