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Venerable Gangodawila Soma Thera passes away in Russia

Renowned prelate Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera, Chief Incumbent of Victoria Viharaya, Australia and pioneer of the Jana Vijaya movement, passed away after an emergency bypass surgery in Russia last afternoon. He was 53.

A pupil monk of Agga Maha Panditha Madihe Pannasiha, Ven. Soma Thera was internationally renowned and respected for his soothing dhammadesanas and outspokenness in matters of national interest.

Ven. Soma Thera was in Russia to accept an honorary doctorate conferred by the Russian Government. He was rushed to a hospital in St Petersburg after a heart attack. He has undergone two emergency operations, sources said. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has instructed the Sri Lankan Embassy in Russia to make arrangements to fly the Thera's body as soon as possible.

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