Saints-St.Gregorios of Parumala - Smiocbristol
St Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala is a Saint par excellence in the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Syrian Church. The holiness of his disciplined life, humility, fasting and prayer, the grace he earned through mortification, and the miracles that his presence or words brought, were well acknowledged and appreciated by Christians and non-Christians of his time.
Those who met him were deeply touched and impressed by his purity of conscience and life. His intercession had been affective to those who sought it, during his life, and even after his death, the number of people who place their trust in his intercessory prayers has increased. Pilgrims increased every year at Parumala through the pilgrimage journey one will undertake from various churches and places.
St Gregorios was born in the year 1848 and was baptized at the Mulanthuruthy Mar Thoman Church. St Gregorios (during childhood was known as Kochaipora) after the death of his mother Mariam grew up with his father Kochu Mathai, his brothers and sister.
In his early childhood, he was somewhat different from other children, he was attracted towards prayer, bible reading and listening to the life of saints. He observed fasts during his younger days. He was a very hardworking student and he was a role model to friends and he showed respect to his teachers. He never wasted time; he was very intelligent, hardworking and enjoyed doing good for others.
He began his formal education in the village school and was very interested in studying and he completed his studies early. Geevarghese Malpan (Syriac Language Teacher) of the Chathuruthy family was St. Gregorios’s uncle. The Malpan was an authority in Syriac language and as he recognized the qualities in St Gregorios and he decided to teach him the language. He soon picked up the language as well as the music scheme.
He was initiated as a Sub-Deacon at the age of ten on 14th September 1858. Deacon Geevarghese continued his theological studies under his uncle. Later St Gregorios gave up the worldly life and moved to Vettikkal Dayara and stayed there for 11 years. Usually, when visitors tried to visit him they were disappointed as he spent most of his time in fasting, prayer and meditation. He is undoubtedly a great tower of spiritual brilliance and divine guide to all the people around.
Shortly after, St Gregorios was ordained as a priest in the year 1864 and later a Cor-Episcopa by Metropolitan Yuakim Mar Coorilos. On 7th April 1872, Metropolitan Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysios elevated Geevarghese Cor Episcopa to be a Monk (Ramban). At this time he was only 24 years old. In 1876 the Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius Peter III consecrated Geevarghese Cor-Episcopa as a bishop and assumed the name Geevarghese Mar Gregorios. In 1877 Geevarghese Mar Gregorios became the Metropolitan of Niranam Diocese and in 1884 Mar Gregorios was also the Metropolitan of Thumpamon and Quilon (Kochi)
In 1888 Mar Gregorios travelled to Goa, Bombay and then to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). In 1895 he travelled to Jerusalem and later a book of his travel log was published called the Jerusalem Journey. This has been translated and on this present day, many have managed to read and deepened their knowledge in understanding this Holy Saint.
In late September 1902, Mar Gregorios health condition took a turn for the worse. St Gregorios was suffering from an acute ulcer that caused him to be unable to eat well. Every possible medical treatment was given but his condition was deteriorating day by day.He had full knowledge about his death and therefore informed those around him. The news of Mar Gregorios’s illness spread like wildfire and people from north and south were flooding into Parumala to visit and pray for him.
Mar Gregorios then called Vattasseril Geevarghese Kathanar and entrusted to him the crosier and other insignia as well as the keys that were held by him. After this, he laid down still and silent for 3 days. On the third day, he asked what the date was and he was told. With that Mar Gregorios replied, “I must suffer this pain for another two more days”.
On the morning of the 2nd November 1902, the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick took place and Mar Gregorios received the Holy Communion thereafter. At about midnight on the 2nd November 1902, he was lying motionless and in a feeble voice he said “My Lord”. Punnoose Ramban who was standing beside him uttered the Nicene Creed and all the priests around the bed followed in reciting the prayer. This was said thrice and by that time Mar Gregorios had breathed his last breath. Shortly after, the mortal remains of Geevarghese Mar Gregorios were adorned with all the bishop’s vestments and insignia and were seated on a throne inside the church following the ancient custom in the Eastern Church.
On the 45th Anniversary of his memorial, on the 2nd November 1947, Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala was officially canonized as Saint Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala by the Supreme Head of our Church, His Holiness Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Geevarghese II Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan of the Holy Episcopal Synod of the Malankara (Indian) Orthodox Syrian Church