His Beatitude Mar George Alencherry, the Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church was elevated as Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI at a solemn ceremony held in the Vatican at 3 pm (IST) on Saturday 18 February 2012. His Eminence Mar Alencherry is among the 22 new cardinals who were elevated to the high office of the Church. He is also one of the only three from outside the West to be made Cardinal, the other two being Brazilian Joao Braz de Aviz and Bishop of Hong Kong John Tong Hon.
Mar Alencherry’s name was the eleventh to be called during the consecration. The Pope assigned Mar Alencherry to the same titular Church of Rome which was assigned to his predecessor, the late Mar Varkey Cardinal Vithayathil. Mar Alencherry took part in the ceremony wearing a special gown and arudraksha chain with a cross. It was in January this year that Pope Benedict XVI appointed Mar Alencherry as a Cardinal. He is the fourth Malayali and 10th Indian to be elevated as Cardinal.