An Indian court sentenced former sacristan Johny Vattaparamban, 54, to life imprisonment for the 2018 murder of the rector of popular St Thomas Shrine at Malayattoor, in southern Kerala state.
The court also imposed a fine of $1,321 on Vattaparamban, convicted of stabbing Fr Xavier Thelakkat on 1st March 2018, as he descended from the hilltop shrine, about 35 miles north of Cochin.
Fr Thelakkat was stabbed after he refused to reinstate the sacristan, whom he had suspended for “misconduct,” including alcoholism at the shrine premise.
In 2004, the Vatican conferred international status to the shrine on the hill where St Thomas the Apostle was said to have prayed.
Picture: Fr Xavier Thelakkat, rector of the shrine of St Thomas in Malayattoor, India, pictured in a 2012 photo, was stabbed to death in 2018. An Indian court sentenced former sacristan Johny Vattaparamban, 54, to life imprisonment for the murder of Fr Thelakkat in southern Kerala state. (CNS photo/Anto Akkara).