It is with great sadness that the World Council of Churches (WCC) and its global fellowship received the news of the passing away of His Grace The Most Rev. Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, the Supreme Spiritual Head of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, on 18 October.
"His Grace the Most Rev. Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan was an exemplary church leader, who cared for and contributed to the ecumenical movement and mission of the church from the local, regional and international contexts,” said Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, WCC interim general secretary.
Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan participated as a special invitee to the WCC assemblies held in Canberra in Australia (1991), Harare in Zimbabwe (1998), Porto Alegre in Brazil (2006), and Busan in South Korea (2013). In a regional context, he was part of the leadership of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) over the last 30 years. At the national level, he guided the National Council of Churches in India, the Church's Auxiliary for Social Action and the Kerala Council of Churches and led these organisations as their president during various periods.
“We are in solidarity in prayer and fellowship, with the members of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church in this period of bereavement. Let us celebrate the life of His Grace The Most Rev. Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan and pray that God may grant him eternal rest in His Kingdom,” added Sauca.
The Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, a founding member of WCC since 1948, has provided guidance and leadership to the ecumenical movement, both nationally and internationally.
Dr Mathews George Chunakara, general secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia, expressed profound gratitude for Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan’s valuable contributions to the Asian and global ecumenical movement in manifold ways. "As a president of the Christian Conference of Asia from 2000 to 2005, and as a member of different committees of CCA at various times, Dr Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan endeared himself to many ecclesiastical and ecumenical leaders across Asia who had the privilege of working closely with him,” said Chunakara.