The Community of St Gregorious of Parumala in Dindigul Exposed (Exclusive)

by OCP on October 24, 2012

in Featured News, News

Mr. Ajesh T Philip presenting the icon of St Gregorious to Mr. Xavier

 

OCP News Service(Exclusive)
24/10/2012

* Mr. Ajesh T Philip discovered the lost Orthodox Community of St Gregorious of Parumala in Dindigul.

Read more here ” The Lost Orthodox Christians of St Gregorious of Parumala in Dindigul”

 Dindigul/Tamil Nadu: As part of the decision of the Executive Committee Secretary George Alexander and Mr Ajesh Phillip (OCP Ambassador and Correspondent) visited the St Gregorious Community in Dindigul on 20th October 2012. The OCP delegation met with Mr Paul (P-A-L) Raj and his family members. On behalf of the Executive Council they were presented with a Raja Ravi Varma Painting of St Gregorious of Paumala. On 22nd October the delegation met with Mr Xavier who is presently practicing Siddha Medicine and interviewed him in detail about their relations with St Gregorious of Parumala. After the interview he was presented with an icon of the Saint. Mr George thanked the family members for their courtesy and wholehearted cooperation.

The objective of the visit was to study more on the details and life of this isolated community. The discovery and reporting about this community had brought certain ambiguity about their history and connections with St Gregorious of Parumala. After reading the report many people connected the community to the Missionary works of Metropolitan Alvarez Mar Julius. Hence there aroused a deep requirement to bring more clarity about this lost Orthodox community.

 OCP  Delegation presenting the painting of St Gregorious to Mr. Paul Raj

 

Ajesh T Philip & George Alexander
Department of Church Research and Studies
Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE Society

The Family

The family consists of Paul Raj his brother Xavier and their family members. Paul Raj has five children and his brother Mr Xavier has three kids. Mr Xavier is the practitioner of traditional Siddha medicine. He also operates a clinic in Madhurai apart from his consultation works in Dindigul. He has resided in Kerala around ten years in Chengannur from where he acquired specialized training Siddha Medicine although he has received the Siddha medicine skills as part of the family traditions. Mr Paul Raj has also worked as mason at Chengannur even at Chegannur Bethel Orthodox Church.

Paul Raj’s and Xavier’s parents (Susai and Anthony Ammal) hailed from Mamsapauram, Rajapalam near Thirunalveli. Their parents have worked at tea estates in and around Kumali area. The family is traditional Christians.

Mysterious Connections to St Gregorious of Parumala (Historical)

The family is still unaware of their historical connection to St Gregorious. Mr Xavier described that his forefathers (Periyappa or great grandfather) had an intimate spiritual connection with St Gregorious of Parumala. But he is unaware how the connection began. At the same time their contemporary presence in Kerala in the form of Siddha Medicine studies and mason job should have helped them to pay frequent visits to the Parumala Church. It is interesting to note that Mr Xavier visited Kelara(Parumala Church) for the first at the age of nine, but even before that he knew about Parumala Ayya from his parents and used to make intercession prayers.

Xavier strongly stated that they were not part of the Roman Catholic Church, but since their migration, to Dindigul, they were forced to practice Roman Catholicism since they were left out with any other options. Xavier also added that their spiritual relationship with the great Saint of Parumala is hereditary passed on from generation to generation.

Mr Xavier inside his clinic

 Strong Belief in the Intercession of ‘Parumala Ayya’

The Family has got great reverence for the Saint of Parumala and strongly believes in the intercession and blessings. Paul Raj’s youngest daughter did not have children after three years of marriage. Their deep intercession prayers in the name of St Gregorious have gifted them with a baby boy. Their testimony reveals the deep-rooted faith and relation with Parumala Ayya. Xavier confirms that he use to have miraculous vision of Parumlala Ayya while sleeping where the saint prompts him to make pilgrimage to the Parumala Church.

Birth of ‘Parumala’ inside Parumala Church

Xavier’s fist daughter was born inside the Parumala Church. He explains the incident as follows…

Twenty years back, Mr. Xavier and his wife visited the Parumala Church on a bicycle but unfortunately, it was a day of a strike in Kerala. His wife was pregnant and it was the ninth month for her. Suddenly the pain began and she gave birth to a baby girl with the help of some nuns who were present inside the church. Hence they gave the name “Parumala” to their first born daughter as they consider her birth as a great blessing from the saint.

The Siddha Clinic run by Mr Xavier

Siddha treatment in the name of St Gregorious of Parumala

The Siddha treatments performed with the blessing of the great saint, especially for neurotic problems, impotency and serious fractures. The medicinal plants are collected from the nearby hills of Dindigul Chirumalai and Pandrimalai. Local belief is that these two hills had fallen from the hands Hanuman while carrying the hills with ‘Mrithasangivini’ in his hands. He prints business card in Tamil with the photo of St Gregorious of Parumala and he has distributed it to several places like Sri Lanka, South Africa.

Card with the picture of St Gregorios of Parumala

Claim of a Community of  St Gregorious in South Africa

Once a South African family came for Siddha treatment and they where healed. They got very much inspired by the blessing of St Gregorious of Parumala.  They took several cards of Pruamala Ayya from Xavier. Xavier claims that an indigenous community in the name of St Gregorious has been formed in South Africa recently. This community practice intercession prayers in the name of St Gregarious.

