Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Andrews Thazhath of Trichur as apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly in India’s southern Kerala state.
Archbishop Thazhath replaced Archbishop Antony Kariyil of the Syro-Malabar archdiocese who was asked to step down by the Vatican after failing to implement the unified Mass.
In August 2021, the Syro-Malabar Synod of Bishops issued a directive to all its dioceses to follow a system of celebrating the Mass wherein the priest faces the congregation for the first part and then turns toward the altar.
The synod’s decision was largely opposed by the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese that wanted priests to face the congregation throughout the Mass.
Archbishop Kariyil was perceived as siding with those opposing the synodal decision.
Archbishop Thazhath, an expert of the Oriental Code of Canon Law, was appointed to the post on July 30. He will, however, continue as archbishop of Trichur Syro-Malabar archdiocese.
Archbishop Thazhath was born in Pudukkad in Trichur district on Dec. 13, 1951, and was ordained a priest in 1977.
He got his doctorate in Eastern Canon law from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome and was nominated auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Trichur on March 19, 2004.
He was ordained bishop on May 1 in the same year. Three years later, he was appointed archbishop of Trichur on Jan. 22, 2007.
He served as secretary general and president of the Kerala Catholic Bishop’s Council and chairman of the KCBC Education Commission. He was first vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
Pope Francis appointed him in 2021 as one of the members of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, a dicastery of the Roman Curia that interprets the laws of the Church.