Church cremates COVID victim turned away by crematoriums of local bodies

Church cremates COVID victim turned away by crematoriums of local bodies
Representational image: Lightspring/ Shutterstock

Thiruvalla: The St Mary's Jerusalem Knanaya Church in Kuttoor has set an example by conducting the funeral service of a parishioner who died of COVID-19 after cremating him.

P A Mathew (Kunjumon, 60), of Kondody, Kuttoot, died on Friday night while undergoing treatment for COVID at the Kottayam Medical College Hospital. Permission was sought to cremate the body at the crematoriums of Kottayam and Thiruvalla municipalities, but it was not granted. Following this, the church committee called for an urgent meeting, in which it was decided to cremate him and bury the ashes in the cemetery.

The rites were conducted after the cremation was done using a gas furnace with the permission of the chief metropolitan of the Knanaya archdiocese.

The body was brought to the church's annex building on Saturday evening. Vicar Fr Jinu Kuruvila Kizhakemuttam wore a PPE kit and conducted the last rites.

The body was kept in a gas furnace brought from Kaviyoor. Mathew's daughter Sonia lit a candle and put it in the gas furnace. The remains were then buried.

Mathew’s wife Omana, Sonia and her husband Joel were in the ambulance that brought the body from the Kottayam Medical College. They all wore PPE kits during the journey.

Nitya and Soumya are Mathew's other daughters, married to Prameen and Robin, respectively.

Chathankari block medical officer Dr Mammon P Cherian also accompanied the ambulance. Revenue and police officials, led by sub-collector Dr Vinay Goel, provided necessary assistance for transporting the body and conducting the last rites.

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