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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Prof. Dr. Ninan Koshy passes away

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) is grieved to hear about the sudden death of globally celebrated ecumenical leader Prof. Dr. Ninan Koshy on 4th March 2015.  

Prof. Dr. Ninan Koshy will be remembered as a noted political thinker, foreign affairs expert, theologian and social analyst. He started his ministry as President of the Youth movement of the Church of South India (CSI) Madhya Kerala Diocese, later going on to be Professor of English at the CMS College, Kottayam.  He was also the founder Vice-Principal and Head of the Department of English at Bishop Moore College, Mavelikara, and member of the Syndicate University of Kerala.  Later on he taught in Changanassery S.B. College, and Thiruvalla Marthoma College too.

NCCI acknowledges his leadership in global ecumenical circles as well as through its constituent members.  He served as General Secretary of the Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI) and also Director of the Ecumenical Christian Centre (ECC) in Bangalore. He moved to the World Council of Churches (WCC) eventually becoming the director of the Churches Commission on International Affairs (CCIA).  His work in the area of critical international affairs included ecumenical diplomacy, drafting public statements on behalf of WCC, policy making on public issues, and various other interventions that earned him the trust and acclaim of various countries and global organisations.  He was a political analyst par excellence.  

Prof. Dr. Koshy was associated with the Programmes of NCCI.  He presented a paper at NCCI’s Centenary Programme in Kerala on 27th September 2014.  His paper entitled “Ecumenism and Nationalism: New Challenges” covers Christian participation in nation building, threats to secular democracy and guidelines for a Christian response to the current socio-political situation.  He concluded with these words: We are living in momentous times.  Religion-based, ultra-nationalism in many parts of the world, militates against democracy and rights of the minorities.  It is necessary to rethink our mission in the new context in India and revise our theology of Church and State. 

He was actively involved in politics of his home state Kerala as given evidence by his candidature in the Left Democratic Front (LDF) of the Lok Sabha election in 1999.  He is the author of War and Terror, Reordering the World, Sabayum Rshtravum, Iraq: Continuing Occupation with a New Codename, NATO's Legitimacy Crisis, among others.  He has written extensively in English and Malayalam.  Caste in Kerala Church, a book he wrote in the 1960s, was recently revised and republished.  His book, A History of the Ecumenical Movement in Asia is also very popular.

We thank God for his life and contributions to the society in India and at large, and express gratitude for the wealth of ecumenical expertise and excellence he brought to communities in the world. His vision inspires continuing work for global impact.  We offer our heartfelt condolence to the family and pray for God’s peace and comfort at this great loss.

NCCI Communications