Dr Philipose Mar Chrysostom, the senior-most metropolitan of the Thiruvalla headquartered Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, passed away at a private hospital, near here early Wednesday, said Church officials.

He was 104 years old and was suffering from old age problems.

The country honoured the 1918 born with a Padma Bhushan in 2018.

Last week after he was not keeping well a Covid Antigen test done turned out positive, but a RT-PCR was was negative.

He was ordained as a priest in 1944 and became a bishop in 1953 and went on to head the Church as it’s Metropolitan in 1999 before voluntarily stepping down in 2007

Though officially retired, the bishop used to take part in Church services and for his convenience he moved around in a wheel chair and was always dressed in his officially attire.

Known for his wit, he was a sought after person for functions of various churches, clubs and other organizations.

Condolences have started pouring in. Three time former Chief Minister and also former Defence Minister A.K. Antony said: “He was not just the head of a particular Church, but he was one who was liked by all cutting across religions. At times when issues surfaced in the state, he came to the front to restore peace and communal harmony. When I was recently convalescing at a hospital in Delhi for a while, he came in a wheel chair to see me and comforted me,” said Antony.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the passing away of the beloved Metropolitan is going to be a loss for all, as he portrayed humanity, and was the strength of the weak and downtrodden.

“He was known for his progressive thoughts and actions. And to live beyond 100 years in itself is considered to be very lucky and he not only lived beyond 100, but used his life for the well being of others,” said Vijayan.

The last rites of the Metropolitan will be held at the Church headquarters on Thursday.

–IANS

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