Saint Gregorios of Parumala popularly known as 'Parumala Thirumeni', was born on 15th June 1848 (M.E. Mithunam 3, 1023) to Kochu Mathai and Mariam of Pallathetta family in the Chathuruthy house at Mulamthuruthy. He shines in the cloud of witnesses as a bright luminary giving rays of hope to millions in their suffering and struggles. Dedication and sacrifice were the key words of his life. His busy schedules never deterred him from hearing the grievances of the common man and was always in the forefront extending necessary help to them. Thirumeni's life was one of righteousness and holiness. Through his prayers many were cured from mental illness and evil spirit and many received peace and spiritual prosperity. The Holy Father's short life was remarkable in many respects and he made it clear to the world that prayer and devotion is mightier than any worldly possession.
A deacon at the age of 10, a priest at the age of 18, a bishop at the young age of 28 (the reason for calling him 'Kochu Thirumeni'); he passed away at the age of 54 on 2nd November 1902, after a saintly life of prayer to become the brightest jewel of the Universal Syrian Church.
Saint Geevargese Mar Gregorios popularly known as Parumala Thirumeni (Bishop of Parumala) (15 June 1848 – 2 November 1902) was a bishop of the Malankara Syrian Church. He is also known as Chathuruthil Kochu Thirumeni. He became a deacon at the age of 10, a priest at the age of 18, a bishop at the young age of 28. He died at the age of 54 and was buried at St.Peters and St.Pauls Orthodox Church, Parumala. In 1947, Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church declared Mar Gregorios as a saint. He is the first canonized Christian saint from India.
A brief life history
Gregorios was born as Kochu Ipeora in the priestly family of 'Chaturuthil' in the village of Mulanthuruthy near Kochi on 15 June 1848. His parents, Kochu Mathai and Maryam, had three sons and two daughters. Soon after the birth of the fifth child, Ipeora Maryam died. His elder sister Maryam, who was married to Varkey of Palal Kalappurackal Vadakkeveedu (Kurinji) near Puthencruz, brought him up. He christened as Geevargese at the Mulanthuruthy Marthoman Jacobite Syrian Church. Gregorios was taught by his father's brother who was a Malpan (Syriac: 'Malfono' ; a Syrian scholar-priest).
He was ordained as a reader-deacon called Koroyo on 14th Sept, 1858 at the age of ten by Palakkunnath Mathews Mar Athanasius at Karingachira St. George Jacobite Syrian Cathedral. Koroyo Geevarghese continued his training under Geevarghese Malpan until Geevarghese died due to small pox. Although Deacon Geevarghese was also infected with small pox, he miraculously survived it. Afterwards Deacon Geevarghese moved to Pampakuda to continue his studies under Konat Geevarghese Malpan. In the meantime, Deacon became associated with the visiting Syrian Bishop Yuyakim Mar Coorilos. Mar Coorilos had great admiration for the deacon and was pleased to ordain him as full deacon, priest and cor-episcopa within few months in 1865. Later he settled at the Vettikkal Dayra near Mulunthuruthy where he led a monastic life. He had a thorough knowledge of Theology and Syriac, which he learned from his teachers, Chaturuthil Fr. Geevarghese Malpan (uncle), Konatt Malpan of Pambakkuda and Yuyakim Mar Koorilos. In 1872 he was ordained Ramban (Monk-Priest) by H G Pulikottil Mar Dionysius, the Malankara Metropolitan.
In 1875, the Antioch Patriarch His Holiness Ignatius Peter IV visited Malankara. The Patriarch chose Ramban Geevarghese as his Secretary and translator during the entire visit. Along with the Patriarch , the Ramban visited many churches. He also assisted the Patriarch in the consecration of the Holy Mooron and in the historic synod of Mulanthuruthy in 1876.
On 10 December 1876 the Patriarch ordained Ramban Geevarghese as Metropolitan Gregorios at the St.Thomas Jacobite Syrian Church in North Paravur. When in Malankara, the Patriarch had consecrated six metropolitans of whom Mar Gregorios was the youngest, at 28, and hence came to be known as Kochu Thirumeni or Young Bishop.
At the behest of our Kochu Thirumeni, all the newly ordained Metropolitans observed a 40-day lent at the 'Vettikkal Dayra' before their assumption as Diocesan Metropolitans. In his bishopric, he 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 Parumala Kochu Thirumeni and Pulikottil Joseph Mar Dionysius (Malankara Metropolitan). St.Thomas School at Mulanthuruthy, St. Ignatius School at Kunnamkulam (named after his mentor the Patriarch of Antioch Mar Ignatius Peter IV), the Syrian English School (now known as 'MGM High School') at Thiruvalla, etc., were some of the well known schools of the Church at that time.
Gregorios was involved in the activities and development of the Malankara Church. Following the demise of Metropolitans, the administration of Thumpamon and Kollam dioceses also fell under him. In 1887 the first block of the 'Parumala Seminary' was consecrated.