Aramaic Project No. 110 to 101 - Interviews and Performances - Video List

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Aramaic Project Number Description Duration Date and place of Recording Video

Syriac inscriptions at Kaduthuruthy, Thazhathupally

Syriac inscriptions at St. Mary's Church, Thazathupally, Kaduthuruthy, Kottayam Dt. Kerala. Dr. Joseph J. Palackal in conversation with Fr. Augustine Kandathikudilil. This church underwent renovation recently. Fr. Sebastian Kollaparambil decided to retain the Syriac inscriptions that were part of the older church. The original inscriptions go to back to a time when Syro Malabar Catholics were at least partially literate in Syriac. That situation changed after 1962 when the Syro Malabar Church translated the liturgy into Malayalam. The generations that came afterward did not need to know Syriac. Yet, it is commendable that the Vicar decided to reinstate those inscriptions for the current and forthcoming generations to be curious. It also indicates a new interest in the Syriac heritage among the young clergy and faithful in the Syro Malabar Church. Of special significance is the depiction of "Yah" on the front side of the tabernacle. We are grateful to Fr. Augustine Kandathikudilil, who is the Assistant Vicar, for explaining these inscriptions.

Joseph J. Palackal CMI
New York
7 December, 2018


July 30, 2018

St. Mary's Forane Church,Thazathupally,

109 Dr. Joseph J. Palackal's lecture at The American Library of Congress 19:28

May 31, 2018

The Library of Congress, Washington D.C


Syro Malabar Qurbana in English with two Syriac chants.

This was part of the celebration of the Syro Malabar Day, on 29 July, 2015. Dr. Martin Antony and Prince James took the initiative to organize this event to create awareness about the unique heritage of the Syro Malabar Catholics.


29- July, 2015

Sacred Heart Church, Liverpool, Warrington, England.


Rev. Dr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI, Dharmaram College, Bengaluru

Rev. Dr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI recalls old melodies and liturgical practices. Interviewed on July 21, 2014 at Dharmaram College campus.

Note: This interview with Dr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI, a scholar of the Syriac language and Sacred Scripture, is a blessing for the viewers of our channel. Fr. Kalayil recalls melodies, performance practices, chants and specific liturgical celebrations that went out of vogue in the 1960s. Of particular interest for musicologists is the reference to Fr. Ludovic Kunianthodath, CMI and his attempt to adapt Gregorian chant melody to sing Syriac texts. Fr. Kalayil gives one example. Also, the reference to the “Patturamsa,” (literally, musical evening prayer) associated with the feast of Corpus Christ is special. This is the first time we hear about this event that was part of the liturgy of the Hours among the CMI communities. We are grateful to Fr. Kalayil for sharing his memories of several other unique chants that went out of use in the vernacular era. Fr. Kalayil was kind enough to sing the famous Christological chant, "Sagdinan mar," in the manner in which it used to be sung. Overall, music historians have many reasons to be grateful to Fr. Kalayil for providing several hints to the possibility of multifaceted researches.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
27 November 2018
27:43 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the premises of Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.

Fr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI speaks about the chant, "Slothe daslothe"

See the full interview

2:16 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.
107B Melody of B’eda d’yawman. Fr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI 1:53 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.
107C Comments On The Lord’s Prayer in Syriac W’lātāyelan Or W’lātāyelayn 4:37 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.
107D On the Future Of The Syriac Language In The Syro Malabar Church. 4:04 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.
107E Fr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI on "Sagdinan mar" 3:13 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.

Adapting Gregorian chant melodies to sing Syriac chants

Fr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI recalls an example of an interesting musical practice among some of the Syriac Christians in Kerala. The Portuguese missionaries introduced Gregorian melodies among the Catholic Syriac Christians who made attempts to use those melodies to sing psalms in Syriac. Interestingly, when the missionaries tried to change the Syriac liturgy into Syriac, the missionaries vehemently opposed the move. However, they felt comfortable to use Gregorian chant melodies in the Syriac liturgy.

3:13 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.
107G Pronunciation of certain Syriac Letters 4:45 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.
107H About the festival breviary of the CMI Congregation 4:35 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.
107I About Syriac Literacy during the Seminary days (1950s) 6:18 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.
107J Ordination ceremony in Syriac in Mumbai 2:55 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.

