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(Pdf download)

The Qurbana Book of 1901

This is one of the oldest versions of Syro Malabar Church published in 1901

Approved by Bishop Mar Louis Pazheparambil (Vicar Apostolica of Ernakulam), Bishop Mar John Menachery((Vicar Apostolica of Trichur), Bishop mar Mathew Makkil (Vicar Apostolica of Kottayam)



(Pdf download)

Awsar Slawotho 2 Takso d Qurobo

Published By - St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute (SEERI), Kottayam

Printed at - St. Joseph's Orphanage Press, Changanserry

Year - 2014






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Kudasha d' sleeha thuvana

ശ്ലീഹന്മാരുടെ കൂദാശ ക്രമം

(Sleehanmaarude Kudhasha Kramam) - The Qurbana order of 1945

Printed by - Malpan Mathew Vadekkal, Mangalappuzha Seminary

Printer-: Mar Thomas Sleeha Press, Aluva (1945)

Re-Imprimatur-: Mar Augustine Kandathil , (Metropolitan Arch Bishop of Ernakulam)


  • · Reading for Sunday
  • · Preparation for the Mass
  • · The ordinary of the Mass
  • · Servers part of the Mass
  • · The common of Saints
  • · Reading for the result of Saints
  • · Huthama (Final blessing of the feast of blessed Virgin Mary)
Reading for the three ninivian lent (Bautha abstinence days)

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Thaksa d' Qudasa

Printed in - Puthanpally Seminary , Printer – Fr. Andrews Kalappura Malpan

Published on - 1901 December 21

Imprimatur – Mar Makil Mathew , Vicar apostolic of Changanasseery,Mar Menacherry John,Vicar apostolic of Trichur,Mar Pazheparambil Alosious .Vicar Apostolic of Ernakulam.

Content - Propriya , Readings of the day Mass





(Pdf download)


Compiled by Fr. Andrews Kalapura

Printed at - Mar Thoma Sleeha Press,1904, Puthenpalli Seminary

Impirimatur - Mar Makil Mathew , Vicar apostolic of Changanasseery,Mar Menacherry John,Vicar apostolic of Trichur,Mar Pazheparambil Alosious .Vicar Apostolic of Ernakulam.





(Pdf download)


മാർഗംകളി ആട്ടപ്രകാരം

(Study of performing art)


Dr. Chummar Choondal

Dr. Jacob Vellian

Year aof Publication-1987

Published by - Hadusa, Kottayam

Printed at -Catholic Mission Press, Kottayam


(Pdf download)

Nadapadi, Lekhanangal, Velipaadu

നടപടി, ലേഖനങ്ങൾ, വെളിപാട

By Mani Kathanar

Printed at - St. Joseph's Press, Mannanam

Year - 1938


(Pdf download)

Malayalam Hymn Book
ക്രിസ്‌തീയ ഗീതങ്ങൾ

Seventh Revised Editon


Year- 1898


008-042 (

(Pdf download)

Suriyani Qurbana Taksa 2003


(With the First Hallowing
That is the Hallowing of the Blessed Apostles
Mar Adaai and Mar Mari)


According to the Use of the
Church of the East Syrians of Malabar

Printed in - Rome
Year -2003


(Pdf download)

1957 Pontificial

(Book of Holy Ordination)

Printed in Bagdad

Printed in 1957 for Chaldian catholics and Malabar catholics


(Pdf download)

The Akkadian Influences on Aramaic


Stephen A. Kaufman




(Pdf download)



(Pdf download)

ആരാധനാക്രമത്തിൽ സംഗീതത്തിനുള്ള സ്ഥാനം

The Role of Music in Liturgy

The ancient Syriac (Aramaic) chant tradition is one of the identity markers of the Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala, India. Preservation of these chants should go hand in hand with adaptation of Indian classical and semi-classical styles of music in liturgy.

Article written by Joseph J. Palackal ,published in St. Mary's Forane Church Souvenir, Pallippuram, India, pp. 71-77. Language: Malayalam.


