Parumala Kochu Thirumeni
Most Holy Gee Varghese Mar Gregorious also known as ‘Parumala Kochuthirumeni’ is
the first declared saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church and the first Indian Saint of the
He was born on15th June 1848 at Mulanthuruthy in the family called Chathuruthy to
Kochu Mathai and Mariam. He was christened with name Gee Varghese and was lovingly
called Kochaipora. Kurian and Varky were his brothers and Eli and Mariam were sisters.
Since his mother died at a younger age, he was brought up by Mariam, his elder sister.
His initial teachers were Onakkavil Ayya and Mani. He was first in his studies. His respect
to teachers, meekness, humbleness, obedience, simplicity, love etc.. attracted everyone.
He was taught Syriac by Gee Varghese Kathanar of Chathuruthy family who was also
his paternal uncle. He received the Korooyo ordination at the age of ten, which is the
first ordination towards priestly ordination. He thus became Deacon Gee Varghese. His
Syriac teacher Gee Varghese Kathanar caught small pox and while attending to him,
Deacon Gee Varghese also caught the same. While he was seriously ill, he had a vision
in which St. Mary was standing next to him and asking him to utilize rest of his life time
for God’ work. After he was healed he has submitted himself to full time God’s work. He
came in close contact with Yuyakkim Mar Kooreelose who came to Malankara. His deep
knowledge in Syriac, intelligence, piety and was appreciated by the metropolitan and life
of submission was appreciated by Yuyakim Mar Kooreelos and lifted him to full deacon
position in 1865 and in the same year he was ordained as a priest.
The young priest decided to follow the life of St. Anthonius who lived in Egypt during the
Living a life of penance and gifting all his belongingness to the poor. He shifted to the
vettikal chapel, five kilometer away from Mulanthuruthy. It did not take much time for
the chapel to become a hermitage as he had planned. Life of penance and prayer of
the young priest of the Vettikal chapel surprised the neighbors. Many saw a saint in
him. Many used to visit the chapel to meet him and receive prayer and blessing. Thus
the Vettikal chapel became a pilgrim place. Gee Varghese Cor Episcope was raised
as a Ramban at the age of 24 years. He had totally given up all worldly pleasures and
embraced the spiritual life to become an ardent ascetic.
He has advanced in his spiritual life with penance, fasting, Bible study, prayer, meditation
and drew near to God. He was consecrated as a Metropolitan at the age of 28 years in
1876. Since he was the youngest to be elevated to the position of a Metropolitan, he was
called ‘Kochu Thirumeni’. He took the name Mar Gregorious and was appointed as the
Metropolitan of Niranam. He ruled the metropolis centered at Parumala. He also had to
take responsibility of Thumbaman and Kollam metropolis along with his own.
He lived in a small house called ‘Azhippura’ which is still preserved and a continuous
prayer is conducted there for 144 hours during his memorial celebrations every year.
His life in the Azhippura was very busy. He used to wake up at 04.00am and all the
inhabitants also used to wake up with him. He was involved in prayer, Bible study, training
of deacons, administration of Metropolis etc.. During the lent he used to fast until twenty
two and half. (10.30 pm). He only used to eat simple meal. He used to wrap around a
broad belt to slimmer his belly which was always filled to only half.
He gave more importance to spiritual nourishment than physical. However tired he was,
he used to complete all the prayers without fail. He also used to wake up in the night and
pray to God the father. The Parumala old church and the adjacent seminary were built
as desired by him. Consecration of the church was done and celebrated the holy Mass
by him in the presence of Vattasseril Mar Divannasious. His presence gave Parumala a
new face. The place that was a nightmare until then began to glow with a holy light. Many
began to flow towards Parumala which is still continued.
Kochuthirumeni lived at the time of caste difference and it hurt Thirumeni deeply. He
advised that everyone is the same infront of God. He also said it is the duty of the church
to spread the Christian light to many. He began a mission for the outcast and baptized
their children and tried to improve them in their culture and living.
He never minded his physical ill health, but was always at the front to help others in their
ill health. When there was an epidemics of small pox in Thumbaman, Thirumeni visited
the place and stayed there to help them. His presence and prayers consoled many.
Many those who were sick, possessed and mentally ill were brought to Thirumeni and
healed. Thus his fame spread widely.
When difference in opinion advanced to fighting, many used to come to him for justice.
His judgment was acceptable to all.
In 1895 he returned from Jerusalem with different decisions. One of the decisions was
to widen the operation of the mission of the outcast to bring many to Christ. He has also
decided to build English schools.
A group from Roman Catholic Church joined Malankara in the leadership of Father
Alwaris. They were spread around Mangalapuram, Brahmavar, Mumbai, Goa and
Sreelanka. On 29th
by Joseph Mar Divannasious in the presence of Parumala Thirumeni. Thirumeni and Mar
Yuleeyos together consecrated Fr.Vilaathi at Colombo and send him to America.
It was his desire to visit the Holy Land. Next day of consecration of the Parumala church
(28 January 1895, Monday) he along with other seven people left for the holy land.
Ramban Paulose, Vattasseril Geevarghese Kathanar, Thoppil Lukose of South Paravoor,
Thumbaman Karingaatil Scaria Kathanar, Kadammanitta Puthen Purackal Gee Varghese
July 1889 Fr. Alwaris was consecrated as Mar Yuleeyos Metropolitan
Kathanar, Sleeba Ramban of China and Parumala Manalil Thoppil Philipose were in the
team. They returned on 06 June after completion of the journey of 130 days.
He was a blessed writer. His book ‘A Travelogue to Jerusalem’ published in July 1895 is a
classic in Christian literature. Also his articles attracted many in Malayalam literature.
He was a blessed prophet. There are many instances to prove this. While the celebration
of Golden jubilee of priesthood of Pulikottil Mar Divanyasos was during the rainy season,
he prophesied that it won’t rain that day and it came true.
There were two disciples to Parumala Thirumeni. They were the Vattasseril Thirumeni
(Gee Varghese Mar Divannasious) and Kallassery Bava (Most Holy Basselious Gee
Varghese Dwitheeyan Bava). They followed the life of Parumala Thirumeni in all the
walks of their life. They also joined the Thirumeni during the midnight prayers as well.
Vattasseril Thirumeni has been chosen as the second saint of the church while Kallassery
Bava is on the row of procedures to be declared saint.
On the day of his death he accepted the Kantheela prayer and Holy Eucharist. He was
fully conscious until the next moment of death. He used to ask the date and when he
heard it was 18th
passed away at 1.00 O’clock on 2nd
pointed at the northern side of the Madbaha of Parumala church. Many visit the tomb of
Thirumeni and receive blessings and healings. Those who do not have children, the sick,
mentally ill and many such get liberated from their ailments at the tomb. Like the candles
at the tomb do not quench, the blessings of Thirumeni never ends.
he prayed to God that he will have to suffer more two more days. He
Nov 1902. He was buried at the same place he had