The Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church assembled at Mount St. Thomas, Kakkanad from 9th January 2017, elected Rev. Fr. Thomas (Tomy) Tharayil, as auxiliary bishop of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of Changanacherry in Kerala. The announcement of the election was made public at 12.00 pm (Italian Time) today, Saturday, 14 January 2017 in Vatican and simultaneously at 4.30 pm IST at Mount St. Thomas, Kakkanad, the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Curia. The appointment order of the Bishop-Elect given by the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, His Beatitude George Cardinal Alencherry, was read out by Rev. Fr. Antony Kollannur, Major Archiepiscopal Chancellor. The Major Archbishop and Mar Joseph Perumthottam, Archbishop of Changnanacherry presented the bishop-elect with the insignia of Episcopacy. Archbishop Joseph Powathil, Archbishop Emeritus of Changanacherry felicitated the bishop-elect presenting him with a bouquet. All the Bishops attending the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church were present on the occasion.
Dr. Tharayil, born on 2 February 1972, is the youngest son among the seven children of Late Mr. T.J Joseph and Mrs. Mariamma. He belongs to St. Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral Church, Changnanacherry. The bishop-elect had his lower primary school education at St. Joseph’s L.P School, Changanacherry and his high school education at Sacred Heart English Medium School, Changanacherry. After having completed his Pre-Degree Course at S.B College Changanacherry, he joined St. Thomas Minor Seminary at Kurichy. He completed his philosophical and theological studies at St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Vadavathoor and was ordained priest on 1 January 2000 by Archbishop Joseph Powathil. Then he was appointed Assistant Parish Priest at Athirampuzha, Nedumkunnam, Edathua and Vicar Administrator at Thazhathu Vadakara Parish. In the year 2004, the bishop-elect was sent to Rome for Higher Studies in Gregorian University and obtained a licentiate and doctorate in psychology. After the completion of his studies, he had been serving as Director of Danahalaya, Institute of Formation, Punnapra, Alapuzha until now. The bishop-elect is a well-known retreat preacher and psychologist. He has taught at various Major Seminaries and Institutes and has written books and articles on Psychology. He is proficient in Malayalam, English, German, Italian and Spanish. The date of the Episcopal ordination will be decided later.
With the appointment of Dr. Tharayil the total number of the bishops of Syro-Malabar Church becomes 59, out of which 17 are bishops emeriti (retired bishops) and 8 are auxiliary bishops. There are 32 Syro-Malabar Dioceses all over the world. 29 are in India and 3 are abroad (Chicago, Melbourne, Great Britain). There is one Exarchate in Canada and three Apostolic Visitations (India, New Zealand and Europe).