Priest who went missing five days ago is discovered dead on beach nearly 40 miles away

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Father Martin Xavier, who is originally from India, was last seen on Tuesday but his worried parishioners raised the alarm when he failed to turn up to Wednesday prayers

A priest who went missing five days ago has been found dead on a beach nearly 40 miles away.

Father Martin Xavier's body was discovered in Dunbar, East Lothian, on Friday, more than a 40 minute drive away from his Edinburgh home.

His cause of death is currently "unknown".

The priest was last seen at the parish house of St John The Baptist Roman Catholic Church in Corstorphine, Edinburgh at 1pm Tuesday.

Worried parishioners raised the alarm when he did not turn up to morning prayers on Wednesday.

Announcing his death today, the church said in a statement: "The Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh regrets to announce the death of Father Martin Xavier Vazhachira.

"His body was found yesterday evening, Friday, on a beach at Dunbar, East Lothian. The cause of death is, as yet, unknown.

Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews & Edinburgh, 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."

Police said the 33-year-old Indian-born priest had been in Edinburgh since October last year and liked to take walks around the Corstorphine Hill area.

Officers had said concern was growing for his welfare.

Father Martin Xavier was a native of Kerela in southern India and was ordained a priest of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate order in 2013.

He arrived in Scotland in July 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.

A post-mortem will now be carried out to ascertain the cause of death and his family in India have been informed of the news.

Archbishop Cushley is visiting the parish of St John's in Corstorphine both today and tomorrow, (Sunday) in order to offer Holy Mass and comfort.

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