At the turn of the 20th century, there lived a holy man on a haunted island, called Parumala, on the banks of River Pampa in Kerala, India. He was the prophet of his time, who set moral tone for his people. Powerful like Prophet Elijah and glittering like John the Baptist, he remains the beacon and a great Saint of the Malankara Orthodox Church.

It was on June 15, 1848, that Kochu Ipeora was born as the youngest child in Chathuruthy family, Mulamthuruthy, Kerala. His parents Kochu Mathai and Mariam had three sons and two daughters. He was christened as 'GEEVARGHESE', at his home parish, the Mulanthuruthy Marthomman Church. About two years after his birth, mother Mariam died. Thereafter his elder sister Mariam took care of his upbringing with love and affection.

Young Kochu Iypora started his formal education, at the age of five, under 'Onakkavil Ayya', a local Hindu (Ezhava) teacher. He also studied in a traditional village School (Mammoottil ManiAsan's kalari). The young Ipeora was not very much interested in worldly pleasures or the gaieties of life, but was more inclined to Prayer, reading the Holy Bible and listening to the stories of saints. He carefully observed ‘fasting’ even from his young days. He was a model for his friends in showing his respect to his teachers, humility, obedience and love. Fr. Geevarghese, Kochu Ipeora's uncle, noticed his studious nature, noble character, keen and penetrating insight, sharp intellect and a wonderful memory undertook his coaching. The boy studied theology and Syriac, from his uncle who was an authority in it. At this young age itself, many observed a spiritual ability and intelligence in Kochu Iypora and he was able to sing Syriac hymns of the Church in proper rhythm and diction.

Proper guidance given by Fr. Geevarghese influenced young Geevarghese, increased his interest in the Holy Church and its traditions and helped young Kochu Ipeora to lead a pious life. After the early days of education under teacher (Malpan) Geevarghese of Chathuruthy, Kochu Ipeora was ordained as deacon (Kooroyo) at the age of 10, on September 14, 1858, by Palakkunnath Mathews Mar Athanasius, the then Malankara Metropolitan.

One day Malpan became seriously ill with smallpox. Deacon Geevarghese was the only one who stayed and took care of him, while all others were sent home. On the eight day Malpan died and deacon became ill. During this time he had a vision of St. Mary in his dream, descending to console him, and exhorting him to dedicate the rest of his life to the Lord. He pledged "He would". This was a heavenly vision that enabled him, to become a humble servant of God. Very soon the deacon recovered, but with a firm resolution to spend his life in prayer and monastic discipline. He then became a student of Konaattu Malpan and learned cannon Law, Faith, Order and customs.

During this time Yuyakkim Mar Koorilose, from Syria visited India. Bishop Koorilose was very much impressed by Deacon Geevarghese’s wisdom, devotion and command in Syriac language. The deacon traveled with Mar Koorilose as his translator and guide. Mar Koorilose ordained deacon Geevarghese as a full deacon 'Shamshono'. In October 1865, at the age of 18, Yuyakkim Mar Koorilose, elevated Deacon Geevarghese to the order of full Priest (Kassisso) and later 'Cor-Episcopa'.

Geevarghese Cor Episcopa was much impressed by the monastic traditions and decided to be a follower of Christ in the monastic tradition of St. Anthony, a third century monk. He chose Vettickal Dayara as his abode, where he could live the monastic life of abstinence, discipline, devotion, practicing fasting, prayer, meditation and mortification. All this slowly started to sanctify his life. People living around Vettickal were immensely impressed by the strict ascetic discipline and this monk became a great inspiration to them They started to visit him to seek advice and guidance. His name and fame started to spread.

Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysios raised him to the order of monks (Ramban) in April 7, 1872.

