Two bishops killed in road accident

Published February 1, 2001

Bishop Vinod Peter

New Delhi

Bishop Vinod Peter, a leading Indian clergyman and president of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), died in a road accident in the Indian state of Rajasthan in December, along with Bishop Gerald Andrews of Rajasthan.

Bishop Peter, 61, who as moderator of the Church of North India (CNI) was on an official visit to the state, was killed when the van in which he was travelling with Bishop Andrews hit a tree. Both bishops died instantly and the driver shortly afterwards.

Bishop of Nagpur since 1984, Bishop Peter was elected moderator of the synod of the CNI, one of India’s leading churches, in 1998. Last March, he was elected by a unanimous vote as president of the NCCI, an influential forum of 29 Orthodox and Protestant churches.

The death of Bishop Peter, the country’s senior ecumenical official, is a severe blow to Indian churches since it follows by only six months the death, also in a car accident, in Poland, of Archbishop Alan Basil de Lastic of Delhi, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).

“This is a great shock to the entire Christian community in India,” said NCCI’s senior vice president Mar Geevarghese Coorilos, of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

He added that Bishop Peter had been “actively involved in ecumenical and inter-religious fields” as well as “down to earth in serving the people.”

V. S. Lal, general secretary of the CNI synod, said the “untimely and tragic death” of Bishop Peter was “a great loss to the churches in India, particularly to the Church of North India.” He said Bishop Peter “made a tremendous contribution to the life and work of the churches in India.”


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