കുടുംബ പ്രാർത്ഥനയും ഭജന ഗാനങ്ങളും

Family Prayer and Bhajan Songs

(Pdf download)

കുടുംബ പ്രാർത്ഥനയും ഭജന ഗാനങ്ങളും
Family Prayer and Bhajan Songs

Article written by Dr. Joseph J. Palackal published in Kudumbadeepam (March 2003), pp. 6-8, 14. Language: Malayalam.

Fr. Proksh SVD (1904-1986) was one of the pioneers in adapting the bhajan style of music in Catholic worship in India. In the 1960s, Dharmaram College and the National Biblical Catechetical and Liturgical Center (NBCLC), Bangalore, gave leadership in creating an "Indian liturgy" that adapted Hindu terminologies and Indian classical music. Although Indian liturgy has lost popularity, Christian bhajans continue to have currency among the Catholics in Kerala.

Kudumbadeepam (March 2003), pp. 6-8, 14. Language: Malayalam.


കലയും ക്രൈസ്തവ വിശ്വാസവും
ഒരു ഭാരതീയ സംവാദം

Art and Christian Faith

- an Indian Dialogue

(Pdf Extract)

കലയും ക്രൈസ്തവ വിശ്വാസവും - ഒരു ഭാരതീയ സംവാദം
Art and Christian Faith - an Indian Dialogue

Article written by Dr. Joseph Palackal published in Sathyadeepam , a Malayalam Catholic weekly published from Ernakulam, Kochi in Kerala. The weekly is a source for the official stance of the Kerala Catholic Church in general

Publisher - Sathyadeepam, vol. 74, p. 5.

Published Date - November 8, 2000

Language: Malayalam

Christianity in India is believed to be as old as Christianity itself. Yet Christian artists in India, by and large, are reluctant to interpret faith through images inspired by their local cultures. Instead, most Christian families and institutions proudly exhibit pictures of blue-eyed, blond-haired Jesus and Mary, painted by European artists. By giving an Indian definition to Christian faith, artists can contribute not only to Catholic Christianity, but also to Indian art



Music Online

Grove Music


The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

2nd edn., vol. 15, edited by Stanley Sadie, John Tyrell. London: Macmillan Publishers, pp. 736-37.


A composite genre of poetry, music, and dance, popular among the Catholics of Goa and the neighboring regions of the west coast of India.

Published in print: 20 January 2001

Published online: 2001


A composite genre of poetry, music and dance, popular among the Catholics of Goa and the neighbouring regions on the west coast of India. The origin of the word is obscure. The lyrics in Konkani, the language of Goa, include words borrowed or derived from Portuguese (Goa was a Portuguese colony from ...




Official journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology,

University of Illinois Press

As the official journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Ethnomusicology is the premier publication in the field. Its scholarly articles represent current theoretical perspectives and research in ethnomusicology and related fields, while playing a central role in expanding the discipline in the United States and abroad. Aimed at a diverse audience of musicologists, anthropologists, folklorists, cultural studies scholars, musicians, and others, this inclusive journal also features book, recording, film, video, and multimedia reviews. Peer-reviewed by the Society’s international membership, Ethnomusicology has been published three times a year since the 1950s.


Puthen paana

(പുത്തൻ പാന )

A Musical Study.

By Dr. Joseph J. Palackal

(Pdf download)

Puthen paana (പുത്തൻ പാന) -A Musical Study.

By Dr. Joseph J. Palackal

An analysis of the intercultural processes that influenced the singing styles of Puthen paana, an eighteenth-century Malayalam poem by John Earnest Hanxleden, in the historical context of Christianization and religious colonization in South India.

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Master's thesis. Hunter College-CUNY.

Director: Barbara L. Hampton. (ProQuest ID: 740455261).


