Archbishop Andrews Thazhath is new apostolic administrator of Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese of Syro-Malabar Church

He replaces Archbishop Antony Kariyil who resigned recently

Updated - July 30, 2022 08:46 pm IST

Published - July 30, 2022 06:05 pm IST - KOCHI

The Vatican has appointed Archbishop Andrews Thazhath as the apostolic administrator of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church in the place of Archbishop Antony Kariyil who resigned recently.

A declaration was made at St. Thomas Mount in Kakkanad, the headquarters of the Church, and at the headquarters of the archdiocese in Kochi city at 3.30 p.m. on Saturday. Archbishop Thazhath will continue to be the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Thrissur archdiocese. The appointment order clearly speaks of the responsibilities and rights of the apostolic administrator, says a release issued by Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Curia.

The order includes references to the unified system of celebrating the Mass and temporary exemptions for a specified time span. A doctorate holder in church laws, Archbishop Thazhath was ordained a priest in 1977. He went on to hold many posts, including that of the auxiliary bishop of Thrissur.

‘Widening chasm’

Meanwhile, the Archdiocesan Movement for Transparency (AMT, also known as Almaya Munnettam), a combine of priests, religious, and lay people, who have been demanding transparency in the functioning of the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese, has warned that decisions taken after disregarding the opinion of a large section of priests, nuns, and laity would result in the widening chasm between bishops on one side and priests and laity on the other. The AMT mentioned the the possibility of Pope Francis being misled on the developments in Syro-Malabar Church.

A meeting of priests and laity would be convened shortly to discuss the new situation emerging out of the appointment of the new apostolic administrator, said Fr. Sebastian Thalian, convener of AMT.

Letters sent by priests and the laity to Vatican have been as can be seen from Archbishop Antony Kariyil, who stood by the masses, being forced to resign and a new apostolic administrator being appointed, he added.

A meeting of the core team of the AMT held on Saturday evening termed the appointment of the new apostolic administrator a challenge to 99% members and priests of Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese. The forum also decided to oppose attempts by the Church leadership to ‘trample on’ the rights of members of the archdiocese.

“We will go to any extent to retain the practice of celebrating the Mass with the priest facing the congregation, and to resist the imposition of Caldean rites,” said Riju Kanjookaran, AMT spokesperson.

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