Mar George Alencherry
|Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly
Cardinal Priest of San Bernardo alle Terme
|Church||Syro-Malabar Catholic Church|
|Appointed||24 May 2011|
|Enthroned||29 May 2011|
|Predecessor||Mar Varkey Vithayathil|
|Other posts||Cardinal-Priest of San Bernardo alle Terme|
|Ordination||19 November 1972
by Mar Antony Padiyara
|Consecration||2 February 1997
by Mar Joseph Powathil
|Created Cardinal||18 February 2012|
19 April 1945 |
Thuruthy, Kerala, India
|Previous post||Bishop of Thuckalay (1997–2011)|
|Coat of arms|
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
|See||San Bernardo alle Terme (titular see)|
His Beatitude Mar George Alencherry (Malayalam: ആലഞ്ചേരീല് മാർ ഗീവർഗീസ് ) is the current Major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly and Head & Father of Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. He was appointed a Cardinal of the Catholic Church and the titular archpriest of San Bernardo alle Terme in Rome on 18 February 2012 in Rome. Elected by the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Holy Synod, and ratified by Pope Benedict XVI, Mar George Allencherry succeeded Mar Varkey Vithayathil.
Early life 
George Alencherry was born on 19 April 1945 in the parish of Thuruthy in the archdiocese of Changancherry as the sixth child of the ten children of Mr. Philipose and Mary Alencherry of whom two others are priests (Jose Alencherry and Francis Alencherry) and one, a religious sister Sr.Cherupushpam, S.A.B.S.). Geevarghese is his baptismal name. Mar George Alencherry had his primary schooling at St Mary's School, Thuruthy and secondary education at St Berchman's High School, Changanacherry. He began his priestly formation in 1961 at the archdiocesan minor seminary at Parel, Changanacherry. While he pursued his studies in the minor seminary, he obtained his BA in economics with second rank from St Berchman's College. After the minor seminary studies he was sent to St Joseph's Pontifical Seminary, Aluva where he completed his philosophical and theological studies.
On 18 December 1972 Cardinal Antony Padiyara, the archbishop of Chanagancherry, ordained him priest at St Mary's Church, Thuruthy, for the archdiocese of Changanacherry. Later he continued his higher studies at the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy from where he obtained his master's degree. While Mar George Alencherry was pursuing higher studies at Aluva he served also as vicar of the filial church at Periyarmugham in the archdiocese of Ernakulam‐Angamaly. After completion of studies at Aluva Mar George Alencherry was appointed as assistant vicar at the Cathedral church of Changanacherry and Director of the Archdiocesan Faith Formation department. Thereafter he served three years as secretary of the Commission for Catechism of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC). After his tenure in KCBC he was sent to Paris for higher studies. There he pursued his studies at Sorbonne University and the Catholic Institute from where he obtained his doctorate in biblical theology. On returning to India in 1986 Mar George Alencherry was appointed director of the pastoral Oriental Centre (POC) at Palarivattom and deputy secretary of KCBC. He served the Church in Kerala in that capacity until 1993. Simultaneously he had served also as professor at St Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Vadavathoor. He continued to teach at Vadavathoor until 1997. From 1994 to 1996 he was the protosyncellus of the metropolitan of Changanacherry.
Bishop of Thuckalay (1997–2011) 
The Diocese of Thuckalay was erected by the Papel Bull "Apud Indorum" on 11 November 1996. It was formed by separating the territory of the Archdiocese of Changanassery that extended over to the state of Tamilnadu. George Alencherry was appointed the first bishop of the new Eparchy. The establishment of the diocese and appointment of the first bishop were promulgated on 18 December 1996. George Alencherry was ordained Bishop on 2 February 1997 by Mar Joseph Powathil, Metropolitan Archbishop of Changanassery, Mar Mathew Vattackuzhy, Bishop of Kanjirappally and Lawrence Mar Aprem, Bishop of Marthandam as co-consecrants. He was installed as Bishop of the Diocese on the same day by Mar Varkey Vithayathil, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church. The total number of the Catholic faithful in the diocese is 25,000.
Election and enthronement 
Head & Father of the Syro Malabar Church
|Reference style||His Beatitude|
|Spoken style||Your Beatitude|
|Religious style||Head & Father of the Syro Malabar Catholic Church and the Gate of All India|
The Syro‐Malabar Bishops' holy synod that began on 23 May 2011 at the Major Archiepiscopal Curia at Eranakulam elected Mar George Alencherry as the third Major Archbishop of the Syro‐Malabar Church, succeeding Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil. The news of the election was announced in the Vatican as well as at Mount St Thomas, the Syro‐Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Curia on 26 May 2011. He is the first head of the Syro-Malabar Church to be elected by its synod. When Pope John Paul II made the Syro-Malabar Church a major archiepiscopal church in 1992, appointing Mar Antony Padiyara as its first major archbishop, he reserved the power to appoint the major archbishop and bishops. However, in 2004, the Holy See granted full administrative powers to the church, including the power to elect bishops.
