Britain’s first Syro-Malabar eparchy has taken a major step forward with the ordination of its first bishop.

In a Mass attended by over 12,000 people, Cardinal George Alencherry, the Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, ordained Joseph Srampickal.

The Mass was held at Preston North End’s stadium, Deepdale. Some attendees reportedly came from as far as Australia. The eparchy – an area under a bishop, similar to a diocese – has been given a cathedral in Preston.

The Syro-Malabar rite Catholic community, one of the Eastern Catholic churches, originates in India. It traces its origins to St Thomas the Apostle. Nearly 40,000 Syro-Malabar rite Catholics live in England, Scotland and Wales, served by 23 priests.

Bishop Srampickal, whose title is now Bishop of the Eparchy of Great Britain of the Syro-Malabar Church, was born in India and was previously vice-rector of Propaganda Fide College in Rome.


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