" Palackal Thoma Malpan, the founder of the TOCD [CMI] Congregation "

Rev. Dr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI reads from a manuscript from St. John’s Monastery (CMI) at Mutholy, in the Kottayam district of Kerala. The anonymous author wrote in 1918 a concise history of the Malpanate (system of priestly formation among the Catholic St. Thomas Christians). The writer refers (pages 2-3) to Palackal Thoma Malpan as the "adisthanakkaran" (founder) of the Religious Congregation of the Third Order of the Discalced Carmelites (TOCD [CMI]). The author further refers to Palackal Malpan as "’our Father’ [of our Congregation], and the founder of the Mannanam monastery and the Seminary there.” The manuscript shows how the members of the Congregation regarded Palackal Malpan with high esteem and devotion. This was eighty-seven years after the laying of the foundation of the mother house at Mannanam (1831), and sixty-three years after the first eleven fathers canonically professed their religious vows (1855). Thirteen years after the writing of the manuscript, the Congregation celebrated its centenary (1831-1931) with great fanfare. The official publication of a carefully crafted Centenary Souvenir was the highlight of the celebration. The first chapter in the Souvenir describes in detail the origin of the Congregation. The title of this chapter is interesting: “The Two Founders of the Congregation: The Beginnings of the Mother-House” (see the PDF version of this Souvenir here: )

Here the Congregation first acknowledges the role of Palackal Malpan (p. 11, paragraph 4) as the originator of the concept of a religious congregation for the Catholic St. Thomas Christians in Kerala. Also, paragraph 5 (page 12) describes the role of Fr. Thomas Porukara, who happened to be a close friend of Palackal Malpan, in assisting to materialize the original vision of Palackal Malpan. The contents of two documents corroborate what Saint Chavara Kuriakose Elias, an eyewitness, wrote in his Chronicle (Nalagamangal). Saint Chavara included a biography of his adopted father and revered Guru, the saintly Palackal Thoma Malpan in the Chronicle. Saint Chavara concludes the biography by referring to Palackal Malpan as the Foundation of the Congregation” (kowenthayute thutakkam). Ironically, all these documents are a corrective to the current narrative about the founding fathers of the CMI Congregation.

The manuscript is currently at the archive at the Dharmaram College Library. See also the comments by Koonammakkal Thoma Kathanar:

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
26 November 2018

4:52 Recorded on 21- July 2014, at the Dharmaram Vidya Ksthethram , Bengaluru.

Syriac hymn in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sung during the priestly ordination ceremony of Fr. Jojo Thalikasthanam, CMI

More Details of this chant available at

Note: Albeit growing up in the post-Syriac era of the Syro Malabar Church, Fr. Jijo Thalikasthanam, CMI acquired an interest in the Syriac language and music during his seminary formation. It is possible that Fr. Jojo’s older brother, Jarly Mathew, who is passionate about promoting the Syriac heritage of the Syro Malabar Church, influenced his younger brother. In any case, Fr. Jojo took a bold decision to include a few Syriac chants in the ordination ceremony. Jarly Mathew led the choir. Both Fr. Jojo and Jarly continue to promote the unique Syriac (East Syriac) and language and music among the Syro Malabar Catholics, in spite of the uncanny apathy from the Syro Malabar hierarchy toward the Syriac aspect of the Church. I look forward to recorded interviews with Fr. Jojo and Jarly. May God bless their enthusiastic efforts.

In this video, we hear one of the three melodies we know so far for this chant. We do not know who wrote the text or who composed the melody. It is possible someone in Kerala composed this melody in a six-beat (1 2 +1 2 3 4) meter that is popular in South Indian Karnatak classical music.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
5 November 2018

4:19 St. Paul' s Church, Vezhapra, Changanacherry.
30 December 2012.

