Arch Bishop M Arockiasamy dead
Madurai, Mar 22 (UNI) Former Archbishop of Madurai M Arockiasamy died of prolonged illness here today.
He was 76 and was the head of the Madurai Catholic Arch-Diocese till his retirement in 2003.
A public face of the Church, he had opposed the legislative and administrative measures that curtailed religious freedom and intrusion in minority-run educational institutions.
He rallied the various Church denominations and secular opinion in opposing the Anti-Conversion Law brought by the previous Jayalalithaa government.
Born in 1931 at Pudhur Uthamanur in Tiruchirapalli district, he was ordained a priest in Rome, where he had gone for higher studies.
He was installed Bishop of Kottar Diocese (Kanniyakumari district) in 1970 and during his 17 year tenure he took bold initiatives to bring communal harmony in the coastal belt in the aftermath of the Mandaikadu violence.
It was during this period, he brought out an encyclical, redefining and reiterating the Church's commitment to the empowerment of Dalits and social justice.
Later, he was elevated Arch-Bishop here in 1987.
He was instrumental in founding the 'Thiruvarut Peravai', a forum of spiritual heads of all religions for communal harmony, the United Christian Council and the Minority Front, comprising Muslims.
According to Diocese sources, the funeral is slated for Saturday at the St Mary's Cathedral in the city.