Britain’s Syro-Malabar community has taken a major step forward with the ordination of its first bishop.
In a ceremony attended by over 12,000 people, Cardinal George Alencherry, the Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, ordained Mar Joseph Srampickal.
The ordination took place at at Preston North End’s stadium, Deepdale. 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 back 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
The Lancashire Evening Post reported that some attendees came from as far as Australia. Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster was in attendance.