The eleventh of November each year marks the death anniversary of His Holiness Somdet Phra Sangharaj Chao Kroma Luang Vajiranayawong, third abbot of Wat Bowon and 13th Supreme Patriarch of the Ratanakosin period. This year marks the 59th year since his passing.
His Holiness was born Hmom Rajawong Chuen Noppawong on November 22, 1872, to Hmom Chao Thanom and Hmom Aem (nee’ Ghotchaseni) Noppawong Na Ayutthaya, and grandson of Prince Noppawong, eldest son of King Mongkut (Rama IV).
In his childhood, His Holiness was a royal page to H.R.H. Prince Maha Vajirunhis, first Crown Prince of Siam, son of King Chulalongkorn and Queen Sawang Waddhana. However, at the age of thirteen he ordained as a novice at Wat Boromniwat, with Phra Phrommuni (Muen, Sumito) as preceptor. He studied the Pali language, passing the fifth level while still a novice and received a fan of that grade from King Chulalongkorn, in 1894. He received higher ordination (upasampada) from Phra Phrommuni (Fang, Kittisaro) at Wat Makutkasatriyaram. He continued his study of Pali and passed the seventh level (there are 9 grades of Pali studies).
His Holiness was accomplished in many areas, however, he is best known for being the preceptor to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulayadej (Rama IX) when he ordained in 1956, for a period of fifteen days, between October 22 to November 5.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej elevated His Holiness to the level of Somdet Phra Sangharaj Chao, one of two during the Ratanakosin period, on December 20, 1956. Along with that he also received the title of Kroma Luang, which is usually reserved for high-ranking royalty. Therefore, his title was Somdet Phra Sangharaj Chao Kroma Luang Vajiranayawong.
Today, in the 100 Year Sala, merit-making activities were conducted to dedicate merit to His late Holiness on the fifty-ninth year since his passing.