Missing Kerala Priest found Dead on Beach in Edinburgh-Scotland
A priest hailing from Kerala, who went missing from a church in Edinburgh last week has been found dead on a beach in East Lothian. 33-year-old Fr Martin Xavier Vazhachira, a Ph.D. scholar was last seen at St John The Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Corstorphine, at about 13:00 on Tuesday. Police and the Catholic Church said his body was found on the beach at Dunbar on Friday afternoon. The cause of death has yet to be established. The Bishop of Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Leo Cushley, said: “The news of Father Martin Xavier’s death comes as a great shock and a great sadness to all those who knew him and loved him. Our thoughts and, more importantly, our prayers are with him and with all his loved ones in both Scotland and India. May he rest in peace.”
Father Vazhachira was a native of Kerala in southern India and was ordained a priest in 2013. He arrived in Scotland in 2016 in order to undertake post-graduate studies at Edinburgh University. He also served in local Catholic parishes, initially in Falkirk before being appointed to Corstorphine in October 2016. The alarm was raised by parishioners after he failed to turn up for Holy Mass on Wednesday morning. His family in Kerala have been informed of his death and a post-mortem examination will be carried out to establish the cause.
Fr Vazhachira served at St John the Baptist Church, Corstorphine in Edinburgh. While the cause of death is yet to be ascertained, the body has been sent for forensic tests. The leader of the Opposition in Kerala assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, has written to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj seeking help in bringing back the body. Authorities at the diocese claimed that he was available in person and on calls till 1 PM on Tuesday after which he went missing. His purse, passport and other personal belongings were found in his room. But the door of the room was lying open.
Fr Vazhachira, who was the assistant vicar at the Chethipuzha church under Changanassery diocese, arrived in Edinburgh eight months ago for higher studies. The Edinburgh diocese is said to have used his services owing to a shortage of priests. Fr. Vazhachira was staying and working at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Corstorphine near Falkirk under the Edinburgh diocese.