KADAVIL CHANDY KATTANAR

ALEXANDER OF THE PORT / KADAVIL CHANDY KATTANAR:

A SYRIAC POET AND DISCIPLE OF THE JESUITS IN SEVENTEENTH CENTURY INDIA

Reference

During the digitization and cataloguing of the Syriac manuscript collection of St Joseph's CMI Monastery in Mannanam, Kerala, a modest-looking manuscript (Mannanam Syr 63 according to our checklist) was found. The manuscript contains anonymous Syriac poetry (memre) of a very learned man, residing in India, a pupil of Francisco Roz S.J., the first European Metropolitan of the Saint Thomas Christian community (1601-1624). One can establish that this poetry is to be attributed to Alexandros Lmenaya (Alexander of the Port) or, in Malayalam, Kadavil Chandy Kattanar (1588-1673?), an Indian priest, great Syriacist and a hymnographer, who wrote his poetry in Syriac, in the traditional East Syriac genre and meter of the 'onyata, displaying impressive humanist learning received at the Jesuit seminary of Vaipikotta, which he attended. This is a unique poetic synthesis that could not be created anywhere else in the world and any other time but in early modern India. The paper presents this poetry together with two letters of ChandyKadavil, also discovered during the same digitization project. It also treats the questions of authorship, sources and literary genres.

Publication Date: 2014
Publication Name: Journal of the Canadian Society for Syriac Studies 14: 30-49.

 

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