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

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

Church life! Humility is the other mark of the masanapsa. Once a person accepts the life of Christ and takes the vow, he will be completely dedicated to the life style seen in Christ. Christ who showed the ultimate example of humility, in his feet washing ceremony is the criteria to which all of us are to rise. Indeed St. Gregorios proved it is possible to show ultimate humility. Some of us heard the story of the saint apologizing and going for confession with the priest to whom he lost his temper. Will we see such people these days?

3. Charity:

Charity is a virtue seen in people who relinquish material desires and luxury. St. Gregorios had a life of simplicity. Many of us who are the old timers had seen the mat on which he slept. The simplicity in life was not to gather money or increase bank balance but to help the needy and the poor. St. Gregorios opened many schools to educate children of poor families. This is an alien concept today because each educational institution of any Church is a profit making pursuit. Education has become a business than a charity these days. Needless to say, the malpractices attached to such high-flying institutions. It gives us a clue how far away we have gone from a saint whose memory we are celebrating with interest!

4. Love for the Church:

There is no doubt that every member of the Indian Orthodox Church would claim to love the Church. In true sense who loves the Church beyond one’s own convenience? Very rarely we see such people. St. Gregorios loved his Church to defend it from all kinds of wrong teachings and heresies. He did not hate other religions or denominations but stood firm on Orthodoxy because he knew well there is nothing lacking in our Church for those who truly seek the way of the Lord. People belonging to other religions and denominations always respected him. He was a not like the people who love the Church for the sake of authority, power and honor. He took a low profile. St. Gregorios’ love for the Church is depicted in his saintly life that our Lord has prescribed. Jesus said, “if anyone wants to follow me, let him take up his cross and follow me.” That is the true mark of the love for the Church. How many real Church lovers can we see today?

It is a great feeling to remember such saints of our Church because they have proved in their life that it is possible to follow the footsteps of our Lord. It gives us hope, courage and inspiration to walk in the path of holiness. It should be our prayer that the spiritual fervor and excitement that we show in celebrating the memory of St. Gregorios must convert us spiritually. Those who join the well organized pilgrimage should honestly participate in such events with a commitment to walk the ways that the saint adopted. Otherwise it is just a futile exercise that we do as a formality with no impact in our or the Church’s life. The saint is interceding for us in heaven. Hope and pray that his intercession will help us deliver from the evil one and his hosts!

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