Gregorios of Parumala (15 June 1848 – 2 November 1902), also known as Parumala Thirumeni (Bishop of Parumala) and Geevarghese Mar Gregorios, was a Metropolitan of the Malankara Church.[1][2] Parumala Thirumeni became the first person of Indian origin to be canonised as saint. In 1947, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church declared Mar Gregorios as a saint,[3] making him the first saint from India canonized by that church.[4] In November 1987, the Syriac Orthodox Church canonized him as a saint.[5][6][7]

Gregorios of Parumala

(Geevargese Mar Gregorios)
Metropolitan of Niranam
15 June 1848
Mulanthuruthy, Kerala, India
Died2 November 1902 (aged 54)
Parumala, Kerala, India
Venerated inMalankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Syriac Orthodox Church
Canonized2 November 1947 by Baselios Geevarghese II of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
20 October 1987 by Ignatius Zakka I of Syriac Orthodox Church
Major shrineSaint Peter and Saint Paul Orthodox Syrian Church, Parumala
Feast2 November
AttributesWearing a bishop's vestment, pectoral cross worn around his neck while holding an crucifix and crozier

Early life edit

Gregorios was born in Pallathetta family in the Chathuruthy house at Mulamthuruthy near Cochin, India on 15 June 1848. His parents were Mathai Gheevarghese and Mariam Gheevarghese.[8] He was called by the name ‘Kochaippora’ and was given the baptismal name ‘Geevarghese’. Geevarghese had two brothers and two sisters; Kurian, Eli, Mariam and Varkey.[9] Geevarghese was the youngest. Geevarghese's mother died when he was a small boy and since then he was under the loving care of his elder sister Mariam.[10]

At a very young age, Geevarghese had shown interest in spiritual matters. His devotion, humility and above all, his ability to sing the traditional Syriac hymns beautifully and perfectly, came to the notice of his uncle Malpan Geevarghese. The uncle wanted to raise his nephew to be a priest and his family members, who knew Geevarghese's character too agreed to the Malpan's request.

Priesthood edit

Parumala Mor Gregorios was born into a well-known family of Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christians, with a lineage that can be traced back to the brotherhood of Mor Anthrayos, a bishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.[11] He was taught by his uncle Geevarghese Malpan and was ordained the 9-year-old Geevarghese, a quroyo (sub-deacon) on the Feast of the Cross (Kanni 14, M.E.1033 / 26 September 1857) at the age of ten by Malankara Metropolitan Mathews Mar Athanasius at St. George Syrian Cathedral, Karingachira.[10] He continued his training with Malpan until the latter died from smallpox. Gregorios was also infected with smallpox but survived. He was ordained as a Mshamshono (Deacon) by Yuyakim Mor Koorilos Reesh-Episcopa of Malankara (Patriarchal Delegate of Malankara) then after one month Priest at the age of 18 in 1865 also Cor-Episcopa (Monk-Archpriest) again by Yuyakim Mor Koorilos Reesh-Episcopa of Malankara (Patriarchal Delegate of Malankara) and as a Ramban (monk-priest) at the age of 22 by Malankara Metropolitan Joseph Mar Dionysios in 1872.[10][8]

On 10 December 1876, the Ignatius Peter IV Patriarch of Antioch, promoted the 28-year old Gregorios to be a Metropolitan at St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church, Vadakkan Paravoor,[10][8] at which point his official name became Geevarghese Mar Gregorios. He was the youngest of who all were elevated as bishops and was called Kochu Thirumeni (Young Bishop). Gregorios was given the charge of Niranam Diocese.

Metropolitan edit

Azhippura - Small building where Mar Gregorios stayed in Parumala. He used the same place for training deacons

In his bishopric, in the Niranam Diocese,[8] Gregorios established various churches and was the motivator to establish schools in different parts of Malankara. In the late 1890s, many educational institutions were started by the Malankara Church under the initiative and guidance of him and Joseph Mar Dionysius. Examples of these include St. Thomas School at Mulanthuruthy, St. Ignatius School at Kunnamkulam, and the Syrian English School (now known as MGM High School) at Thiruvalla.[10]

Following the death of fellow metropolitans (bishops), the administration of Thumpamon and Kollam dioceses also passed to him. In 1887, the first block of the Parumala Seminary was consecrated.[12]

