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Syro-Malabar Church gets 4th century basilica in Rome



KOCHI: Santa Anastasia Minor Basilica in Rome, one of the oldest Christian churches and one of the oldest minor basilicas in the world, has been assigned to Kerala based Syro-Malabar Church (SMC) by the Vatican.


SMC said in a press statement on Sunday that Cardinal Angelo de Donatis, the vicar general of Pope Francis for the diocese of Rome, has issued a decree, assigning the fourth century church to SMC. “This basilica from now on would become the centre of pastoral activities of the faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church which is one of the foremost Oriental Churches in apostolic tradition and the zeal of faith,” the SMC said.


Emperor Constantine started the construction of the basilica during 325-326 AD. Situated very close to the Colosseum, the church is built on the Palatine Hill, the administrative centre of the Roman empire. Until the end of the 7th century, Popes celebrated Christmas mass in this basilica. St Jerome, the Bible scholar, preached in this church. Built in the baroque style, the church is famous for its architectural splendour and decorative works.


“A priest designated by the Syro-Malabar major archbishop will be appointed as the chaplain of the Syro-Malabar Catholics. The chaplain of the Syro-Malabar Catholics will be also be the rector of the Basilica,” Fr Abraham Kavilpurayidathil, PRO of SMC, said.


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