Prof. George Koshy, a well-known lay church and ecumenical leader in India and former General Secretary of the Church of South India (CSI), passed away on 15 January 2022 after a brief illness and hospitalisation in his native town of Kottayam, in southern India. He was 90 years old.
Prof. Koshy was elected General Secretary of the CSI Synod for four consecutive terms from 1990-1998. A renowned professor of English, he joined the CMS College in Kottayam in 1956 as a teacher of English Language and Literature, and earned the reputation of being the institute’s all-time favourite faculty member.
Prof. Koshy became professor and head of the department, as well as the Vice Principal of CMS College. He took early retirement from his full-time professorship and became actively involved in the CSI Synod leadership and the global ecumenical movement, starting from 1990.
While expressing condolences on the demise of one of the most senior ecclesial and ecumenical lay leaders in India, the CCA General Secretary Dr Mathews George Chunakara stated that Prof. George Koshy was India’s lay church leader who devoted a substantial part of his life to the church and the ecumenical movement at the local and international levels starting from a very young age.
“An illustrious teacher, who has been a guiding light for generations of students he taught, committed his entire life not only to the academic field but also to the ecclesial and ecumenical arena. He will be remembered as a role model for combining his expertise in serving the secular academic professions as well as faithfully serving the local and worldwide church alike as a lay member,” said Dr Mathews George Chunakara.
Apart from being a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) from 1991 to 1998, Prof. Koshy served as the Vice-Chairman of the International Council of Anglican Churches, Executive Committee Member of the Council for World Mission London, World Methodist Council, Evangelical Mission in South-West Germany, and National Council of Churches in India. He had also become the Regional Director of Y’s Men International, South West India Region. He was a delegate of the CSI to the 10th General Assembly of the CCA held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1995.
His wife, Dr Molly Koshy, passed away a few years ago; he is survived by three daughters—Jeena, Neena, and Teena. Prof. Ninan Koshy, former Director of the WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, was his younger brother.