Ecumenical movement mourns death of Zacharias Mar Theophilus
28 December 2015
The ecumenical movement is mourning the passing on 27 December in Thiruvananthapuram, India of His Eminence the Rt Rev. Dr Zacharias Mar Theophilus, Suffragan Metropolitan of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC),paid tribute to him for his immense contributions to the Church and the Ecumenical Movement in various capacities.
“His longstanding association with the ecumenical movement is a wonderful example of a strong and steadfast commitment to all it stands for,” said Tveit.
Born in 1938, Dr Zacharias schooled in Niranam, India, graduating from the Union Christian College.
Consecrated a bishop of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church in India in 1980, Zacharias served as Diocesan Bishop in different dioceses the country.
He also served as Bishop of the North America-Europe Diocese of the Mar Thoma Church and was based in New York, USA from 1993 to 2003.
“His episcopal ministry was marked by a remarkable commitment and an ability to respond to the spiritual and social needs of those he served in the dioceses that he ministered,” said Tveit.
His Eminence attended the WCC assemblies in Canberra, Harare, Porto Allegre and Busan and he served as a member of the Central and Executive Committees of the WCC for two terms; from 1991-1998 and 1999 to 2006.
Along with this he was a member of the Special Commission on Orthodox Participation in the WCC, was on the WCC Asia Regional Group (1999-2006) and the WCC-CCA (Christian Conference of Asia) Joint Working Group. He represented the WCC in various ecumenical and pastoral solidarity visits as part of the Decade to Overcome Violence (2001-2010).