Cardinal Alencherry Returns to His Archdiocese

July 10, 2019

After leaving his position as the Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamalhy (India) for Syro-Malabars a year ago on charges of financial mismanagement, George Cardinal Alencherry was finally cleared of all suspicion and reinstated on June 27, 2019.

The Syro-Malabar Church is strong in India. With more than thirty dioceses in the country, it claims more than five million members. Its seat is in Ernakulam, in the state of Kerala, in southern India.

The case began in February 2018, when a group of priests, led by the two auxiliary bishops of the Cardinal, Bishop Sebastian Adayanthrath and Bishop Jose Puthenveetil, denounced the fraudulent sale of land belonging to the Church, a transaction that would have makes the diocese lose 8.7 million euro.

The following June, Cardinal Alencherry was relieved of his duties by the sovereign pontiff, who appointed as a temporary administrator of the diocese, Bishop Jacob Manathodath, Syro-Malabar Bishop of Palakkad (Kerala).

After several months of careful investigation, it became apparent that the various documents against the former archbishop were false. So, on June 27, 2019, the Holy See reinstated Cardinal Alencherry and dismissed the two auxiliary bishops behind the accusations against the prelate.

The latter is not yet at the end of his difficulties. On June 28, 2019, 150 priests of the diocese announced that they have refused Rome’s decision and that they would not submit to their archbishop.

The diocese of Ernakulam-Angamali is in danger of experiencing a long, hot summer.