First Adivasi to head Church of North India dies
By Ajit Paul
Ranchi: Bishop Zacharia James Terom, the first Adivasi tribal to head the Church of North India (CNI), died on February 16 due to multiple organ failure. The Protestant prelate would have turned 76 on February 28.
Bishop Terom, retired bishop of CNI’s Chhotanagpur diocese, was admitted to St Barnabas Hospital in Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand state, on January 20.
His funeral is scheduled for February 18 at Ranchi. He is survived by his wife Lucy and daughter Suman.
Bishop Terom was born in a reputed pastor’s family at Hembrom under Sokyo CNI parish. His father Reverend Joel Terom was pastor of the parish.
After completing his theology at Bishop’s College Kolkata, he was ordained priest in 1972. He was ordained Bishop of Chhotanagapur Diocese on May 25, 1986, and served the tribal Church in eastern India for 20 years until his retirement.
He also achieved highest place in the Church when he was elected CNI deputy Moderator in 1998 and moderator three years later. He headed the 1.5 million strong Church for four years until 2005.
He helped set up St. Augustine’s College in Manoharpur and several schools in Ranchi and remote places of Jharkhand.
CNI has 26 dioceses spread throughout northern India. The main administrative and legislative body is the synod, which meets once every three years to elect a presiding bishop, called a moderator, and an executive committee. The moderator acts as the head of the church.