The supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India, Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, passed away in the early hours of Monday. He was 74. He was popularly known as Catholica Bava. He died around 2.35 am at a private hospital in Parumala in Kerala‚Äôs Pathanamthitta district while undergoing treatment for post-COVID-19 complications. The senior priest, who had been suffering from lung cancer since December 2019, had recovered from the COVID-19 infection in February this year.
Baselios Marthoma Paulose II was the eighth Catholicos of the East in Malankara and 91st primate on the Apostolic Throne of St Thomas. He was enthroned as the Catholicos of the East & Malankara Metropolitan in November 2010. He was a philanthropist and known for his secular ideologies. Condolences have been pouring in from social and political leaders of the state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan remembered him as a humble man who lived among the common people. "He was there for people who were struggling. He played a major role in bringing women to leadership roles in the church. His campaigns against drug usage were also notable. He stood to bring peace in the church and society. He always stood for the interests of the church," Chief minister said in his condolence message, adding that Bava lived a life equal to that of a saint and his demise is a huge loss to society.
Many other social leaders also expressed their condolences at the death of Catholica Bava. "His demise will be a huge loss to spirituality and society in Kerala. He was under treatment in Parumala hospital. I had visited him many times. When the church was in crisis he stood on his ideologies and had played a major role in keeping the church united. Apart from spirituality he had a major role in social activities too. After the 2018 floods, a project 'Bhavanam' to build houses for the poor was implemented with his help," Saji Cheriyan, Kerala Fisheries Minister, said in his condolence message.
Former Union Defence Minister and veteran Congress leader AK Antony recalled that even though the senior priest was troubled due to health issues during the pandemic, he never stopped his charity services. "I am deeply saddened. What made him special is that, along with spirituality, he gave more importance to charity. This was part of his life. He equally treated the poor and the wealthy. The cancer hospital in Parumala was an example of the concern he showed to people who were sick," AK Antony told the media.