Possibility of Metropolitan Julius Alvarez Connection

Some literature sources reveal that Dindugul was one of the Mission centers of the Saintly Archbishop Mor Julius Alvarez of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church with the possibility of more than hundred families. Also Tirunelveli is one of the oldest Christian centers including the presence of Orthodox Christians. This is the place from which Paul Raj’s and Xavier’s’ father hails from. The OCP delegation showed the picture of Metropolitan Mor Julius Alvarez to Mr Xavier but he could not recognize the Bishop. But there shall be a possible link between the origin of this community and the missionary toils of Saintly Mor Julius Alvarez and his reunion movement to the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church.

Common Roman Catholic Cemetery and the separate family Cemetery

 Family Cemetery

The family has a separate cemetery apart from the Roman Catholic Church Cemetery to which they belong at present. The family cemetery is located almost 100 meters away from the common cemetery. They light candles every evening at the family graveyard, a tradition from their forefathers which is Orthodox in nature. Their great-grandfather was buried in Dindigul but some how they lost the exact place. Later with the help of a map they located the exact position of the burial place and constructed their family cemetery.

 Painting of St Gregorious kept inside the Clinic near the small bottle which contains blessed oil from the Parumala Church

 Charity Activities

Mr. Xavier runs an unregistered trust in the name of St Gregorious of Parumlala. He spends a part of his earning to help local people in distress especially those who are suffering from various illness.

The Ravi Varma painting of St Gregorious of Parumala gifted by the OCP delegation on 20th of October was taken to their Church and was blessed by the local Priest.

Follow Up

The Executive Council of Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE will have a discussion about this community with the hierarchy of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church. OCP Society will provide all necessary moral support to the community of St Gregorious of Parumala.

Ajesh T Philip: Ajesh Philip has acquired his Masters in Botany and bachelors in Education and teaching. He is currently perusing Ph.D on Ethno-gynecological studies on the tribes of Idukki,Kerala-India at Gandhigram Rural University. His areas of interest is Orthodox Liturgy and Church history. He has several years of experience serving youth organizations of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church. He serves as the Ambassador and Correspondent of OCP Society and Media Network and as a consultant to OCP Department of Church Research and Studies.

George Alexander: George is the Secretary of Orthodoxy Cognate PAGE. He holds a Post Graduate Degree in Social Work  and a Minor Research Degree in Social Sciences . He is a writer, orator and human resource trainer. He  has three books and numerous articles to his credit. His areas of interest are Orthodox Church management, contemporary Orthodoxy, Pan-Orthodox  unity, inter-Orthodox policies and relations.

Copyright © 2012 OCP Media Network.All rights reserved. No part of the article/news or photos shall be published in any format or in any form without prior permission of the publisher.For republishing permission contact – theorthodoxchurch.info@gmail.com

Only direct link to this article is permitted to post in websites, blogs and social media networks.

 Source:
OCP News Service

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Noellewis October 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I greatly appreciate, the efforts taken by OCP to clarify, the connections…. i deeply regret, for the previous comment made on this issue in the previous article….. it is very likely that this people are the work of Parumala Thirumeni………….. But, i do like to share something that can enable us to understand more better this whole thing….. i am not giving any conclusions… but only opening this topic for further discussions…… as i went thru this article, i came at an astounding fact, that these people don’t know about Mar Alvares at all (the statement being given by 3rd or 4th generation descendant)… which is quite similar to the fact that even people of Brahmavar Community, for some time back also had no clue about Mar Alvares and didnt even recognize his picture (even now very few are aware about him in the community)…..its only in the recent past, with the unveiling of historical facts that people are starting to realize his identity, but at the same time people of brahmavar have had a history of great reverence for Parumala Thirumeni….. now, why is this so, would be a great question…… the fact is Mar Alvares..was like a missionary on run….. he established communities after communities…he didn’t stop at a particular place..instead encouraged the local clergy, to look after… and then settled in goa to care for the needy. Moreover its an accepted fact that Tirunelvelli, many places of Tamil Nadu were all missionary points of Mar Alvares. And i would share this fact also that , there are millions of devotees of Parumala Thirumeni, hailing from various castes and religion, but seldom someone has converted to Christianity or Orthodoxy, in the past bcoz of this… and this conversion to faith is related to times of Parumala Thirumeni, when there was hardly any vision of converting people to our faith in the Church (even now its not there), Save only Pathrose Mar Ostathios, who is again someone who comes later in the history. we also know Parumala thirumeni was not involved in any conversions.  Devotion to Saint is one thing and conversion to a fath, is another which is quite larger and involves lot of effort on the side of both convertor and convertee
 I hereby call upon OCP, not to be conclusive right now, lets work further more… dig out the facts…anyways hats off to your kind effort that your taking to bring things out to light… and i am also a regular visitor at your site. Thank You

fr abraham October 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm

i do agree with fr noel the fact about mar alvares many people don’t know about him here brahmavar too but they know all other priest of brahmavar.mar alvares visited many places and many missionary centers were there.the only reason that brahmavar is know to everyone is because of the efforts  of other priest  whom he brought they continued .fr noronha ect…so people know much of them.at the same time mar alvares was responsible to buy this 25 acres land from British govt..but as he had many cent-res he could not stay long in a particular place..from manga lore coast to Mumbai.. Tamil nadu ,srilanka…ect…the other missionary established by him was unknown for one reason the mother church did not support it…second reason the light which was brought to brahmavar was in safe hands of good priest who kept there faith and protected it in different difficult situation with no support from mother church…so other priest of brahmavar is know ..but how can we deny mar alvares who brought this faith to us…due respect should be given…can any one trace where was mar alvares  bishop from 1896 to 1911  it is unknown.. he was in differnt places doing missionary work..so lets study deep of this holy fathers which will be a blessing for  all of us….

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