Parumala, a beautiful, lush green hilly region of Pathanamthitta district of Kerala is a place that beckons thousands of people every day as visitors. What is so special about Parumala? It is none other than the Parumala church devoted to the saint Geevarghese Mar Gregorios. For the people of Parumala, he is Parumala Thirumeni. A journey into this holy land will describe you the divinity, solidarity, spirituality and the holiness of this region united under the tagline of Parumala Church. Let’s have a sacred journey.
The construction of Parumala church has a long history. Before the Church established, Malankara Metropolitan Joseph Mar Dionysius wanted to establish a seminary in this area, for which he got 2 acres of a plot as a donation from Arikupurathu Mathen Karnavar. An ordinary building called ‘Azhippura’ was soon built on this plot of land for conducting classes for the disciples. Even after centuries, this small building is a major attraction here. Then, a Temporary church in Parumala was rebuilt by Mar Gregorios and consecrated in 1895. As time passed, the church building has been modified many times. All faces of expansion can be seen here one by one.
Azhippura, the hub of divinity
Azhippura is a small building, which is located at the center of the 2 acres of land, having a unique attraction from four corners. It is the oldest building here. This is the place where the Christians of this region congregated to share the thoughts on Jesus. The roof of this building is paved with terracotta tiles and the white walls here is attractive enough to create an internal as well as external sanctity in followers. When the number of disciples in the seminary increased, all these people could not be accommodated in the meager space of the Azhippura. So His Grace Mar Gregorios mostly had his rest and sleep on a verandah to the south of this building. Thus, the church has decided to be expanded.
This church is dedicated to the names of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. The saintly Metropolitan is buried in the northern corner of the church was the octagonal altar and the rectangular ‘Haikla’ of the church join together.
Another thing that owes our attraction here, is the tomb of Parumala Thirumani, in another way this church is better known for the tomb church of Saint Geevarghese Mar Gregorios, who died on November 02, 1902 at the age of 54. He is believed as the priest with a pivotal holiness.
His funeral was conducted here on November 03, 1902 in the presence of a huge crowd consisting thousands of worshippers and hundreds of priests from different parts of Kerala. When we are at Parumala, we can hear all these stories by the guides there. Also, we can see the inscriptions before all holy places. Even since his demise this day is celebrated in the church as a divine day, every year on November 02nd, thousands of pilgrims accumulates before the church and tomb with great respect and belief on Parumala Thirumeni. Many testimonies to the saintly intercession of Mar Gregorios made Parumala Church and the tomb a center of global pilgrimage. In 1947 Mar Gregorios of blessed memory was declared a saint by the then Catholicos of the church, His Holiness Baselios Geevarghese II.
The western face of the tomb was closed in 1910. The altar is the main attraction again. There are mainly 3 Altars including the central one. The altar on the northern side is dedicated in the name of St. Mary and the one on the southern side in the name of St. Thomas. Subsequently, all the three altars were embellished with the beautiful ‘Kdouskudisin’ golden gilt work.