(Pdf extract)





Printed by St Joseph's press Mannanam-686 561

Re-imprimatur Mathew Kavukatt (Archbishop of Changanasserry) 12-01-1965

Total pages - 117


Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Volume 5: South Asia: The Indian Subcontinent

Edited by - Alison Arnold (Routledge 1999, 1104 page (s)
Publication Year 1999
Publisher - Routledge
Subject Category - World Music, Music & Performing Arts, South Asia: Indian Subcontinent,

Online Link

Related Chapters- Kerala Jewish Music ( p. 949). Kerala Tribal Music (p. 950), Tamil Nadu Christian Music. (pp. 921-927).


(Pdf extract)

The Survival Story of Syriac Chants among the St. Thomas Christians in South India

A chapter by Joseph J. Palackal
included in the

The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities
Edited by Jonathan Dueck and Suzel Ana Reily

Print Publication Date: May 2016
Subject:Music, Ethnomusicology
Online Publication Date:Jan 2015
DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199859993.013.3
ISBN: 9780199859993


This chapter explores the Syriac chant traditions among the group of South Indian churches, collectively referred to here as the “St. Thomas Christians.” These churches, which encompass a variety of denominational communities in Kerala, trace their origins to the apostolic and Chaldean/East Syriac sources of West Asian Christianity, later articulating also with the Antiochene liturgy and Orthodox Christianity in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. They have defended their linkages with the Syriac liturgical and musical traditions against the incursions of foreign Catholic and Anglican missionaries, and later a wider variety of Catholic and Protestant movements within India. The chapter suggests that they accomplished this, in part, by only selectively accepting musical, liturgical, and theological elements that arrived with each of these missions. But more recently they have accomplished this by retaining Syriac chant melodies even as churches began to sing in vernacular languages such as Malayalam.


(Pdf Download)

A Unique Marriage Invitation of Wilson Muriyadan printed in Syriac

A unique Marriage Invitation of Wilson weds Rekha printed in Syriac along with English.

The Marriage was solemnised on 2-May-2004 at Trissur Mar Adhai Sleeha Church, Paravattany,Trissur


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Jornada do Arcebispo de Goa Do Frey Alexio de Menezes

Title : Gouvea, Antonio de. Jornada do Arcebispo de Goa Do Frey Alexio de Menezes Primas de India Oriental Religioso da Ordem de S. Agostino

Printed at Coimbra, Portugal by Diogo Gomez Loureyro, in 1606.

Language: Portuguese


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Syriac Missal of the Syro Malabar Church

Imprimatur (1960) by Archbishop Joseph Parecattil

Printed at -Mar Thoma Sleeha Press, Aluva, 1965.


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His Excellancy Mar Joy Alapatt

(Auxillary Bishop, St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic Diocese of Chicago)


St. Jude Syro Malabar Catholic Church, Northern Virginia


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THE HISTORY OF THE Church of Malabar


The time of its being first discover'd by the Portugueses in the Year 1501.

Giving an Account of The Persecutions and Violent Methods of the Roman "Prelates; to Reduce them to the Subjection of the Church of ROME.

Together with the


Celebrated in the Year of our Lord 1599. With some Remarks upon the Faith and Do- Urine of the Christians of St. Thomas in the Indies, agreeing with the Church of En- gland, in opposition to that of Rome. Done out of Portugueze into English.

By MICHAEL GEDDES, Chancellor of the Cathedral'Church of SA R V M.


Printed for Sam. Smith, and Benj. Walfori, at the Prince's-Armi in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1694.

