S. Arulappa

S. Arulappa

infobox bishopbiog
name = S. Arulappa

See =Roman Catholic Church| Title =Archbishop of Hyderabad
Period = 6 December 1971—29 January 2000
consecration = 13 February 1972
Predecessor = G. Joseph Mark
Successor = M. Joji
post = Rector of Christ Hall Seminary, Madurai
ordination = 6 May 1950
date of birth = 28 August 1924
place of birth = Kilacherry, Tamil Nadu
date of death = 13 February 2005 (aged 80 years)
place of death=Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh

S. Arulappa (28 August1924—13 February2005) was an Indian Roman Catholic clergyman who served as the Archbishop of Hyderabad from December 1971 through January 2000. The youngest priest to be consecrated to such a high office, he was also the longest-serving Archbishop in India. [Access My Library, Former Archbishop Arulappa Passes Away [http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-1527836_ITM] ] He was also the first Archbishop who had the honour of being consecrated by Pope Paul VI in Rome [Showrayya, B.F., "Archbishop S. Arulappa as I know him", in silver jubilee souvenir published by Archdiocese of Hyderabad (1997), Archbishop's House, 9-1-17/1, Sardar Patel Road, Secunderabad 500 003, Andhra Pradesh, India, pp. 42-51] .

"Love and Serve" was his motto [Ecclesiastical Units 2008, Archdiocese of Hyderabad, Archbishop's House, 9-1-17/1, Sardar Patel Road, Secunderabad 500 003, Andhra Pradesh, India, pp. 40-41] .

Early years

Arulappa was born on 28 August 1924 to Smt. Rajamma and Sri Samineni Chinnaiah in Kilacherry in the state of Tamil Nadu. Earlier, his ancestors migrated southward from Guntur in search of livelihood. When the state of Andhra Pradesh was formed, Kilacherry fell under Tamil Nadu [See Attalur] .

He was the only son of their parents and was preceded by four sisters, three of whom are nuns [Arulappa S., Archbishop, Love and Serve, Archdiocese of Hyderabad, Archbishop's House, 9-1-17/1, Sardar Patel Road, Secunderabad 500 003, Andhra Pradesh, India, pp. 5-6] . He was brought up in an atmosphere of strict discipline by his mother who wanted to see her only son become a Priest. The Archbishop reminiscences that her mother looked forward to the day when she could see him as a Priest but both his parents died while he was still pursuing seminary studies. [Arulappa S., Archbishop, "op. cit." pp. 37-40]

Divinity & Pastorship

eminary Studies

Arulappa also evinced keen interest in pursuing the vocation of priesthood and also assisted the Priests as an altar boy during his childhood. He was sent to the Kandy Pontifical College "(Known as the Papal Seminary, it was built in 1893 by Pope Leo XIII)", Kandy, Sri Lanka to pursue theological studies.Papal Seminary, Pune [http://www.jnanam.org/homeoflove/html/st_bishops.htm] ] The Papal Seminary awarded Arulappa licentiate degrees in Philosophy and Theology (L. Ph. & L. Th.) on successfully completing his studies there. [Memorial card of Archbishop Arulappa, privately circulated on his memorial service in February 2005.] Later in 1955, the said College re-located to Pune " [the Papal Seminary / Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth is located in Ramwadi (Ahmednagar highway), Pune] ".

Subsequently, he studied Economics and Education in Loyola College, Chennai.

Ordination & Professorship

Arulappa was ordained as a priest on 6 May1950 by Bishop Ignatius Glennie, "s.j." the then Bishop of Trincomalee.Catholic Hierarchy, Archbishop Arulappa [http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/barulappa.html] ]

He joined the faculty of the Madras Archdiocesan Minor & Major Seminaries in Madras and taught Latin and Philosophy besides being the Rector of the Seminary [Ecclesiastical Units 2008, "op. cit." ] .

Arulappa also served as a Parish Priest in two parishes [Arulappa S., Archbishop, "op. cit." pp. 37-40] and was also Principal of St. Joseph's Anglo-Indian Boys' High School in Madras [Showrayya, B.F., "op. cit."] .

He was also sent to Oxford University, the oldest university in England, for post-graduate studies in Public and Social Administration. [Arulappa S., Archbishop "op. cit."]

Later, Arulappa was appointed as the Rector of Christ Hall Seminary, a philosophate in Karumathur in Madurai and served as its Rector. [Memorial card of Archbishop Arulappa]


* Archdiocese of Hyderabad


G. Joseph Mark was the fifth Bishop of Hyderabad and later became Archbishop when the diocese of Hyderabad was elevated to an archdiocese on 19 September 1953. [Ecclesiastical Units 2008, pp.39-40] With his death on 28 February1971, the office of the Archbishop fell vacant.


Fr. S. Arulappa of the archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore was brought-in and nominated to the archbishopric of Hyderabad.

On 6 December 1971, he was appointed as the Archbishop of Hyderabad. He was consecrated principally by Pope Paul VI and co-consecrators Cardinals Alfrink and Conway on February 13, 1972 at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. [Catholic Hierarchy "op. cit."] .

