Pope Francis has Just Confirmed the Canonical Election of Bishop Raphael Thattil, as Head of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church

Pope Francis has just confirmed the canonical election of Bishop Raphael Thattil,  Bishop of Shamshabad, as Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly (India) of the Syro-Malabars. Mar Raphael succeeds George Cardinal Alencherry as head of the sui iuris Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.
A Church “sui iuris” (Latin – literally, “of its own law”) is “a community fo the Christian faith, which is joined together by a hierarchy according to the norm of law and which is expressly or tacitly recognized as sui iuris by the supreme authority of the Church (CCEO, 27)
Mar Raphael Thattil was chosen by the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church, which had gathered at St. Thomas Mount in India for the election. Pope Francis subsequently granted his confirmation of the election in accordance with Canon 153 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO).
Churches sui iuris have their own liturgical and theological, spiritual, and disciplinary patrimony, culture, and history. Such Churches enjoy autonomy while remaining in union with, and under the supreme authority, of the Roman Pontiff, the Pope.
In his letter responding to Mar Raphael’s request for confirmation of his election, Pope Francis writes, “Please know that I willingly grant the confirmation you have requested and express my fraternal good wishes in Jesus Christ, our Lord and God.”
Concurrently with the announcement of the papal confirmation of Mar Raphael’s election, the Vatican stated that Mar Bosco Puthur will continue as Apostolic Administrator of the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly ad nutum Sanctae Sedis (at the discretion of the Holy See) until further provision is made.

To His Beatitude
Mar Raphael Thattil Major
Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly

I have received the letter with which, according to canon 153 §2 of the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, you petitioned the Roman Pontiff to confirm your canonical election by the Synod of Bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church as Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, Father and Head of this beloved Church sui iuris.

Please know that I willingly grant the confirmation you have requested and express my fraternal good wishes in Jesus Christ, our Lord and God. I pray that, after the example of your venerable predecessors, you may strive to offer a generous and fruitful pastoral ministry to the flock now entrusted to your care. I likewise urge you especially to remember the poor and those most in need. May the Holy Spirit foster the unity, fidelity and mission of the Syro-Malabar Church, so that it may grow and flourish under your paternal guidance.

In extending my cordial greetings to the Brother Members of the Synod, to the clergy, men and women religious, seminarians and candidates for consecrated life, and to the lay faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church, I invoke the intercession of the Holy Mother of God, the Holy Patriarch Saint Joseph and the Apostle Saint Thomas. To all of you, I impart my Blessing, as I assure you of my spiritual closeness and ask that you, please, pray for me.

Rome, from Saint John Lateran, 9 January 2024

Image: Credit: Jpullokaran, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons