The week-long annual pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Gregorios, the first canonised Indian saint, at the famous St. Paul's and St. Peter's Church on the banks of River Pampa at Parumala began on Wednesday.
A ‘kodieyettu' ceremony marked the beginning of the festival in connection with the 109th feast of St. Gregorios on Wednesday afternoon. Hundreds of believers thronged the church premises to witness the event.
Geevarghese Mar Osthatheos, Senior Metropolitan of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and Youhanon Mar Chrysostomos, Metropolitan of Niranom diocese of the Church, jointly led the ceremony. The believers flung betel leaves into the air when the flag was hoisted by the Metropolitans at around 2.30 p.m.
Mar Osthatheos inaugurated the pilgrimage week celebrations at a function held at the St. Gregorios chapel on the seminary premises. Mar Chrysostomos presided over the function. Metropolitan Mathews Mar Theodoseus, Jiji Thomason, IAS; Rev. M.D. Youhanon Ramban, Parumala seminary manager; and Fr. Johns Abraham Konatt, clergy trustee, were among those who attended the function.
Youhanon Mar Polycarpus Metropolitan inaugurated a144-hour prayer, organised by Malankara Orthodox Christian Youth Movement, at another function held at the church auditorium at 5 p.m. Paulose Mar Pachomios Metropolitan was the chief celebrant of a Holy Tri-Mass held at Parumala Church on Thursday morning. Mar Chrysostomos inaugurated the spiritual retreat at the church auditorium.
A free medical camp under the auspices of St. Gregorios Mission Hospital will begin at the Parumala seminary auditorium on Friday.
The Catholicos of the East and Malankara Metropolitan, Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose-II, will inaugurate the 91st birthday celebrations of the senior Catholicos on Saturday. Mar Osthatheos will preside over the function.
Mar Chrysostomos will inaugurate a environmental awareness seminar in the afternoon. Kuriakose Mar Cleemis, Metropolitan of the Thumpamon diocese, Niranom, will preside over the inaugural function.
A cultural meet will be held in connection with the annual church festival on October 30. Kerala Public Service Commission Chairman K.S. Radhakrishnan will inaugurate the meet. Geevarghese Mar Ivanios Metropolitan will preside over the function.
Various pilgrimage processions would be accorded a rousing reception on their arrival at Parumala on October 31. Youhanon Mar Polycarpus will inaugurate a youth meet to be held in the afternoon on that day.
State Human Rights Commission Chairman Benjamin Koshy will deliver the keynote address at a felicitation meeting to be held on November 1. Filmmaker Blessy will inaugurate ‘Sangeetharchana' at 5 p.m.
The 109th feast of St. egorios will be held on November 2. The senior Catholicos, Baselius Mar Thoma Didymus-I, will inaugurate the centenary celebrations of the Catholicate of Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church at a public meeting to be held at 11.30 a.m.
Believers from different parts of the State will reach Parumala in processions to offer prayers at the Saint's tomb on November 1 and 2.