  • Title The History of the Church of Malabar
  • Author Michael Geddes
  • Publisher Smith, 1694
  • Original from the Bavarian State Library
  • Digitized 23 Sep 2008
  • Length 502 pages
  • ebook Link - Google Books

Pdf version


(A Syriac to Malayalam Dictionary )


Commercial Releases of Christian Karnatic Classical Music by George Panjara - SREE RANJINI

  • Cassette Title - Sree Ranjini Mariakeerthanangal by Vidwan Sri George Panjara
  • Performers- George Panjara (Vocal), Thirunalloor Ajithkumar(Violin), Vaikom Gopakumar (Mridangam), Vaikom Ajithkumar (Ghatam)
  • Language - Malayalam
  • Format - Pre-recorded Audio Cassette
  • Year of Release -2008
  • Genre - Christian Devotional Songs (Marian Devotional Songs)
  • Produced by - Cochin Arts and Communications (CAC)


Commercial Releases of Christian Karnatic Classical Music by George Panjara- NIDANTHA SNEHAM

  • Cassette Title Nidantha Sneham Christian Classical Music by George Panjara
  • Performers- George Panjara (Vocal), Peroor Jayaprakash (Violin), Vaikom Gopakumar (Mridangam), Vaikom Ajithkumar (Ghatam)
  • Language - Malayalam
  • Format - Pre-recorded Audio Cassette
  • Year of Release -2006
  • Genre - Christian Classical Music (Karnatic)
  • Produced by - Cochin Arts and Communications (CAC)


Commercial Releases of Christian Karnatic Classical Music by George Panjara - SREEYESUKEERTHANAM

  • Cassette Title -Sreeyesukeerthanam Christian Classical Music Concert by George Panjara
  • Performers- George Panjara (Vocal), Nedumangad Sivanandan (Violin), Vaikom Gopakumar (Mridangam), Vaikom Ajithkumar (Ghatam), Bipin (Tamburu)
  • Language - Malayalam
  • Format - Pre-recorded Audio Cassette (Side A -(3Tracks) + Side B -(4Tracks)
  • Date of Release - 8-July-2000
  • Genre - Christian Classical Music
  • Produced by - Christian Musicological Society of India (CMSI) CM 101


Commercial Releases of Christian Karnatic Classical Music by George Panjara -Christian Classical Music Concert

Christian Classical Music Concert
  • Cassette Title - Christian Classical Music Concert
  • Performers- George Panjara (Vocal),
  • Language - Malayalam
  • Format - Pre-recorded Cassette
  • Year of Release - 1988
  • Produced by - Nadopasana, Thodupuzha, NC 101
    (with financial support from Sahrudaya Services, S. H. Provincial House, Rajagiri, Kalamassery)


Commercial Releases of Christian Karnatic Classical Music by George Panjara -MALAYALAM CHRISTIAN CLASSICS

  • Cassette Title -MALAYALAM CHRISTIAN CLASSICS by George Panjara
  • Performers- George Panjara (Vocal)
  • Language - Malayalam
  • Format - Pre-recorded Audio Cassette
  • Year of Release - 1986
  • Genre - Christian Classical Muusc (Karnatic)
  • Produced by - Chavara Cultural Center


Letter of invitation for the SyriacConferenceat St. Joseph’s Monastery at Mannanam, on 27 August 1999

Syriac conference letter of invitation

This letter of invitation for the Syriac Conference at St. Joseph’s Monastery at Mannanam, on 27 August 1999, is a remarkable document; the conference was in preparation for an audio recording of a selection of melodies from the Syriac music repertory of the Syro Malabar Church. The recording took place at the Monastery chapel, where these melodies reverberated on a daily basis from the middle of the 19th century until 1962. The recording would eventually be published as a CD by PAN records in Netherlands, under the title "Qambel Maran: Syriac Chants from South India,” in 2002. The CD became a landmark in the history of Christian music in India. This happened to be the first commercial release of Syriac chants from the East Syriac tradition of the Syro Malabar Church. Surprisingly, the CD became a commercial success, went into three reprints, and found a place in many libraries around the world. After spending a few hours of discussions, Fr. Antony Vallavanthara, CMI (1942-2008), who was a zealous promoter of the Syriac heritage, drafted the letter, which was sent to a selected group of CMI priests who were either Syriac scholars or singers. The participants included such significant personalities as Fr. Abel Periyappuram, CMI (1920-2001) and Fr. Emmanuel Thelly (1925-2015), CMI. The purpose of the conference was to determine which melodies should be recorded. An audio recording of this workshop has survived; it will be posted later. Contrary to my expectation, the participants were very enthusiastic and the discussions were vibrant. The closing paragraph in the letter is noteworthy. Though not a musician, Fr. Vallavanthara, a specialist in the history of the Syro Malabar liturgy , writes like a musicologist; he refers to many musical aspects of the Syriac tradition, including the importance of individual and regional variations of the same melody. Fr. Vallavanthara's words to the prospective participants are remarkable: "It is a very important contribution of yours to the Malabar Church and to "music traditions of the world." Those words were prophetic. May his soul rest in peace, and may he continue to intercede for the success of the Aramaic Project.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
16 January 2018


