Geevarghese Gregorios of Parumala

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Gregorios of Parumala (Geevargese Mar Gregorios)
Raja Ravi Varma, Gheevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala (1905).jpg
Portrait of Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala by Raja Ravi Varma Kept inside the St. John's Jacobite Syrian church Kumarakom[1]
15 June 1848
Mulanthuruthy, Kerala, India
Died2 November 1902 (aged 54)
Parumala, Kerala, India
Venerated inSyriac Orthodox Church, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Jacobite Syrian Christian 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 shrineSt.Peter's and St.Paul's Orthodox Syrian Church, Parumala
Feast2 November

Saint Geevargese Mar Gregorios, popularly known as Parumala Thirumeni (Bishop of Parumala), (15 June 1848 – 2 November 1902) was the Metropolitan of the Malankara Syrian Church.[2][3][4] In 1947, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church declared Mar Gregorios as a saint[5] making him the first canonized Christian saint from India.[6][7] In November 1987, Syriac Orthodox Church canonized him as saint for Jacobite Syrian Christian Church.[8][9][10]

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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13]

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 his nephew to be raised to priesthood and the family members who knew Geevarghese's character too agreed to the Malpan's request.

In 1857, on the Feast of the Cross (Kanni 14, M.E.1033 / September 26, 1857), the Malankara Metropolitan Mathews Athanasius ordained the 9 year old Geevarghese, a quroyo (sub-deacon), at St. George Jacobite Syrian Cathedral, Karingachira.[13]


Gregorios was taught by his uncle Geevarghese Malpan and was ordained as a deacon on 14 September 1858 at the age of ten. 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 priest at the age of 18 in 1865 and as a Ramban (monk-priest) at the age of 22 by Malankara Metropolitan Joseph Mar Dionysios in 1872.[11]

On 10 December 1876, the Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius Peter IV, promoted the 28-year old Gregorios to be a bishop at St. Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church, Vadakkan Paravoor.,[13][11] 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)


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

In his bishopric, which was the Niranam Diocese,[11] 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.[13]

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.[citation needed]

By 1895, Gregorios had made Parumala his main spiritual centre. The church that he founded there in that year was consecrated in the names of St. Peter and St. Paul. He would wake at 4 am to pray the Shehimo prayers and he fasted on Wednesday and Fridays, as well as during Lent.[11]

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 Sleeba Osthathios[14] 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.[15]


Among the many disciples of Gregorios, four deserve special notice:

1. Vattasseril Geevarghese (later, Malankara Metropolitan Geevarghese Dionysius)

2. Kuttikattu Paulose (later, Malankara Metropolitan Paulose Athanasios of Jacobite Syrian Christian Church)

3. Kallasseril Geevarghese (Punnoose) (later, Malankara Metropolitan & Catholicos of the Malankara Church Geevarghese II)

4. Panampady Paulose (Later, Malankara Metropolitan Koorilos Paulose of Jacobite Syrian Christian Church).[16]


Gregorios already had stomach ulcer and it became chronic in 1902. Treatments proved futile and he grew weaker and weaker. On 2 November 1902, Gregorios had left for his heavenly abode. The funeral was conducted at Saint Peter's and Saint Paul's Orthodox Church, Parumala on 3 November 1902. Thousands of people and hundreds of priests were present at the funeral gave testimonies of the saintly Gregorios. The mausoleum which Gregorios was interred became a popular pilgrimage site.[17]


In November 1947, on the occasion of 45th death anniversary of Geevarghese Mar Gregorios Baselios Geevarghese II, Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church declared him as a saint.[11]

In October 1987, Ignatius Zakka I, Patriarch of Antioch decleared Geevarghese Gregorios as canonized saint for Jacobite Syrian Christian Church.[18][9][10]


On September 11, 1975, St. Gregorios Medical Mission Hospital was inaugurated in. The hospital is named after Gregorios and is owned and controlled by a charitable society of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

The student run organization, Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Student Movement, Mor Gregorios Jacobite Students' Movement was named after the patronage of Gregorios by Malankara Metropolitan of Jacobite Syrian Christian Church Athanasius Paulose of Aluva.


  1. ^ [1] Attamangalam St. Johns Jacobite Syrian Church and Portrait of Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala
  2. ^ Dale Albert Johnson (2017). Syriac Pearls. pp. 111–116.
  3. ^ "Sthathikon of Geevarghese Mor Gregorios". Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  4. ^ Stephen Neill (2002). A History of Christianity in India. Cambridge University Press. p. 247. ISBN 9780521893329.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "114th feast of St. Gregorios celebrated". The Hindu. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  7. ^ "1Relics of saint to be installed in Ahmedabad church". DNA India. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Patriarchal Encyclical: Permitting additions to Diptychs in Malankara - Oct 20, 1987 and proclaiming saint".
  9. ^ a b Singh, Kumar Suresh; India, Anthropological Survey of (2002). People of India. Anthropological Survey of India. ISBN 9788185938998.
  10. ^ a b Canonized Father's of Syriac Orthodox Church in India
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala", The Order of Mar Gregorios
  12. ^ St. Gregorios Of Parumala – Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios
  13. ^ a b c d Saint Greegorios Geevarghese
  14. ^ Sleeba Osthathios
  15. ^ Parumala Mar Gregorios Geevarghese
  16. ^ Coorilos Paulose
  17. ^ "St. Gregorios Of Parumala – Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios. |". Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  18. ^ "Patriarchal Encyclical: Permitting additions to Diptychs in Malankara - Oct 20, 1987 and proclaiming saint".

External links[edit]