Later, he was installed as the Archbishop of Hyderabad on 19 March 1972 in the All Saints' School Grounds in Abids, Hyderabad . [Ecclesiastical Units 2008, "pp." 40-41] .

Arulappa recollects that on 12 December 1971, he received a letter from the Apostolic Nunciature stating that he had been nominated as the Archbishop of Hyderabad and all that he could do was just kneel down and pray like never before [Arulappa S., Archbishop, "op. cit."] .



When the Archbishop took over the reins of the archdiocese, there were 18 parishes ["Ibid." ] . At the time of his retirement, there were 60 parishes which speaks about the work he undertook.

About 85 priests were ordained in the archdiocese during his Archbishopric ["Ibid."] .

Arrival of the Religious Congregations

Altogether, 37 religious congregations were invited to work in the archdiocese ["Ibid."] .

Educational institutions

Apart from the formation of the Hyderabad Archdiocese Education Society (HAES), 35 high schools and 14 junior and degree colleges were opened ["Ibid."] ..


* Arulappa was instrumental in founding the Hyderabad Archdiocese Social Service Society (HASSS) in 1973 which is involved in diverse developmental activities cutting across religious lines.
* Pastoral Centre
* Hyderabad Archdiocese Education Society (HAES)
* Amruthavani communications centre
* Andhra Pradesh Social Service Society

Missionaries of Charity

In the year 1974, the Archbishop visited Calcutta for a CBCI meeting and proceeded to invite Blessed Mother Teresa to work in the archdiocese of Hyderabad [Arulappa S., Archbishop, "op. cit." pp. 47-50] . It was only in 1978 that the missionaries of charity started arriving in Secunderabad. On 15 August 1978, the work of the Missionaries of Charity was inaugurated. Later in January 1979, when Blessed Mother Teresa arrived in Hyderabad for the first time, the Archbishop was there to receive her and later took her to the residence of the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Dr. Marri Chenna Reddy who offered a part of a hospital in new Bhoiguda in Secunderabad for establishing a home for the dying destitutes. ["Ibid."]

Erection of new dioceses

During the archbishopric of Arulappa, the region of Andhra Pradesh saw the erection of five new dioceses ["Ibid."] .

Relations with the Government

Archbishop Arulappa did maintain good relations with the Government. But when it came to laxity on the part of the Government, he used to take them to task through the media.

Secunderabad hosts the Presidents of India annually. Rashtrapati Nilayam in Secunderabad is home to the Presidents during summers. The Arcbishop used to call on them during the President's sojourn to Secunderabad. In the year 1982, the President Giani Zail Singh even visited the St. Mary's Church in Secunderabad on invitation by the Archbishop. [Showrayya, B.F., "op. cit."]

on Secularism

The Archbishop was known for his secular outlook. He remarked that one should have respect for other religions ["Ibid."] and used to maintain cordial relations with leaders of other religious affiliations and was even invited to various "fora". He spoke at spiritual conferences organised by Swami Ranganathananda of the Ramakrishna Mission and Swami Chidananda Saraswati of the Divine Life Society. On a particular occasion, he remarked that he was an "Indian by nationality, a Hindu by culture and a Christian by religion" [Raja, Pudota, Alternate opinion on Kammas, E-mail posting on Indian Culture, Internet, accessed 21 June 2008. [http://indculture0.tripod.com/altkammas1.htm] ] .

on Ecumenism & unity of the Church

The Archbishop never used to turn down any invitation extended by the different Church societies belonging to either Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant backgrounds. He considered himself as a Father to all.

In the year 1977, he shared dais with the global evangelist Rev. Dr. Billy Graham and his associate Rev. Dr. Akbar Abdul Haqq during their conventions in Secunderabad. ["Ibid."]

At another convention, he proposed common eucharist among the Catholic and Protestant Churches ["Ibid."] .

The yearly United Christmas Celebrations organised by the laymen of the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant backgrounds was the brainchild of the lay Methodists of Hyderabad [Roy, Raja Mohan, "History of the United Christmas Celebrations", 1990, Hyderabad] . Together, they approached the three Bishop's resident in Hyderabad, namely, Archbishop S. Arulappa, Bishop Victor Premasagar (CSI Bishop-in-Medak), and Bishop Elia Peter (Methodist Bishop of Hyderabad Regional Conference) who gave their nod and thus was born the United Christmas Celebrations, a yearly event to which either the Governor or Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh are invited with participation by all the Churches of Hyderabad. [Roy, Raja mohan "loc. cit."]


* Catholic Bishop's Conference of India
* Andhra Pradesh Bishop's Council
* Chairman of the CBCI Commission of Education


Episcopal silver jubilee

On 8 February 1997, the Archbishop celebrated his episcopal silver jubilee in the grounds of St. Mary's High School in Secunderabad. About eight regional Bishop's were also present [Arulappa S., Archbishop, "op. cit." pp. 37-40] . The book "Want to be a Hero" authored by the Archbishop was also released.

