Kalam to close 450th anniversary celebrations of Cochin Diocese

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Kochi, Jan 30 (UNI) Former President A P J Abdul Kalam will inaugurate here on February 4 the valedictory function to mark the culmination of the year-long celebrations of the 450th anniversary of the Diocese of Cochin, Bishop of Cochin John Thattumkal said today.

Among the highlights of the valedictory function will be the laying of the foundation stone for the orthopaedic department of Fatima Hospital by Union Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes and release of a 'Commemoration Volume' by Dr Filipe Neri Ferrao, the Archbishop of Goa and Daman, he said at a press conference here.

Another high point of the function would be the inauguration of the Vasco da Gama Research Institute and releasing of a book on Indo-Portuguese Museum, titled 'Remembering Cochin', by Dr Emilio Rui Vilar, president of the Gulbenkian Foundation, Portugal.

The bishop said various social and religious activities marked the year-long celebrations, which were inaugurated by Defence Minister A K Antony on February four last year.

Among the major initiatives were, construction of houses for 60 homeless families, free meals once a week, financial assistance for marriage of girls, medical camps and construction of one new chapel and renovation of four churches.

Several seminars and classes were also held on religious subjects during the year, the bishop added.

The Diocese of Cochin was set up by a Papal Bull on February four, 1557, issued by Pope Paul IV. Its territory at that time extended to the whole of south and eastern coast of India, Burma, Ceylon and Malaysia.

UNI ARC RSA DS1550

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