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ST. GREGORIOS - THE HOLY FATHER

 

 

or Gregorios Thirumeni from his child hood days led a very pious and simple life.  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.  Many in his generation can testify their personal experience in being blessed with divine grace revived by them through this Holy father.  Mor Gregorios was an able bishop who ministered to the spiritual and temporal needs of his flock.  Through his prayers many were cured from mental illness and evil spirit and many received peace and spiritual prosperity.  A few of the events known and said by the devotes are being reproduced in this page.

 

Help for the needy

Once a rich Syrian Christian belonging to one Church in Kandanad diocese had leased a calf to a poor Nair (Hindu) widow.  As per the customs that prevailed at the time, it was the right of the (lessee) widow to retain the first calf and the milk of the first season and only the cow has to be returned to the owner.  But in spite of this, when this cow gave birth to a calf, the rich man requested the widow to return both the cow and calf.   Disregarding the  justifiable request of the lady, the rich man forcefully took back the animals.   The daughter of the widow who so fond of the calf, was very sad and she even refused to take food, such was her attachment.  This prompted the poor lady to approach some friends of the rich man for a solution, but failed. 

Meanwhile this lady also approached our Kochu Thirumeni who was staying at the local Church and requested his help.  On knowing the facts, Thirumeni advised the owner of the cow to return at least the calf, but his adamant attitude saddened the Holy Father.  This prompted our Kochu Thirumeni to donate enough amount from his personal savings that was needed for buying a new cow for the widow.  Both the poor lady and her daughter were very thankful and  they become devotees of the Thirumeni.  The young girl later in her life reached a very respectable position and was a frequent visitor to the tomb of our Thirumeni in Parumala. 

 

The commanding personality

At Kottayam Kurisu Pally (The Church of Holy Cross), a huge Cross was there just in front of the altar obstructing a clear view of the Holy Mass.   So some of the parishioners made requests to reinstate the Holy Cross to a suitable position.  But the general body meeting held later, could not take a decision due to the opposition from within.  This gradually erupted into a major controversy and subsequently the then Malankara Metropolitan Pulikottil Mor Dionysius was forced to intervene, but even his request was rejected by the opponent group who were reluctant to replace the Holy Cross from its existing position. 

Mor Dionysius Methrachen who felt helpless, send urgent messages to  Mor Gregorios Thirumeni and he reached Kottayam without any delay. On reaching the said church, Mor Gregorios Thirumeni, without any further query or request, started meditation and prayer inside the church.  On the third day after the Holy Qurbono, Thirumeni gave a heart throbbing speech about the Holy Cross and requested the parishioner's help to change the position of the Holy Cross so that every one attending the Services can have a clear glimpse of the Altar during the Holy Qurbono.  Surprisingly, not even a single person objected the request of Thirumeni and later in his presence itself, the Holy Cross was reinstated at a convenient position.   While shifting, there was a doubt whether this huge Cross would be broken, but our Kochu Thirumeni being  so confident of its safety, preferred to pray all along.   This had happened in 1892, and even now this Huge Cross is located in the reinstated position inside the Church.  The whole episode is a clear indication to the Thirumeni's commanding capacity which had developed through continuous prayer.  Parumala Thirumeni was able to resolve most of the problems, which even the able administrator Pulikottil Mor Dionysius V could not.  This was why the dissident bishop, Palakunnath Mar Athanasius who sided with the European missionaries, used to say that 'Kochu Thirumeni on his Knees was much powerful than the giant Pulikottil Thirumeni'.

 

Slipping of a wedding ring

About three months prior to the death of Parumala Thirumeni, he was soleminising a wedding at the Viyapuram church.  While blessing the rings, one of them slipped from his hand.  Everyone attending the function thought it to be a bad omen for the couple.  But Thirumeni, aware of the people's mind told not to worry, but said it only indicated that he would never again solemnise another marriage.  This occurred just one month before he become seriously ill.

