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Samuel Rayan, SJ (23 July 1920 – 2 January 2019) was an Indian Roman Catholic theologian. He was known as being a proponent of a form of liberation theology. He died in January 2019 at the age of 98.[1]



Rayan was born on 23 July 1920 at Kumbalam in Kollam District, Kerala into a family of eight children (2 girls and 6 boys). In 1939 Rayan entered Jesuit order. He was ordained priest on 24 March 1955.[2]

Born in and brought up in a village in Kerala, he devoted many years to the study of Malayalam literature. He mastered Sanskrit and is well read in Indian religions and philosophy.[3] He died at 12.30PM on January 2, 2019 at the age of 98 in Nirmala Hospital, Kozhikode in Kerala where he was undergoing old age ailments.

In 1991, a Festschrift was published in his honor. Bread and breath: essays in honour of Samuel Rayan, S.J., on the occasion of his seventieth birth anniversary included contributions by Gustavo Gutiérrez, George Soares-Prabhu, and Jon Sobrino.


Being a radical humanist, Rayan is convinced that the human person in community is the object of God's special love. Rayan speaks for care of the earth, concern for life and commitment to people.[4] Rayan's theologizing is deeply rooted in his life,[4] his land and his commitment to Jesus.

According to Rayan theology is a reminder of the great demands of the Kingdom. For Rayan the central mission of the Christian faith is its insertion into the concrete and daily life of the people, especially of the most marginalized and oppressed members of the social body. As Rayan says, "Rice is for sharing, bread must be broken and given. Every bowl, every belly shall have its fill, to leave a single bowl unfilled is to rob history of its meaning; to grab many a bowl for myself is to empty history of God."[5]


  • Rayan, Samuel (1978). The Holy Spirit: Heart of the Gospel and Christian Hope. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. ISBN 978-0883441886. OCLC 3706609.
  • Rayan, Samuel (2013). Kunnumpuram, Kurien (ed.). Collected writings of Samuel Rayan, SJ. New Delhi: ISPCK. ISBN 9788184653335. OCLC 877930877.


Further readingEdit