Cleemis, a votary of pluralism

Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, who was elevated as a cardinal at Vatican on Saturday, is a strong believer in inter-faith dialogue and harmony.

Born in Mukkoor, a remote village in Pathanamthitta district as the fifth child of P M Mathew and Annamma, Mar Cleemis turned down a job in the Navy, to embrace the spiritual path.

The archbishop of Syro-Malabar Catholic, Mar Cleemis is the youngest of the present cardinals and can continue for the next 27 years in the body.As the archbishop of his church which accepts the Indian culture, Mar Clemis, deviating from the existing practice to wear oriental robes at the ceremony in Rome.

Co-operation

A strong advocate of inter-church co-operation and harmony between various religions, Mar Cleemis took Jamaluddin Mangada, the Imam of Palayam Mosque in Thiruvananthapuram, Swami Guru Ratna Gnana Tapaswi from the Shantigiri ashram and Swami Sookshmananda of Varkala Sivagiri Madhom to Rome for the ceremony.

It is the first time that representatives of other religions have attended the function.

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