Joseph Thekkedath Puthenkudy (Rocky) in conversion with Dr. Joseph J. Palackal

Note: It was, indeed, a pleasure to talk to Joseph Puthenkudy, a young Syro Malabar Catholic who is passionate about the Syriac heritage of the St. Thomas Christians. Although not a singer, Joseph was initially attracted to the Syriac melodies of the Jacobite and Malankara churches near his mother’s native place. As a teenager, he used to think that only the Jacobite and Malankarites were Syriac Christians. Joseph's realization that he, too, was a Syriac Christian, changed the course of his life. Meanwhile, Joseph was lucky to get a collection of Syriac books that the sacristan of his local parish threw away in the garbage box. Someone’s garbage became his treasure. Possession of that treasure prompted him to learn to read and write the Syriac language and immerse himself in the study of the Syriac heritage of the Syro Malabar Church. Joseph became a resource person for the Aramaic Project. He volunteered to offer his service as a research assistant for the Project. The Christian Musicological Society of India is grateful to Joseph for granting permission to post this interview on our channel.

Joseph J. Palackal,CMI
New York
8 September 2018

29:22 Recorded at Shanthi Pavana Apts. Kadavanthara, Ernakulam, Kerala. 5 August 2018. -
103 Rev Dr Cherian Thalakulam, CMI in conversation with Dr. Joseph J. Palackal 12:34 Recorded on the premises of the Seminary of Immaculate Conception, Huntington, New York. 22 July 2014.

Fr Antony Sylvester Puthussery, CMI in conversion with Dr. Joseph J, Palackal CMI

Fr. Sylvester Puthussery, CMI (d. 2016), a member of the Sacred Heart Province of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. Specialist in Syro Malabar liturgy, singer of Syriac chants.

Note: Fr. Antony Sylvester Puthussery, CMI (d. 2016) was ordained a priest in 1957. The ordination ceremony was in Syriac as was his first Holy Qurbana. Therefore, Fr. Sylvester is a true representative of the transitional generation that lived through the change of the Syro Malabar liturgy from Syriac to Malayalam in the 1960s. Fr. Sylvester shares his concern about the gradual loss of the sensitivity toward the Syriac heritage among the younger generation of Syro Malabar bishops, priests, and laity as well. He thinks that the learning of Syriac language should be a part of the curriculum in the Seminaries and that all priests should be able to say the Institution narrative in Syriac. This interview took place a few months before Fr. Sylvester died on 5 November 2016, while he was undergoing treatment for a terminal illness. Fr. Sylvester was fully aware of his medical condition and was grateful for the borrowed time that was at his disposal. He even wrote a poem about death that he read on camera. He never lost his calm and his characteristic smile. We are grateful to Fr. Sylvester for agreeing to do this interview and share his valuable ideas.

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Joseph J, Palackal
New York
27 August 2018

42:45 Recorded at Kripa Bhavan, Chunangamvely, Aluva, Kerala. 18 July 2016.

Fr. Sylvester Puthussery speaks about Palackal Thoma Malpan

During a friendly conversation on the Syriac heritage of the Syro Malabar Church (Aramic project 102 - Video), Fr. Antony Sylvester Puthussery, CMI veered to an assessment of the personality of Palackal Thoma Malpan (1780-1841), founder of the CMI Congregation. In the early 1980s, Fr. Sylvester visited the burial place of the Malpan at St. Mary’s Forane Church at Pallippuram and was surprised to see the unmarked grave of such a great man who made significant contribution to the Catholic group of the St. Thomas Christians who were under the supervision of the foreign missionary bishops. Fr. Sylvester thought that the CMI Congregation should have recognized the Malpan as its prime founder. Therefore, he took the initiative to organize a solemn event of placing a tombstone at the grave of the Malpan. The CMI Congregation should be grateful to Fr. Sylvester.

5:18 Recorded at Kripa Bhavan, Chunangamvely, Aluva, Kerala. 18 July 2016.

Sagdīnan mār. at First communion. Northern Virginia

First communion celebration begins with the famous Chirstological hymn in Syriac,Sagdīnan mār. St, Jude Syro Malabar Catholic Church, Northern Virginia, USA. 26 May 2018. We are grateful to Fr. Justin Puthuseery, Vicar, for granting permission to post this video on our channel.

6:56 St, Jude Syro Malabar Catholic Church, Northern Virginia, USA. 26 May 2018.
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