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College of Cardinals

Biographical notes

[Updated: 10.10.2012]


Notice: the biographical notes are only a working instrument for the press.





H.B. Cardinal George Alencherry, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamalhy for Syro-Malabars, was born on 19 April 1945 at Thuruthy, Changancherry, India.

He holds a BA in economics from St Berchman’s College and a MA from the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy.

He was ordained a priest on 19 November 1972. He served as vicar of the filial church at Periyarmugham and then as assistant vicar at the Cathedral Church of Changanacherry. He was also director of the Archdiocesan Faith Formation Department.

He served for three years as secretary of the Commission for Catechism of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council (KCBC). He was then sent to Paris and earned a doctorate in biblical theology from the Sorbonne University and specialized in catechetics at the Catholic Institute.

On his return to India he was appointed director of the inter-ritual Oriental Pastoral Centre, and deputy secretary of the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Conference (KCBC). He was also a professor at St Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Vadavathoor, where he continued to teach until 1997. From 1994 to 1996 he was protosyncellus of the Metropolitan of Changanacherry.

When Pope John Paul II established the new Diocese of Thuckalay on 11 November 1996, he was appointed the first Bishop. He received episcopal ordination on 2 February 1997.

Bishop George Alencherry served the Syro-Malabar Church as secretary of the Synod of Bishops, and as chairman of the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Commission for Catechism, and of the Commission for the Laity of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).

On 26 May 2011 Pope Benedict XVI  granted him the requested ecclesial communion  after his canonical election on 24 May 2011 as Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamalhy for Syro-Malabars by the Syro-Malabar Synod.

President of the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church.

Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Benedict XVI in the consistory of 18 February 2012, of the Title of San Bernardo alle Terme (St. Bernard at the Baths).

Member of:

  • Congregations: for the Doctrine of the Faith; for the Oriental Churches;

  • International Council for Catechesis (Congregation for the Clergy).


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