Cardinal D. Simon Lourdusamy, Prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Oriental Churches, was born on February 5, 1924 in Kalleri, Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore (India). He was ordained a priest on December 21, 1951. Having acquired a profound scientific formation at the Loyola College of Madras, he then earned a doctorate in canon law at the Pontifical Urban University of Rome in 1956.
Following ordination, he carried out a variety of services which provided for a rich and multiple experience in his ministry. He was diocesan chancellor and secretary to the Archbishop of Pondicherry; editor of the weekly catholic magazine Sava Viaby; director of the Catholic Doctors’ Guild, the Catholic Medical Students’ Guild, the Newman Associations, the catholic university students union and of other ecclesiastical organizations.
On July 2, 1962 he was nominated titular Bishop of Sozusa in Libya and Auxiliary Bishop of Bangalore, He received episcopal ordination on August 22, 1962. On November 9, 1964 he was named titular Archbishop of Filippi and due to the health of the Archbishop Thomas Pothacamury, he was also named Coadjutor Archbishop of Bangalore.
He was president of the National Liturgical Commission for India and was creator of the National Liturgical and Catechetical Centre of Bangalore. He was also a member of the Bishops’ Catechetics Commission, delegate to the first ordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 1967, representative of the Bishops of India at the Pan-Asiatic Catechetical-Liturgical Conference of Manila (1967) of which he was also vice-president and president of the liturgy section. Prior to the International Eucharistic Congress of Bogota he was also invited to participate as a member of the catechetic study week in Medellín, Colombia.
On January 11, 1968, he became Archbishop of Bangalore. He was then called to Rome on March 2, 1971 as adjunct secretary of the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples. On February 24, 1973 he became Secretary of the same dicastery and also president of the Pontifical Missionary Works and the Vice-Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Urban University.
Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches from 1985 until 1991 (resigned due to health).
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of May 15, 1985. of the title of St. Mary of Grace alle Fornaci fuori Porta Cavalleggeri (deaconry raised pro hac vice to presbyteral title on January 29, 1996).