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Well-known Asian evangelizer buried in India

Metropolitan Moran Mor Athanasius Yohan, dubbed Asia’s richest evangelizer, died in the US in a road mishap a fortnight ago
Moran Mor Athanasius Yohan, founder and head of Believers Eastern Church.

Moran Mor Athanasius Yohan, founder and head of the Believers Eastern Church. (Photo: www.bec.org)

Published: May 21, 2024 11:01 AM GMT
Updated: May 22, 2024 05:33 AM GMT

The body of a well-known Asian evangelizer was laid to rest in the Church headquarters in southern India on May 21 after he died in a car mishap in the US a fortnight ago.

Seventy-four-year-old Metropolitan Moran Mor Athanasius Yohan, founder and head of the Believers Eastern Church, died on May 8 in Texas, a day after he got hit by a car while walking along the road.

His body was buried in a specially prepared tomb near the cathedral and headquarters of the St. Thomas Believers Eastern Church, which he established in Tiruvalla town. 

Dubbed Asia’s richest evangelizer, he died due to a cardiac arrest while undergoing treatment, according to a statement from the Church.

His mortal remains were brought to India on May 19 on a chartered flight. Thousands paid homage to the departed soul.

Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan and opposition leader VD Satheesan paid their respects to the Church's head, formerly known as K. P. Yohannan.

Yohannan founded Gospel for Asia in 1979 and trained thousands of people to preach the gospel in their native languages in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and other Southeast Asia nations.

Yohannan was born Kadapilaril Punnoose Yohannan in 1950 in Niranam in Kerala.  

Yohannan wrote more than 250 books that offer practical and spiritual guidance on hundreds of subjects. Many of these books have been translated into major languages.

One of his books, Revolution in World Missions, is an international best-seller with more than 4.5 million copies printed in English and translated into French, German, Finnish, and Dutch languages, claimed a Church report.

According to the Church's spokesperson, Father Sijo Pandappillil, the Church has over 2,500 priests, 17 bishops, and 3,000 deacons in 20 counties.

The Church hit international headlines when India’s tax officials raided the Church headquarters in November 2020, reportedly suspecting the Church of hoarding illegal money.

Local media reports said the raids followed allegations that the Church violated the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act by spending money for purposes other than those intended by donors.

He also faced suits over funds in the US and Canada.

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