The 35th Synod, the highest decision taking body of the Church of South India (CSI), which got under way in Kottayam on Saturday elected Bishop Thomas K Oommen as the new CSI moderator for a three-year term. The Bishop Council meeting unanimously recommended Bishop Oommen as moderator, and the decision was endorsed by the Synod through ballot voting. He won by an overwhelming margin, baggng 291 out of 311 votes polled.
Rev Vadappalli Prasada Rao elected as deputy moderator.
Bishop Oommen, now the deputy moderator, won the first election held after the amendments to the Church Constitution brought out by the Special Synod last year. It had effected major changes in the nomination process of the moderator and deputy moderator candidates.
Earlier, the 435-member Synod, a body heavily loaded in favour of the laity, had not only acted as the electoral college but also played a crucial role in nominating the new moderator and deputy moderator candidates.
As per the amended provision, the 24-member Bishops Council would nominate a candidate for the moderator and another for deputy moderator posts from among themselves.
The 64-year-old bishop joined the service of the Church in 1982 and was ordained as presbyter on March 19, 1983. Apart from being the CSI deputy moderator from 2014, he held various positions, including, moderator’s commissary, CSI Coimbatore Diocese (2012-2014), moderator’s commissary of CSI North Kerala Diocese, chairperson of the Synod Committee for political concerns, Synod Bifurcation Committee, and Synod Ecological Commission.
He was also Synod Theological Commission and Union Negotiation Committee Convener during 2010-2012. He is the incumbent secretary of Nilackal St Thomas Ecumenical Trust Committee, an ecumenical body of Catholic, Orthodox, Jacobite, CSI and Mar Thoma, since 2012.