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The Supreme Patriarch of Thailand Has Passed Away

October 26, 2013 Destination Thailand No Comments Email Email

1329772232pHis Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, passed away at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital on 24 October 2013 at 7.30 p.m., at the age of 100.
King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital issued its ninth announcement that His Holiness passed away from blood infection.

He underwent an operation on 14 October to remove portions of his intestines after being diagnosed with a bacterial infection. His conditions remained stable and then worsened following the surgery. His Holiness had been ill since 2002, when he was admitted to the hospital.

The passing away of His Holiness, the 19th Supreme Patriarch of the Rattanakosin period, has brought great sorrow to the Thai people. The Bureau of the Royal Household, in its announcement on 24 October 2013, said that His Majesty the King had learned about the death of His Holiness the Supreme Patriarch with great sadness.

His Majesty ordered the Royal Court to be mourning for 15 days as of Friday, 25 October 2013, to Friday, 8 November 2013. He also commanded that the body of His Holiness be placed at Phra Tamnak Phet (Royal Diamond Residence) at Wat Bovoranives in Bangkok and that the memorial rite be held in accordance with the royal tradition.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office issued an announcement ordering government offices, state enterprises, and educational institutions to lower the national flag to half mast for three days, from 25 to 27 October 2013. Government officials and state enterprise employees were instructed to wear mourning dress for 15 days, from 25 October to 8 November 2013. The Government also asked all independent organizations to follow suit.

The Permanent Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office, Professor Tongthong Chandransu, said that the royal bathing rite for His Holiness would be performed in the afternoon on 25 October. The general public will be allowed to take part in the bathing rite at Wat Bovoranives in the afternoon on the same day.

His Holiness was the longest living Supreme Patriarch in Thai history. Born on 3 October 1913 in Kanchanaburi province, he was formerly known as Charoen Gajavatra. Upon completing his elementary education, he was ordained at the age of 14 in his hometown. He moved to Wat Bovoranives in Bangkok in 1929 to further his Pali and Dhamma studies.

His Holiness is proficient not only in Pali and Sanskrit but also in English. He also studied German, French, and Chinese. In fact, he did not restrict himself to Buddhist studies, but also enjoyed reading on a wide range of topics. He gave lectures on Dhamma in English, as well.

During his tenure as abbot, Wat Bovoranives has become a center of foreign relations and is well-known to foreigners who are interested in Buddhist studies. His Holiness was the advisor and guardian of the present monarch, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, when His Majesty was ordained as a monk at Wat Bovoranives in 1956.

On 21 April 1989, he was invested by His Majesty the King as the Supreme Patriarch, who is Head of the Buddhist Order and is responsible for all ecclesiastical affairs of the order in Thailand.

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