Missing Indian priest found dead in Scotland
By Matters India reporter
New Delhi: A Catholic priest, who went missing in Scotland three days ago, has been found dead, an Indian news portal reported on June 24.
According to unconfirmed reports in deepika.com, the body of Father Martin Xavier Vazhachira was found on a beach closer to his residence.
The 33-year-old priest, a native of the southern Indian state of Kerala and a member of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate congregation, served as the parish priests of St. John the Baptist’s church in Corstorphine since October 2016. The parish comes under Edinburgh diocese that he joined on July 15, 2016..
Although Father Xavier went missing on June 21, the news about his disappearance appeared in media only two days later. According to the Malayalam portal, the priest had contacted his relatives in Kerala by phone on June 20 evening. He was doing doctoral studies along with the pastoral duties.
His brother Thankachan Vazhachira who works in a consumer court in Alappuzha, told the Deepika newspaper that he had contacted Father Xavier on June 20 evening. The priest had also informed his sisters that he had been suffering from fever.
The superior of the Carmelite house in Pulincunnu informed the priest’s family about his disappearance on June 22. The superior said Edinburgh vicar general Father Patrick Burk conveyed the news to his provincial.
Reports from Scotland say experts from forensic department have checked the priest’s room.
The parishioners at St. John the Baptist’s Church in Corstorphine raised the alarm when the priest did not turn up for the morning Mass on June 21. They had found his door open. The priest’s belongings, including wallet, passport and mobile phone, were found in his room. However, his mobile phone had disappeared in the evening. The phone was switched off when his family tried to contact him on June 21.
Father Xavier was a native of Pulincunnu parish of Changanacherry archdiocese in Kerala. He was ordained a priest in 2013.