|Head of Syro-Malabar Church, Successor Of St.Thomas The Apostle|
|Predecessor||Mar Antony Padiyara / Mar Abraham Kattumana|
|Successor||Mar George Alencherry|
Apostolic Administrator of the Benedictine Monastery in Bangalore (1990–1996)|
Cardinal-Priest of S. Bernardo alle Terme
|Ordination||12 June 1954|
|Consecration||17 January 1997|
21 January 2001|
by Pope John Paul II
|Rank||Cardinal-Priest of S. Bernardo alle Terme|
29 May 1927|
North Parur, Travancore
1 April 2011 (aged 83)|
Ernakulam, Kerala, India
|Denomination||Syro-Malabar Catholic Church|
Justice Mr. Joseph Vithayathil|
Mrs. Thresiamma Manadan
Cardinal Mar Varkey I Vithayathil, C.Ss.R. (29 May 1927 – 1 April 2011) was an Indian cardinal, serving as Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly and head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. He was also a religious priest of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.
Early life and ordination
Born to Justice Joseph Vithayathil (a member of the Travancore Legislative Assembly, a Judge of the High Court of Travancore-Cochin, a Chevalier, and a President of the All Kerala Catholic Congress) and Thresiamma Manadan in North Parur, Travancore, he became a member of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists), a religious order founded by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri in 1732. He was ordained as a priest on 12 June 1954. He obtained doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome on The Origin and Progress of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy. He taught for 25 years at the Redemptorist seminary in Bangalore. In 1972 he took his Master's Degree in Philosophy from Karnataka University. He also taught different subjects in several other seminaries in Bangalore.
From 1978 to 1984 he was the Provincial Superior of the Redemptorist Provinces of India and Sri Lanka. Then, from 1984 to 1985 he was President of the India Conference of Religious. In 1990, he was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the Asirvanam Benedictine Monastery in Bangalore by Pope John Paul II.
Major Archbishop and head of the Syro Malabar Church
He was appointed Apostolic Administrator of Ernakulam-Angamaly on 18 December 1996 and was consecrated Bishop on 6 January 1997. Pope John Paul II appointed him as the Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly and Head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, on 23 December 1999. In February 2008 he was elected President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and held the presidency from 19 February 2008 to 3 March 2010.
Pope John Paul II nominated Mar Varkey I Vithayathil a member of the Sacred College of Cardinals on 21 January 2001, and raised him to that dignity at the Consistory of 21 February 2001 becoming Cardinal-Priest of S. Bernardo alle Terme. He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.
Sacerdotal golden jubilee
The sacerdotal golden jubilee of the Mar Varkey Vithayathil was celebrated under the auspices of the Syro-Malabar church on 8 November 2003. The jubilee was inaugurated on 12 June 2003 and was concluded on 12 June 2004.
Fifth Marian dogma
Mar Varkey Vithayathil supported proposals to solemnly proclaim a fifth Marian dogma on the co-redemption and mediation of graces, saying it would be beneficial to the Church and that it would have positive ecumenical effects.
On 1 April 2011, Mar Varkey Vithayathil died suddenly from a massive heart attack. He had suffered from prolonged heart problems for some time and died about 2:00 pm of sudden and irreversible cardiac arrest from the heart attack at Lisie Hospital in Ernakulam, where he had been hurriedly taken after fainting while celebrating Mass at noon at his chapel in the Major Archbishop's house, in Ernakulam. The funeral was held on 10 April 2011 at St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica, Ernakulam.
- The Origin and Progress of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy, Thesis, Angelicum, 1959. Published: Oriental Institute of Religious Studies, India, 1980.
- Straight From the Heart, autobiography and opinions in the form of an extended interview, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Varkey Vithayathil.|
- Official biography at Archdiocese of Ernakulam
- Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
- Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, Catholic Hierarchy
- Annuaro Pontificio per l'anno 2010. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2010. pp. 95*,1441.
- "Papal dignitaries, Archdiocese of Ernakulam". Archived from the original on 2 January 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
- ""Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, C.SS.R.", Scala, April 1, 2011". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
- "Cardinal Vithayathil elected new president of Indian bishops". AsiaNews. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- 5th Dogma a Marian Antidote
- Indian Catholic News Archived 4 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Radio Vatican Archived 21 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
- Mar Bosco Puthur: Announcement of the funeral of Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil Circular (in Malayalam) Archived 28 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- Mar Bosco Puthur: Circular (in Malayalam) on the concluding of the funeral of Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil, 18 April 2011.
|Catholic Church titles|
Cardinal Antony Padiyara / Pontifical Delegate Abraham Kattumana
| Major Archbishop of Ernakulam