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Monday, 28 December 2015

NCCI thanks God for the life and witness of Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus

Rt. Rev. Dr. Zacharias Mar Theophilus, Suffragan Metropolitan of the Kerala-based Mar Thoma Syrian Church, passed away on 27th December 2015 after suffering a brain haemorrhage.

Born on August 29, 1938, as Oommen Koruthu, he was ordained as deacon on May 7, 1966; as a priest on July 9 that year, and consecrated as Bishop in May 1980. He was installed as Suffragan Metropolitan on July 3, 2004.

As Bishop, his contribution to the strengthening of the Mission work in all the dioceses and also responding to the spiritual and social needs of each region is evident in the various Projects and Missions started in different Dioceses. Some of the important projects are Asha Bhavan – Pathanapuram, Mochana De-addiction Centre – Kottayam, Thrikkunapuzha Mission, Haripad Centre, Pathanamthitta - Working Women’s Hostel, Santhigiri Ashram – Alwaye, Sinai Centre – New York, Karuthal – Cancer Care and Counselling Centre, Higher Education Loan Project, Navadharshan De-addiction Centre – Kidangannur, Mar Thoma Mission School and Mission Hostel Narasapuram, Ministry for Widow, Widowers and Aged, Sadhu Sadanam – Venmony, Bodhana Project, Bodhadhara Project, VISA-Vivaha Sahayam Project, and Dalit Development Project. His excellent leadership was seen in the success of the Metropolitan’s Navathy Project that collected more than Rs. 16 Crores and provided more than 2050 houses for the homeless in India. It has been recognized as one of the most unique contributions of the Christian Community in India.

Before being installed as Suffragan Metropolitan, he had served as president of the Mar Thoma Yuvajana Sakhyam, Mar Thoma Sunday School Samajam, Mar Thoma Voluntary Evangelistic Association, Mar Thoma Suvishesha Sevika Sanghom, Mar Thoma Dayara and Sanyasini Samooham, Vaideeka Selection Committee and the Backward People’s Development Committee.

While serving as the Suffragan Metropolitan of the Church, he also held the post of President of the Mar Thoma Evangelistic Association, Theological Commission of the Mar Thoma Church and Planning Commission of the Church. He had also served as president of the National Missionary Society of India, Bible Society of India, Ecumenical Christian Centre (ECC) and the Theological Literature Society of Kerala. In addition to these, he served as secretary of the Nilackal Ecumenical Trust of all Episcopal Churches in Kerala; executive committee member of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and executive/central committee Member of the World Council of Churches (WCC). 

NCCI thanks God for his exemplary life, witness, leadership and contribution to the Church and the Ecumenical movement. May his work continue to inspire in us great commitment and passion for God's Glory and service.