Thomas Mar Athanasios (80), the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church, Chengannur diocese, passed away on Friday after he accidentally fell from a moving train. The funeral will be held at the Othara Dayara Chapel, near Thiruvalla, at 3 pm on Sunday.
The bishop was returning from Baroda and was set to alight at Ernakulam Junction station when the incident took place. According to reports, as the train was approaching the station, he stood near the door to disembark, when it slammed against him, causing him to slip and fall on the railway track near Pullepady overbridge, between Ernakulam Town and the Ernakulam Junction stations. The accident occurred around 5.30 am on Friday.
Mar Athanasios had planned to take a flight to Kochi, but as the Cochin International Airport was shut due to the floods, he had to travel by train, said a report by The New Indian Express.
The Metropolitan was born on April 3, 1938, in Puthencavu in Chengannur, Alappuzha district, into a family of priests. He was the fifth bishop in his family and became the first Metropolitan of the Diocese of Chengannur on August 1, 1985.
A noted educationist, he was the founder-principal of Basil School, Baroda, and also founded six other schools in Gujarat.
Condoling his death, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described Thomas Mar Athanasios as “the epitome of humility, love and brotherhood.”
In a Facebook post, the CM wrote: “He interacted with people from all walks of life. The bishop gave special attention to everything from charity to educational activities. He contributed significantly not only to the church but also towards social equality.”
Activist Rahul Easwar also took to Twitter to express his condolences. “Pained to know this. Shared a very personal warm relationship with The Respected Christian Spiritual Leader. Spoke some days ago reg Education scenario. God bless his soul,” he wrote.