Hundreds of people, including women and children, assembled at the St Paul’s and St Peter’s Church at Parumala, Bethany Bishop’s House at Thiruvalla and at St Mary’s Church at Niranom on Friday to pay thier last respects to Dr Geevarghese Mar Osthathios, senior Metropolitan of Malankara Orthodox Church who passed away at a private hospital at Parumala on Thursday.
People from all walks of life flocked to the Parumala Church on the banks of river Pampa, following the announcement of the demise of the 94-year old bishop on Thursday evening itself.
The body was taken from the St Gregorios Mission Hospital to the nearby St Paul’s and St Peter’s Church at Parumala late on Thursday night.
On Friday, after the special mass, the mortal remains of Mar Osthathios were kept in the middle of the church hall for the faithful to pay their last respects.
Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, accompanied by former MLA, Joseph M. Puthusserry and Mannar Abdul Latheef, KPCC(I) secretary, paid homage to the departed bishop on Thursday evening.
K.M. Mani, Finance Minister; K.C. Joseph, Cultural Affairs Minister; Prof P.J. Kurien, Congress(I) chief whip in Rajya Sabha; Mathew T. Thomas, Raju Abraham, Chittayam Gopakumar, MLAs; were among those who have offered tribute to the departed bishop at Parumala Church on Friday.
The first four parts of the funeral service were held at the Parumala Church on Friday and the mortal remains of the bishop were taken out in a funeral procession (Nagari-kaanickal) to Thiruvalla, later, in the afternoon.
The procession reached Bethany Bishop’s House in Thiruvalla, around 5.30 pm and the fifth part of the funeral service was held there.
P.C. George, Government chief whip; T.M. Thomas Issac, Mullakkara Ratnakaran, MLAs; Jacob Punnose, Director General of Police; Kuriakose Mar Geevarghese, Knanaya Bishop; Varghese Mammen, Mar Thoma Chruch lay trustee; K. Ananthagopan, CPI(M) district secretary; P. Prasad, CPI district secretary; P.Mohanraj, DCC(I) president; Saleem P. Chacko, Revolutionary Youth Front State secretary and Pannyan Raveendran, CPI leader were among those who paid last respects to Mar Osthathios in Thiruvalla.
The Mar Thoma Church paid tributes to the bishop when the funeral procession reached SC S Junction in Thiruvalla.
In a statement issued from Rome, Mr Anto Antony, MP, mourned the sad demise of Mar Osthathios.
The funeral procession proceeded to the St Mary’s Church founded by St Thomas the Apostle at Niranom, later, in the evening and from the to Parumala Church, late in the night.
The funeral procession will set off from Parumala to the home parish of the departed bishop, St John’s Church at Pathichira near Mavelikkara on Satruday forenoon.
According to Rev. M.D. Youhanon Ramban, Parumala Seminary manager, the eighth part of the funeral service will be held at the Pathichira Church on Saturday afternoon.
The last leg of the funeral procession will be held to the St Paul’s Mission Training Centre chapel near Mavelikkara will begin from Pathichira St John’s Church at 2.30 pm. The closing funeral service will be held at the chapel, later. Catholios of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, Moran Mor Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose-II and Moran Mor Baselius Mar Thoma Didymus-I, former Catholicos, will jointly lead the closing service. All bishops of the Malankara Orthodox Church will be the co-celebrants, said M.D.Youhanon Ramban.
The burial will be held in a specially prepared crypt at the St Paul’s Mission Centre Chapel.