St.Gregorios, popularly known as PARUMALA THIRUMENI" was born on 15th of June 1848, into a the priestly family of 'Pallathattu Thanagattu' in the village of Mulunthuruthy near Cochin, India.
He was baptized by name Geevarghese (George) at the Mulanthurthy Mar Thoman Church. After he lost his mother when he was a small boy, he was brought up under the loving care of his elder sister Mariam.
From his early childhood, he had been leading a very disciplined life, enriched by prayer and fasting. Even as a boy, he had a deep fascination towards Syriac, the liturgical language of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
His uncle, (father's brother) Malpan Kassisso Geevarghese, who was himself an authority in Syriac, and a celibate priest, noticed his nephew’s extraordinary ability to sing,gave him proper guidance.
Two other personalities who had great influence on young Geevarghese were Malpan Kassisso Geevarghese Konattu and St.Yuyakkim Mor Koorilos Bava, the Syrian Metropolitan who was Reesh Episcopa to Malankara.
During the years that followed, the church witnessed the emergence of this great Saint. Through his continuous prayers, he made it clear to the world, that Prayer and devotion is mightier than any other worldly possession.
He passed away at the age of 54 on 2 nd. of November 1902.
After leading a saintly life of prayer and fasting, he become one of the brightest jewels of the Universal Syrian Church
A brief life-history
At such a young age of 10, Palakunnath Mathews Mor Athanasius initiated Geevarghese to the order of Korooyo at the Karingachira St.George Jacobite Church.
At the age of 18, he was ordained Shamshono by Yuyakim Mor Koorilos, The very next month Shamshono Geevarghese was ordained a Kassisso (full priest) and later as Corepiscopa, by Yuyakim Mor Koorilos Bava.
He settled at the Vettickal Dayro near Mulunthuruthy, where he led a very strict monastic life. In 1872 Mor Dionysius V Pulikottil professed him a Ramban (Monk-Priest)
During this period, the activities of the Protestant Missionaries, supported by the British Government, were at its peak. These missionary groups and their supporters created a great deal of trouble and caused untold hardships to the Syrian Church. They not only deported the Patriarchal Delegates from the states of Travancore and Kochi, they also prevented Indian metropolitans from entering the churches. Those who opposed these missionaries were arrested and put in jail (Church history by E M Philip). A number of Syrian Christian churches were either closed or taken over by the government.
Under the leadership of Ramban Geevarghese Chathuruthy, the faithful organized a general body of Malankara Church on 8 th. September 1873 at Parumala. They decided to seek the help of the Church Supreme, the Patriarch of Antioch, to find a solution to the prevailing problems.
Following the request, His Holiness Ignatius Peter IV - the Patriarch of the Apostolic See of Antioch & All the East and the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, came to Malankara in June 1875. Ramban Geevarghese who was well versed in Syriac was appointed as the interpreter to the Patriarch. The Patriarch was so impressed by the young Ramban, that he chose him as his private secretary.
When the historic Mulanthuruthy Synod was convened during the month of June 1876, the assistance of Ramban Geevarghese was of great help to His Holiness. The Patriarch came to regard the Ramban in such high esteem, that His Holiness decided to elevate him to the order of Metropolitan.
H.H. the Patriarch ordained Ramban Geevarghese as a Metropolitan on 10th December 1876 at the North Paravur St.Thomas Church. He was named Gregorios.
Of the six Metropolitans ordained by His Holiness the Patriarch during his stay in Malankara, Mor Gregorios was the youngest. He was only 28. He therefore came to be known affectionately as ‘KOCHU THIRUMENI’.
As the ancestral house where Mor Gregorios grew up as a boy was known by name 'CHATHURUTH’, he was also known as ‘CHATHURUTHY THIRUMENI’
The St. Mark's Syrian Orthodox Monastery of Jerusalem, where Parumala Thirumeni stayed and celebrated the Holy Mass in AD.1895
('Sehion Malika' as mentioned in his travelogue by Parumala Thirumeni)
Entrance to the St. Mark's Syrian Orthodox Monastery
Thirumeni became seriously ill at the age of 54. He knew that his end was near. On November 2 nd., while the Metropolitans and priests and others around him were praying, Kochu Thirumeni uttered, "MY LORD" and closed his eyes.
(There is an opinion that Kochu Thirumeni passed away on Monday, the 3rd November, 1902 and his mortal remains were laid to rest the next day - 4th November - at St. Peter’s Church, Parumala)
St. Gregorios Geevarghese - Parumala Thirumeni
(during the Funeral rites, Thirumeni wearing all the vestments)
The Sacred Tomb of St. Gregorios Geevarghese Chathuruthy at the Parumala St. Peter's church
Conferring sainthood and Remembering MOR GREGORIOS in the 5th TUBDEN
The Holy Episcopal Synod of Malankara Jacobite Syrian Church, held on the 22 nd. August 1987, requested the Patriarch, to permit the name of Mor Gregorios to be included in the 5th 'TUBDEN', along with the other saints and Martyrs.
Accepting the request, His Holiness the Patriarch Ignatius Zakka-I Iwas issued the historical Bull dated 20th December 1987, authorizing the recitation of the name of Mor Gregorios of Malankara in the Fifth 'TUBDEN' (diptych) in all the Malankara churches worldwide.
This Bull was first read at the home parish of the Holy Father, at the Mulanthuruthy Mar Thoman Church. Thereafter the name of the Holy Father was recited in the 5th TUBDEN, along with the names of late Patriarch of Antioch Moran Mor Ignatius Elias III (Manjinikkara, 1932) and Maphryono Mor Baselios Yeldo (Kothamangalam, 1685) whose names were also included.
Quite a number of churches were built in the name of the Holy Father all over the world. Perhaps the churches and shrines , built by the Malankara Syrian Christians in recent times and named after ST. GREGORIOS, are next in number only to those bearing the names of Mother Mary and Geevarghese Sahdo.
Mor Gregorios who was a scholar in the Syriac language, was greatly fascinated by its beauty, melody; its glorious past and spiritual history. To him, the prayers forming the integral part of the Holy Qurbono had a real significance and relevance. This helped him remain steadfast in his
loyalty to the Apostolic See of Antioch founded by St. Peter. He was firm
in his convictions about the traditions and history built up by the Holy
Fathers listed in the 5th TUBDEN.
He had no doubts about the hierarchy of the Church as spelt out in the 1st Tubden, which gives a place of importance to Mor Ignatius, our Patriarch. His SALMUSA bears ample testimony to his unflinching loyalty to the Holy Throne. There can be no doubt as to what Thirumeni considered to be the essentials of the Syrian Christian belief, faith, tradition and culture.
Mor Gregorios is a saint
who set the moral tone for his people during his time . He loved everyone, specially the poor and
needy. If we consider a saint to be one who was totally dedicated to God,
then Mor Gregorios Bava was one who faithfully followed his master, Lord Jesus
Let us Pray for the
Intercession of this illustrious Saint of Malankara who passed away at the age of 54 on 2 nd. of
The "Noottonninmel Qurbano" celebrated by 101 priest at the Puthencuriz Patriarchal Centre, to mark the conclusion of the year-long celebrations in connection with the 100th death anniversary of St. Gregorious (Parumala Kochu Thirumeni)