Hundreds of believers thronged the St Paul’s and St Peter’s Church on the banks of river Pampa at Parumala as part of their annual pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Gregorios there on Friday.

Faithfuls offered prayers and lit candles at the Saint’s tomb.

Geevarghese Mar Gregorios, better known as Parumala Thirumeni, passed away on November 1 in 1902 and his mortal remains were interred in a tomb inside the Parumala Church on November 2.

Mar Gregorios was later canonised as a saint in 1947 to become the first native saint of any Church in India and the only Saint of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.

Scores of faithfuls undertake their annual pilgrimage on bare foot to the Saint’s tomb from different parts of the State during the week-long pilgrimage, especially on November 1 and 2, making it a major religious event in Central Travancore.

Reception to pilgrims

The pilgrimage processions were accorded a rousing reception on their arrival at Parumala Seminary premises on Friday.

A meeting to commemorate the death centenary of Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius, founder of Parumala Seminary, will be held on Saturday forenoon.

Mr K.H.Muniyappa, Union Minister of State for Railways, will inaugurate the meet and theCatholicos of the East and Malankra Metropolitan, Baselios Marthoma Didymus-I, will preside over the function.

Mr Ramachandran Kadannappally, Devaswom Minister, will inaugurate the Gregorian Portal on the occasion. Dr K.M.George, principal of Orthodox Theological Seminary at Kottayam, will deliver the keynote address.

Dr Geevarghese Mar Osthatheos, senior Metropolitan of the church, Dr Mathews Mar Savarios Metropolitan of KAndanad diocese, Fr Johns Abraham Konattu, Church trustee, Dr George Joseph, Malankara

Association secretary, Youhanon Ramban, Parumala Seminary manager, Mr M.G.George, lay trustee, Mr Cherian Polachirackal, Thiruvalla municipal chairman, Mr Saji Alex, District Panchayat member and Mr Paul Manalil, journalist, will also address the meeting.

The Saint’s feast will be celebrated on Monday and a public meeting in connection with the feast will be held earlier on Sunday forenoon.

Minister for Public Works, P.J.Joseph, will inaugurate the annual meeting of Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Students Movement on Monday forenoon. The annual church festival and Parumala pilgrimage will come to a close with the holy raasa to be held on Monday afternoon.

More In: Kerala | National