Kottayam: Mar Kuriakose Kunnassery, the first Syro Malabar archbishop of the Kottayam Archdiocese passed away here on Wednesday. He was 88.
He was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Kottayam where he breathed his last. Mar Kunnasserry, who was the spiritual leader of around two lakh Knanaya Catholics all over the world, retired from the holy office on January 14, 2006.
The public can pay last respects to the late bishop emeritus Kunnassery on Friday at the Kristuraja Cathedral from 2 pm onwards and the funeral will be conducted at the same church at 2 pm on Saturday.
Mar Kunnassery was born on September 11, 1928 at Kaduthuruthy in Kottayam to Kunnasseril Joseph and Annamma. He completed his studies from Mangalapuzha Seminary at Aluva and Propaganda College in Rome. Cardinal Clement Mikare ordained him on December 21, 1955.
The late bishop emeritus further acquired higher degrees and a PhD in Theology and the Canon laws from the Pontifical Urban and Pontifical Lateran Universities in Rome. Later he served as the secretary to Bishop Mar Thomas Tharayil and as the chancellor of the diocese.
Mar Kunnessery was appointed the coadjutor bishop by Pope Paul VI on December 9, 1967 while he was serving as the rector of Thiruhridayakunnu Minor Seminary. On February 24 , 1968 Mar Kuriakose Kunnassery became bishop and on 9 May 2005 he was consecrated as the first arch bishop of the Archdiocese of Kottayam.