SaintGregorios of Parumala is popularly known as ‘Parumala Thirumeni’.Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of the Malankara OrthodoxChurch who passed away on November 2nd 1902, became the firstdeclared saint from Malankara (Kerala, India) naturally to be called,‘Parumala Thirumeni’. He shines in the cloud of witnesses as abright luminary giving rays of hope to millions in their sufferingand struggles.
MarGregorios left the earthly abode on 2nd November 1902. The funeralwas conducted at Parumala on Tuesday the 3rd of November 1902 in thepresence of thousands of people and hundreds of priests. The manytestimonies to the saintly intercession of Mar Gregorios madeParumala Church and the tomb a centre of pilgrimage. In 1947 MarGregorios of blessed memory was declared a saint by the thenCatholicos of the church, His Holiness Baselius Geevarghese II.
It was on June 15, 1848 that Kochu Ipeora (Geevarghese) was born in Mulanthuruthy Kerala. His parents were Kochu Mathai and Mariam whohad three sons and two daughters. After the early days of educationunder Malpan (teacher) Geevarghese of Chathuruthy, Kochu Ipeora wasordained as deacon on September 14, 1859; he was only ten years oldat that time.
One day Malpan became seriously ill with smallpox. Deacon Geevarghese wasthe only one who stayed and took care of him, while all others weresent home. On the eight day Malpan died and Deacon became ill. Duringthis time he had a vision of St. Mary in his dream, descending toconsole him, and exhorting him to dedicate the rest of his life tothe lord. He pledged: “He would”. This was a heavenlyvision that enabled him to become a humble servant of God. Very soonthe deacon recovered.
At the age of 18, in 1865 he was ordained as a priest. Joseph MarDionysios raised him to the order of monks (Ramban) in 1872. ThePatriarch of Antioch consecrated four metropolitans at ParavoorChurch, Kerala in December 10, 1876. The youngest among them wasGeevarghese Ramban and who was named Mar Gregorios. Because of hisage everybody called him “Kochu Thirumeni”(YoungestBishop). Mar Gregorios was appointed the bishop of Niranam, Kerala.He started a monastery at Parumala, Kerala.
MarGregorios was a man of God, who lived not according to the way of theflesh but according to the law of god. He led a virtuous and strictlife, like a monk, living on frugal diet enriched by prayer andfasting.
At Parumala Seminary he led an strict life. He observed his own specialfasts and people came from far and near to seek his blessings andpaternal advices. In his own words “Prayer brings truth,religious faith, honesty and respect among the people.”
St.Gregorios became sick when he returned from Veeyapuram Church afterblessing a marriage. Even from the beginning of his illness he knewthat he was in his last days. The news of illness spread all overMalankara. Although he grew weaker day by day, his face shonebrighter and brighter. It was on November 2, 1902, midnight he wasready to meet his heavenly father. He left his earthly abode and flewto eternity. In 1947, The Holy Episcopal synod canonized andproclaimed him a Saint of the Orthodox Church. There are hundreds ofinstances that proved his Saintliness. Thousands of people receivefavors and blessings through his intercession
St.Geevarghese Mar Dionysius Vattasseril, Malankara Metropolitan, was abright light for the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church that illuminedduring her dark and tumultuous times and possessed the vision tobring the Church triumphantly from the bonds of foreign oppression. Thirumeni dedicated his entire life to secure the freedom and welfareof the Holy Church. His Grace faced many troubles and obstaclesas well as received constant physical and verbal abuse via threatsand physical attacks as he courageously led the Church to herindependence. He confronted the dangers and obstacles directlyresponding with vigor, strength and remarkable conviction andconfidence in God’s justice and plan, which was a product of hiscontinual fasting and prayer. God protected Thirumeni throughout hislife whether in Kerala or abroad as he sought the freedom of theChurch from foreign powers. His great triumph lay in theability to unite the entire Church, both the priests and laymen tofollow his lead. He was incredibly gifted in many fields, amultifarious genius. He was a spiritual leader, a theologicaleducator, scholar of languages, literature and traditions. Hewas a dignified, valorous and noble personality with a remarkablecommanding power.
St.Dionysius was born to his parents, Joseph Vattasseril of Mallappallyand Eliamma Kolathu Kalathil of Kurichy on 31st October 1858. Following his elementary education at C. M. S. Middle School in Mallappally he completed his high school education from C. M. S. HighSchool, Kottayam. In 1876, while still a high school student, he was ordained as a sub deacon by H. H. Moran Mar Pathrose Patriarch.
Life in the Church
Dn.Geevarghese studied at the Orthodox Theological Seminary (OldSeminary or Pazhaya Seminary), Kottayam for four years therebyundergoing his theological training. Dn. Geevarghese soonbecame a great Syriac scholar under the careful tutelage of St.Gregorios of Parumala, who taught him at Seminary. In 1879 Dn.Geevarghese was ordained as a full deacon and in 1880 he was ordainedas a priest by St. Gregorios. By 1880, Fr. Geevarghese hadbecome an authority in the Syriac, Church History, Faith andDoctrine, the Church Fathers, and Theology. In recognition ofhis incredible expertise in Syriac and theology he was designated asMalankara Malpan. He spent his spare time reading, studying,and thinking which translated to his many renowned writings such as“Doctrines of the Church”. He also used his scholarship toedit and publish the order of Church worship to be used by theordinary faithful for meaningful participation in worship. Hewas appointed as Principal of M. D. Seminary, Kottayam as he was botha great scholar and administrator. In 1903, he was blessed as aRamban (monk). He also served as the Manager of ParumalaSeminary. In 1908 he was consecrated as H. G. Geevarghese MarDionysius Metropolitan and served as the Assistant MalankaraMetropolitan. The next year he became the MalankaraMetropolitan and served and led the Church in that capacity until his departure from this life in 1934 when he and the Church triumphed in establishing the official constitution of the Malankara OrthodoxSyrian Church.
H.H. Moran Mar Baselios Geevarghese II Catholicos of blessed memory remarked in the speech at the burial of Vattasseril Thirumeni, “When we look at the highest solemn position held by Vattasseril Thirumeniand his deep and firm faith in God, he seemed similar to Moses wholed the sons of Abraham from the captive land of Egypt to thepromised land of freedom and happiness. There is no doubt about it. Moses had spent his entire life for the freedom of his people but he could not enter the Promised Land. He was onlyable to see the Promised Land from a distance. Like wise the Moses of the Malankara Church has also watched the freedom of hisChurch from a distance”. Vattasseril Thirumeni was a goodorator who was well aware of the importance of the vitality and moralpersuasiveness of words when delivering the speeches to thefaithful. Spiritually, he was transformed by Christ and bore noscars from sin. His humility and withdrawal from the praise ofthis world kept many from seeing the incredibly pious and faithfullife that Thirumeni lived. In addition to not publicizing hisown spiritual advancement he also avoided spiritual hypocrisy andarrogance throughout his life. Prayers and fasting were thepillars that were Vattasseril Thirumeni’s spiritual foundation. He faced all the challenges with the power he had gained through hisvalued spiritual life. In addition to the liturgical hours ofprayer, Thirumeni spent much time in private prayers and silentmeditations behind closed doors and away from the attention ofpeople. In spite of his busy schedule, he was also able to focus on three to four lessons from the Holy Bible everyday. Despite Vattasseril Thirumeni’s literal application of Christ’sinstruction to pray in private and not for others to see, manyrecognized that His Grace was a living saint amongst them