Saint Gregorios of Parumala (1848-1902): Some Reflections

Written By: on Nov 1st, 2009 and filed under Columns.


Parumala is once again busy with the celebration of the 107th death anniversary of the great saint of our Church. Year after year more and more people throng to the holy site of the resting place of the mortal remains of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church’s first saint. It is truly a time for members of our Church to reflect on the life of a saint whose intercession is sought by millions of believers. Saint Gregorios stands out in the mind of the members of the Indian Orthodox Church, remembering him in every Holy Qurbana, refer to his saintly life in sermons and spiritual discourses, founding more parishes in his name and call upon the people to make him a model in Christian spirituality. It is not only members of our Church but also members of other denominations and religions seek intercession and give high respect to this saint. It will be appropriate for us to ponder upon a few thoughts about Saint Gregorios.

1. Prayer Life:

An Orthodox clergyman has a different prayer life. The seven offices of prayers, prayer for special occasions, prayer for special seasons etc. give a special identity to Orthodox spiritual life. Along with these prayers, strict observances of lent and fasting keep such people in active communication with God. The prayer life of St. Gregorios is well known to everybody. He had extended hours of prayers and strict observance of fasting, even to the point of debilitating his physical body. Mortification of his body helped him overcome all physical or material weaknesses and temptations. As a result, his life became sanctified. St. Gregorios proved that material weaknesses can be overcome by continuous communication with God. No wonder he became a source of divine power while alive, helping many believers, saving them from different kinds of afflictions. The same help continued even after his departure from the physical life. True saints continue to help people even after death. That is one of the signs of saintliness.

2. Monastic life:

St. Gregorios is an example of a true monk. His self-renunciation made him purely a person away from worldly pleasures. The vow of a monk symbolized in the masanapsa has become a unique tradition in the Orthodox Church. The thirteen crosses embedded in the head-veil symbolize the fact of rigid life discipline. Saint Gregorios lived to that expectation. The saint proved his celibacy a true discipleship of Christ. Being unmarried is not a great condition at all. We can see many unmarried people living in various immoral ways including unnatural human relationship and defiance of social norms. A true celibate is the one who follows a special life style that our Lord had prescribed. They are married to the Lord. Often we may wonder how this superior life style is slipping away from our

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