Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Elderly village Bishop severely beaten in Kerala, India

An elderly village bishop of the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Church was severely beaten and hospitalized as the result of his injuries on August 29 at Kanjiramattam in Ernakulam district of Kerala state, India.(left)

(right)Bishop Mathews Cor-episcopa in happier times.

Monday 10 september 2007

Mathews Pulimoottil Cor-episcopa, aged 81, the village bishop and the vicar of the Kajniramattom St. Ignatius Orthodox Syrian Christian Church was severely beaten on Wednesday on the public road near his house while on his way home from the church after the funeral of a member of his parish.

The accused, known as Baby of Kaniyamparmbil, apparently slapped the bishop on his face several times until he fell on the road. The accused also thrashed the bishop on his chest and hands and kicked him repeatedly.

The accused fled the scene when those who were nearby came to the bishop’s aid.

The bishop was severely injured during the attack and was admitted to the Kolenchery Medical College. He is still at the hospital and continuing to receive medical treatment.

« Mathews Cor-episcopa has yet to recover fully. There are still some internal injuries to his body. So he suffers body aches, and he also finds it very difficult to even pick up a pen, because one of his hands was thrashed, » Doctor Vinod told Salem Voice Ministries (SVM) News Service.

After hearing this news, the bishop’s wife Kunjamma Mathew, 77, became seriously ill and was admitted at Chottanikkara Tata hospital.

Sudheesh Kumar, the Deputy Superintendant of Police in Muvattupuzha, Kuriakose, Circle Inspector of Piravam and Yunus Kunju, Sub Inspector of Mulanthuruthy are investigating the case. SVM News Service say police arrested the accused, but he was released on bail due to political pressure.

Bishop Mathews Cor-episcopa is the vicar of St. Ignatius Orthodox Syrian Church has more than 1,500 members in the parish. He is also the vicar of Elamkulam Mar Gregorios Orthodox Church in Kochi, where more than 2,000 members are parishoners.

In his 55 years in the priesthood, Mathews Cor-episcopa has served about 40 parishes as vicar in Kochy, Kottayam, Niranam, Malabar and Knanaya Dioceses of the Indian Orthodox Church. All the church congregations have more than 1,500 parishoners.

His Holiness Baselios Marhoma Didymos I, the Catholicos of the East and the Supreme Head of the Indian Orthodox Church along with Paulose Mar Militheos, the Catholicos Designate and other bishops visited Mathews at the hospital. The attack has been condemned by local clergy.

« Persecution towards Christians and minorities are continuing with the support of government and police authorities. Mathews Cor-episcopa is one of its last victims, » Catholicose of the East said.

Paul Ciniraj, president of the Christian Ministers of the Churches of India (CMCI) and the director of Salem Voice Ministries also visited him in the hospital and condemned the attack.


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