Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Powathil, former head of the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Changanassery in India’s southern state of Kerala died on Saturday, March 18. He was 92.
He was priest for 60 years and a bishop for 51 years.
He was named auxiliary bishop of Changanassery on January 29, 1972, was consecrated bishop by Pope Paul VI on February 13, 1972 , in Rome.
Five years later, he was appointed the first bishop of Kanjirappally and was installed on May 12, 1977.
He was the first bishop of the Kanjirappally Syro-Malabar Eparchy and had served as president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council, and chairman of the Education Commission of the CBCI.
He was born on August 14, 1930, and was fondly known as Pappachan.
He did his seminary studies in St. Thomas Petit Seminary in Parel and Papal Seminary in Pune. He was ordained priest on October 3, 1962, in Pune.
He did a postgraduate study in Economics and spent a decade as professor of the subject.
He was appointed Archbishop of Changanacherry on November 5, 1985, and was installed on January 17, 1986. He retired on March 19, 2007.
He was a member of the Post Asian Synodal Council in Rome (1998-2007), chairman of KCBC Commission for Education (1986-2007), founder and chairman of the Inter Church Council for Education (1986-2007), chairman of the Inter Religious Fellowship, member of the Pro Oriente Foundation in Vienna, Austria (1993-2007), and member of the Scientific Commission of International Publication ‘Oasis’ in Venice, Italy.
He was a vocal advocate of the cause of farmers and played a key role in establishing development committees for their welfare.