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Bishop John Panamthottathil blesses the congregation during last night’s ordination (Syro-Malabar Eparchy Media)

Hundreds of people gathered last night to celebrate the ordination of Bishop John Panamthottathil CMI as the second shepherd of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy of St Thomas the Apostle in Melbourne. Source: ACBC Media Blog.

Bishops from India, Europe and the United States, as well as 20 members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, were among those who attended the ordination and installation ceremony.

Cardinal George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, served as Bishop Panamthottathil’s principal consecrator. Bishop Bosco Puthur, the first Syro-Malabar Bishop in Australia, and Bishop Remigius Inchananiyil of Thamarasserry, India, were the co-consecrators.

“The Eparchy of Melbourne is getting today a new pastor in the person of Msgr John Panamthottathil,” Cardinal Alencherry said, noting that the new bishop’s May 31 birthday coincided with his “birth as a bishop”.

Cardinal Alencherry thanked the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference for advocating for the establishment of the Syro-Malabar Eparchy almost a decade ago, and for their ongoing assistance.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, who invited Bishop Panamthottathil to serve in the Archdiocese of Brisbane from 2015 to 2020, preached the homily.

“Trying to chart a course for the Syro-Malabar Church in a culture so very different from anything in India has its own dangers and difficulties,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“Failing to engage local culture in an effort to preserve Syro-Malabar identity is one danger; losing the distinctiveness of Syro-Malabar identity in an effort to engage local culture is another.

“The Syro-Malabar bishop in the Antipodes has to tread a wise and sensitive middle path, and that can be difficult.”

Bishop Panamthottathil said he will address that and other tasks in his ministry with the help of God.


Hundreds gather for ordination of second Syro-Malabar bishop (ACBC Media Blog