Valerian Gracias

Cardinal, Archbishop of Bombay
Cardinal Valerian Gracias in Malta.jpg
Cardinal Valerian Gracias greeted by members of the Indian Maltese community at the La Valette Band Club in Malta in 1958
ArchdioceseArchdiocese of Bombay
Installed4 December 1950
Term ended11 September 1978
PredecessorArchbishop Thomas Roberts, S.J.
SuccessorSimon Pimenta
Other post(s)Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Via Lata(1953-1978)

Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay(1946-1950).
President of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of India.(1958 – 1972)

Titular Bishop of Thennesus.(1946-1950)
Ordination3 October 1926
Consecration29 June 1946
by Archbishop Thomas Roberts, S.J.
Created cardinal12 January 1953
by Pope Pius XII
Personal details
Valerian Gracias

(1900-10-23)23 October 1900
Died11 September 1978(1978-09-11) (aged 77)
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
BuriedCathedral of the Holy Name, Mumbai
18°55′24″N 72°49′50″E / 18.92333°N 72.83056°E / 18.92333; 72.83056
NationalityIndia Indian
DenominationRoman Catholic
ResidenceMumbai, India
ParentsJosé Gracias (Father)
Carlota Gracias (Mother)
Alma materSt. Patrick's High School

St. Joseph's Seminary (Mangalore)
Pontifical Seminary (Kandy)

Pontifical Gregorian University
MottoFraternitatis Amore[1](Latin)
In the love of brotherhood(English)
Ordination history of
Valerian Gracias
Priestly ordination
Date3 October 1926
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorArchbishop Thomas Roberts, S.J
Co-consecratorsBishop Vittore Rosario Fernandes,
Bishop Thomas Pothacamury (Pothakamuri)
Date29 June 1946
Elevated byPope Pius XII
Date12 January 1953
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Valerian Gracias as principal consecrator
Bishop Michael Rodrigues30 November 1953
Bishop Longinus Gabriel Pereira11 August 1955
Archbishop Dominic Romuald Basil Athaide, O.F.M. Cap20 May 1956
Bishop John Burke1 November 1959
Archbishop Angelo Innocent Fernandes1 November 1959
Archbishop Hubert D’Rosario, S.D.B.6 September 1964
Bishop Ignatius Salvador D’Souza30 November 1966
Bishop Winnibald Joseph Menezes3 February 1968
Bishop Patrick Paul D’Souza8 August 1970
Bishop Joseph Robert Rodericks, S.J.9 January 1971
Simon Ignatius Cardinal Pimenta29 June 1971
Bishop Valerian D’Souza25 September 1977
Bishop Dominic Joseph Abreo9 April 1978

Valerian Gracias (23 October 1900 – 11 September 1978) was an Indian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Bombay from 1950 until his death and was elevated to the rank of cardinal in 1953 by Pope Pius XII.


Valerian Gracias was born in Karachi, British India (in modern Pakistan), to José (d. 1902) and Carlota Gracias. His parents were from Dramapur/Navelim, Goa, working in Karachi.[2] He studied at St. Patrick's High School in Karachi, St. Joseph Seminary in Mangalore, and the Pontifical Seminary of Kandy in Ceylon,[2] where he obtained his doctorate in theology. Ordained to the priesthood on 3 October 1926,[3] Gracias then did pastoral work in Bandra until November 1927, when he entered the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He finished his studies at the Gregorian in 1929 and became private secretary to Archbishop Joachim Lima SJ and diocesan chancellor of Bombay.[2] He served as a preacher and pastor, and as the editor of various newspapers before being named the first Indian rector of Mumbai's Holy Name Cathedral in December 1941.

