The Major Archbishop Catholicos of the Syro Malankara church, Mar Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, joined the College of Cardinals on Saturday along with six others at a ceremony led by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.
Mar Cleemis, 53, received the gold ring and the biretta from the Pope during a ceremony at St Peter's Basilica. Mar Cleemis, also the youngest cardinal, preferred the oriental black biretta, and not the traditional scarlet one picked by other cardinals.
The elevation of the head of the Syro Malankara church marked a milestone in the history of the
Catholic church in Kerala which now has two serving cardinals for the first time, the other being Mar George Alencherry, head of the Syro Malabar church.