Shamshabad diocese inaugurated with enthronement of Bishop Raphael Thattil::Syro Malabar News Updates Shamshabad diocese inaugurated with enthronement of Bishop Raphael Thattil
10-January,2018

Hyderabad – The 31st diocese of the Syro Malabar Church (SMC), Shamshabad eparchy was inaugurated on January 7 in the presence of 55 bishops from across the country attending the installation of Mar Raphael Thattil as its first bishop.
Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Syro Malabar Church, enthroned Mar Thattil as the bishop of Shamshabad at a solemn ceremony attended by officials from the Vatican and hundreds of priests and nuns and thousands of lay people from across the country.
Auxiliary bishop of Thrissur Archdiocese from 2010, Bishop Thattil has been serving as Apostolic Visitor since 2014 of SMC faithful outside the existing dioceses. The Vatican announced the creation of the Shamshabad diocese on 9 October 2017, restoring the ‘All India Jurisdiction’ of the Syro Malabar Church. 
The territory of the new diocese comprises 23 states excluding the 30 already existing SMC dioceses out of which 14 are outside Kerala, covering two thirds of the country. Bishop Thattil will serve about 1,20,000 faithful spread across 100 cities in the country and has 11 functional churches and seven under construction ones with around 88 priests and a few hundred nuns. To plant and build would be motto of the new Eparchy.
The SMC also has four dioceses outside India in Australia, Britain, Canada and the US.
“This new diocese was established with the understanding and cooperation of all the three Catholic rites in India,” said Cardinal Alencherry. “With mutual respect and collaboration we need to carry on our activities, witnessing the Gospel in the Church,” Cardinal exhorted.  
Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, Catholicos of the Syro Malankara Church and the president of Catholic Bishops Conference (CBCI) of India emphasized “the importance of spreading the fragrance of God’s love throughout the country.” “The country belongs to all,” added the Cardinal.
Felicitating the new bishop and the diocese, Archbishop Thumma Bala of Hyderabad expressed optimism that it will lead to “different rites supporting and promoting one another.” “The fact and the reality of the existence of different rites but of the same Church is to be humbly accepted,” pointed out Archbishop Bala.
Justice Kurian Joseph of the Supreme Court in his address at the public meeting that followed the installation and solemn Mass led by bishop Thattil along with Archbishop Andrews Thazhath of Thrissur and others noted that “India being a secular country, anyone can freely choose his / her religions.” 
Reading out the message of the Cardinal Prefect Leonardro Cardinal Sandri of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Vatican representative Archbishop Cyril Vasil’, stated that the new eparchy is erected to ensure that “no Syro-Malabar faithful living anywhere in the country of India is deprived of an ordinary of his own rite”.  
Bishop Raphael Thattil told the gathering that “my ministry is to spread the gospel and it shall be done in communion with all.” 
On the same occasion ‘Premmarg’, a charitable trust was also inaugurated. 

Source: smcim

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