The week-long annual festival and pilgrimage to the tomb of St Gregorios at St Peter’s and St Paul’s Church on the banks of river the Pampa at Parumala in Thiruvalla taluk began with the ‘kodiyettu’ ceremony on Monday afternoon.

Hundreds of faithful followers thronged the premises of the church and the adjoining Parumala Seminary to witness the auspicious occasion in the afternoon.

Dr. Geevarghese Mar Osthatheos, senior Metropolitan of the Malankara Orthodox Church, hoisted the ceremonial flag in the presence of the Catholicos-Designate, Paulose Mar Militheos, Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos Metropolitan of the niranom diocese, Rev. M.D. Youhanon Ramban, Parumala Seminary manager and Dr. George Joseph, Malankara Association secretary at 2.20 p.m.

The annual pilgrim week in connection with the 107th feast of St Gregorios, popularly known as the Parumala Tirumeni, also began at Parumala Church on Monday. Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, Baselius Mar Thoma Didymus, inaugurated the pilgrimage week, earlier in the forenoon. Mar Chrysostomos presided over the function.

The Malankara Orthodox Youth Movement has launched a 144-hour continuous prayer session as part of the annual church festival, later, in the afternoon.

Finance Minister, T.M. Thomas Issac, will inaugurate the free medical camp followed by birthday celebrations of the Catholicos on Thursday forenoon.

A rousing reception to various pilgrimage processions would be accorded at Parumala on Friday forenoon and a meeting to commemorate the death centenary of the founder of Parumala Seminary, Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius, will be held at 11 a.m.

The feast of St Gregorios will be held on November 2. A public meeting in connection with the feast will be held at 11 pm on November 1.

Minister for Public Works, P.J. Joseph, will inaugurate the annual meeting of Mar Gregorios Orthodox Christian Students Movement at 11 a.m. on November 2 and a Holy Rasa will be held, later, at 2 p.m., marking the culmination of the annual church festival.

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Parumala church festival begins on MondayOctober 23, 2009