Pope Francis, receiving the request of the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church, has appointed Rev. Fr. James Athikalam, MST, as the new Bishop of the Eparchy of Sagar in Madhya Pradesh State of India, on Friday. He is until now Director of Nirmal Jyoti Mental Health Programme, Bhopal, India. He takes over from Bishop Anthony Chirayath, who retired from the office upon completing the age of 75.
Rev. Fr. James Athikalam, MST, was born on 5th July, 1958, at Pulincunnoo, Changanacherry. He was ordained priest on 22nd March, 1984, for the Missionary Society of St. Thomas the Apostle (MST). He has obtained a licentiate in Biblical Theology and Doctorate in Patrology from Augustinianum Institute in Rome. As a priest he worked at Barnagar in the Diocese of Ujjain, and later was appointed professor and procurator of the Diocesan Minor Seminary of Ujjain and professor at the MST Minor Seminary. In 1991, he was appointed Director of the Missionary Orientation Course at Jeevan Jyothi, Mandya, professor of Patrology in Ruhalaya Major Seminary, Ujjain, of which he was later appointed Rector. He became the Director General of the Missionary Society of St. Thomas the Apostle and was serving in that office till last year. At present he is the Director of Nirmal Jyoti Mental Health Programme, Bhopal.
He knows Malayalam, English and Hindi very well. Besides, he knows Latin, Greek, Syriac, Italian, French and German.