Jesuit Father Kurien Kunnumpuram, a noted Indian theologian, died just five days after his admirers organized a two-day national seminar to honor him. About 45 scholars of philosophy and theology came together in the southern Indian state of Kerala to deliberate on the theological significance of Father Kunnumpuram, who is popularly known as Father Kurien. The 87-year-old Jesuit theologian died on October 23, after being in comma for 20 days.

The seminar titled, “Fr Kurien Kunnumpuram, SJ: A Theological Inspiration,” noted that Father Kurien was one of the pioneering theologians of Vatican II and was internationally recognized as a thinker and writer of eminence. During the seminar, Father Kurien’s last book “Freedom and Joy” was released. In the book Kurien perceived freedom and joy as essential characteristics of a Christian. Fr Kuruvilla Pandikattu SJ opined that the person of Kurien himself personified both these freedom and joy of the Gospels. As reported by, Jesuit Father Stephen Chundamthadam, director of Samanvaya (integration), Institute of Advanced Indian Spirituality, Kanjirapally, studied Father Kurien’s humanizing and integrating spirituality that fosters freedom, joy and intimate experience of God, leading to fellow human beings. Fransalian Father Jacob Parappally, chief editor of the “Journal of Indian Theology,” elaborated on “ways of salvation” and “the way of salvation” which Kurien explored in connection to Vatican II. Carmelite Father Mathew Chandrankunnel, director of the Ecumenical Centre, Bangalore, spoke of the need to dialogue with Hinduism and bring about an East-West complementarity continuum.

At least 18 papers were presented at the October 17-18 seminar organized by the Kerala Province of the Society of Jesus at Socio-Religious Centre, Christ Hall, Kozhikode, its headquarters. The papers urged the Church to be open to dialogue, become a community of love and humanize Christian spirituality.