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[1]
15 June 1848
Mulanthuruthy, Kerala, India
Died2 November 1902 (aged 54)
Parumala, Kerala, India
Venerated inMalankara Orthodox Syrian Church and
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 shrineSt.Peter's and St.Paul's Orthodox Syrian Church, Parumala
Feast2 November

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

Early life[edit]

St. 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

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.


Parumala Mor Gregorios was born into a well-known family of Syriac Orthodox Christians, with a lineage that can be traced back to the brotherhood of Mor Anthrayos, a bishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.[13] 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 / September 26, 1857) at the age of ten by Malankara Metropolitan Mathews Mar Athanasius at St. George Jacobite Syrian Cathedral, Karingachira.[12] 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.[12][10]

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,[12][10] 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.


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

In his bishopric, in the Niranam Diocese,[10] 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.[12]

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.[14]

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.[10]

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 (Later Patriarchal Delegate of Malankara)[15] 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.[16]

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


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).[17]

2. Kuttikattu Paulose (later, Paulose Athanasios)

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


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 Syian 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.[18]

Parumala Church


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.[10]

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.[19][8][9]

Minor Shrines[edit]

  1. Mulanthuruthy Church - St. Thomas Church, Mulanthuruthy is the most major shrine of Parumala Mor Gregorios known as the baptized church.
  2. 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.
  3. Perumpilly Simhasana Church - The Perumpilly Simhasana Church is situated in the native place of Geevargese Mar Gregorios. He leaves this church for a long time.


  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. ISBN 9781387066032.
  3. ^ Stephen Neill (2002). A History of Christianity in India. Cambridge University Press. p. 247. ISBN 9780521893329.
  4. ^ "St. Gregorios Of Parumala – Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios. |".
  5. ^ "114th feast of St. Gregorios celebrated". The Hindu. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  6. ^ "1Relics of saint to be installed in Ahmedabad church". DNA India. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Patriarchal Encyclical: Permitting additions to Diptychs in Malankara - Oct 20, 1987 and proclaiming saint".
  8. ^ a b Singh, Kumar Suresh; India, Anthropological Survey of (2002). People of India. Anthropological Survey of India. ISBN 9788185938998.
  9. ^ a b Canonized Father's of Syriac Orthodox Church in India
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Geevarghese Mar Gregorios of Parumala", The Order of Mar Gregorios
  11. ^ St. Gregorios Of Parumala – Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios
  12. ^ a b c d e Saint Greegorios Geevarghese
  13. ^ Geevarghese mor Gregorios Geneology
  14. ^ St.George Indian Orthodox Church, Perth - St. Gregorios
  15. ^ Sleeba Osthathios
  16. ^ Parumala Mar Gregorios Geevarghese
  17. ^ Coorilos Paulose
  18. ^ "St. Gregorios Of Parumala – Metropolitan Geevarghese Mar Gregorios". Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Patriarchal Encyclical: Permitting additions to Diptychs in Malankara - Oct 20, 1987 and proclaiming saint".

External links[edit]