On 16 May 1946, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay and Titular bishop of Thennesus. Gracias received his episcopal consecration on the following 29 June from Archbishop Thomas Roberts SJ, with Bishops Victor Fernandes and Thomas Pothacamury as co-consecrators. Pope Pius XII promoted him to Archbishop of Bombay on 4 December 1950 to replace Roberts, a 57-year-old Englishman, who made way for the appointment of a native-born Indian.[4] Gracias demonstrated his support of Goan nationalism and an opponent of Portuguese colonial rule by presented an image of the Virgin Mary as an indigenous Indian, at a time when the populace was still accustomed to European representations.[5]

On 29 November 1952 Pope Pius XII announced he would create 24 new cardinals, increasing the size of the College of Cardinals to 70 members, its maximum at the time.[6] When one of those Pius named died on 28 December,[7] the Vatican announced on 29 December that Gracias would be made a cardinal, the first from India.[8] He was made Cardinal-Priest of S. Maria in Via Lata in the consistory of 12 January 1953.[9] Gracias was considered to be a conservative.[10] The Portuguese government denied reports that it was displeased with the honor bestowed upon Gracias.[11]

He was one of the 51 cardinal electors in the 1958 papal conclave and one of the 80 in the conclave of 1963. He attended the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), where he was one of 21 Council participants to present the closing messages of the Council on 8 December 1965.[12] He hosted the first papal visit to India in 1964, when Pope Paul VI attended the International Eucharistic Congress in Bombay,[2] preceded by a symposium of Catholic theologians to which he invited Hans Küng.[13] He later said that Pope Paul VI's Bombay visit inspired his encyclical Populorum progressio (1967).[3] In 1970 he was one of 15 prelates chosen to organize the 1971 Synod of Bishops, and he supported Pope Paul against critics of his approach to church governance and insistence of priestly celibacy.[14] From 1954 to 1972, he was President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India and in 1972 helped overcome Vatican skepticism and win Pope Paul's approval of the formation of the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences.[15]

He fell ill in May 1978[16] and did not participate in the conclave of August 1978. Gracias died from cancer in Bombay 11 September 1978 at age 77.[16] He was buried in Holy Name Cathedral in Mumbai.[citation needed]

He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan award, second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, on 26 January 1966.[17]


  1. ^ "Cardinali motti parte prima".
  2. ^ a b c d Vaz, J. Clement (1997). Profiles of Eminent Goans, Past and Present. pp. 45–7. ISBN 9788170226192.
  3. ^ a b "Interview mit dem Erzbischof von Bombay, Kardinal Valerian Gracias" [Interview with the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Valerian Gracias] (Interview). Österreichischer Mediathek. 11 May 1967. Retrieved 23 June 2018. The interview is conducted in English.
  4. ^ Novak, Michael (2002). The Open Church. Routledge. p. 159. ISBN 9781351478151.
  5. ^ Albuquerque, Teresa (2000). "Liberation and the Goa Ethos". In Borges, Charles J.; Guilherme Pereira, Oscar; Stubbe, Hannes (eds.). Goa and Portugal: History and Development. Concept Publishing Company. p. 224. ISBN 9788170228677. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  6. ^ Cortesi, Arnaldo (30 November 1952). "24 New Cardinals Named by Vatican; American Included" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Msgr. Agostini, 64, Succumbs in Italy" (PDF). New York Times. 28 December 1952. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Prelate in India to be a Cardinal" (PDF). New York Times. 30 December 1952. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  9. ^ "A Cardinal for India". Time. 5 January 1953. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  10. ^ "In Search of a Pope". Time. 21 August 1978. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Lisbon Endorses Gracias" (PDF). New York Times. 22 January 1953. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  12. ^ "Council Closing Messages". Christus Rex. Archived from the original on 31 October 1996. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  13. ^ Küng, Hans (2003). My Struggle for Freedom: Memoirs. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 407. ISBN 9780802826596. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  14. ^ Hofmann, Paul (16 May 1970). "Pope Reproaches Belgian Cardinal". New York Times. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  15. ^ Fox, Thomas C. (23 February 2009). "Beloved 'Asian John XXIII' laid to rest in Korea". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Milestones". Time. 25 September 1978. Archived from the original on 14 October 2010.
  17. ^ "Padma Awards Directory (1954-2013)" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Public Section. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2018.