As many as nine priests from various churches in Kerala have died during the second Covid wave over the past ten days after leading religious services in the state, reports New Indian Express.
According to the reports, six of the priest who died due to Covid-19 belonged to the Syro Malabar Church, and three are from the CSI church. The Christian priests, who have led religious services despite the deadly pandemic, have now got exposed to the Covid-19.
Nearly 15 Christian priests have died during the second Covid wave across the country since last month. Senior Bishop Archbishop Emeritus Antony Anandarayar, former archbishop of Puducherry-Cuddalore, also succumbed to Covid on Tuesday.
Reportedly, more than 100 priests from various Christian denominations have tested positive for the Chinese pandemic and are under treatment or in quarantine in the state after turning positive. Some of them are in critical condition, adding tense situation across various congregations.
Fr Bovas Mathews of the Syro Malankara Church said seven of the priests who lost their lives recently were from the Thrissur archdiocese under the Syro Malabar Church.
“Priests of various churches in the country are vulnerable to Covid infection because of the nature of their work and services towards society. They had to travel a lot even during the pandemic. For instance, a priest named Rajan Philip of the Orthodox Church died of Covid after he had to attend a service at a home. He had gone there for a prayer to help a Covid patient recover. That patient became negative but the priest tested positive. He succumbed to the infection 40 days ago. If we examine each and every diocese or Church, the number of deaths and infections may be higher,” he said.
According to a report by ‘Matters India’, an online news reporting on Catholic Church, nearly 14 priests have fell victims to the coronavirus between April 20 and 23. Since Mach, more than 20 priests have lost their lives to Covid.
Cardinal Baselios Cleemis, the Major Archbishop of the Syro Malankara Church and a former president of KCBC, said that the church has given clear directions to the priests to follow the Covid protocol strictly when they go out to participate in religious services and programmes.
“A lot of valuable lives have been lost. Some priests, too, have lost their lives. As leaders of communities, the priests have the onus to set a model by practising social distancing, wearing masks, and keeping hygiene to show that all can stay safe and healthy to achieve normalcy soon. Value your life and care for others’ lives,” the Cardinal said.
Over 400 Kerala priests booked for violating Covid norms
More than 450 Kerala priests have been booked for violating Covid norms in the Munnar district of Kerala after attending a retreat in the city last month. The Christian priests of the Church of South India (CSI) had gathered at Munnar that had resulted in the transmission of the virus among them. More than 100 priests, who attended the event, had tested positive for Chinese coronavirus and at least two of them had died.
The gathering took place in Munnar of Idukki between April 13 and 17. It was alleged that the annual retreat of the church was conducted in violation of Covid-19 protocols. According to the reports police, a case has been registered after a preliminary inquiry.