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ST. GHEEVARGHESE MOR GREGORIOS CHATHURUTHY (1848-1902)

St. Gregorios Geevarghese, popularly known as "PARUMALA THIRUMENI" was born on 15th June 1848. He was baptized by name Geevarghese (George) t the Mulanthuruthy Mar Thoman Church. Geevarghese’s mother died when he was a small boy and since then he was under the loving care of his elder sister Mariam. From childhood days he followed a very disciplined life which was enriched by prayer and fasting. He had a deep fascination towards Syriac, the liturgical language of the Syriac Orthodox Church. His extraordinary ability to sing Syriac hymns beautifully and perfectly came to the notice of his uncle Malpan Kassisso Geevarghese who was an authority in Syriac and a celibate priest. Impressed by his nephews' extraordinary divine qualities Kassisso Geevarghese gave proper guidance to him.

A brief life-history

St. Gregorios was blessed with the order of Korooyo at the tender age of ten at the St. George Jacobite Church Karingachira. At the age of 18, he was ordained Shamshono by Yuyakim Mor Koorilos, the Reesh Episcopa to Malankara (Patriarchal delegate). The very next month Shamshono Geevarghese was ordained a Kassisso (full priest) and later Corepiscopa, again at the blessed hands of Yuyakim Mor Koorilos Bava. Later he settled at the Vettickal dayro near Mulunthuruthy where he led a very strict monastic life. In 1872 he was ordained Ramban by Mor Dionysius V Pulikkottill.

Those were the days when the protestant missionary activities, aided by the British Government, was at its heights. These missionary groups and their supporters created all sort of hardships for the Syrian Church and its hierarchy. The patriarchal delegates were deported from the states of Travancore and Kochi. The Indian metropolitans were not allowed to enter the churches. Priests who opposed these missionaries were arrested and jailed. Many Syrian Christian churches were either taken over or closed by the government. To bring an end to this extraordinary situation the faithful in Malankara came together under the leadership of Ramban Geevarghese Chathuruthy and organised a general body of Malankara Church on 8th September 1873 at Parumala which seek the help of the church supreme, the Patriarch of Antioch, then residing at Kurkumo dayro in Turkey.

Accordingly His Holiness Ignatius Peter IV (also referred as 'Pathros III' in many Malankara records), the Patriarch of the Apostolic See of Antioch & All the East and the Supreme pontiff of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, arrived in Malankara in June 1875. Ramban Geevarghese who was well versed in Syriac was appointed as the interpreter to the Patriarch. The Patriarch greatly impressed with the young Ramban, chose him also as his private secretary. When the historic Mulanthuruthy Synod was convened in the month of June 1876, the assistance of Ramban Geevarghese was of much help to His Holiness. The Patriarch's esteem of the Ramban grew so high that His Holiness decided to elevate him to the order of Metropolitan.

On 10th December 1876, H.H. the Patriarch ordained Ramban Geevarghese a Metropolitan by name 'GREGORIOS' at the North Paraur St. Thomas Church. When in Malankara, His Holiness the Patriarch had consecrated six Metropolitans of which Mor Gregorios was the youngest and was only 28 and hence he came to be known by the endearing name KOCHU THIRUMENI. The ancestral house where Mor Gregorios was born and brought up was known by name 'CHATHURUTHY' and for that reason he is also often referred to as CHATHURUTHY THIRUMENI. While staying at Parumala Seminary, Mor Gregorios taught Syriac to deacons. His ability to tack Syriac hymns was exceptional, a talent he developed through his close association with the Syrian Metropolitan St. Yuyakim Mor Koorilos. Even in the midst of all the busy schedules he gave utmost priority to prayers and fasting. He used to get up at 4 am for prayer and strictly followed the church practise of prayers seven times a day. Observing all the Church Lents, including the fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays was a regular affair from his child-hood days. Mor Gregorios was very keen in maintaining relationship with all section of people, irrespective of caste or community. He always showed love and cared for the poor and suffering. He was very particular for the truthfulness and helping the poor. His Grace took special interest in preaching the Holy Gospel of Our Lord among the backward communities and many were accepted into our fold. He also worked hard to uplift this marginalized people.

His Grace's long standing desire to visit the Holy Land was fulfilled in 1895, nineteen years after his ordination as Metropolitan. During his pilgrimage, he stayed at the "Sehion Malika" which was the diocesan headquarters of the Syrian Orthodox Metropolitan. During his stay there, H.G. visited almost all the important places of Christendom and led the Passion Week services at the altars of our Syrian Church in the Holy City. On his return, His Grace collected a certain amount from all the Parishes in Malankara and sent a Silver Cross as offering to the Holy church in Jerusalem. At the age of 54 Thirumeni became seriously sick. He knew that his end was near. While the Metropolitans and priests and others were praying, Kochu Thirumeni uttered, "MY LORD" and closed his eyes. Kochu Thirumeni passed away on Monday, the 2nd November, 1902 and his mortal remains were laid to rest the next day (4th November) at the St. Peters Jacobite Church Parumala