The Ramban became a close aide of the Patriarch of Antioch, H. H. Ignatius Patriarch III, during the latter’s visit to Indian. The Patriarch consecrated four metropolitans at the St. Thomas Church Paravoor, Kerala on December 10, 1876. The young Chathruthy Geevarghese Ramban, was named Mar Gregorios, after the title of the Metropolitan of Jerusalem. The same year the Patriarch had consecrated six Metropolitans. The 29-year-old Mar Gregorios was the youngest of them and so everybody called him lovingly as "Kochu Thirumeni" (youngest bishop). Mar Gregorios was appointed the bishop of Niranam, Kerala. He later on took charge of the Dioceses of Thumpamon and Kollam. He then started to stay at Parumala and came to be known as “Parumala Kochu Thirumeni”. He constructed a Church and a seminary at Parumala.

At Parumala Seminary he led an austere life. He woke up at 4am in the morning and prayed till 5am. He taught deacons till 7am followed by prayer and his light breakfast. From 9am till 11am he taught deacons again. From 11am to noon he took care of administrative matters and again went to prayer at noon and then to lunch. He rested till 1:30pm and taught till 4pm with a brief prayer in between. From 4pm to 5:30pm he was busy with his administrative duties. After evening prayers and supper he taught bible to the deacons. After the complining, at 9pm he would let the deacons go to bed, but he would still be praying until midnight. On Wednesdays and Fridays and Lenten days, he would fast till evening. Besides, he observed his own special fasts. People came from far and near to seek his blessings and paternal advises.

In his own words "Prayer brings truth, religious faith, honesty and respect among the people."

Parumala Thirumeni's visit to the Holy Land in 1895 was a great event of the time and a fulfillment of his long-standing wish. Parumala Thirumeni later published a travelogue ("Yerusalaem Yatra Vivaranam") about his visit to the Holy Land. This book is considered to be an excellent travelogue. After his piligrimage Thirumeni ordained two of his disciples as deacons, who later on rose to high positions in the Church.

Last few days of Thirumeni

Kochu Thirumeni's body was becoming weaker and weaker, and around five days before his death, he called one of his chief disciples, Wattasseril Fr.Geevarghese 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 (Malayalam era) 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,1902), "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.

The growing flow of pilgrims to his tomb, several years after his demise, tells a story of a man of faith, prayer, healing, and great intercession.



Memorable Speech


After visiting Oorslem, our most holy place, by the Grace of God we have come back today. He has asked us to continue to implement his commandments. It is universally accepted that the eye is more sensitive than the ear. To see and believe makes it more stable than listening and believing. We have gained knowledge about the passion and teachings and death of our Lord from the Bible. Really it has to be experienced how much such knowledge is confirmed in our minds, when we see those places where these events took place, and also the signs that remain there to this day. “The true God is worshipped not on this mountain, not even in Oorslem, but in spirit and truth”. Therefore Christians can worship God anywhere. However, we have experienced during our visit how much more is the strength of faith and devotion when we understand things by sight rather than by hearing. This is because we are sinners and men of little faith. The repentance and sense of sin, disturbance of mind and devotion which were generated in us when we prayed at the different holy places was something which we have never experienced in our life. It was as if our mind had become one with God . We felt like lying there and praying continuously without getting up! Our hearts melted.

It is doubtful whether such deep and stable faith and repentance would be generated even if one spends Rs.5000 or even Rs.50,000. We advice you that those among you who can, must visit these holy places since such sight is most useful to attain the perfection of Truth. Let us consider what we Christians can do. There are many people in this country who are ignorant and poor, and live in sin and hard labour. Low caste people like pulayar are not allowed to walk on public roads, nor can they come near their fellow beings. It is our chief responsibility to create in them the true faith in God and to end their hardships and to deliver them from the sins and faults by giving them education. They may be converted to Christianity, and separate churches may be built for them for the time being. As they rise in economic and social standing , they may be admitted in our churches. Schools may be given exclusively for them as a temporary measure. Our efforts in this regard have to be tremendously augmented. We should hold Bible conventions among them.

