Head of Orthodox Church passes away

Funeral service of Malankara Metropolitan at 3 p.m. today

Baselios Mar Thomas Poulose II, Catholicos of the East and supreme head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, passed away early Monday after a prolonged illness. He was 74.

According to the Church authorities, the Malankara Metropolitan breathed his last at 2.35 a.m. at a private hospital in Pathanamthitta. The Catholicos, who had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer since December 2019, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in February this year.

Though he recovered from the infection, the post-COVID lung complications worsened his health condition, the hospital authorities said.

The mortal remains of the Metropolitan will be kept for the public to pay homage at the Parumala church till 7 p.m. on Monday, and will be taken to the Church headquarters at Devalokam, Kottayam, late on the day. The funeral service is slated to begin by 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Born on August 30, 1946 as K.I. Paul to Kollannur K.I. Iype and Pulikottil Kunjeetta in Kunnamkulam, the Catholicos pursued his postgraduation from CMS College in Kottayam.

He was ordained as deacon in 1972 and was awarded the episcopal title of Poulose Mar Milithios on May 15, 1985. He was appointed as the Metropolitan of the Kunnamkulam diocese in August 1985 and elected as Catholicos-designate in October 2006. He was enthroned as the Metropolitan on November 1, 2010, as a successor to Baselius Marthoma Didymus I, who relinquished the post at the age of 90.

With this, he became the eighth Catholicos of the East in Malankara and the 91st primate on the Apostolic Throne of St. Thomas.

Selection of successor

Based on a suggestion of the Catholicos, an episcopal synod of the Orthodox Church convened in April had recommended proceedings to select a successor to him.

The Malankara Association, an apex body comprising priests and laity representatives from all parishes under the Orthodox Church, is slated to meet at Parumala on October 14 to ratify the nomination of the next head of the Church.

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