Joshua Russell Chandran

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Joshua Russell Chandran
Born (1918-05-06)6 May 1918
Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu, India
Died 27 September 2000(2000-09-27) (aged 82)
Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Other names Chandran

Church Church of South India, Diocese of Kanyakumari
Ordained 20 October 1946
Writings See separate section
Offices held

Title Reverend Doctor

Joshua Russell Chandran (1918–2000) was an Indian Christian theologian, who served as President of Senate of Serampore College, Bengal (1970–1), and as President of the United Theological College, Bangalore (1954–83), and was for some years a vice-chairman of the World Council of Churches (1966–68).

Early life and education[edit]

Joshua Russell Chandran was born in Nagercoil, South India on 6 May 1918[1] into a family who were communicant members of the South India United Church.[1] After schooling and collegiate education, he took his BA and MA[1] in Mathematics[2][3] at the University of Madras, Chennai (1933–1938).[1]

In 1941 he enrolled at the United Theological College, Bengaluru in 1941,[1] where he took his B.D. in 1945.[1]

Pastorate and further study[edit]

Chandran belonged to the South India United Church; which made him a pastor of South Travancore Church Council[1] in 1945. He was ordained on 20 October 1946,[1] and he continued serving as pastor until 1947.

in 1947 he left India[4] for Britain, to study at the University of Oxford, Mansfield College,[5] Oxford[6] for pursuing a B.Litt..[7] His B.Litt. thesis[8] was entitled[9] A Comparison of the pagan apologetic of Celsus against Christianity as contained in Origen's Contra Celsum and the neo-Hindu attitude to Christianity as represented in the works of Vivekananda and an estimate of the value of Origen's reply for Christian apologetics with reference to neo-Hinduism.

He then studied at Union Theological Seminary, New York, during the academic year 1949–1950 earning an S.T.M..[1]


On his return to India in 1950 the Church of South India asked him to teach theology and ethics at the United Theological College,[1] Bengaluru then under the Principalship of Max Hunter Harrison. In 1954 Chandran succeeded Max Hunter Harrison as Principal, and remained in post until 1983, when he was succeeded by E. C. John.


Theological education[edit]

As the first Indian Principal of the United Theological College, Bengaluru, J. R. Chandran provided quality leadership to the College in many aspects.[4]

In 1970 and 1971 he also served as President of the Senate of Serampore College.[10]

In the academic year 1964–65,[11] Chandran was Henry Winters Luce Visiting Professor of World Christianity at the Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York.

He was the first President of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT) for the first five-year term (1975–1981).[12]

Church leadership[edit]

Chandran served as Vice Moderator of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches from 1966–1968.[13] His contribution to ecumenism was far-reaching.[13]


India's first University,[14] the Senate of Serampore College (University) in West Bengal conferred upon Russell Chandran an honorary doctorate in 1962[15]

In 1978 Samuel Amirtham and others also came out with a festschrift in honour of Chandran, entitled A Vision for Man: Essays on Faith, Theology, and Society in Honour of Joshua Russell Chandran.

Retirement and death[edit]

Although Russell Chandran retired in 1984, he began living in Bengaluru. He went to Suva, Fiji to the Pacific Theological College[13] for some time before returning to Bengaluru.

On 27 September 2000,[13] Joshua Russell Chandran died in Bangalore.

Academic offices
Preceded by
M. H. Harrison


United Theological College, Bengaluru

Succeeded by
E. C. John


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Union Theological Seminary (New York, N.Y.) The Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York New York : Alumni Office, 1970.Electronic reproduction. New York, N.Y. : Columbia University Libraries, 2007. JPEG use copy available via the World Wide Web. Master copy stored locally on [6] DVDs#: ldpd_6122000_000 01,02,03,04,05,06. Columbia University Libraries Electronic Books. 2006. p.315. [1]
  2. ^ "Churches mourn death of third world ecumenical Theologian". UCA News. Hong Kong. 6 October 2000. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  3. ^ D. William Jesudoss, What is Man?: Theological Attempts and Directions Towards the Formation of an Indian Christian Anthropology for Today, Gurukul, Chennai, 1986. p. 79. [2]
  4. ^ a b S. J. Samartha, Joshua Russel Chandran in Gerald H. Anderson's Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1999. p. 125. [3]
  5. ^ Lothar Schreiner, Mansfield Alumni News, Autumn/Winter 2005. p. 18
  6. ^ Oxford University Calendar, University of Oxford, Oxford, 1948. See pages 764 and 861.[4]
  7. ^ Mar Aprem, Indian Christian who is who, Bombay Parish Church of the East, Bombay, 1983. p.107. [5].
  8. ^ Israel Selvanayagam, Water of Life and Indian cups: Protestant attempts at theologizing in India in Sebastian C. H. Kim's Christian Theology in Asia, Cambridge, 2008. p.56 [6]
  9. ^ Sunand Sumithra, Christian Theology from an Indian Perspective, Theological Book Trust, Bengaluru, 1995 (Revised Edition). pp. 199–206. [7]
  10. ^ Senate of Serampore College (University), Presidents and Convenors of the Senate. [8]
  11. ^ Union Theological Seminary in the city of New York, Henry Winters Luce Visiting Professors of World Christianity. Internet. [9]
  12. ^ William Adams Brown Ecumenical Library Archives, The Burke Library Archives (Columbia University Libraries), Union Theological Seminary, New York. p. 5.[10]
  13. ^ a b c d Konrad Raiser, Joshua Russel Chandran, Tributes. WCC Site
  14. ^ Sankar Ray, The William Carey Library in Serampore, Business Line, The Hindu, Friday 11 April 2008. Internet, accessed 17 October 2008. [11]
  15. ^ Senate of Serampore College (University), List of the Recipients of the degree of doctor of divinity (honoris causa). [12]

Further reading[edit]