27 September, 1976: Juhanon Mar Thoma Metropolitan Passes away. (b.7 Aug.1893) .Dr Juhanon Mar Thoma was the Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church from 1947 to 1976. He provided the Church with the emblem having the motto: “Lighted to Lighten”. This has been appreciated by many leaders of Christian churches.
“Ecumenism was a reality for him; he restored peace with the Indian Orthodox Church. He actively participated in ecumenical councils such as the World Council of Churches. In 1948, he led the delegation to the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam. At its second meeting at Evanston, Illinois in 1954 he was elected as one of the presidents of WCC. During the third Assembly in New Delhi in 1961 he was the chairman and guided the deliberations with distinction.
It was in 1974, it was decided enter into full communion with the Churches of South India, North India and with various provinces in the Anglican communion.” ~ wikipedia.com
On 26 June 1975 the then Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi declared Emergency. Juhanon Mar Thoma was the only Christian leader in India who raised a voice and sent a letter to the Prime Minister arguing for the restoration of democracy.
On 29 July, 1955, Mr. Ninan Daniel, of Kurumthottikkal, Melukara Pathanamthitta District and three others filed a civil suit in District Court of Kottayam against the then Metropolitan of the Mar Thoma Church Most Rev. Juhanon Mar Thoma and six others.
Pages from History: Strange But True! Lightning kills Mar Thoma II (Head of the Malankara Church) (1686)
14 April 1686: Pakalomattom Parampil Thomas Kathanar was consecrated as Mar Thoma I on 22 nd May 1653 at the Alangattu Church. He ably guided the Malankara Church till his death on 25 th April 1670. He was buried in the Marthomman Church Angamaly.
His brother/ nephew was consecrated as the Mar Thoma II in 1670. Mar Thoma II was killed by lightning on 14 April 1686 while he was taking rest in the Pally Meda (guest Room) of the St. Mary’s church in Niranam. He was buried in the same church cemetery.
This may be the only incident in the history of the Christian Church where a head of a church died due to a lightning strike.