By 1895, Gregorios had made Parumala his main spiritual centre. The church that he founded there in that year was consecrated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul. He would wake at 4 am to pray the Shehimo prayers and he fasted on Wednesday and Fridays, as well as during Lent.[8]

Geevarghese visited Jerusalem in 1895. He visited almost all the important places of Christendom and led the Passion Week services at Syrian Orthodox Church in the Holy City with accompanied members Geevarghese Dionysius of Vattasseril, Kochuparambil Paulose Koorilos and Osthatheos Sleeba (Later Patriarchal Delegate of Malankara)[13] led as guide. On his return, he collected a certain amount from all the Parishes in Malankara and sent a Silver Cross as offering to the Holy church in Jerusalem.[14]

Tomb of Gregorios at St. Peter and St. Paul Orthodox Syrian Church, Parumala

Disciples edit

Among the many disciples of Gregorios, four deserve special notice

1. Vattasseril Geevarghese (later, Malankara Metropolitan Geevarghese Dionysius of Vattasseril) ( served as the Private Secretary of Mar Gregorios of Parumala)

2. Panampady Paulose (later, Koorilos Paulose).[15]

2. Kuttikattu Paulose (later, Paulose Athanasios)

3. Kallasseril Geevarghese (later, Catholicos of Malankara Church and Malankara Metropolitan Baselios Geevarghese II)

Death edit

Gregorios had a stomach ulcer and it became chronic in 1902. Treatment proved futile and he grew weaker and weaker. On 2 November 1902, Gregorios left for his heavenly abode. The funeral was conducted at Saint Peter's and Saint Paul's Malankara Orthodox Church, Parumala, on 3 November 1902. Thousands of people and hundreds of priests were present at the funeral who gave testimony of the saintly Gregorios. The mausoleum which Gregorios was interred in has become a popular pilgrimage site.

Canonization edit

In Malankara Orthodox Church edit

On the occasion of 45th death anniversary of Geevarghese Mar Gregorios, based on the decision of the episcopal synod held in 1947, Baselios Geevarghese II, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan declared Mar Gregorios as a saint for the Malankara Syrian Church on 2 November 1947.[8]

In Jacobite Syrian Christian Church (Syrian Orthodox) edit

According to the recommendation of the local synod of Church in India, held on 22 August 1987 Ignatius Zakka I, Patriarch of Antioch, head of Syriac Orthodox Church declared Mar Gregorios as canonized saint for Jacobite Syrian Christian Church on 20 October 1987.[16][6][7]

Minor Shrines edit

  1. Mulanthuruthy Church - St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church, Mulanthuruthy is the one of the major shrines of Parumala Mor Gregorios known as the baptized church.
  2. St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Parumala- It is a major pilgrim site for all Christians in kerala. The tomb of the late bishop is located in the Parumala church. It belongs to the Indian Orthodox Church.
  3. St. George's Monastery, Malekurish - a pilgrimage site of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, situated on the hilltop near Puthencruz. One of the relics of saints installed on Malecruz Dayara is of Parumala Mar Gregorios.

References edit

  1. ^ Dale Albert Johnson (2017). Syriac Pearls. pp. 111–116. ISBN 9781387066032.
  2. ^ Stephen Neill (2002). A History of Christianity in India. Cambridge University Press. p. 247. ISBN 9780521893329.
  3. ^ "St. Gregorios Of Parumala – Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios. |".
  4. ^ "St. Gregorios Of Parumala – Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios. |". Retrieved 20 September 2023.
  5. ^ "Patriarchal Encyclical: Permitting additions to Diptychs in Malankara - Oct 20, 1987 and proclaiming saint".
  6. ^ a b Singh, Kumar Suresh; India, Anthropological Survey of (2002). People of India. Anthropological Survey of India. ISBN 9788185938998.
  7. ^ a b Canonized Father's of Syriac Orthodox Church in India
  8. ^ a b c d e f "Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala", The Order of Mar Gregorios
  9. ^ St. Gregorios Of Parumala – Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios
  10. ^ a b c d e Saint Greegorios Geevarghese
  11. ^ Geevarghese mor Gregorios Genealogy
  12. ^ St.George Indian Orthodox Church, Perth - St. Gregorios
  13. ^ Sleeba Osthathios
  14. ^ Parumala Mar Gregorios Geevarghese
  15. ^ Coorilos Paulose
  16. ^ "Patriarchal Encyclical: Permitting additions to Diptychs in Malankara - Oct 20, 1987 and proclaiming saint".

External links edit