Nov 262012

by Anura Guruge

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>> Titles & Deaconry Assigned To The November 24, 2012 New Cardinals … — Nov. 25, 2012.
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Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, referred to ‘at home’ as Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis, Major Archbishop (Trivandrum) and Catholicos of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, did not get a traditional red biretta or even a red zucchetto at the November 24, 2012 cardinal creating consistory. He also did not wear the familiar red robes. Instead of a biretta he received a black turban of sorts with a red peak crowned with a gold cross. He looked like a sultan, a Cardinal Sultan.

The distinctive red & black hat given to the new Indian cardinal. Click image to read the article and see original photograph at the Indian ‘The Hindu’ newspaper.

Cardinal Baselios Cleemis with red hat

Another picture of the distinctive attire sported by the new Indian cardinal.

Click to access ‘Rome Reports’ video of the November 24, 2012 consistory.

Yes, I know it has all to do with him being a Syro-Malankaran. But does eschewing ‘the red‘ mean that he is exempt from having to shed blood, if called upon, on behalf of the Church? The red is not to just make them look dandy, it does carry significance and symbolism. So not sure why they make such exemptions — when in the end they are all supposed to be Catholics.

My compatriot and occasional contributor, ‘Kenny L.‘,
who currently resides in Canada and is an expert of many matters ‘Catholic’ sent me these relevant links.

They should definitely be perused.

1/ The Skull Cap of the Syrian Priesthood: Kenny points out ‘It’s usually called the “masnapto” worn in black, but i believe it must be the same in red. I could be wrong. Not so sure on this. May have to check with someone good with the Eastern Rite Catholics’ and then provides this link to a ‘Voice of Orthodoxy’ Website.

2/ Discussion, comments and aside as to why the cardinal wore black, including 3 new pictures. It is the ‘Catholic Answers’ Website.

  5 Responses to “Indian Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, Created November 24, Did Not Get A ‘Red Hat’”

  1. Well the top of the hat is still red, so I don’t think the “Cardinal Sultan” would be off the hook once Satan resurrects Obama or whoever is supposed to be the Antichrist these days. Although, if the red symbolizes blood what does the black stand for? Necrotic tissue? Coal mining?
    I don’t know why the allowance for regional attire. If then newly created Cardinal Ratzinger wasn’t allowed to show up in Lederhosen (although given his more recent getups he might have been more comfortable in a Dirndl) for example, neither should the Eastern Catholics. After all, the very word “Catholic” is supposed to reflect unity.

  2. As ever enlightened words. How was Thanksgiving? Wondered where you were. Assume your luck had turned, now that Obama has got a second term. Thanks. Cheers. Anura

  3. As for a ‘catholic’ outlook of an Eastern Rite cardinal take a look at the following:
    This is Josyf Slipyj, major archbishop of the Ukrainians, between 1945 and 1963 arrested in Soviet prisons and camps then exiled to the Vatican and made a cardinal by Paul VI on February 22, 1965. He obviously consented to be given a galero which looks quite odd in combination with his traditional Eastern vestments but this seems to be the one and only occasion that he wore any Roman Rite accessories. Later on he only was to be seen in the characteristical outfit of an Eastern Rite hierarch:
    In contrast to his Ukrainian colleague standCardinal Ignace Gabriel Tappouni from Syria, an Eastern Rite Patriarch, made cardinal on December 16,1935 whose appearance underwent a complete ,romanization´:
    he even has the zucchetto and the biretta wich are typical signs of the prelates of the Roman Rite.
    A similar case was that of the cardinals of the Syro-Malabar Rite who were created in 1969, 1988 and 2001 – all of them wore Roman Rite cardinals´ vestments; Cardinal George Alencherry, created on February 18, 2012 is the first who sports Eastern style.

  4. The Maronites (all four) wear the same dress as the patriarch, but all red, with a flat bulbous red hat. The Copts (Sidarous, Ghattas) wore an all red outfit with red a Klobak covered with a red veil, but Naguib wore all black and no red.The Armenians an all red outfit with red Klobak and red veil (Agagianian). Chaldeans (Delly) all red patriarch dress w/round black hat with red top. The Syrians wore a black outfit trimmed in red with black klobak no veil. The Malabars Parecattil, Padiyara, Vithayathil all wore the regular Roman choir dress of red and biretta, but Allencherry wore and Eastern red outfit with a four sided arched hat with a gold cross on it. Malankars black robes line with red and a black turban like hat with red center coming to a point. The Melkite Saigh wore all black Eastern outfit with a black klobak with black veil. the Ukranians wore a black eastern outfit with a white klobak with a white veil. There is a sort of biretta some Ukraines wear and all Ruthenians wear. It is a large bulbous hat for liturgical purposes. Check out Salvador’s site for Eastern rite photos. Also the German site has many Oriental and Eastern Rite headgear.

  5. For quite a long time the Byzantine Rite Ukrainians and Ruthenians had been a particular case – in 1720 was held a synod in the Polish town Zamosć, on this occasion there were made a number of decisions that besides some liturgical adaptations to the Roman Rite their bishops and priests should be dressed in a manner very similar to their `Latin´ colleagues, so they got Roman style cassock, zuchetto and biretta. This lasted the whole nineteeth century; as for their then created cardinals just take a look at
    and it can be clearly see that these `Easterners´ had to adopt the Roman Rite custom. The change came in 1900 with the election of Metropolitan Andrij Sheptyckyj who encouraged the return to original traditions. It may also be added that when in 1985 Slipyj´s successor Myroslav Lubachivskyj was made a cardinal he wore the vestments of a Byzantine Rite bishop all in `cardinalitial red´.

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