St. Geevarghese Mar Gregorios .
Saint Geevarghese Mar Gregorios (alias Parumala Thirumeni) (June 15, 1848 – November 2, 1902) is the patron saint of our church.
This photo was taken in early 1902, by a photographer named Decruz, for the TRAVANCORE STATE MANUAL as per the direction of Dewan Bahudur V Nagam Aiya to show the vestments of a Syrian Christian Metropolitan.This was the official publication of the erstwhile ‘Government of Travancore’ and was first published in 1906.
Saint Geevarghese Mar Gregorios (alias Parumala Thirumeni) .
Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of the Malankara Orthodox Church, who was fondly called called Parumala Thirumeni who passed away on November 7 1902, became the first declared saint from Malankara (Kerala, India). We believe that he shines in the cloud of witnesses as a bright luminary giving hope to millions in their suffering and struggles.
Birth and Parentage
Mar Gregorios was born on 15th June 1848 (M.E. Mithunam 3, 1023) to Kochu Mathai and Mariam of Pallathetta family in the Chathuruthy house at Mulamthuruthy. He was called by the name ‘Kochaippora’ and was given the baptismal name ‘Geevarghese’. Kochaippora was the youngest of five siblings and was therefore the most beloved to everyone. Unfortunately, his mother passed away when he was only two years old. His eldest sister Mariam became to him all that a mother was meant.
Reader-Deacon and Further Education
He was ordained as a reader-deacon (Korooyo) on 14th Sept, 1858 at the age of ten by Palakkunnath Mathews Mar Athanasios at Karingachira Church. Koroyo Geevarghese continued his training under Geevarghese Malpan until the latter died due to small pox. Although Deacon Geevarghese was also infected with small pox, he miraculously survived it. Afterwards Deacon Geevarghese moved to Pampakuda to continue his studies under Konat Geevarghese Malpan. In the mean time Deacon became associated with the visiting Syrian Bishop Yuyakim Mar Coorilos. Mar Coorilos had great admiration for the young deacon and was pleased to ordain him as full deacon, priest and cor-episcopa within few months in 1865.
The new priest’s short stay at Mulanthuruthy Marthommen Church gave him an inner conviction that he should lead a hermit’s life in a quieter place. Therefore he shifted his residence to Vettickal Dayara. At Vettickal Dayara, Corepiscopa Geevarghese started a strenuous life of prayer and fasting. Having heard about the vigorous asceticism practiced by Corepiscopa Geevarghese, the then Malankara Metropolitan Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius made him a ‘Ramban’ (Monk Priest) in 1872.
Patriarchal Visit and the Synod of Mulamthuruthy
In 1875, the Antioch Patriarch His Holiness Peter III visited Malankara. The Patriarch chose Ramban Geevarghese as his Secretary and translator during the entire visit. Along with the Patriarch, the Ramban visited many churches. Ramban Geevarghese also assisted the Patriarch in the consecration of the Holy Mooron and in the historic synod of Mulanthuruthy in 1876.
Consecration as Metropolitan
Being pleased with the Ramban Geevarghese, the Patriarch decided to consecrate him as Metropolitan. On December 10, 1876 the Patriarch consecrated six priests as bishops including Ramban Geevarghese at St. Thomas Church, N Paravur. He was given the new name Geevarghese Mar Gregorios and was given the charge of Niranam Diocese.
Mar Gregorios was only 28 years when he was made a bishop. Since he was the youngest among all the bishops, he was dearly called by all as ‘Kochu Thirumeni’. Mar Gregorios took charge of the Niranam Diocese and started staying at Parumalaho for priestly training. They worshipped in a thatched chapel during that time
Mar Gregorios engaged in a threefold activity of tireless service for the church: Diocesan administration, Ministerial formation of deacons, and Missionary witness of the church through inner spiritual and theological consolidation, along with evangelical reaching out. In addition to these, Mar Gregorios undertook the task of building a church and seminary at Parumala. The diocesan administration, in the mean time, was extended to two more dioceses, Thumpamon and Quilon. The newly constructed church was consecrated in 1895. Mar Gregorios was the co-celebrant for the consecration of two ex-Roman Catholic priests as bishops: Fr.Alvaris as Alvaris Mar Kulius for Bombay-Mangalore Diocese; Fr. Rene Vilatti as Rene Vilatti Mar Timotheos for America.
Holy Land – Pilgrimage
Mar Gregorios went on the Holy Land Pilgrimage in 1895 as the fulfillment of a long cherished dream. On his return he published a travelogue under the title ‘Oorslem yathra vivaranam’ (a narrative of the Jerusalem visit). This book, published in 1895 is to be considered as the earliest printed travelogue in Malayalam. This book had its centenary edition in 1996 and translation into English in 2000.