One of Asia’s most eminent ecclesiastical and ecumenical leaders, Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, a former president of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), passed away at 2:38 AM on 18 October 2020 at Tiruvalla, Kerala, in India, at the age of 89.
In a condolence message addressed to the Suffragan Metropolitan Dr Geevarghese Mar Theodosius, Dr Mathews George Chunakara, the General Secretary of the CCA, has expressed deep sorrow over the passing away of Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, the Supreme spiritual head of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church and the 21st Malankara Mar Thoma Metropolitan.
“It is with profound gratitude that the CCA acknowledges and recognises Dr Joseph Mar Thoma’s valuable contributions to the Asian and global ecumenical movement in manifold ways. As a President of the Christian Conference of Asia from 2000 to 2005, and as a member of different committees of CCA at various times, Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan endeared himself to many ecclesiastical and ecumenical leaders across Asia who had the privilege of working closely with him. Throughout the many years of his close association and involvement in the Asian and global ecumenical movement, he demonstrated his leadership in various international ecumenical events, and those have been deeply appreciated and valued by the ecclesial and ecumenical communities,” recollected Dr Chunakara.
The CCA General Secretary further stated that many ecclesiastical and ecumenical leaders across Asia had the privilege of working closely with Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan throughout the many years of his close association and involvement in the Asian and global ecumenical movement.
Dr Chunakara went on to say that many recall Joseph Mar Thoma’s simple lifestyle, caring love and affection for all, his genuine concern for the poor and the downtrodden, as well as his kind and encouraging words in all circumstances.
“The churches across Asia and the Asian ecumenical movement are indebted to him for the valuable contributions this great ecumenist has made over the years and the significant leadership he has demonstrated in the course of his many years of service,” he added.
Dr Joseph Mar Thoma participated in several CCA Assemblies and other major ecumenical events.
“We thank God for the life and witness of Dr Joseph Mar Thoma, and we offer our heartfelt condolences to all members of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church. May his memory remain eternal in our Lord’s mind, and in the heart of all who knew and loved him,” Dr Mathews George Chunakara concluded.
Born on 27 June 1931 as P.T. Joseph, Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan’s childhood was shaped in the context of a noble tradition. He was ordained a priest in 1957, a bishop in 1975, and as Mar Thoma Metropolitan in 2007, thus becoming the 21st Malankara Mar Thoma Metropolitan to occupy the Holy Apostolic Throne of St Thomas after the re-establishment of the episcopacy in the 17th century.
He is the fifth Malankara Mar Thoma Metropolitan from a distinguished Christian family in Kerala, the southernmost Indian state, with one of the most ancient communities of Christians.
Read full text of the CCA general secretary’s condolence message can be found below: