Who is Mar Raphael Thattil, the new Archbishop of Syro Malabar Church? |  Kerala News - News9live

On 9 January 2024, the Synod of Bishops convened and elected Mar Raphael Thattil as the fourth Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church.

Born to Ouseph and Thresia on 21 April 1956 and baptized on 30 April 1956 in Thrissur.
After his primary education at St. Thomas College HS, Thrissur, he joined St. Mary’s Minor Seminary, Thope on 04 July 1971.
He completed his study of Philosophy and Theology in St. Thomas Ap. Seminary Kottayam in 1980.
He was ordained by Mar Joseph Kundukulam in Thrissur Dolours Basilica. on 21 December 1980.
He did his higher studies in Rome and took doctorate in Oriental Canon Law. His thesis was on “Clerical Formation in the Syro Malabar Church: A Historico-Juridical Study”.

After his ordination on Dec 21 1980, he served as Asst. Vicar, Aranattukara (1981-82),
Fr. Prefect & Asst. Procurator, St Mary’s Minor Seminary (1982-83),
Acting Vicar, Koonammoochy (1983), Acting Vicar, Cherumkuzhy (1983).
On returning back from Rome, he served in the Archbishop’s house as Vice Chancellor, Chancellor, Adj. Judicial Vicar, Judge and later as Syncellus and Proto-Syncellus.
He was the director of DBCLC & Catechism (1992-1995).
On 20 January 1998, he was appointed as the project officer of the new Marymatha Major Seminary, after a few months appointed as the first Rector of the Marymatha Seminary (1998-2006).
He also worked as president and member of many a committees and commissions.

He was ordained as Bishop on 10 April 2010 and appointed as Auxiliary bishop of Trichur and Titular Bishop of Bruni.
In 2014, he was appointed as Apostolic visitor for the Syro-Malabar faithful residing outside the territorium proprium.
Pope Francis named him the first Bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy of Shamshabad on 10 October 2017 and he was installed on 7 January 2018.

Mar George Alencherry
Mar George Alencherry, the successor of Mar Varkey Vithayathil,  also the head of Ernakulam Angamaly archdiocese. The ordination ceremony held at St Mary’s Cathedral, Ernakulam on the afternoon of May 29, 2011. The Synod also concluded on the same day.
He studied at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Seminary St. Joseph Alwaye and earned a doctorate at the ‘Institut Catholique de Paris, where he specialised in Catechesis. On his return from Paris, he was appointed director of the Centre for Catechesis. He then directed the Pastoral Orientation Centre, Cochin, of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Conference (KCBC).

He served as a professor of Pastoral Counseling and Systematic Theology at the Faculty of “Paurastya Vidyapitham, Pontifical Oriental Institute of Religious Studies of Vadavathoor, Kottayam, and at the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy in Alwaye. He was Vicar General of the Archeparchy from 11 November 1996 until he was appointed first eparch of Thuckalay and was ordained on 2 Feb. 1997.

On 24 May 2011 he was elected Major Archbishop. The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI confirmed the election on 26 May 2011. Major Archbishop Alencherry said his services will be for all people of India. He stressed inter-rite relations, inter-faith harmony and ecumenism.

Major Archbishop Alencherry, however, is the first head to be elected by the Syro-Malabar Church’s synod. The election is part of the new administrative system put in place within the Syro-Malabar Church after Pope John Paul II made it a Major Archiepiscopal Church in 1992. With that elevation the pope appointed Cardinal Antony Padiyara as its first Major Archbishop. However, the pope reserved the powers to appoint the major archbishop and bishops. The Vatican in 2004 granted full administrative powers to the Church, including the power to elect bishops.