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Metropolitan Joseph Mar Thoma, 89, dies

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The prince of the Syrian church Malankara Marthoma was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer at a private hospital in Thiruvalla and his condition has deteriorated significantly over the past week.

Joseph Mar Thoma, the 21st Metropolitan of Mar Thoma and the current primate of the Syrian Church of Malankara Marthoma, died here early Sunday. He was 89 years old.

The metropolitan was undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer at a private hospital in Thiruvalla and his condition has deteriorated significantly over the past week. He passed away at around 2.40am on Sunday. Metropolitan Suffragan Geevarghese Mar Theodosius and secretary of Sabha Rev. KG Joseph were present at the hospital.

He was installed as Mar Thoma Metropolitan on October 2, 2007 after the 20th Mar Thoma, Philipose Mar Chrysostom, had expressed his desire to transfer church responsibilities to his successor due to old age and deteriorating health.

Born as PT Joseph in Alakunnathu T. Lukose and the Mariamma couple in Maramon, Pathanamthitta, he was ordained deacon of Mar Thoma Church in June 1957, and priest the same year. Following master’s degrees in Master of Deity and Master of Sacred Theology from England, the metropolitan was later awarded an honorary doctorate of Deity from the Protestant Episcopal Seminary in Virginia, USA.

He was ordained as Ramban in January 1975 and was ordained and given the episcopal title of Joseph Mar Irenaeus a month later. He was appointed suffragette metropolitan on March 15, 1999, when Philipose Mar Chrysostom, the suffragette metropolitan, was appointed service metropolitan.

The Prime Minister conveys condolences

Prime Minister Narendra Modi went on Twitter to convey condolences and shared a video clip of his comments at the 90th metropolitan birthday celebrations.

His Grace, Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan was a prominent personality who served humanity and worked hard to improve the lives of the poor and oppressed. He was blessed with an abundance of empathy and humility. His noble ideals will always be remembered. RIP, wrote the Prime Minister.

The mortal remains of the metropolis will be kept for public viewing in the Auditorium Dr. Alexander Mar Thoma Smaraka in Thiruvalla from 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

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