Home News Indian bishops re-elect Andrews Thazhath as CBCI chief

Indian bishops re-elect Andrews Thazhath as CBCI chief

Archbishop Andrews Thazhath of Trichur has been re-elected as the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) during its ongoing general body meeting in Bangalore.

Archbishop George Antonysamy of Madras-Mylapore and Bishop Joseph Mar Thomas of Bathery were also re-elected as the first and second vice-presidents, respectively, while Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto became the new Secretary General of CBCI.

Archbishop Couto, who replaces Archbishop Felix Anthony Machado of Vasai, was chosen for his “extensive background in pastoral care and proactive engagement in social issues that align closely with the CBCI’s objectives of promoting social justice and community welfare,” according to a CBCI statement.

Archbishop Antonysamy is also the Vice President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), and Archbishop Couto is also its Secretary General.

CCBI is the Episcopal Conference of the Latin Catholic Church in India, while the CBCI serves as the assembly of the Bishops of the Latin, Syro Malabar, and Syro Malankara sui iuris Churches in India. All office-bearers will have a two-year term from 2024-2026.

Expressing gratitude for the opportunity to serve in their respective roles, the President, Vice Presidents, and the Secretary-General affirmed their commitment to upholding the values of compassion, solidarity, and service, the statement added.

The February 6 elections marked a significant moment for the CBCI as it continues to address pertinent issues facing the Church and society.

- Newsletter -

The theme of the 36th General Body meeting was “Church’s Response to the Current Socio-Political Situation in the Country and the Benefits and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence.” The meeting is set to conclude on February 7, according to a CCBI report.

Archbishop Andrews was born in Pudukkad, in southern Kerala’s Trichur district, on December 13, 1951. He was ordained a priest on March 14, 1977. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and a Doctorate in Eastern Canon Law (DOCL) from the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome.

He was nominated as the Auxiliary Bishop of Trichur Archdiocese on March 19, 2004, while serving as the president of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Ordinary Tribunal of Ernakulam – Angamaly. He was ordained Bishop on May 1, 2004.

On January 22, 2007, he was appointed as the Archbishop of Trichur. He was the Secretary-General and President of the Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Council and the Chairman of its Education Commission. He was the First Vice President of the CBCI.

Pope Francis appointed him in 2021 as one of the members of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. Archbishop Thazhath is a world-renowned expert in the Oriental Code of Canon Law.

Archbishop George Antonysamy was born on February 15, 1952, in Trichy, southern Tamil Nadu state. After completing his theology studies at Urban University, Rome, he was ordained a priest on November 19, 1980, in Trichy. After one year as an assistant parish priest, he was sent for higher studies at the Pontifical Ecclesial Academy, Rome.

In 2002, Pope St. John Paul II appointed him as the charge d’affaires of the Vatican embassy in Jordan. He was appointed as the titular Archbishop of Sulci in Sardinia, Italy, by Pope Benedict XVI and had his episcopal ordination on September 21, 2005, in Trichy.

He was simultaneously appointed as the apostolic nuncio to Gambia, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, an office which he holds until now. At the age of 60, Pope Benedict XVI, on November 21, 2012, appointed him as the Archbishop of Madras and Mylapore.

He was elected as the Vice President of the CCBI three times from 2019 to 2023. He was the former Chairman of the CCBI Commission for Canon Law and Legislative Texts.

He was the Chairman of the St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, from 2020 onwards. Pope Francis appointed him as one of the members of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples on November 17, 2020.

Bishop Thomas was born Joseph Konnath in the village of Vadaserikkara in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district on May 13, 1952.

He joined St. Aloysius Seminary in June 1968 and was ordained a priest on December 23, 1978. In 1979, he became the first resident vicar of the St. Thomas Malankara Catholic Church, Kadappakada, in Kerala’s Kollam district.

From 1986, he served as a lecturer in the faculty of economics at Mar Ivanios College, Trivandrum. Two years later, he contested the Kerala University Senate election as an independent candidate and became a senate member.

In 2000, he was appointed as a member of the School Curriculum Committee, headed by the education minister, Government of Kerala.

Pope John Paul II, on January 5, 2005, appointed him auxiliary bishop of Trivandrum and apostolic Visitator to North America and Europe. He was ordained a bishop on February 19, 2005.

Bishop Joseph Thomas was appointed as the third bishop of the Eparchy of Bathery, and he was installed as the new bishop on April 13, 2010.

Archbishop Anil Joseph Thomas Couto was born on September 22, 1954, in Porvorim Village of Goa. In 1967, he joined the minor seminary in Goa. In 1977, he joined the Archdiocese of Delhi and completed theology studies in 1981.

Ordained a priest on February 8, 1981, Archbishop Couto holds a doctorate in Ecumenical Theology from St. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University (Angelicum), Rome (1994-1998).

He was appointed Episcopal Vicar in 1999 and served as the Executive Secretary to the CCBI Commission for Ecumenism from 1999-2002.

He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Delhi and Titular Bishop of Cenculiana on January 17, 2001, and ordained Bishop on March 11, 2001. He was appointed Bishop of Jalandhar on February 24, 2007, and installed as Bishop of Jalandhar on April 16, 2007.

He was appointed Archbishop of Delhi on November 30, 2012, and installed as Archbishop of Delhi on January 20, 2013. He was elected as the Secretary General of the CCBI in 2017.

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