Our Church in Tampa, Florida is dedicated and named after St. Gregorios of Parumala. He was an Indian religious leader and later a saint of both the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church and the Malankara Orthodox Church. He is popularly known as Parumala Thirumeni (Bishop of Parumala).
Geevarghese was born into the Chathuruthy family in Mulanthuruthy, Kerala. His parents, Kochu Mathai and Mariam, had three sons and two daughters. After the birth of the fifth child, Ipeora, Mariam died. Geevraghese was educated by Malpan (teacher) Geevarghese of Chathuruthy, Kochu, and was ordained as a deacon on September 14, 1859 at the age of ten.
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 eighth day, Malpan died and Geevarghese became ill. During this time, he had a vision of St. Mary descending to console him and exhorting him to dedicate the rest of his life to the lord. Very soon, the deacon recovered.
At the age of 18 in 1865, he was ordained as a priest. Joseph Mar Dionysios raised him to the order of monks (Ramban) in 1872. The Patriarch of Antioch consecrated four metropolitans at Paravoor Church, Kerala in December 10, 1876. The youngest among them was Geevarghese Ramban and who was named Mar Gregorios. Because of his age everybody called him "Kochu Thirumeni"(Young Bishop).
Mar Gregorios was appointed the bishop of Niranam, Kerala. He started a monastery at Parumala, Kerala.
Saintly Life Style
At Parumala Seminary he led an ascetic 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."
St. Gregorios became sick when he returned from Veeyapuram Church after blessing a marriage. Even from the beginning of his illness he knew that he was in his last days. The news of illness spread all over Malankara. Although he grew weaker day by day, his face shone brighter and brighter.
It was on November 2, 1902, midnight he was ready to meet his heavenly father. He left his earthly abode and flew to eternity.
He was later proclaimed as a saint by both the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church and Indian Orthodox Church.
There are hundreds of instances that proved his Saintliness. Thousands of people receive favors and blessings through his intercession.
The growing flow of pilgrims to his tomb at Parumala, several years after his demise, tells a story of a man of faith, prayer, healing, and great intercession. His birth place is also another pilgrim center in Mulunthuruthy, Kerala.