The week-long annual festival at the famous St. Paul's and St. Peter's Church at Parumala, popularly known as Parumala Church, began with a Kodiyettu ceremony on Tuesday.
The Catholicos-designate of the Malankara Orthodox Church, Paulose Mar Milithios, Geevarghese Mar Osthatheos, senior metropolitan, Youyhanon Mar Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of the Niranom diocese and Youhanon Mar Polycarpus, Metropolitan of the Angamaly diocese, hoisted the festival flags in an atmosphere charged with devotion.
The annual pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Gregorios—the first Indian canonised saint—at the Parumala Church also began on Tuesday. The Catholicos-designate inaugurated the pilgrim week celebrations at a public meeting held on the Parumala seminary premises. Mar Chrysotomos presided over the meeting. M.D. Youhanon Ramban, Parumala seminary manager, Alexander Jacob, IPS, K.M. Mani, MLA, A.K. Thomas, Alexander Karackal, former Malankara Association secretaries, Fr. John Abraham Konatt, clergy trustee and Fr. Stephen Varghese, diocesan secretary, also spoke.
Mr. Mani rleased a book on St Gregorios, Parumala Tirumeni-the social reformer', written by Varghese Perayil by handing over its first copy to Joseph M. Puthuserry, MLA, on the occasion.
Mar Polycarpus inaugurated the 144-hour long prayer, organised by Malankara Orthodox Christian Youth Movement, at another function held at the church auditorium at 5 p.m.
Ipe Paul, Registrar of Kerala Medical University, will inaugurate a free medical camp to be held in connection with the annual festival on the Parumala seminary premises at 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Abraham Mar Serafim Metropolitan will preside over the function. Fr. Alexander Koodarathil, chief executive officer of St. Gregorios Mission Hospital at Parumala and Alex Paul will also address the function.
Panakkad Syed Hyderali Shihab Thangal will inaugurate a felicitation meet in connection with the Navathy celebrations of the Catholicos of the East, Moran Mor Baselius Mar Thoma Didymus-I, on October 29. Geevarghese Mar Osthatheos will deliver the keynote address and George Joseph, Malankara Association secretary, will also address the meet.
The Holy Trimass, to be held at 7.30 a.m. on October 31 and November 1, will be led by Youhanon Mar Chrysostomos Metropolitan and Gabriel Mar Gregorios Metropolitan respectively.
Pilgrimage processions coming from different parts of the State will be accorded a rousing reception on the seminary premises on October 31.
Feast of St. Gregorios
The 108th feast of St. Gregorios will be celebrated on October 31. P.K. Narayana Panicker, general secretary of Nair Service Society, will inaugurate a cultural meet to be held in connection with the Saint's feast at 11 a.m. on October 31. Mar Chrysostomos will preside.
Swami Sandeep Anandagiri, chairman of the School of Bhagavad Gita at Tirumala, Thomas Mar Athanasius Metropolitan, George Joseph, Malankara Association secretary, Benjamin Koshy, former Chief Justice of Patna High Court, Anto Antony, MP, Mathew T. Thomas, Joseph M. Puthusserry, MLAs and T.A. Thaha, Imam of Mannar Juma Masjid, will also address the meet.
Mar Osthatheos will inaugurate the Malankara Orthodox Christian Youth Movement meet to be held at 2 p.m.
Kuruvila M. George, joint commissioner of income tax, will deliver the keynote address. Gabriel Mar Gregorios will lead the Holy Tri-mass at 7.30 a.m. on November 1 and Kuriakose Mar Cleemis will lead the Tri-mass on November 2.
The Holy Tri-mass to be held at 8.30 p.m. on November 2 will be jointly celebrated by the Catholicos and the Catholicos-designate.
Geevarghese Mar Coorilos Metropolitan will inaugurate the Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Students Movement at 11.30 a.m.
The annual church festival will come to a close with the customary holy raasa to be held in the afternoon.