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Syro-Malabar Archbishop Powathil of Changanacherry passes away

Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Powathil (1930-2023) of the Syro-Malabar Archdiocese of Changanacherry, Kerala.

Archbishop Joseph Powathil (92), Emeritus of Changanacherry Syro-Malabar Archeparchy, passed away on Saturday 18 March 2023 at 1.17pm at St. Thomas hospital, Chethipuza, Changanacherry.

He was priest for 60 years and a Bishop for 51 years.

He was appointed the first bishop of Kanjirappally on 26 February 1977 and installed on 12 May 1977. Bishop Powathil was appointed Archbishop of Changanacherry on 5th November 1985 and he was installed on 17 January 1986. He was retired from the active episcopal ministry on 19 March 2007.

Archbishop Mar Powathil has authored several books and published scores of articles on liturgy and eastern theology as well as on matters related to the Church and secular society, especially the field of education. He spent much of his retired life writing on church and social issues.

Conscious of the oriental liturgical, theological and spiritual heritage of Syro-Malabar Church to which he belongs, he worked hard to preserve and develop its traditions, theology, spirituality and liturgy.

He served as President of Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) (1994–1998), President of the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (1993–1996), and Chairman of Education Commission of the CBCI. He has been a member of the Post Asian Synodal Council in Rome, Italy (1998-2007), Chairman of KCBC Commission for Education (1986-2007), Founder and Chairman of Inter Church Council for Education (1986-2007), Chairman of Inter Religious Fellowship, member of the Pro Oriente Foundation in Vienna, Austria (1993-2007) and member of the Scientific Commission of International Publication ‘Oasis’ in Venice, Italy.

He was born on 14 August 1930 Kurumbanadom, near Changanacherry, Kerala. He had his higher studies in S.B. College Changanassery and Loyola College, Madras, from where he took his M.A. Degree in Economics. He did his seminary studies in St. Thomas Petit Seminary, Parel and Papal Seminary Pune.

After Ordination on 3 October 1962 at Pune he was appointed lecturer in Economics and Warden of St. Joseph’s Hostel, St. Berchmans’ College, Changanacherry. He was in the campus ministry for one decade (1962 – 1972). At the age of 41 on 29 January 1972 he was nominated Auxiliary Bishop of Changanassery and was ordained bishop by Pope Paul VI on 13th February-1972 in Rome.


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