UPDATED – BANGALORE, India (CNS) — Father Xavier Thelakkat, rector of the shrine of St. Thomas at Malayattoor, was stabbed to death March 1 around noon.
Police arrested Johny Vattekadan, a sacristan whom Father Thelakkat had suspended earlier for misconduct, including alcoholism. Witnesses said the two were arguing when the former sacristan stabbed the priest.
St. Thomas shrine sits on a hill about 30 miles north of Cochin. The Vatican had granted the shrine international status in 2004.
Father Thelakkat, 52, had been rector there since 2011. He was stabbed at the Sixth Station of the Cross as he came down the hill after checking on preparations for the annual Lenten pilgrimage.
An official of the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly said although the priest was only stabbed in the thigh and leg, “It took time to bring the profusely bleeding priest down the slopes to rush him to (a) hospital.”
“Father Xavier was dead by the time he was taken to the hospital,” the official added.
The official said local youth tracked Vattekadan in the nearby jungle, then summoned police.
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
or by credit card: