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HomeArchbishop Benedict Mar GregoriosIndian Vice President, Hamid Ansari lauds the late Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios

Indian Vice President, Hamid Ansari lauds the late Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios

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Indian Vice President, Mr. Hamid Ansari hailed the late Syro-Malankara Archbishop Benedict Mar Gregorios as an example of selfless service at a National Conference in New Delhi on Feb 15.

“His life serves as an example for us all. His selfless dedication for betterment of society, improving living conditions of poor and advocacy of education could be contemplated in building a strong nation,” said Mr. Ansari.

Speaking at the conference to mark the concluding ceremony of the yearlong birth centenary celebrations of the archbishop, Mr. Ansari said, “He was a promoter of interreligious dialogue and harmony who was ever willing on behalf of the administration to solve the issue of communal tension.”

Archbishop Gregorios headed the Syro-Malankara Church for over four decades until his death on Oct. 10, 1994. He was also the first Syro Malankara president of the Indian Catholic bishops’ conference of India (1989-91), and he chaired several of its commissions.

Archbishop Gregorios is known for his work for the poor. He fought against luxury and extravagance and was known for his social welfare activities, development initiatives, interreligious dialogue and promotion of political harmony.

“The true motto of all his religious and social involvements was his spiritual depth. He was not limited to any particular caste, creed or religion and believed that integrity could be achieved through maximum possible development of all,” said Moran Mor Cardinal Baselios Cleemis.

“The vision needs to be continued for bringing up the poor and interreligious harmony. We lack people like him and that is why there are so many problems in this world,” said Bishop Jacob Mar Barnabas.

Archbishop Gregorios joined the Bethany Ashram of the Order of the Imitation of Christ, the Syro-Malankara Church’s only religious congregation. He became Benedict and took monastic vows in 1935.

When he became bishop in 1953, he wore saffron, the color of Bethany priests. Since saffron is the color of Hindu hermits, in those pre-Second Vatican Council days, his choice raised many eyebrows among Catholics. He was busy with more than strictly church work. For poverty alleviation in villages, the archbishop recommended scientific and systematic farming of fish, poultry and vegetables. He used church land for model farming.

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