Rt. Rev. Dr. M. Azariah, the former bishop of Madras Diocese went to his eternal abode yesterday. The funeral service will be held at St. George's Cathedral, Chennai today.
Bishop Azariah was presently the chief functionary of the Ecumenical Council for Drought Action and Water Management (ECoDAWM) which is a constituent member of the NCCI Council. Dr. Roger Gaikwad said Bishop Azariah was in the staff team of the National Council from 1975 to 1977 as Mission Secretary and Secretary for Christian Education Council of India. Bishop Azariah served the Church of South India Synod as its General Secretary (1982-1990). He started his ministry as a rural Pastor in CSI Madras Diocese, and he had taken up the Office of the Welfare Officer of the Leprosy Mission Hospital in Manamadurai. He also served as the Tamil Nadu Auxiliary Secretary of the Bible Society of India (1976 and 1981).
He was known for his Dalit commitment. He ministered the Dalits throughout his life as a church worker,leader, writer and teacher. He was instrumental in promoting several Dalit movements and organizations and made the churches to accompany the Dalits in their struggle for freedom towards equality, dignity and inclusiveness. He was described as ‘the pillar’ of Indian Dalits and Dalit movements and was the ‘Dalit voice’ to the nation, church and ecumenical movement at one point of time. Bishop Dr. Azariah also taught in the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College till recently.
The UTC principal, faculty, staff and students pray and give thanks to God for the life of Bishop Dr. M. Azariah and offer condolences to his family members and bishop, pastors and laity of the CSI Madras diocese.