Anthony Kanagaraj Chinnaiyan. Credit: Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

A native of India has been assigned to serve Catholic churches in Bangor, Brewer, Hampden and Winterport to replace the Rev. Anthony Cipolle, who took a leave of absence in early December.

The Rev. Anthony Kanagaraj Chinnaiyan, who goes by Father Tony, will begin serving as parochial vicar on Jan. 9, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland announced Wednesday. He has been serving churches in Lisbon Falls, Sabattus and Greene since March.

Born in Tamil Nadu, India, he was ordained in 2005 by the Heralds of Good News, a missionary society in India that specializes in promoting the priesthood. His first missionary assignment outside of India was in Quebec, the diocese said in a press release.

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Cipolle was the spiritual adviser to Renee Henneberry Clark, 49, of Hampden, who was killed last summer allegedly by her brother-in-law, 55-year-old Philip Clark of Hampden.

Cipolle, a Massachusetts native who was ordained to the priesthood on Nov. 18, 2017, had instructed Henneberry Clark to keep a journal, the contents of which are now under review by a superior court justice to determine what portions could be admitted as evidence in the case against Philip Clark.

The diocese announced Cipolle’s leave of absence less than a week after Superior Court Justice William Anderson ruled that he would review Henneberry Clark’s journal. Cipolle’s attorney argued that the journal’s contents should be treated as if the priest heard its contents in a confessional, and therefore not be allowed as evidence.

The diocese hasn’t said where Cipolle is staying while he’s on leave.