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.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103