Pampady Thirumeni - Article by Very Rev. PC Yohannan Ramban-Part 1
- Very Rev. PC Yohannan Ramban, Pampady Dayara Manager and Direct
Disciple of Pampady Thirumeni who served HH for 14 years as his
caretaker and Secretary. Rembachan is 72 yrs now.
Pampady Thirumeni's 43rd Dukhrono is being celebrated by the Holy
Church on 4th and 5th April 2008.
It was on a Saturday by about 3.00 PM when I first went to
Pothenpuram. I had my robe for Holy Qurbana in my hand as I had led
the service at Pampady Pally earlier. When I came in, Mar Gregorious
Thirumeni was sitting beside the door facing east. A bunch of keys
on a towel was lying on his shoulder. I went and kissed his
hand. "You are fine?" he asked me. Then I spoke to him for a long
I told him that I would be happy if I could help in the service in
the dayara church 'madhbaha'. I could come here because it is the
turn of Kadavumbhagom at Pampady Pally." Thirumeni readily agreed
and fed me with a lot of sweet meat.
Thirumeni instructed Mathaichan to give me supper. Next day when I
was planning to leave after Qurbana, Thirumeni said: "Why don't you
stay here? Isn't it vacation time? You can learn a few things here
including swinging the censer." Gladly agreeing to the suggestion I
went home, got my father's permission and returned to the dayara the
following day. Reading the news paper to Thirumeni was my main job.
When the vacation was over I told Thirumeni that I would like to go
home to attend school. He said: "You can stay here and attend
classes. Come in the evening with the newspaper." So I started
attending school staying in the dayara. Sometimes Thirumeni would
ask me about the classes, punishment given to the students and about
Karingamattom Korah 'Karnor' who was the School Manager. He used to
scold me if I happened to be late from school. He would frequently
ask others whether I had returned, on days when it was raining
heavily with thunder and lightning.
One evening when I was late from School, Thirumeni was waiting for
me at the eastern gate. On seeing him I left my slippers in the
rubber estate and walked slowly towards him. Nobody would wear their
shoes/slippers in Thirumeni's presence. Thirumeni scolded me soundly
at that time. He also did not like me wearing my hair long.
When I was attending VI form Thirumeni desired to make me a
Semmassan. I told Thirumeni that I would love to be an achen, but
financial position at home might stand in the way. "My child, our
abilities are given by God" he replied. He continued. "When I was
ordained, my financial position at home was no better. And I lost my
father soon. He had lot of worries about me. I didn't even have a
full set of robes. No pants when there is 'Khammees' and
no 'Khammes' when I could manage a pair of trousers. That was my
plight. Our living God brought me thus far. So don't be
discouraged." Thirumeni called my father and told him of his wish.
So on the 4th day of an eight day lent, on a Sunday, Thirumeni gave
me the 'Koruyo' title. During the course of his Qurbana speech
Thirumeni said: "I have done this not for Pampady people, but for my
I continued attending school. Even though there was much to study I
never relaxed on my dayara duties. My schedule was fixed. After
returning from school, newspaper reading followed, then 'Sandhya
Namaskaram' and diary writing. I used to go to my study only after
10 PM. Thirumeni would be up with the midnight strike for 'Pathira
Namaskaram', for which he wouldn't call me - he would have it all on
his own. He would go to the church at 3.30 or 4.00 A.M during the
lent season for namskaram (kneeling obeisance). After that the
prayers of repentance (masmur) had to be read out. It would be six-
thirty or seven by then. After Thirumeni had returned and had tea he
would want me to help reply his letters. By then it would be 9 AM
and time for me to go to school. On non-working days I would
accompany Thirumeni on his numerous visits.
Thirumeni would go to the church at 3.30 during lent season
Thirumeni offered his first & last Qurbana on the same day of the
As desired by Thirumeni I discontinued studies after clearing VI
form. Instead learned some Syriac from Thirumeni. He wanted to
ordain me as a Kassissah soon. On being told of his wish Thirumeni
was directed by Bava Thirumeni to send me to Yohannan Malpan Achen
for a year to pick up Thaksa in its nuances and to translate the
gospels. In 1957 when Thirumeni found himself too weak to lead the
Holy Qurbana he ordained me as priest in 1957. I was the last person
to get ordained by Thirumeni. For two or three years I used to
assist Thirumeni in offering Holy Qurbana. Incidentally the same day
of the year when Thirumeni offered his first Qurbana he gave his
last also in 1960.
What has inspired me most about Thirumeni is his punctuality. He was
very regular in diary writing, which he did by himself till he grew
feeble. His Syriac scripts were as good as print. He used quill and
ink for the purpose. As he felt weaker he entrusted dayara
administration almost entirely with me. And I did it on the advice
of Mar Ivanios Thirumeni. Sometimes he would tell me. "Do everything
according to Paret Thirumeni's advice."
Thirumeni started growing weaker since 1961, his memory and other
vital faculties failing. He would not lose patience or grow angry.
He would address people 'son' or 'child'. Like Mar Bersauma he
appeared, pertinent and sad. Since he was growing weaker still, he
started doing 'namaskaram' in his own room. Sometimes on Sundays or
other days he would go to church to partake of Holy Qurbana, Once in
the church his memory would be as sharp as ever. As though following
the apostle's injunction he would pray ceaselessly, sometimes
repeating 'Yama Prardhana' thrice or four times. And for the last 3
or 4 years of his life I used to attend to all his needs.
