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Kochi: Rev. Moran Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, head of the Kerala-headquartered Syro Malankara Catholic Church, was yesterday elevated as a cardinal and thus became one of the select 89 who can become the Pope.
The ordination will take place at the Vatican on November 24.
The Catholicos became the fifth Keralite to be made a cardinal.
Cleemis Catholicos, 53, will be the first and youngest major archbishop from the Kerala-based Syro Malankara Church to be elevated as a cardinal.
Now there will be seven cardinals in the country with four having rights to elect a new Pope.
The Malankara Church is one of the three different churches that make the Catholic Church in the state. The others include the Latin and the Syro Malabar.
Formed in 1930 as part of the re-unification movement, the Syro Malankara Catholic Church has a following of around five lakh.
“It was at noon (Rome time) that in his customary public discourse with the laity that the Pope made the announcement that six new cardinals have been selected,” said a church spokesperson to the media.
The total number of cardinals in the Catholic church is now 211, with 89 having rights to elect a Pope. Cleemis Catholicos was ordained as a priest of the church in 1986 and holds a doctorate from the St Thomas Pontifical University Rome.
Pope Benedict named six new cardinals yesterday, including two from countries with large Muslim populations, to put his stamp on the future of the Catholic