Parumala Kochu Thirumeni had to suffer much of a lingering disease of piles as he approached the last days of his life. About 3 months before his heavenly abode, Thirumeni's illness become very serious. It was then one of his most trusted disciples Fr. Kochu Koshy visited the Seminary. On the request of Thirumeni, Fr. Kochu Koshy stayed back and nursed His Grace with utmost care. After a few days Vattasseril Geevarghese Malpan also reached there to nurse him. Though some Ayurvedic treatments were done, his health didn't improved. Thirumeni since then was predicting his death, that would happen within a few months. As soon as the news spread, faithful from north to south were visiting him. Even in his bed, Thirumeni enquired about the welfare of each and every visitor and was very particular in serving them. The faithful living nearby, out of their deep affection and respect for this Holy father, contributed enough rice and other items required for supplying daily bread to the people visiting Kochu Thirumeni. This continued for more than a month till his last.
On hearing the seriousness of our Kochu Thirumeni's illness, Malankara Metropolitan Pulikottil Mor Dionysius staying then at Thiruvanathapuram rushed to Parumala. The news about the Parumala Thirumeni's illness was a great shock for Mor Dionysius. Kochu Thirumeni, then was considered to be his successor in the seat of Malankara Metropolitan. Kadavil Mor Athanasius Paulose (Sr) of Angamali and Parumala Thirumeni were the closest aides of Mor Dionysius. Unfortunately Kadavil Thirumeni at the time, too had some serious health problems and hence was resting at North Paravur church. Mor Dionysius who was then 70, was very sad on the turn of the events and on seeing our Kochu Thirumeni suffering in pain, he cried loudly.
Kochu Thirumeni's body was becoming weaker and weaker, and around five days before his death, he called one of his chief disciples, Vattasseril Geevarghese Malpan by the bed side and entrusted him with the keys and other documents. His Grace then told his esteemed colleagues that he will leave this world within a few days. Then for a couple of days he lay speechless. On the third day towards midnight he asked those standing nearby " What is the date today ?". "Eighteenth" (as per Malayalam month) they said. "My Lord I must endure this pain for two more days", sighed His Grace. Holy Father actually new even the date of his death. Two days after, on Sunday the 20th (2nd November), "Kantheela" (Syriac word for the Holy Sacrament of the sick) was celebrated for Thirumeni. At around midnight the same day, Thirumeni in a feeble voice said "Ente Karthave" (Oh My Lord !!!) . Punnoose Ramban and other priests standing nearby, had the Prayers then and suddenly the Great Saint of Malankara left this world submitting his soul to his Father, the God. Eye witnesses testify that they saw a bright light as he lay breathing his last. ( Source:-'Vissudha Edayan' )
News of his death spread like wild fire and faithful from different parts of Malankara streamed into Parumala to see once for ever their beloved shepherd and to pay their last respects. Thirumeni's body was kept in sitting position in a chair with the pastoral staff (Crosier) and Sleeba (Cross) in both hands, inside the church as per the rites of the Syriac Church.
First part of the funeral rites were conducted on Monday (November 3rd). On Tuesday morning, Metropolitan Mar Ivanios Paulose of Kandanad diocese together with around 200 Priests and deacons continued the Holy Prayers. Pulikottil Mor Dionysius Valiya Thirumeni came inside the church many times to see the body of his favorite fellow metropolitan, but he was in such a deep sorrow that he was not even able to stand there to have prayers and hence had to return to his room. Tears were flowing from his eyes. More than 7000 people assembled there to participate in the Prayers. By around 2 P.M. on November 4th, the services inside the church ended. Then 'Nagarikanikkal' (traditional procession around the place) started, Thirumeni's body was kept in a sitting position in the Chair, with the faithful carrying Silver crosses, Church flags etc.. After that the people were allowed to kiss the hands of departed Thirumeni, which continued for more than three hours and finally the last rites started. The most emotional moment of the service was the farewell prayers. His Grace's body was laid to rest in a specially erected tomb inside the 'Madbho' (Altar) of the seminary church. The place of his tomb was selected by Thirumeni himself a few days before his illness was known, in September. The faithful filled the tomb with frankincense as per the tradition of the Church. After the funeral, new cloths were offered to the poor & needy who were present there.
St. Gregorios Geevarghese - Parumala Thirumeni
(during the Funeral rites, Thirumeni wearing all the vestments...)
Report on Parumala Thirumeni's last days from 'Edavaka Pathrika', the then official
magazine of the Jacobite Syrian Church
Click here for the report in pdf format
Condolence from the Jerusalem Metropolitan, Mor Ivanious Elias
The Syrian Deacon Sleeba (later the Patriarchal delegate, St. Osthatheos Sleebo) who was at Parumala till the end of funeral ceremonies, informed the Patriarchate and our Metropolitan of Jerusalem, about the sad demise of Parumala Thirumeni. The people of our Church at Jerusalem who happened to meet our holy father during his sojourn there, were very sad on hearing his sudden passing away. It was for the first time in many centuries a group of Church dignitaries from Malankara were visiting our Church in Jerusalem. This historic visit of Mor Gregorios Thirumeni brought the Church in Far East and Malankara closer. The faithful members of our church in Jerusalem had a deep affection towards Mor Gregorios who led the delegation. On behalf of the Church in Jerusalem, Mor Ivanios Elias send a touching condolence message to the Malankara Church through Deacon Sleeba who was then residing in Malankara as a missionary. The copy of the translated version (in Malayalam), of the Encyclical written in Syriac by the Metropolitan of St. Mark's dayro is given below. (Click below)
The 30th day of Demise
The 30th day services of Parumala Thirumeni was celebrated on 3rd December 1902 at the Parumala Seminary church. A large amount was received as offerings for the function from many a parishes of Malankara.
Selection of new Metropolitans
After 4 P.M. the same day, a general council of the Jacobite Syrian Church was convened under the presdientship of Malankara Metropolitan Pulikottil Mor Dionysius and selected the two most prominent companions of Parumala Thirumeni, RAMBAN PAULOSE KOCHUPARAMBIL of Mulunthuruthy (Mor Koorilos Paulose, who later became the Malankara Metropolitan of the Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church) and KASSISSO GEEVARGHESE MALPAN VATTASSERIL (Mor Divanasious Geevarghese, Malankara Metropolitan of the Metran faction of the Malankara Church) as Metropolitan-designates.
In another meeting that was convened the next day, it was decided to rename the new English School at Thiruvalla after the name of its founder Mor Gregorios (Parumala Thirumeni) as, 'Mor Gregorios Memorial High School' (M.G.M High School).
MSCR - Malankara Syriac Christian Resources
http://SyriacChristianity.org ... contact email: email@example.com