Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Missing priest found dead on beach

Father Vazhachira and St John church Image copyright Google/CatholicChurch
Image caption Father Vazhachira was last seen near St John Church

A priest who went missing from a church in Edinburgh last week has been found dead on a beach in East Lothian.

Father Martin Xavier Vazhachira was last seen at St John The Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Corstorphine, at about 13:00 on Tuesday.

Police and the Catholic church said his body was found on the beach at Dunbar on Friday afternoon.

Father Xavier, 33, was originally from India. The cause of death has yet to be established.

The Bishop of Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, Leo Cushley, said: "The news of Father Martin Xavier's death comes as a great shock and a great sadness to all those who knew 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."

Father Vazhachira was a native of Kerala in southern India and was ordained a priest in 2013.

He arrived in Scotland in 2016 in order to undertake post-graduate studies at Edinburgh University.

He also served in local Catholic parishes, initially in Falkirk before being appointed to Corstorphine in October 2016.

He was last seen on Tuesday afternoon in his parish house.

The alarm was raised by parishioners after he failed to turn up for Holy Mass on Wednesday morning.

His family in India have been informed of his death and a post-mortem examination will be carried out to establish the cause.

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