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Body of missing Indian priest found on Scottish beach

Fr Martin Xavier Vazhachira

Edinburgh police have found the body of an Indian priest serving in Scotland on a beach in East Lothian.

Father Martin Xavier Vazhachira went missing around 13:00 on June 20. He was last seen in his parish house at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Corstorphine, and parishioners reported him missing when he didn’t come to mass Wednesday morning, according to the BBC.

Police found the body of the 33-year-old priest on the beach at Dunbar three days later on Friday. The cause of death is currently unknown.

Father Vazhachira hailed from Kerala in southern India and was ordained a priest in 2013. He came to Scotland in 2016 for post-graduate studies at Edinburgh University.

Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh said in an interview with the BBC: “The news of Father Martin Xavier’s death comes as a great shock and a great sadness to all those who know him and loved him.”

“Our thoughts and, more importantly, our prayers are with him and with all his loved ones in both Scotland and India. May he rest in peace,” Archbishop Cushley added.

In India, Opposition Leader in State Assembly Ramesh Chennithala sent a letter to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj calling for a “comprehensive probe” into Father Vazhachira’s death, according to The Times of India.

The BBC reports that a post-mortem exam will be carried out to determine the cause of death.

Additional details regarding the finding of Father Vazhachira’s body will be released Tuesday, according to The Times of India.