ARCHBISHOPS OF THE ARCHDIOCESE

Mar George Njaralakatt

Archbishop George Njaralakatt was born on 23.06.1946 at Arakuzha in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam (now in the diocese of Kothamangalam), as the eldest son of Varkey and Mary Njaralakatt. He had his Elementary School studies at Arakuzha. In 1960 his family migrated to Nadavayal in South Wayanad Taluk in Calicut District which was then in the diocese of Tellichery. He completed SSLC in 1963 at St. Thomas High School, Nadavayal and he was admitted in St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary, Tellichery by Bishop Mar Sebastian Valloppilly. He did his philosophy and theology at St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary at Mangalapuzha, Aluva. He was ordained priest for the diocese of Tellichery by Bishop Mar Sebastian Valloppilly on 20.12.1971 in St. Joseph’s Cathedral Church, Tellichery. He holds a BA degree from the University of Mysore.

As a priest Fr. Njaralakatt was first appointed as the Assistant Parish Priest of St. George’s Church, Kanichar. He served the parish for an year (April 1972 to April 1973). In 1973 he was transferred to Arinchermala and Kaniampatta as parish priest. The Diocese of Tellicherry was bifurcated in 1973 and the Diocese of Mananthavady was formed on 01.03.1973 and he was transfered to the new diocese. He served the diocese in various capacities as Parish Priest, Vicar of Forane District, Director of CML, Assistant Director of Catechism Department and later as its Director, Director of Pastoral Centre at Dwaraka, Procurator, Vicar General and Administrator. He took Licentiate in Catechetical Theology from Pontifical Salesian University, Rome, in 1983-86. In 2008 he became the first Vicar General of the diocese of Bhadravathy. When the diocese of Mandya was created by bifurcating the diocese of Mananthavady in 2010, he was elected its first bishop. He was ordained a bishop by Archbishop Mar George Valiamattam in the Cathedral Grounds of Infant Jesus Cathedral Church, Mysore on 7th April 2010 and he took charge of the diocese on the same day.

The parents of Mar Njaralakatt are no more. Sri Peter Njaralakat, the only brother of Mar Njaralakatt lives with his family in Nadavayal. His sister Smt Elsamma Ambalahtumkal leads a married life in Dwaraka, Mananthavady.

On 29.08.2014 Bishop Mar Njaralakatt was elected by the Holy Synod of Syro Malabar Church as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tellicherry as Archbishop Mar George Valiamttam tended his resignation upon reaching retirement age. Bishop Njaralakatt was installed as the Archbishop on 30.10.2014 and assumed office on the same day. He is the direct heir of the patrimony of Tellicherry as he was ordained a priest by the legendary first bishop of Tellicherry, Mar Sebastian Valloppilly of happy memory (1953-1989) and a bishop by Mar George Valiamttam, the second bishop (1989-1995) and first archbishop (1995-2014) of Tellicherry.

 

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Archbishop Mar George Valiamattam

Archbishop Mar George Valiamattam was born on 16th September 1938 at Punnathara in the Archdiocese of Changanassery as the eldest son of Thomas and Annamma Valiamattam. Later, his family migrated to Kodancherry in Calicut District. He had his school education at Nariveli and Punnathara. After his minor seminary formation at st. Mary's Minor seminary, Thop - Thrissur, he joined Carmelgiri seminary, Aluva for Philosophical studies. His theological studies were at the Urban University, Rome. He was ordained priest by Mar Sebastian Valloppilly on 30th November 1963 in Rome. After his ordination he obtained his doctoral degree in theology from the Gregorian University, Rome in 1967.

He served the diocese as assistant vicar of St. Mary's Church, Kodancherry, Vicar of St. Mary's Church, Thalanji, and Secretary to the Bishop, Chancellor of the diocese, Diocesan Director of Catechism and Mission League and as Rector of the Minor Seminary. He served the diocese of Thamarassery in the capacity of chancellor, secretary and Director of Catechism. When nominated the second Bishop of Tellicherry, he was the Forane Vicar at St. Thomas Forane Church, Shirady.

He was consecrated Bishop at St. Joseph's Cathedral Tellicherry by His Eminence Antony Cardinal Padiyara, assisted by Mar Joseph Powathil, Archbishop of Changanassery and Mar Sebastian Valloppilly, on May 1st, 1989 and he assumed office on the same day.When the diocese of Tellicherry was raised to the status of Metropolitan Archdiocese, he was promoted and appointed as its first Metropolitan Archbishop on 18th May, 1995. He was enthroned as the Archbishop on July 24th 1995, at a solemn ceremony in St. Joseph's Cathedral presided over by the Major Archbishop His Eminence Antony Cardinal Padiyara.

He served the Church in India as the Vice President of CBCI and its Standing Committee member. He was a member of the Permanent Synod of the Syro Malabar Church. He was the Episcopal advisor of INFAM since its inception in 2003 and is the Chairman of the synodal Commission for the Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kunnoth. At the completion of retirement age he resigned and his resignation was accepted on 29th September, 2014. Mar George Njaralakatt was elected as the new Archbishop on the same day. In a solemn ceremony, he was installed as the Archbishop of Tellicherry on 30th October, 2014.


Mar Sebastian Vallopilly

Mar Sebastian Vallopilly born on 4th August, 1911 at Kudakkachira in the then eparchy of Changanacherry (now in Pala) had his secular studies at SB College, Changanacherry and St. Xavier’s College, Palayamkottai. He had his priestly training at Papal Seminary, Candy in Sri Lanka. On 24th August, 1945 he was ordained a priest for the diocese of Changanacherry. He served the diocese as assistant parish priest and spiritual father in the Minor Seminary. After completing Bachelor of Training at Govt. Training College, Trivandrum he became a High School teacher and Head Master. When the diocese of Pala was established in 1950 he became a priest of that diocese. When the Diocese of Tellicherry was erected for the Syro Malabar migrants in the erstwhile Malabar District on 31st December, 1953 he was appointed as its first Apostolic Administrator. He took charge of the diocese on 19th March, 1954. He was elected as the first bishop of Tellicherry on 16th October 1955 and ordained on 8th January, 1956 in St. Peter’s Basilica by Cardinal Eugene Tisserant.

    As the first bishop of Tellicherry he rendered yeomen service for the uplift of the Syro Malabar migrant community and the people of Malabar area at large. He led a crusade against social evils, especially alcoholism. During his tenure as Bishop, Tellicherry was bifurcated in 1973 and again in 1986 and the dioceses of Mananthavady and Thamarassery were created respectively. At the completion of retirement age he resigned and his resignation was accepted on 18th February, 1989 and Fr. George Valiamattam was appointed as the second bishop of Tellicherry. He was ordained bishop on 1st May, 1989 and he took charge on the same day. Bishop Mar Valloppilly led his retired life in Tellicherry. He was called to eternal rest on 4th April, 2006 and was buried in St. Joseph’s Cathedral Church at Tellicherry on 6th April, 2006.