Baselios Marthoma Poulose II, the Supreme Head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC), passed away on Monday morning after a prolonged illness. The 74-year-old breathed his last at 2.35 am at a private hospital in Pathanamthitta.
Enthroned as the Catholicos of the East in 2010, he had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer since December 2019. In February this year, he had also tested positive for COVID-19. Though he recovered from the virus infection, post-COVID-19 lung complications made his condition worse. According to the medical bulletin, his clinical condition had turned extremely critical on Sunday morning.
His mortal remains will be kept for a public exhibition at the Parumala church till 7 pm on Monday. The funeral will be held at the MOSC headquarters at Devalokam, Kottayam, by 5 pm on Tuesday.
The news of his passing has triggered an outpouring of condolence messages online, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many others sharing tweets. "Saddened by the passing away of His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Marthoma Paulos II, the Supreme Head of Indian Orthodox Church. He leaves behind a rich legacy of service and compassion. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the members of the Orthodox Church. RIP," the Prime Minister wrote.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also took to the microblogging platform sharing his deepest condolences. "My thoughts and prayers are with his followers and the members of the Orthodox Church. May his soul rest in peace," he added.
"The demise of the supreme head of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India, Baselios Marthoma Paulose II is an irreplaceable loss to the nation, especially to the State of Kerala. He left an indelible mark on the lives of people with compassion, humility and service," tweeted Union Minister V Muraleedharan.
"My condolences on the passing of the supreme head of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church of India- His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Paulose II. Along with his contributions as religious head, he will be remembered for his humanitarian work for the homeless," tweeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Fellow party MP Shashi Tharoor added that he was saddened by the news. "A man of infinite compassion and grace, he will be widely mourned. RIP," he tweeted.