Scotland police step up search for missing Indian priest

The priest took over as the parish priest only a few months ago

Edinburgh: Police in Scotland have stepped up search for Father Martin Xavier, a Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) priest from India, who went missing in Edinburgh two days ago.

Parishioners of St John the Baptist’s church in Corstorphine where Father Xavier served as the parish priest raised the alarm when the priest did not turn up for the morning Mass on June 21.

The parishioners reportedly found the door to presbytery open. The priest’s belongings, including wallet, passport and mobile phone, were also found in his room. The parishioners then left the premises and returned later in the afternoon when they noticed that his mobile phone had disappeared. The phone was switched off.

The Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh immediately contacted Police Scotland.

Bishop of Edinburgh has informed Father Xavier’s superior, provincial of St. Joseph Province based in the Kerala capital of Thiruvananthapuram, about the events. Scottish police have launched a search operation and appealed to the public for any information about the priest’s whereabouts, reports

The 34-year-old priest of Vazhachira family in Pulincunnu parish of Changanacherry diocese in Kerala, southern India. He was ordained a priest in 2013. He had taken charge of the Corstorphine parish.

He arrived in Scotland in July 2016 and served initially in Falkirk before being appointed to Corstorphine in October 2016.

The parishioners sounded anxious in view of recent terrorist attacks in UK. Distraught family members have asked for prayers in finding Father Xavier.

Police are appealing for information to help trace the priest reported missing from the west of the city.

Father Xavier regularly likes to take walks in the Corstorphine Hill area and local residents are asked to come forward if they believe they have seen him, reports

He is described as around 5ft 5ins tall with a medium build, short black slightly curly hair and a clean shaven face.

“Fr Vazhachira has been in Edinburgh since October last year and knows the Corstorphine area fairly well, however, we are also exploring whether he may have ventured further afield and so anyone with information as to his current whereabouts is asked to contact police immediately,” Inspector Craig Rogerson of Police Scotland, said. “I would also urge Fr Vazhachira to get in touch with us, or with colleagues at the church, as soon as possible to let us know he is safe.”

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