Catholic priest in Kerala found dead in well on church premises

South India

A 55-year old Catholic priest in Kerala was on Monday, June 22, found dead in a well on the premises of his church at Punnathura near Ayarkkunnam in Kottayam district.

Fr George Ettuparayil, serving as vicar of St Thomas Church, was found missing from the presbytery from Sunday. The body was found in the morning during an investigation launched by the police on the basis of a missing complaint filed by the parishioners on Sunday night.

According to police, the priest belonging to the Changanassery archdiocese of the Syro Malabar Church, had been staying in a presbytery adjacent to the church. According to news agency PTI, the police have recovered the CCTV visuals of the priest walking around the church premises till 10.50 am on Sunday.

But no activities of the priest were found beyond 10.50 am in the CCTV as the camera was switched off, police said.

As per reports, the priest was scheduled to meet the bishop on Sunday in connection with a transfer from the parish. News Minute reported that the priest never met the Bishop.

Quoting parish members, News Minute said that the priest was highly disturbed over the takeover of a century-old idol of crucified Christ from the church by the authorities. Since then, the parishioner had not been cooperating with the activities of the church, leaving the priest struggling to manage the finances of the parish.

According to media reports, this was the reason that Father George had applied for a transfer. However, church authorities told the media that there were no issues over the idol. They said that the priest had been ‘disturbed’ ever since a fire broke out at the church in March this year.

In the fire, four people were severely injured and several documents destroyed. The authorities said that the priest was depressed over the incident.

Earlier, Fr George had served as a priest in San Francisco, under Syro Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago.

Earlier, in the first week of May, a 21-year-old nun was found dead in a well located near her convent in Thiruvalla of Pathanamthitta district.

Image Credit: News At First

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