Believers Eastern Church supreme head, Athanasius Yohan I, dies in US

Mar Athanasius Yohan
Mar Athanasius Yohan

Pathanamthitta (Kerala) | The Supreme head of the Believers Eastern Church, Athanasius Yohan I, who met with an accident in the United States, has died in a hospital there, Church officials said here on Wednesday.

"He passed away due to sudden cardiac arrest in a hospital in Dallas, Texas, where he had been receiving treatment since his accident," a Church official said. He was 74.

Athanasius Yohan I had sustained some serious injuries, mainly to the head and chest, in the accident that occurred on May 7, the official of the Thiruvalla-based church said.

Born as K P Yohannan in 1950 in the village of Niranam near Thiruvalla, he dedicated his life to serving God after finishing high school.

"In obedience to the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ, he then spent the next eight years of his life proclaiming the gospel and doing charitable works in South Asia," a church document said.

Receiving theological training in the US in the 1970s, Yohannan founded a missionary organisation, which eventually became one of the largest missionary and church-planting movements in many Asian nations.

On February 6, 2003, he was consecrated and elevated as the Metropolitan of the Believers Eastern Church.

In accordance with the Orthodox Christian tradition, he took the name Athanasius Yohan in honor of his beloved patron saints, St Athanasius, the defender of orthodoxy, and St John (Yohan) the Apostle and Evangelist.

Under his leadership, the church has grown over the last two decades, with more than 12,000 parishes established in Asia and Africa.

He is also the founding patron of the St Ignatius Theological Seminary, the Believers Church Residential School, and the Believers Church Medical College & Hospital in Thiruvalla.

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