Curia Bishop

Mar Sebastian Vaniyapurackal

Fr. Sebastian Vaniyapurackal, the Curia Bishop, was born as the eighth child of Vaniyapurackal V.M. Thomas and Late Mrs. Eliamma on 29 March 1967. He belongs to Nirmalagiri Parish of the Eparchy of Kanjirapally. Having completed his school education from St. Louis L.P. School, Mundakayam and St. Joseph High School, Peruvanthanam, Fr. Sebastian joined Mary Matha Minor Seminary, Podimattam in 1982 for his priestly formation. He did his philosophical and theological studies at St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Vadavathoor. He was ordained priest on 30 December 1992 by Bishop Mathew Vattakuzhy. After ordination, he served as Assistant Parish Priest at St. George’s Forane Church, Kattappana. In 1995 he was appointed Director, Yuvadeepti, Kanjhirapally. He was sent for Higher Studies in Rome in 2000 and obtained Doctorate in Canon Law from Holy Cross University, Rome. After his return, Fr. Sebastian served as the Judicial Vicar of the Eparchy, Parish Priest of Koratty, Poomattam, Chennakkunnu and Mulamkunnu and as the Defender of the Bond at the Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Tribunal, Kakkanad. He was also teaching in the Benedictine Ashram, Kappad, Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kunnoth and Nirmala Theological College, Podimattam. He was elected Curia Bishop while serving as Syro-Malabar Major Archiepiscopal Vice Chancellor at Mount St. Thomas. Besides Malayalam, Fr. Sebastian is proficient in English, Italian and German.

Fr Vaniyapurackal is the second curia bishop of the Syro-Malabar Church. The See was vacant from the year 2014 onwards, when Bishop Bosco Puthur, the first Curia Bishop, was transferred to the newly erected St Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Melbourne in Australia.

The Titular See of the Bishop is Troina.

Canonical Provision

To carry out the administration of the sui iuris Church, two organs get involved: the synod of bishops and the curia. After the permanent synod come the bishops of the curia in the next. The Major Archbishop can appoint a maximum of three bishops in the curia, having the title of ‘bishops of the curia’ (c. 87).

CCEO does not make a clear division of the powers or offices for the curial bishops. Curial bishops are to exercise the functions entrusted to them by the Major Archbishop. Major Archbishop cannot constitute a vicar for the entire church nor can he delegate his power to someone for all cases. But he can have different vicars for the administration of the Major Archiepiscopal Church, sharing the powers partially, either vicariously or by way of delegation. The curial bishops can discharge functions only within the territorial boundaries of the Church (c. 181 §1).

There can be a maximum of three bishops in the curia in order to help the Major Archbishop. All three bishops would have titular sees and the title of archbishop is given to the senior most bishop of the curia who could eventually be the administrator of the Church. This administrator during the period of vacancy of the See would have the powers of the Major Archbishop. When there are 3 Curial Bishops, there could be three sections functioning in the curia, with curial bishops as heads. All these sections could have a secretary, preferably a priest and if needed other officers.

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