World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Resources / Documents / WCC general secretary / Tributes / Baselios Marthoma Mathews II

Baselios Marthoma Mathews II

Letter of condolence from WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia to the Catholicos of the East and Metropolitan of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church on the death of H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews II, the church's former catholicos

31 January 2006

Letter of condolence from WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia to the Catholicos of the East and Metropolitan of the
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
on the death of
H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews II
the church's former catholicos

Your Holiness,

It is with great sorrow that we received the news of the sad demise of His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews II, former Catholicos of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, yesterday afternoon. On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I would like to express our deep sorrow and extend our condolences.

H.H. Baselios Marthoma Mathews II, who was ordained as a Bishop in 1953, was one of the oldest serving ecclesiastical leaders in the world. He made a mark as a devoted and deeply spiritual person. Noted for his spiritual leadership and loving nature, he endeared himself to everyone with whom he came into contact; great was their respect and admiration for him. I had the opportunity to meet His Holiness and enjoy his hospitality during my visit to the headquarters of the Malankara Orthodox Church at Kottayam when a WCC delegation visited India in 1995. In fact, several of my colleagues remember the visit of H.H Baselios Marthoma to the WCC headquarters in 1989 along with the visiting Nilackal Ecumenical delegation.

During the past fifty-three years of shepherding the church as a priest, Metropolitan and Catholicos, he epitomised the 'good shepherd'. Despite the many bitter conflicts in church and society, His Holiness never lost sight of the difficulties facing the people of his church and reminded them how indispensable it is to live in harmony. He often pointed out that the human family is a community brought together by the Grace of God to love each other - God's grace surpasses all human weakness and the love of God embraces and upholds all human beings in their weakness. Let this message continue to guide our thoughts and minds.

He will always be remembered as one of the great Prelates of our ecumenical family.

May his memory be eternal.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General secretary