Normal daily routine of Thirumeni during the last two years:
After ablutions and other daily morning chores he would go for his
regular 'namaskaram'. After coffee at seven he would recline on his
chair. By eight O'clock he would sleep on his bed for a while. Nine
O'clock tonic and medicines were administered. 12 noon it was
namaskaram again. Lunch would be followed by a nap for an hour or
so. Some fruit juice at 2 PM. At 4 PM milk with bournvita or coffee
with some favourite sweet meat. Bath at 5 O'clock and namaskaram at
5.30. An hour in the courtyard, either walking on my arm or in wheel
chair. Dinner of bread, biscuit and milk at eight. He will turn in
after 'Suthara'. This used to be his normal daily routine during the
last two years or so. After being fed a spoonful or two he would
say! "Now you may eat my child". He wouldn't grow angry even when I
insist on taking more. "Here is my coffee boy" Thirumeni would
sometimes introduce me to visitors. His call 'Kathanaracha' still
rings in my ears!
Thirumeni's Last Day (April 4, 1965):
I feel I have been faithful to him every bit. On Sunday April 4, the
day Thirumeni passed away into glory I myself led the Holy Qurbana
and in clear consciousness Thirumeni partook of it. He tried to
cross himself ('Kurishu Varykan'). And the same night he left for
his heavenly abode. I wetted his tongue till he breathed his last.
Two days before he spoke his last words to me: "May God Bless You,
my child". I felt contented. (read more...)
Even though Thirumeni had formal education only upto primary level,
he had studied in the Pazhaya Seminary for full five years.
Wattacheril Thirumeni and Mattackel Malpanachen were his gurus. His
classmates included Pampady Kandathil Valiachen and Kadavumbhagom
Achen. While Thirumeni was 14 years old, the others were 9 and 7
respectively. Every Monday he would leave Pampady for Kottayam to
return on Friday.
Thirumeni used to narrate one incident of those interesting
sources: "You ask Kadavumbhagom Achen to walk forward, he would walk
backward." It was during his stay in Pampady after Seminary studies
were over, that the three day fasting prayer was held in the church
against the unprecedented drought. The cloud burst and all that
followed is history. (click here to know more..)
Thirumeni's Love for all Living Beings:
Thirumeni's love for birds and beasts is well known. He himself used
to feed the birds. If there was no paddy left in the Dayara, he
would get it from anywhere else to feed the pigeons. They would fly
into the dayara courtyard when they hear Thirumeni close the windows
of the 'madbaha' after prayer. They would gladly flit and fly
around, some of them even finding their perch on his shoulders.
He even fed the crows with corn and rusk. He had a special reason to
offer. It was through the raven that God fed Elijah in the desert as
much as He did to the missionaries in the forests in subsequent
ages. There are many examples for his love for other animals too.
A stray dog used to come regularly to visit Thirumeni. Thirumeni
used to feed the dog from the window by sharing his meal. In
addition to that Thirumeni also used to give the dog milk and
biscuits. If the dog finds that Thirumeni is not in the dayara she
would go away without eating anything. One day Thirumeni realised
that the dog was pregnant. He felt more sympathy to the dog and
offered her good food. For some days no one saw the dog. Later she
came having delivered the puppies. As usual Thirumeni offered the
dog food and told her. "I want to see your pup". Immediately the dog
went, caught a pup by the throat, came back and put the little one
in front of Thirumeni !!!. I have seen this with my own eyes. After
Thirumeni caressed the pup, gave it some more food, the dog took the
pup away. Only very few saints could love all living beings like
this. Even now hordes of crows haunt the Dayara compound.
Pampady Thirumeni loved all living beings dearly.
His earnestness in church matters cannot be over estimated. He had
great love and respect for the first Catholica Bava of Murimattom.
It was he who ordained him Priest and Ramban. And his love for
Thirumeni was equally warm. He always used to refer to
Thirumeni: "my Rambachan". And Thirumeni never missed attending Bava
Thirumeni's 'Sraddha' festival at Pampakuda.
He spent some time in Parumala Seminary during the Ramban days. All
at Pampady grieved when they heard that he was leaving for Parumala.
Old people even wept openly. He came back in six months. But he used
to spend one week in prayer and fasting every year at Parumala.
Thirumeni had met Parumala Thirumeni when he was a Semmassan. His
respect for Parumala Thirumeni was unbounded.
There were few who loved the church deeper. He gave away every bit
of land and all other possessions that he had in Pampady Dayara for
the church formally in 1960. During the last year, even when memory
was failing him, he used to repeat. "Everything must go to the
Syrian Orthodox Community, after my time is over".
Ardent lover of peace:
An ardent lover of peace, even the mention of litigation was painful
to him. Even though he was rather short tempered early on, he became
more and more patient with passing years. Oh, how he loved me! When
Bava Thirumeni went abroad for peace talks with Mar Aprem Patriarch
he asked him: "What use is Gregorios?" Bava Thirumeni
answered : "There is no one more saintly than him, barring Mar
Gregorios of Parumala." This is recorded by Cheria Madathil Scaria
Kathanar in his book 'Sema Yatra'.
His deep love and respect for his guru Madathil Asan is too well
known to narrate. It was only natural that the whole family of Asan
reciprocates, even now, in equal measure. His family members used to
touch his feet, whenever they met Thirumeni.
Thirumeni: A Symbol of Compassion
Abhaya Bhavan is a dream fulfilled for Thirumeni who was a symbol of
compassion. Even though work on it was initiated, Thirumeni could
not see it completed. But it was inaugurated on his Thirtieth day
Relaxing in the evening under the shade of a mango tree in the
dayara courtyard, Thirumeni once expressed his wish to go to
the 'Kallankunnu', a hill which stood tall across. And once after
his visit to Pangada Pally, he managed to go to the top of the hill
and saw his dayara and surroundings.
Thirumeni could be seen weeping while chanting some of the prayers
to be continued.....
Pampady Thirumeni, A saint by all means..Please pray for us dear