On 23 May, the first day of the synod, the synod elected Mar George Valiamattam, the Archbishop of Tellicherry, as president of the election synod. After election of the new Major Archbishop, papal approval papal approval was given on 25 May, and announced in the synod by the president of the session; then the new major archbishop swore fidelity and communion to the Holy Synod and the Church. All the bishops of the Syro‐Malabar Church expressed their respect and ecclesial communion with him.
On 18 February 2012 Pope Benedict XVI elevated him to the cardinalate, giving him a unique red biretta with a traditional Nasrani cross and gold ring during a ceremony in Saint Peter's Basilica and creating him Cardinal-Priest of San Bernardo alle Terme. Earlier cardinals belonging to the Syro Malabar Church were Joseph Parecattil (28 April 1969), Antony Padiyara (28 June 1988) and Varkey Vithayathil 21 February 2001).
His visit to Rome for his cardinal creation coincided with the arrest of Marine officers on board the Enrica Lexie who shot and killed two Keralite fishermen on a fishing vessel. Comments he made as part of an interview with Italian Press Agency Fides caused significant controversy as to the essence of his message, leading Cardinal Allencherry to issue clarifying press statements with Fides
Cardinal Alencherry participated as a cardinal-elector in the conclave that elected Pope Francis. During the conclave Cardinal Alencherry was one of the four cardinal-electors who were from outside the Latin Church and wore different vestments, proper to their respective churches. The others were Coptic Catholic Patriarch-Emeritus Antonios Naguib, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, and Syro-Malankara Major Archbishop Baselios Cleemis.
Pastoral care of the Syro-Malabar Catholics outside the "proper" territory 
Historically the Prelates of St. Thomas Christians were called Archbishop of India. The titles used for them were "Metropolitan and Gate of All India" or "Gate of India". This indicates the highest rank of authority in the Indian Church and the extent of its jurisdiction. The Vatican Codex 22, written in Cranganore in 1301 gives the titles as Metropolitan and the director of the entire holy church of Christian India”. In the year 1564 Pope Pius IV created Archdiocese of Angamali(With Jurisdiction over all India). In 1600 the Metropolitan status of the see of Angamaly (metropolitan of all India, or Gate of India) was abolished and was made suffragan to Goa, with far-reaching consequences. The news of the reduction of the see of Angamaly from the Metropolitan to a suffragan caused much unrest among the St. Thomas Christians. They lost the title of "all India" which belonged to the prelates of St. Thomas Christians for many centuries. Later the Metropolitan status was restored to the see of Angamaly but never the title "All India". In 1896 Syro Malabar Catholics got their own hierarchy but instead of re-establishing the old Jurisdiction over all India, three Apostolic Vicariates were established, in Trichur, Ernakulam and Changanassery.
By the second half of the twentieth century many members of the Syro-Malabar community had emigrated to other parts of India and other countries. According to Vatican II and subsequent documents such as the Oriental and Latin Canon Laws, Catechism of the Catholic Church their pastoral needs have to be taken care by the priests of their own rite and in their own rite. For the pastoral care of the Syro-Malabar Catholics in Bombay, Punai and Kerala and in USA and Canada were established the following dioceses in 1988 Diocese of Kalyan and in 2001 Diocese of Chicago. Besides these two dioceses there are many communities of Syro-Malabarians in many parts of India and other countries. Big cities of India such as Delhi, Bangalore, Madras, Calcutta etc. have big numbers of Syro-Malabar Catholics.
See also 
- Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
- Carmelites of Mary Immaculate
- List of Major Archbishops of Ernakulam-Angamaly
- Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Thuckalay
- Christianity in India
- Syrian Malabar Nasrani
- Pope appoints 22 new cardinals
- CONFERMA DELL’ELEZIONE DELL’ARCIVESCOVO MAGGIORE DI ERNAKULAM-ANGAMALY DEI SIRO-MALABARESI
- diocese thuckalay
- Bishop Alencherry is new Syro-Malabar Church head
- Pope Benedict XVI holds Consistory, announces canonizations
- Enrica Lexie Crew Arrested,
- Cardinal Alencherry back says he shares grief of fishermens families
- Procession and entrance in Conclave on YouTube
- Rev. Dr. Francis Thonipara, "St. Thomas Christians: The First Indigenous Church of India" p..69
- MS Vat Syr 22; Wilmshurst, EOCE, 343 and 391.
- The Christians of St. Thomas in South India and their Syriac manuscripts by J. P. M. van der Ploeg –page 187
- Welcome to Delhi Syro-Malabar
- 30Giorni | "Ours is the faith of the apostles, handed down by St Thomas" (Interview with George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church by Roberto Rotondo and ...
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: George Alencherry|
- Biography at GCatholic.com
- Mar Giwargis Alencherry, the Patriarch of Mar Thoma Nasranis and the Gate of All India
- Biography at catholic-hierarhy.com
- Major Arch Bishop Alencheril Mar Giwargis II Bava-The Patriarch of Syro Malabar Church and The Gate of All India- A Discussion on The Historical Hierarchical Status of The Church of Saint Thomas Christians
- Major Archbishop Alencherril Mar Giwargis II Bava to the dignity of a Cardinal
- The Hindu News item on Mar Alencherry
|Catholic Church titles|
|Bishop of Thuckalay
George Rajendram Kuttinadar, S.D.B.
|Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly
2011 – present