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HomeObituaryChevalier Prof. Abraham Arakkal, a Visionary Educationist and Historian, Dies at 86

Chevalier Prof. Abraham Arakkal, a Visionary Educationist and Historian, Dies at 86


Kochi: Chevalier Prof. Abraham Arakkal, who was a prominent figure in the fields of education, history, literature, and journalism, passed away on Tuesday night at a private hospital in Kochi. He was 86 years old and had been suffering from age-related ailments.

Prof. Arakkal was born in Alappuzha to the illustrious Arakkal family, which traces its roots to the royal dynasty of Arakkal in Kannur. His father, the late Eapen Arakkal, was a former MLA and a freedom fighter, and his mother, the late Eliyamma Eapen, was a retired teacher and a social worker.

Prof. Arakkal had a distinguished academic career, graduating with honors from St. Joseph’s College in Trichy and obtaining his master’s degree from Madras University. He started his teaching career as a lecturer at Fatima College in Madurai and later became the principal of several reputed colleges in Kerala, such as St. Michael’s College in Alappuzha, Government Victoria College in Palakkad, and Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam. He also served as a member of the Senate of Kerala University and the Syndicate of Calicut University.

Prof. Arakkal was a prolific writer and a renowned historian, specializing in the history of the Indian Church and the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church. He authored several books and articles on various topics, such as the history of the Latin Catholics in Kerala, the role of the Portuguese in the Indian Church, the life and work of Archbishop Mar Ivanios, and the history of the Cochin Diocese. He was also the chief editor of two publications of the Cochin Diocese, namely ‘Indian Communicator’ and ‘Sadhvarta’.

Prof. Arakkal was a recipient of many honors and awards for his outstanding contributions to the society and the Church. He was conferred the title of Chevalier by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 for his exemplary service to the Catholic Church. He also received the Guru Shreshta Award from the Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council (KRSLCC), the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Church History Association of India, and the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for his book ‘The History of the Latin Catholics of Kerala’.

Prof. Arakkal was also a leader of various organizations and associations, such as the Government College Teachers’ Organisation, the Private College Management Association, the Catholic Council of India, the Church History Association of India, and the National Advisory Committee of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).

Prof. Arakkal is survived by his son, Dr. Eapen Arakkal, a cardiologist, his daughter-in-law, Dr. Anu Eapen, a gynecologist, and his grandchildren, Anna and Aaron. His wife, Rini Abraham, a retired teacher, predeceased him in 2019.

The funeral service of Prof. Arakkal will be held at the Mount Carmel Cathedral in Alappuzha on Saturday at 9 am, followed by the burial at the family cemetery. The funeral will be attended by several dignitaries, including the Governor of Kerala, the Chief Minister of Kerala, the Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, and the Bishop of Cochin.

Prof. Arakkal’s death has been mourned by many people from different walks of life, who expressed their condolences and tributes to the departed soul. Prof. Arakkal was widely regarded as a visionary educationist, a scholarly historian, a gifted writer, and a noble human being. His legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of his students, colleagues, friends, and admirers.

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