Theologian Samuel Rayan dies at 98
Jesuit theologian Father Samuel Rayan died of age-related illness Jan. 2 at a hospital in Kozhikode town, Kerala Jesuit Provincial Father M. K George said. Father Rayan was 98. He has been leading a retired life for more than a decade in Kerala. Born on July 23, 1920 at Kumbalam village in Kollam (formerly Quilon) district, he joined Society of Jesus in 1939. He was ordained a priest on March 24, 1955.
“The Church in India will remember him for radical interpretation of Bible, with a concern for the poor and marginalized,” said Bishop Paul Mullassery of Quilon, who has known the priest since his seminary days. “His theologizing can be broadly branded as part of Liberation Theology. But his was not the militant verison of liberation theology. His theology came from his deep meditations of the Gospel,” Bishop Mullassery said. He defended of the poor, spoke for the environment and his theologizing was deeply rooted in the Gospel values, the bishop said.
He was born as the 4th child of Cruz Rayan and Agnes Rayan. He joined the Jesuit novitiate in Kozhikode after his Secondary Education in St Aloysius High School in Kallada. His two-year novitiate was under the guidance of Father Aldo Maria Patroni, SJ who later became bishop of Calicut. He spent two more years in Kozhikode doing his Juniorate before proceeding to do Philosophy at Sacred Heart College, Shembaganur in 1943.
He returned to Kerala and taught at Leo XII School, Alleppey for a few years. Meanwhile, he completed his B.A. in Malayalam literature in the University College, Trivandrum. Eminent literary figures like S. Guptan Nair and N. Krishnapilla were his teachers. In 1952 he went to De Nobili College, Pune for his theological studies and was ordained a priest on March 24, 1955 by Bishop Andrew D’Souza at Pune
After his Tertianship in La Providence, Kodaikanal he left for Rome for studies and took Doctorate in Theology from the Gregorian University in 1960. He made his final profession at the Gesu in Rome on 15 August 1958, which was received by Fr. Janssens, the then Jesuit General.