12 Feb Bishop Mar Joseph Srampickal
On 28th July 2016, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, erected the Eparchy of Great Britain of the Syro-Malabar Church based in Preston, and appointed Dr. Fr. Joseph (Benny Mathew) Srampickal, a member of the clergy of the Eparchy of Palai and Vice-Rector of the Collegio De Propaganda Fide in Rome, as the first bishop of the Eparchy.
Msgr. Joseph Srampickal was born on 30th May 1967 in Poovarany, in the Eparchy of Palai. He entered the minor seminary and studied philosophy at St. Thomas Apostolic Seminary, Vadavathoor, and theology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome, where he obtained a licentiate in biblical theology. He continued his studies at Oxford, UK, He knows Malayalam, English, Italian and German.
Ordained a priest on 12th August 2000, he has held the following positions: Professor at the minor seminary and Ephrem Formation Centre of Pala, Director of the Mar Sleeva Nursing College, Cherpumkal, Director of the Evangelization Programme, Secretary of the Bishop and Pastor at Urulikunnam. From 2013, he was the Vice Rector of the Pontifical Urbaniana College of the Propaganda Fide, Rome.
The Syro-Malabar rite Catholic community, one of the Eastern Catholic churches, originates in India. It traces its origins back to St Thomas the Apostle. Nearly 40,000 Syro-Malabar rite Catholics live in England, Scotland and Wales, served by 23 priests.
The eparchy (an area under a bishop similar to a diocese) was given a cathedral in Preston, which is dedicated to St Alphonsa. The See of the circumscription is also located here, in the Diocese of Lancaster, along with the Registry and the Residence of Bishop Srampickal.