Former head of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church and the longest-serving bishop in India, Dr Philipose Mar Chrysostom died due to age-related ailments on Wednesday, a church spokesman said. He was 104. Mar Chrysostom was discharged from a hospital in Thiruvalla on Tuesday. He breathed his last at a private hospital in Kumbanad around 1.15 am, the spokesman said.
An outstanding religious dignitary with a genuine humanitarian outlook and global vision, Mar Chrysostom was awarded Padma Bhushan by President Ram Nath Kovind in 2018. He is credited with implementing and formulating many projects to improve the social, economic and cultural condition of the poor and deprived. Born on April 27, 1917 in Karthikappally, he had inherited the missionary zeal from his father.
After obtaining graduation from Union Christian (UC) College, Aluva, he was attracted to missionary work and was ordained as Deacon of the Church in 1944. Nine years later, in 1953, he was consecrated as Bishop.
Mar Chrysostom became the Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church in 1999. He was a bishop for 68 years. Known for his pleasant attitude, the bishop was unparalleled with his touching style of speech full of humorous statements. Many books and documentaries have been published containing his humorous speeches and talks.
Condoling his death Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that Mar Chrysostom had always embraced progressive attitude. "He showed that priesthood can be used effectively for the betterment of people," Pinarayi Vijayan said.
He also added Mar Chrysostom was able to raise religious thoughts to humanitarian levels. "Chrysostom Thirumeni (bishop) is a great priest who sacrificed his life to wipe the tears of orphans and bring them relief. We have lost someone who was different in everything by seeing life softly, mixing the sweetness of laughter and always cheering people," Pinarayi added.