A Silver Jubilee Souvenir describing the achievements of Archbishop Arulappa was also released by the Archdiocese of Hyderabad entitled "Archbishop Arulappa completes a Quarter Century" with articles by:
* Msgr. B. Julian
* Rev. Fr. J. Studen
* Dr. B. F. Showrayya
* Sri B. S. Innaiah
* Smt. Evonne Maria
* Kum. Coreen Campos
* Smt. Christina Andrews
* Smt. Nirmala Nair

Priestly golden jubilee

On 6 May 2000, the Archbishop celebrated his priestly golden jubilee. ["Ibid."]


On 29 January 2000, Arulappa retired from his position as the Archbishop on reaching 75 years of age [Ecclesiastical Units 2008, "op. cit."] but continued to live in the Archbishop's House at Secunderabad and was Archbishop Emeritus.

On his retirement, the Archdiocese of Hyderabad released a book "Love and Serve", a brief memoir authored by Archbishop Arulappa himself.


* Dr. J. A. Oliver of the Andhra Pradesh Council of ChurchesThe Hindu, Andhra Pradesh, Monday, February 14, 2005 [http://www.hindu.com/2005/02/14/stories/2005021407770500.htm] ] :cquote|...Fr. Arulappa was known for his uprightness and never minced words in distinguishing religion from culture.

* Sri L. K. Advani, Past Deputy Prime Minister of India:

* Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh:

* Sri K. R. Suresh Reddy, Speaker of the Legislature of Andhra Pradesh [The Hindu, Andhra Pradesh, Tuesday, February 15, 2005 [http://www.hinduonnet.com/2005/02/15/stories/2005021505900500.htm] ] :

* Martin Michael and James Sylvester of the Catholic Association of Hyderabad


* "Want to be a Hero - Anecdotes with a message", 1999, Amruthavani Publications, Secunderabad.

* "The Ethics of Religious Conversions", (with Dr. David Frawley), Pragna Bharathi, Hyderabad. [Pragna Bharathi, Hyderabad [http://www.pragna.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=39] ]

* Quoted in "B. K. Kiran's Education in Human Values for the Twenty-first Century", a NCERT publication [National Council of Educational Research & Training, Publication Abstract [http://ncert.nic.in/sites/publication/vechap4.htm] ] cquote|...Perhaps the most fundamental and insidious challenge, is “lack of political will”. Archbishop of Hyderabad, the Rev. Samineni Arulappa (1999) perceives a reason behind this frequently lamented phenomenon: “Apparently there seems to be no political will to solve the problems of education. Many political leaders often seems to be not really interested to change the system. They are happy to keep the masses ignorant and illiterate. There are people who say that the Indian politicians and bureaucrats have never sincerely tried to educate the masses. Once education becomes compulsory and universal, people will be conscious of their rights and will not allow themselves to be exploited. They can elect their leaders on the basis of character, intellectual and moral excellence rather than region and religion.” Where will political will come from? Or, perhaps more pressingly, can anything be done about the increasing void of “character, intellectual and moral excellence” among the populace in the meantime?

Ordination of women

It is ironic to note that the eminent Catholic scholar and theologian, Rev. Fr. Dr. John Wijngaards, MHM, L.S.S. (Rome), D. Th. (Rome) served as a Lecturer in St. John's Regional Seminary, Hyderabad from 1964-1976 during the archbishopric of Arulappa. He espoused the "cause" of women priests [Association for the Rights of the Catholics in the Church, Catholic Priest resigns from the priestly ministry because of conflict of conscience, Press statement by John Wijngaards [http://arcc-catholic-rights.org/wijngaards.htm arcc-catholic-rights.org] ] .

Although Archbishop Arulappa expressed his respect for women, he remained faithful to the stance taken by Rome regarding women's ordination. Speaking at the plenary of the Association of Theologically Trained Women of India (ATTWI), held at the Auditorium of Stanley Girls High School, Chapel Road, Hyderabad in the year 1999, he said that women in the Catholic Church were even given duties like Bible reading, offering communion, "etc." and were also holding independent positions in religious orders and managing institutions. [ATTWI handbook (2007)for Members] .

Once, while addressing the Catholic Family Movement, he jocularly remarked that "God created man and rested. He created woman and neither God or man rested. That is the problem of all married people." [Showrayya, B.F., "op. cit."] On another occasion, he remarked that "Women are only asking for equality. I am one of those who say that women are actually superior to men !". Were the Archbishop remarks veiled references to his upbringing in a family of four sisters and a mother ?


Archbishop Arulappa died in Hyderabad at the age of 80. [The Hindu, Andhra Pradesh, Monday, February 14, 2005 "op. cit." [http://www.hindu.com/2005/02/14/stories/2005021407740500.htm] "] In accordance to his wishes stated in a will [The Hindu, Andhra Pradesh, Tuesday, February 15, 2005 "op. cit."] , he was laid to rest in the altar in St. Mary's Church, Secunderabad on 14 February2005.

ee also

* The Most Reverend Victor Premasagar


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