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Cardinal Cleemis elected new CBCI President

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Cardinal Cleemis elected new CBCI President
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Kottayam: Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis, the Major Archbishop of Kerala-based Syro Malankara Catholic Church, was today elected as the President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India.

Mar Cleemis replaces Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Major Archbishop of Mumbai Diocese, as the head of CBCI, the Council of Bishops from all three Catholic rites in India-- Latin, Syro Malabar and Syro Malankara,

Cleemis (55), one of the youngest Cardinals of the Church, was selected for the key post by the eight-day CBCI's biennial plenary, which began here on February 5.

Mar Cleemis was elevated to the College of Cardinals of the Universal Church by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

He was the first Cardinal of the Syro-Malankara Church, an influential Christian denomination in Kerala.

He is also a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

Cleemis was born on June 15, 1959 as Isaac Thottumkal at a village in Pathanamthitta district as the son of Mathew and Annamma Thottumkal.

He attended the Minor Seminary at Tiruvalla and received a B.Phil degree from St. Joseph's Pontifical at Aluva.He later studied at the Papal Seminary and was ordained a priest on June 11,1986.

He took Masters in Theology from Dharmaram College, Bangalore and obtained doctorate from Ecumenical Theology from Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome in 1997.

The Vatican appointed Cleemis as Bishop of the Eparchy of Tiruvalla in 2003 and he was elevated as Metropolitan Archbishop in 2006.

Cleemis rose to become the Second Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church through the Episcopal Synod of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in 2007.

Cleemis participated as a Cardinal-elector in the conclave that elected Pope Francis.

PTI

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