Syro-Malankara Leader Elected President of Indian Episcopate

JALANDHAR, India, MARCH 8, 2002 ( The president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India said the rise of religious fundamentalism is among the challenges he faces in his post.

Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios of Trivandrum was elected president of the CBCI during its biennial general body meeting, the SAR News Catholic agency reported. He has been the acting president since the death of Archbishop Alan de Lastic in a car accident two years ago.

Archbishop Baselios, 67, oversees 400,000 Catholics of the Syro-Malankara Church. The Church has four dioceses and seven bishops.

Noting the various Catholic rites in India, Archbishop Baselios denied any major difference or division in the Church here. “Differences are part of diversity,” he said. “They need not always be negative. Differences can lead to division, but it is not the case of the Church in India.”