John Gladstone (bishop)

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John Wilson Gladstone
Bishop in South Kerala
Church Christian
See Church of South India
In office 1997–present
Predecessor Samuel Amirtham
Successor Incumbent
Ordination 20 July 1975
Consecration 16 September 1997
Personal details
Born 25 December 1945
Neyyattinkara, Kerala, India
Previous post Professor of Church History, Kerala United Theological Seminary, Thiruvananthapuram

John Wilson Gladstone (born 25 December 1945) was the Moderator of the Church of South India[1] as well as Bishop of South Kerala.[2]

Early years[edit]

Rev. Dr. Gladstone was born on 25 December 1945 in Kerala.[3] into a pastoral family. His father, Rev. J. Wilson, was a Pastor of the CSI[4]

He had an inclination towards priesthood and after his schooling pursued bachelor's and master's degrees in economics[4] in Thiruvananthapuram.

Divinity and higher studies[edit]

In 1969, Rev. Dr. Gladstone joined the United Theological College [UTC, Bangalorethe only autonomous college under the Senate of Serampore College] where he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree.[4] After finishing his studies in divinity in 1972 he again enrolled at UTC where, in 1975, he obtained a Master of Theology degree in the discipline of church history.[4]

Ordination and lecturership[edit]

After returning from Bangalore, Rev. Dr. Gladstone was ordained as a priest of the Diocese of South Kerala of the Church of South India on 20 July 1975.[3]

The diocese designated him as Youth Pastor[4] and thereafter, Gladstone was assigned a teaching task at the Kerala United Theological Seminary,[5] [KUTS – affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College] Thiruvananthapuram.

Research studies[edit]

Later in the year 1978,[4] Rev. Dr. Gladstone took study leave from KUTS and proceeded to the University of Hamburg in Germany for research studies in church history.

In 1983,[4] the University of Hamburg awarded him a Doctorate of Theology degree magna cum laude. His doctoral thesis was entitled Protestant Christianity and People's Movements in Kerala, 1850–1936 which was later published by the KUTS, Thiruvananthapuram in 1984.[6]

Return to KUTS[edit]

Subsequently, Rev. Dr. Gladstone returned to Thiruvananthapuram to resume his teaching responsibilities. In 1991 he became Principal of the KUTS, Thiruvananthapuram.[3]


Church historian[edit]

Rev. Dr. Gladstone is a member of the Church History Association of India (CHAI), a body of church historians and has published more than 100 articles.[3]

Senate responsibilities[edit]

Rev. Dr. Gladstone served as the President of the Senate of Serampore College, India's first university, from 2000 to 2005[7]


On 16 September 1997, Rev. Dr. Gladstone was consecrated as the Bishop in South Kerala.[3]


During the XXXI session of the synod of the CSI held in Visakhapatnam from 11–14 January 2008, Rev. Dr. Gladstone was elected as the Moderator of the CSI for a biennium.[8] He succeeded the Most Reverend B. P. Sugandhar (Bishop-in-Medak).

Memberships and honours[edit]



In 2005, Rev. Vinod Victor and Rev. Gideon Sobhanam brought out a festschrift in honour of Gladstone entitled Shepherd of a Pilgrim People: Essays in Honour of Bishop J. W. Gladstone[9]

In 2008 Canterbury Christ Church University, (established in 1962 by the Church of England with degree granting authority), admitted Rev. Dr. Gladstone to its honorary fellowship at Canterbury Cathedral on 1 February.[4]


  1. ^ Anglican Communion: Primates of the Anglican Communion
  2. ^ Anglican Communion, Provincial Directory: South Kerala
  3. ^ a b c d e Prof. J. M. Stewart in Profile of the Bishop in Mateer Memorial Church, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala [1]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Canterbury Christ Church University, Biographies of new Honorary Fellows "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  5. ^ Senate of Serampore College, Graduate and Post-graduate colleges affiliated [2]
  6. ^ Cited in Susan Billington Harper's The Shadow of the Mahatma: Bishop V. S. Azaraiah and the travails of Christianity in British India, Eerdmans and Curzon Press, p. 182, [3]
  7. ^ Senate of Serampore College (University), Presidents and Convenors of the Senate [4][permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Asia Pacific Ecumenical News, 20 May 2008, Indian Protestant Church elects new Moderator. Internet, accessed 20 May 2008 [5]
  9. ^ Vinod Victor, Gideon Sobhanam, et al., Shepherd of a Pilgrim People: Essays in Honour of Bishop J. W. Gladstone, Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, New Delhi, 2005. [6]
Academic offices
Preceded by
Gnana Robinson
President Senate of Serampore College
Succeeded by
John S. Sadananda
Religious titles
Preceded by
B. P. Sugandhar
Moderator Church of South India
11 January 2008 – 10 January 2010
Succeeded by
Suputhrappa Vasantha Kumar
Preceded by
Samuel Amirtham
Bishop in South Kerala Church of South India
Succeeded by
Educational offices
Preceded by
Jacob Varghese
Principal Kerala United Theological Seminary
Succeeded by
K. K. Koshy