Aramaic Project

No. 210 to 201 - Interviews and Performances - Video List

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Aramaic Project Number Description Duration Date of recording Place of Recording Video
AP 209

'ബ്ഏദാ ദ് യൗമ്മാൻ' Evelyn & Jerome Sijo Puthenpurackal, sing Marian Hymn

Evelyn and Jerome sing the Marian hymn, B'eda d'yawman, recorded at their home. 14 August 2020.

The conversation on the Syriac heritage of the Syro Malabar Church is catching on among those who are geographically removed from the home terrain in Kerala. Sijo and Jessin Puthenpurackal, the young parents of these children, follow the resurgence of interest in reclaiming the Syriac heritage and making it a part of the family conversations. Fortunately, the children resonate with their parents' line of thinking and make efforts to learn the text and the melody of selected Syriac chants. Interestingly, children take a liking to this Marian hymn, even though they do not understand the text's meaning. We see in the video how passionately Evelyn and Jerome sing the song. In the absence of a reference pitch, the children chose a register beyond their vocal comfort level. Nevertheless, it did not diminish their enthusiasm, nor did they falter in the melody. They have enough musicality to keep the melody in tact.Also, Evelyn and Jerome deserve admiration for learning the text correctly. We hope this video will inspire parents and children to include Syriac chants in the family conversation. We are grateful to the children's parents for granting permission to post this video on our channel and hope they will continue their interest in Syriac chants in the growing years.

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
24 September 2020.


Keywords : Evelyn Jerome Puthenpurackal, Kalyan Diocese Syro Malabar Mumbai, B'eda d'yawman, Syriac Chants, Christian Musicology.

4:43 14 August 2020. Residence of Sijo and Jessi Puthenpurackal
AP 208

Dr. Zacharias Thundy recites ശ്ലാം ലേക് മറിയം Hail Mary in Syriac and Latin

Zacharias P. Thundy recites the Hail Mary in the original version in Latin and the Syriac translation. A prayer from the fifth century. See more on Dr. Thundy at See text and translation on our Encyclopedia of Syriac Chants

Slam Lek Maryam, an endearing prayer of the Catholics around the world. The history of the prayer goes back to the Council of Ephesus (431). The focus of this Council was to establish the status of the Blessed Virgin as Mother of God (Theotokos = Carrier of God). The Syriac translation of the Greek term, theotokos, as Emme dalaha created many controversies. It was difficult for the Easterners to comprehend God as having a mother. The term, however, stayed in translation in many languages. Dr. Zach's generation grew up in Kerala reciting this prayer in Syriac. We are posting this on our channel for our viewers to hear the pronunciation of the words. We are grateful to Zach for sharing his boyhood memories regarding this chant. And we hope to get more such videos on varied topics from Dr. Thundy

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York 22
September 2020


Keywords: Zacharias Thundy, Slam lek Maryam, Ave Maria

AP 207

ലാക്‌ ആലാഹ'/ദൈവമെ ഞങ്ങളങ്ങേ വാഴ്ത്തുന്നു Translation of "Te Deum" Latin Hymn

Lak Alaha/Te Deum in Malayalam

#ChristianMusicology #SyriacChants #ലാക്ആലാഹ

The history of the famous Latin chant, Te Deum ("To You O Lord), spans several centuries, many continents and cultures. The chant reached the St. Thomas Catholics in Kerala through the Portuguese missionaries in the sixteenth century. It is possible that the missionaries, who accompanied Vasco de Gama on his second trip to India in 1502, sang this hymn when they landed on the shores of Kerala, in gratitude for a safe journey. Ninety-seven years later, this hymn was part of the concluding procession at the end of the Synod of Udayamperur. Antonio Gouvea's "Jornada" (printed in 1606) provides us with a detailed description of the chant in Latin, Syriac, and Malayalam (see more details on this unique event in Palackal 2005 : 98-100). It is probable that Bishop Ros, S. J. did the Malayalam translation with the local priests' help. Eventually, the Syriac version of the chant became an essential part of priestly ordinations, jubilee celebrations, etc. In the middle of the twentieth century, the Malayalam version replaced the Syriac among the Syriac Catholics and Latin among the Roman Catholics in Kerala. We believe that Job and George duo composed the melody in a typical Kerala style in a six-beat rhythm that frequently appears in South Indian classical compositions. The video contains five related segments. The opening segment shows the performance of the Malayalam version of the chant by the CMI priests in the USA and Canada in February 2020. The occasion was the Jubilee celebration of the priestly ordination of Fr. George Manjappilly, CMI. This happened during a CMI convocation at the Immaculate Seminary at Huntington, New York. The second segment is a comment by Fr. Paulson Kannanaykkal, CMI, on the poetic meter of this text. Interestingly, he recalls a secular poem in the meter and a very similar melody. The following three segments are from our earlier recordings of the Syriac versions. We post all these segments for scholars who are interested in studying the history of this chant that covers several centuries, many continents, and cultures. Reference: Palackal, Joseph J. 2005. "Syriac Chant Traditions in South India." Ph. D. dissertation. Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Lak Alaha

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
15 September 2020
10:19 14 Feb 2020 Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington, New York
AP 201

A return to a transitional period in the history of the Syro Malabar Church.

In the 1960s, when the Syro Malabar Church translated the liturgy into Malayalam, Many priests continued to incorporate specific prayers in Syriac. For many years, most of the priests recited the Institution narrative in Syriac. By doing so, they felt a connection to the Passover meal on Holy Thursday. Priests became sentimental in repeating the exact words that Jesus uttered at the Last Supper. As time went on, those sentiments diminished. The new generation of priests, who did not receive Syriac literacy training, did not share the sentiments of the older priests. Slowly and steadily, the idea of bilingual Qurbana faded, and priests and people did not miss the olden days. Fast forward to the beginning of the twenty-first century, The Syriac language and music began to get attention. The release of the audio CD, Qambel Maran: Syriac chants from South India (PAN Rcords, Netherlands 2002), and the many reviews that followed caught the attention of scholars in several countries. PAN Recorded published a second edition of the album. More importantly, the CD initiated a conversation among the Syro Malabar Catholics that led to the Indian edition. Priests, who did not have Syriac literacy, began to show interest in the Syriac melodies. Many priests experimented with incorporating the Resurrection Hymn (Laku Mara) and the Trisagion (Qandis Alaha) in the Syriac version. People seemed comfortable listening to those chants during Qurbana in Malayalam. Slowly the interest grew, and the idea of bilingual Qurbana gained acceptance, especially among the Syro Malabar Catholics in the USA. In this video, we see Mar Thomas Tharayil, Auxiliary bishop of Changanacherry, celebrating bilingual Qurbana in Malayalam and Syriac. The video shows only the Syriac portion of Qurbana. That a young bishop felt comfortable in going back to the history of the Syro Malabar liturgy is futuristic. The Bishop is creating a historic moment that will inspire other priests to attempt such experiments. That will lead to further conversations of resuscitating a language, which is an essential component of the "SYRO" Malabar Church's identity. Bishop Tharayil celebrated this Qurbana at the chapel of the Bishop's House during the COVID 19 period for homebound people. We are grateful to Bishop Tharayil for allowing us to archive this unique moment and publish it on our channel. We hope future researchers who study the Syria language's revival story will use our archive.

Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
New York
29 August 2020

Keywords: Bishop Thomas Tharayil. Bilingual Qurban of the Syro Malabar Church. Syriac chants, India.

23:25 19 April 2020 ArchBishop's House Chapel, Changanserry
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