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The impressive funeral procession of Archbishop Dr Cyril Mar Baselious (whose title was also Catholicos) was witnessed by a parishioner from St Richards, Peter Bulfield, who took photographs for our Syro Malankara community. Further photographs are taken from the Diocesan website. The Archbishop will be remembered in the next Syro Malabar Mass at St Richard's on 18th February.
The well-loved Archbishop died, aged 71, at the end of January and his funeral was organised on a massive scale. It was during his tenure as Archbishop in February 2005 that the Malankara Catholic Church was elevated to Major Archiepiscopal status. The representative of the Pope in India, Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, was among many prelates who joined the mourners.
The funeral rites were preceded by a public procession from St.Mary's Pro-Cathedral, Palayam around the city of Thruvananthapuram. The cathedral bells chimed and hymns in Syriac exhorting to `go in peace' sung by the mourners rent the air as priests acting as pallbearers escorted the throne down the aisle.
The throne was then raised at the four doors of the Cathedral, representing East, West, North and South, by the priests as sign of bidding adieu to the city and its people. The `funeral escort,' comprising the State police armed battalion, reversed arms as a mark of respect.
Around 30,000 people including Cardinals, 25 Bishops, 1,500 priests and 3,000 nuns attended the service. The late Archbishop was carried on a open bier.
Draped in solemn vestment and seated on a throne with the symbolic staff in hand, the body was interred alongside his predecessors Mar Ivanios and Mar Gregorios, in a specially prepared vault filled with frankincense at the basement of the Cathedral.
This was an impressive demonstration of the wamth and fervour of the Church in Kerala.
Saturday 10th February: The new Archbishop and Catholicos of the Syro Malankara Catholic Church has been appointed - he is Most. Rev. Dr. Isaac Mar Cleemis, Archbishop of Tiruvalla Major Arch Diocese.
See Malankaran Diocese