Father Kurien Kunnumpuram, a renowned Jesuit theologian who encouraged generations of Indian priests and nuns to have personal experience of God, died on October 23 after a brief illness at Kozhikode, Kerala. He was 87. His funeral is scheduled for 11 am on October 25 at Christ Hall in Calicut, the headquarters of the Kerala Jesuits.
The end came at 10:30 pm in Nirmala Hospital, managed by the Ursulines Mary Immaculate in Calicut. He had a fall and developed a blood clot in brain and underwent neurosurgery at Baby Memorial Hospital. Father Kurien, as he is popularly known, had contributed in the field of ecclesiology, particularly with regard to Vatican II. He taught 49 years as the member of the academic staff of the faculty of theology at one of the top seminaries in India, Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune.
Father Kurien was born on July 8, 1931, at Teekoy in Kottayam district of Kerala. He joined the Society of Jesus in 1950 and was ordained a priest in 1963. He completed his doctorate in Systematic Theology in 1968 from the University of Innsbruck on “Ways of Salvation.” He started teaching at the Pune Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth from the following year. He was the dean of the Vidyapeeth’s faculty of theology during 1974-1977 and became its rector ten years later, a post he held for six years. In 1998, he founded Jnanadeepa: Pune Journal of Religious Studies. He also edited and published it. Fr. Kuriend had said that “For a casual observer the Church is just a social reality – an association of human beings who profess a common faith, who participate in a common worship and who endeavor to live by a common ethical code. But for believing Christians the Church is also a faith reality. There is a grace-filled depth to the Church.”