Bijay Kumar Minj, New Delhi
Updated: March 15, 2021 05:40 AM GMT
Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli was appointed apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal on March 13. (Photo: Conference of Catholic Bishops of India)
Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli as the new apostolic nuncio to India and Nepal.
Archbishop Girelli, 67, was previously papal nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.
The appointment of the Italian archbishop was announced at noon Rome time on March 13, corresponding to 4.30pm in India. He succeeds Archbishop Giambattista Diquattro, a fellow Italian, who was transferred to Brazil in August 2020.
Archbishop Girelli was born on March 13, 1953, in Predore, Bergamom in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. He was ordained a priest on June 17, 1978, for the Diocese of Bergamo. He holds a doctorate in theology and a master’s degree in canon law.
He entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See on July 13, 1987, and worked in papal diplomatic missions in Cameroon, New Zealand and in the section for general affairs of the Secretariat of State. He then held the rank of counselor in the apostolic nunciature in the United States.
Pope Benedict XVI appointed him nuncio to Indonesia on April 13, 2006, and titular archbishop of Capreae. He was ordained a bishop on June 2006 by Cardinal Angelo Sodano.
He was appointed nuncio to Timor-Leste on Oct. 10, 2006, in addition to his duties as nuncio to Indonesia. On Jan. 13, 2011, he was appointed nuncio to Singapore, apostolic delegate to Malaysia and Brunei, and non-residential pontifical representative for Vietnam.
He was also appointed nuncio to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on June 18, 2011.
On Sept. 13, 2017, he was appointed nuncio to Israel and apostolic delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine and two days later he was appointed nuncio to Cyprus. Aside from Italian, his mother language, he also speaks English and French.
The Church in India comprises the Latin rite and two Oriental rites — Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara.
The Latin rite follows the Roman liturgy introduced by European missioners in the 15th century, while the two Eastern rites, both based in Kerala, follow Syrian Church traditions and trace their origins to St. Thomas the Apostle.