Establishing English schools in this country among Christians and among people of other religions is a good means for spreading the Gospel. In schools, children may be given the opportunity to read books in English written by great men inspired by God. Those great men were Christians. When children study those books, real Christian principles and tenets get embedded in their minds. But we are sorry that these students are satisfied with mere externals. Even though we hear that they go against religion and morals, we do not believe it. If that is true, this kind of education does not seem a must. The many Englishmen who studied such books never became irreligious and immoral. Is it that such books and such education are harmful here only? Never! So English Schools must be set up in many Places.

Prayer helps education in fostering in people truth, morality, faith, devotion and mutual respect. One who prays to God everyday will never be untruthful, immoral ,faithless or Godless; nor will he work against the people or his master. Prayer is the enthusiasm of childhood , the refuge of youth and the peace during the old age. Prayer that is done with a heart full of devotion will be accepted by God and we get it back as a blessing. He who loves his fellow being well, is the ideal devotee of God, because whatever God creates, is there for us to love. Many things are wrought through prayer that we ever dream. If man who knows God never raise his hands to pray for himself and for those whom he loves, then how can we say that he is greater than animals who lack intelligence. Prayer is in many ways the golden chain which ties this world to the divine feet of God. So raise your voice up to God day and night with devotion. Such prayer is the ideal means to remove the darkness and the weakness in us, to realize our needs and get our ultimate salvation and Heaven. Worship God with faith and prayer. Brethren, God will be pleased in you

May the love of God the Father, the Grace of peace of the son and the fullness of the Holy Spirit be upon you all.


Few Miracle Events

Mar Gregorios was being brought to Mazhuvannur Church from Karingachira Church on a palanquin by the people. They were passing through Njariyamkuzhy, a paddy field on the northern side of Kolencherry Church. Paddy was almost ripe and getting ready for reaping. Thirumeni, who was interested in agriculture asked: “ how is the crop my, children?” They told Thirumeni that this year the crop was very bad because of the weeds and locusts. Thirumeni said that it was because they did not ask God.

A sample paddy crop was brought to Thirumeni, and it was seen that there was no grain inside it. Thirumeni got down from the palanquine, and holding the cross in his hands prayed with tears in this eyes. He told those people to undertake fasting and prayer for three days and then to come to the Church.“ Let us pray, the weeds and locusts will disappear” he said. Everyone did as Thirumeni commanded. Thirumeni celebrated the Eucharist and prayed to God. Surprisingly when the harvest came, the crop was plentiful!

In other case, Thirumeni was going to Karakkal Church from kattappuram Church on a palanquin. It was the time of the festival at Peringara Temple and the statue of the deity was being taken a top an elephant in a procession. A large number of people were accompanying the elephant. Thirumeni was waiting at the back, and could not proceed because they did not give way for the palanquin to move. Some people looked at Thirumeni with contempt. They were not in a mood to give way to Thirumeni. Thirumeni was very unhappy because of the rude behaviour of the people. Then all of a sudden the elephant stopped moving and everyone was looking at it. The mahouts tried every art to make the elephant move forward, but failed. At that time a man who knew Thirumeni came forward and asked people to give way to Thirumeni to proceed. As Thirumeni passed by, and reached the front, then lo! The elephant began to move forward again!





Q & Q (Quotes & Qualities)


" Be rich in love of man and love of God. Brothers should never cheat each other. When you move away from unity you are sure to move away from God ".

" You must regularly read the Holy Bible. You must obey your spiritual fathers and increase their good name and honor before God and men by your exemplary life ".

" Loss and difficulties come when God moves away. On such occasions, never look for one reason or other. Instead, know that God has kept away because of your sins: then cling to God, he will show mercy upon you ".

" Prayer is the inspiration of childhood, the refuge of youth and peace during old age ".

" Forgiveness is strength. It gives a person a good name. It is the Distinguishing feature of righteous people ".

" He who prays to God everyday would never be without truth, morality, faith and devotion, and would never turn against his master or society ".

" When we pray with a heart full of devotion, God accepts it and we receive blessings in return ".