 

Beating of a Priest

Once Mor Gregorios Thirumeni was forced to spoke some harsh words against a Priest and beat him for his misbehavior.  But later Thirumeni felt very sad about it.   Immediately he send an emissary to the Priest and requested to stay with him at the Seminary. Thirumeni also asked the Priest to celebrate the Holy Qurbono the next day.  Just before the Holy Services, Thirumeni Knelt before this very Priest and confessed for what he has done.   The Priest who was so ashamed of himself, repented and since then was a changed person.

 

Mor Elia Chapel

On his way to the Holy land, once the Sea become very rough.  Parumala Thirumeni prayed for the intercession of the prophet 'Elijah', and surprisingly the sea become very calm soon.  It was in memory of this event, that Thirumeni built a Chapel at Kottayam in the name of prophet.  Though in the middle east, there are many churches for the Syrian Christians (under the Holy See of Antioch) in the name of Mor Elijah, in Malankara it was for the first time a church was dedicated in the name of this prophet.  This church established by Parumala Mor Gregorios Thiruemni in Kottayam, is the only known church in Malankara that is named after 'Mor Elijah'.

 

Karingachira St. George Church and St. Gregorios Thirumeni

Even though his sphere of activity were places south of Kottayam, our Kochu Thirumeni  used to spend lot of time at the Karingachira St. George church which was very near to his native place, Mulunthuruthy.  At the age of 9, his uncle Srambikkal-Pallathattu Malpan Geevarghese Kassisso took him to Karingachira to be ordained a kooroyo on September 14, 1857 by the then Metropolitan of Malankara, Palakkunnath Mathews Mar Athanasius. Later on several occasions, as ramban (monk) and as metropolitan, he had visited Karingachira church and stayed for several days. Church records show that in Chingam 1892 he stayed at the church and initiated the broadening of the access to the road on the south side of the church, clearing the foliage and relocating shops located there. The well known Karuthedath Geevarghese Kassisso who served as Vicar of this church for over five decades was ordained priest by Mor Gregorios. A bull from Kochu Thirumeni related to this priestly ordination has been found recently. Those were the days when water transport was very common and people used to travel long distances in country boats.  Near to Karingachira church there was a boat landing place and our Kochu Thirumeni made this as a base to take boat. On such occasions he would request arrangements at Karingachira church. A kalpana (Bull No. 287) in Kochu Thirumeni's own handwriting in this regard has been preserved.

Once while staying at Karingachira church, Mor Gregorios was taken ill.  The doctors asked for some butter to prepare medicines.  A message was sent to a nearby household which had a diary. But they refused to give the butter.  On the next day, blood gushed out from the cow's udders, when it was milked. The frightened family rushed to Kochu Thirumeni and begged for forgiveness.  The saint consoled them and sent them away.  Many of the parishioners of Karingachira church recount this incident to this day.

On another occassion, a close friend of Parumala Thirumeni paid a visit to him together with his three year-old son.  The boy on seeing the ring worn by the Thirumeni, become very fond of and held to it.  Thirumeni kissing the child, instead gave him a  beautifully decorated copy of St. Mathew's Gospel.   The next day Thirumeni gave a small ring as a special gift to the Child.   This boy who later become a  famous personality, kept it as a precious treasure. 

Another event that happened gives an indication to Thirumeni's righteousness. A cross was established by the Karingachira church at Thiruvankulam, a nearby village. This was consecrated by Mor Gregorios. This cross happened to be near a Hindu temple. The temple authorities were annoyed that a cross was located near the temple and incense offered there. They filed a petition against the trustees of the church with Kochu Thirumeni as a witness in the Cochin Magistrate court. Many appealed to Kochu Thirumeni to testify that he had not offered incense at the newly established cross, in order to secure a favorable judgment. Kochu Thirumeni refused and testified that he had indeed offered incense. The trustees of the church were found guilty. However, Kochu Thirumeni consoled the trustees and told them to appeal the judgment and assured them that the verdict would be in their favour. The appeal resulted in a favourable verdict.

Many such events are recalled by the faithful about Thirumeni.  Through his prayers many were cured from mental illness and evil spirit and many received peace and spiritual prosperity.  After the Holy Father's heavenly abode, people used to pray for his intercession and his blessings are obtained by many as evidenced by the strong faith of the people in Mor Gregorios Thirumeni.

 

 

 

 

 


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