Rt. Rev. Dr. Anantha Raj Rayappan Chelliah has been consecrated as the new bishop of the Kanyakumari Diocese of the Church of South India. He is the sixth Bishop of the Diocese.
The consecration service was led by Most Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, the Moderator of the Church of South India, on the 7th of July 2019 at CSI District Church Mylaudy in Kanyakumari, which is the first church established in Travancore District (1809 AD). In the consecration service, which started at 3.30 in the evening, Rt. Rev. Dr. Vadapalli Prasada Rao, the Deputy Moderator, Rev. Dr. Daniel Rathnakara Sadananda, the General Secretary, Rt. Rev. Prasana Kumar Samuel (Bishop, CSI Karnataka Central Diocese), Rt. Rev. S. E. C. Devasagayam (Bishop, CSI Thoothukudi- Nazareth Diocese), The Rt. Rev. Dr. J. J. Christdoss (Bishop, CSI Tirunelveli Diocese), Rt. Rev. Mohan Raj (Bishop, CSI Karnataka Southern Diocese), Rt. Rev. B. D. Prasada Rao (Bishop, Rayalaseema), Rt. Rev. Dharmaraj Rasalam, Rt. Rev. Timothy Ravinder (Bishop, CSI Coimbatore Diocese), Rt. Rev. Pushpalalitha (Bishop, CSI Nandyal Diocese) Rt. Rev. Jayaraj George Stephen (Bishop, Madras Diocese), Rt. Rev. Dr. Oommen George (Bishop, CSI Kollam Kottarakkara) Rt. Rev. A. C. Solomon (Bishop, CSI Medak Diocese), Rt. Rev. Dr. Chandrasekaran (Bishop, Trichy- Tanjore), Rt. Rev. Sharma Nithiyanandam (bishop, Vellore) and the retired bishop of CSI, Rt. Rev. M. I. Kesari assisted the Moderator in the Communion service. Rt. Rev. Dr. Chandrasekaran delivered the consecration sermon. Adv. Robert Bruce, the Hon. Treasurer of the Church of South India, and the Diocesan leaders also gave the leadership in the consecration service. People from various walks of life, the missionaries, heads of institutions, representatives from theological colleges, members of the neighbouring dioceses, and leaders and members of other denominations witnessed the consecration service.
During the installation, Rev. Dr D. Rathnakara Sadananda, General Secretary of the CSI, read the instrument of election and selection. The congregation gave its assent. The Moderator then led the consecration and installation of the Bishop-elect. There was a solemn examination of the Bishop-elect, followed by the congregational hymn inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Moderator and the officiating Bishops laid their hands on the head of the Bishop-elect and prayed that God ordains and consecrates him Bishop in God’s Church. The Moderator then presented the newly consecrated Bishop with the Bible and Rt. Rev. P. K. Samuel presented the Pastoral Staff, the symbol of the good shepherd, while the Bishop was adorned with the Saffron Stole by Rt. Rev. A. C. Solomon. The Deputy Moderator placed the Episcopal Ring on his finger, a token of pledge and fidelity. The Bishops then welcomed the new Bishop to the council of the Bishops by giving the right hand of fellowship. The Moderator then declared Rt. Rev. Anantha Raj Rayappan Chelliah Bishop in the Church of God, in the name of Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The congregation responded with a loud ‘Amen’ and sang the doxology.
Then the newly consecrated Bishop was led to his Episcopal chair. The lay officers of the Diocese, representatives of the laity and representatives of the Deacons and Presbyters and women workers promised all due obedience to the new Bishop.
Bishop thanked the Synod officers, fellow- bishops, diocesan leadership, and people and shared his vision about the future of the diocese.
Er. Byju Nazareth Paul, the Diocesan Secretary, proposed the official vote of thanks.
Born on the 7th July 1958, as the son of Mr R. Anantha Raj and late Mrs N. Mano Sundaram, Rev. Chelliah started his education at LMPC High School, Puthalam, Nagercoil. He finished his graduation from Scott Christian College in Nagercoil and secured his MA in Philosophy from Madurai Kamaraj University.
He started his theological journey from TTS Madurai and did his MTh from the United Theological College, Bangalore. He has his Doctorate in Theology from the Serampore University.
Rev. Dr Chelliah was ordained as a Presbyter in the Kanyakumari Diocese of the CSI in 1994. He served as a pastor of the congregations of West Santhaiyadi, Allenkottai, Saralkottai, Poovancode, Neyyoor, and CSI Home Church in Nagercoil. He was promoted as the District Minister in 2008.
Rev. Chelliah is married to Mrs Prof. Dr Felicia Chelliah and blessed with a son- Dr R. C. Neil Ananth MDS., FOMS, and daughter- Dr R. C. Mano Rajam MBBS, DGO.
May God bless the new Bishop to lead this great diocese of the Church of South India with zeal and enthusiasm.