WCC mourns the death of Indian ecumenical leader Mathai Zachariah
The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed “great sadness” over the death of Dr Mathai Zachariah, remembering him as a “visionary”, recognising his contributions to the ecumenical movement.
Zachariah, former general secretary of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), passed away on December 18.
“Dr Mathai Zachariah, who devoted his entire life to building up the Indian and Asian ecumenical movement, envisioned a wider ecumenism based on his deep Christ-centredness,” Tveit said in his message to the churches in India.
“His vision and passion for a broader mission of the church of Christ was rooted in deep spirituality, nurtured by social and ethical values, which influenced many young people in India,” he added.
Zachariah was deeply involved with the ecumenical movement, holding different positions within the Christian Conference of Asia and the WCC. He also participated in the WCC assemblies in Uppsala, Nairobi and Vancouver.
As a young person, Zachariah was associated with the Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI), later to become its full-time regional secretary. He also served as a youth and study secretary at the NCCI. He was also a co-founder of the India Peace Centre in Nagapur in the 1980s, which works to achieve inter-religious harmony.
Tveit recalled Zachariah’s engagement in the ecumenical movement in India and Asia, which he said was instrumental especially in inter-religious relations and peace-building among the communities.
“As we mourn his passing away, the WCC recognises his invaluable contributions to the ecumenical movement,” Tveit concluded.