A 33-year-old Keralite priest and PhD scholar who went missing from Edinburgh was found dead on Saturday. The Scotland police informed the Provincial House in Thiruvananthapuram that the body of Fr Martin Xavier Vazhachira was found near a beach close to Edinburgh University where he was a scholar.
Carmelites of Mary Immaculate provincial received information about Fr Vazhachira's death from the Archbishop of St Andrews in Edinburgh on Saturday morning. The archbishop's message said that the priest, hailing from Pulinkunnu in Alappuzha district, was found dead by Edinburgh police. Fr Vazhachira served at St John the Baptist Church, Corstorphine in Edinburgh.
While the cause of death is yet to be ascertained, the body has been sent for forensic tests. The leader of the Opposition in Kerala assembly, Ramesh Chennithala, has written to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj seeking help in bringing back the body. Fr Vazhachira was last seen on Tuesday. Authorities at the diocese claimed that he was available in person and on calls till 1 PM on Tuesday after which he went missing. His purse, passport and other personal belongings were found in his room. But the door of the room was lying open.
Fr Vazhachira, who was the assistant vicar at the Chethipuzha church under Changanassery diocese, arrived in Edinburgh eight months ago for higher studies. The Edinburgh diocese is said to have used his services owing to a shortage of priests. Fr. Vazhachira was staying and working at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Corstorphine near Falkirk under the Edinburgh diocese.