New Delhi, Jan 27, 2017: Bishop Geevarghese Mar Divannasios of Puttur, a diocese of the Syro-Malankara Church, has resigned for health reasons.
The Congregation for the Oriental Churches has accepted the 66-year-old prelate’s resignation, says a press note the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) issued on January 24.
Father Bovas Mathew, Public Relations Officer of the Syro-Malankara Church, says Bishop Divannasios resigned because of health reasons. He “is now resting in Tiruvalla while undergoing treatment for severe fatigue,” Father Mathew told Matters India on January 25. The priest said the bishop has been feeling unwell for some time and was unable to carry out his duties.
The canonical age of retirement for a bishop is 75. The media note from CBCI secretary general Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas said the Congregation for the Oriental Churches has accepted the resignation.
Bishop Divannasios was born on November 1, 1950, and ordained a priest on April 20, 1978. He was ordained as the bishop of Battery in Kerala on February 5, 1997. He was transferred to Puttur when it was erected on January 25, 2010, and three months later. He was the rector of St Mary’s Major Seminary in Thiruvananthapuram (then Trivandrum) when CBCI held its plenary assembly there in 1996.
Puttur diocese comprises nine civil districts of the southern Indian state of Karnataka and covers an area of 51,950 square kilometers. It is the first and only Syro-Malankara Eparchy in Karnataka. The total population of Puttur diocese is 14,310,166, including 2,700 Malankara Catholics. The diocese has 24 parishes for 800 families, mostly migrants from Kerala.
People from Kerala started settling in Karnataka’s southern region in 1950s and adopted Kannada, the official state language of Karnataka. The diocese, however, uses Malayalam as its liturgical language. The diocese also has a few educational institutions that impart value-based education to children and youth irrespective of their social, religious and cultural differences.