“ Avoid arrogance, quarrel and pride while dealing in Church matters; instead, let your humility shine before others. Those who place their trust in God, and satisfy the people are blessed ".

" As far as possible never do evil to anyone: or it will ruin you, your children and your house. Hold on steadfastly to prayer, fasting and works of charity. Do them with faith and devotion ".

" Those who disobey their parents and join their enemies are liable to be cursed by them. They will not inherit the legacy of their parents and will be disqualified from this world as well as the other ".

" If there is quarrel in family, keep away from it. A quarrelsome house is the haven of the devil; and God is nowhere near it ".

" It is not spiritual wisdom to try to conquer the enemy with evil than with virtue. If you depend on the God of Truth and go out with a truthful heart, God will accomplish things for you ".

" Whatever is due to the Church must be given forthwith. If your mind is pure in that matter, your house will also be pure. If in such things you think of any gain or revenue, then you will lose that ten-fold ".

" Remember God in everything. Let no one grieve because of you. Never let go an opportunity to do something good. Only those things will remain with you till the end ".

" If man does not raise his hands in prayer for himself and for the sake of his people, even after knowing God, how can we say man is better than animals who are not wise and cannot think about their future".


Qualities that made Parumala Thirumeni an exemplary bishop and a spiritual leader.

1. Call of God. From his childhood he was aware of his call to serve the Lord and the Church. He surrendered his life completely to God and allowed the Holy Spirit to indwell in him and to control and guide his life.

2. Dependence on God. He depended upon God for his physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs. He was not concerned about what would happen to him in the future. He believed that God would provide for him. How many of us worry about what will happen in the future?

3. Communion with God. He was a prayer "warrior". His disciplined prayer life helped him to commune with God and receive guidance from Him. Before making any major decision, he used to spend time in fasting and prayer. Many of us recite our canonical prayers, but we don't know how to commune with God.

4. Life-long Student. Geevarghese Malpan and Konattu Malpan had great influence upon Deacon Geevarghese. Under the guidance of Konattu Malpan, he studied Syriac, the Holy Scriptures, theology, worship, and canon law. He also made very good use of Malpan Achen's library. He continued his studies during the rest of his life.

5. Dedicated and Devoted Teacher. His rigorous religious training at Pampakuda with Konattu Malpan Achen helped him to become a dedicated and devoted teacher. He provided religious and spiritual training for all the deacons who lived with him at Parumala Seminary. He influenced all of them by his life and example. Many of his students became spiritual leaders in the Church. How many of us have any influence on the lives of our students?

6. Serving Others. He always remembered what Jesus said, "If you want to be great in the Kingdom of God, be a servant." He served God's people without expecting anything in return. Since he had experienced the unconditional love of God, he shared that love with others. He reached out and touched the lives of many that were in need.

7. Trusting in God. Since he trusted in God to provide for his needs, he never worried about "tomorrow." Whatever he had, belonged to God, and he believed they were God's gifts. Whatever he received from the people belonged to the Church. How many of our leaders really trust in God? Don't we try to keep everything in our names?

8. Healing the Sick. During his ministry as a priest and bishop, people used to ask him to pray for them. They especially asked him to pray for the sick and lay his hands on them for healing. Many miraculous healing took place during his lifetime. The healing ministry of Parumala Thirumeni is still continuing. How many of us have time to pray for others?

9. Friend of the Poor. He was a friend of the poor, downtrodden, and untouchables. He encouraged the establishment of schools and the spread of the Gospel to the neighboring states and to low caste people who lived among the Syrian Christians.

10. Defender of the Faith. As a priest and a metropolitan, he defended the Orthodox faith and taught the believers through letters, articles, and sermons. Even though he was the Metropolitan of Niranam Diocese, his ministry extended all over Malankara.

11. Glorified God in Sickness. Even in his sickness and suffering, he glorified God and thanked Him for His grace. With Paul he was able to say, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." He did not consider death "as an enemy" but "as a friend." How many of us are afraid of death?