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Supreme head of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church dies


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Supreme head of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church dies

Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, the primate of the Thiruvalla headquartered Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, passed away early Sunday. He was 89.

The Metropolitan was battling cancer for a while and was admitted to a private hospital at Thiruvalla for a few days. Till recently he was conducting the weekly Sunday mass at the Thiruvalla church, located about 130 km from here.

The last rites would be held at the church headquarters on Monday at 3 p.m.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences of the primate’s demise. “His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan was a remarkable personality who served humanity and worked hard to improve the lives the poor and downtrodden. He was blessed with abundance of empathy and humility. His noble ideals will always be remembered. RIP,” he said in a tweet.

Born near Thiruvalla in 1931, then known as P.T.Joseph, he was ordained as a priest in 1957 and was elevated as a bishop in 1975 and took the name of Joseph Mar Irenaeus.

He was elevated as suffragan metropolitan (Metropolitan designate) on March 15, 1999, when Philiphose Mar Chrysostom, the suffragan metropolitan, was designated as the officiating metropolitan.

And when his superior decided to retire, on October 2 2007, he was made the supreme head of the church and took the title of Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan.

Known as a tough task master, the Metropolitan was a revered personality not just in the church, but in the civil society.

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