പള്ളികളിലെ ചിത്ര ആഭാസങ്ങൾ
Pallikalile Chitraabhasangal

Author - Prof. George Menacherry

For further details please contact

Āghōshamāya Slīwāppātha

(Solemn Stations of the Cross)

Br. Jose L. Mawunkal

Songs and prayers for the fourteen Stations of the Cross in Malayalam First edition, 1929

Printed at - Jubilee Memorial Presss Seminary-Puthenpally, Varappuzha.

This is the original edition (1929) of one of the most popular versions of the Stations of the Cross in Malayalam. The 32-page booklet (6.4” X 3.8”) contains hymns, prayers, and meditative reflections on each of the fourteen Stations, written by late Fr. Joseph Mawunkal, a member of the Arch-diocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly, in Kerala. At the time of publication, the author was a seminarian, identified as Jose L. Mawunkal, at Puthenpally, Varappuzha. The work received a warm reception from the Catholic Keralites because of its high literary and poetic qualities. Until the 1970s, this was the most popular Stations of the Cross among the Syro Malabar Church and the Latin Catholics in Kerala. Even today, several communities continue to use this version, with slight change of words in the opening stanza. The words kṛūšum thāngi-pōya took the place of kḷēšāwaha- māya, and fit well into the melody. Fr. Mawunkal composed the lyrics to the meter and melody of two songs that were already popular among the Catholics in Kerala: Dēwēšā yēšuparā or īšoyē enpithāwē. The opening words of these songs are indicated above the first stanza,in brackets. It is possible that these two songs were modelled after popular Hindi movie songs. Writing lyrics to popular melodies from Hindi movies was prevalent until the 1960s. See many more examples in another Malayalam hymnal, Dhaṛmagīti (see no. 13 under Resources for Researchers The title of the booklet deserves attention. It is a combination of the Syriac word slīwā (Cross) and the Malayalam word pātha (way) according to the rules of the Malayalam syntax. Although Syriac literacy was already on the path of decline among the laity in the first quarter of the twentieth century, many Syriac words remained in the vernacular prayer vocabulary. More importantly, the centuries-long presence of the Syriac language in the region created the comfort level of the Syriac Christians in formulating phrases that combined Syriac and Malayalam words. This is but one example. The advertisements that appear on the back cover will be of much interest to the historians of Malayalam hymnals and prayer vocabulary in Kerala. The first advertisement is for a Malayalam book that contains prayers and songs for the popular devotion of Eucharistic adoration, one hour adoration on the first Fridays of the month as well as forty-hour adoration once a year, in parishes.The advertisement specifically mentions the Syriac and Malayalam versions of the songs for the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. These songs are given in the Malayalam script. It is interesting to know that this book included also Latin chants (Pange Lingua, Tantum Ergo) in the Malayalam script. Personally, I have a vague recollection of my aunt (father’s sister) singing Tantum Ergo from this book at the end of our family prayer. It means that the Syriac Christians were quite comfortable in singing Latin chants (at home) that the Portuguese missionaries introduced in Kerala. We do not know yet if the Latin chants were ever sung in Syro Malabar Churches.The second advertisement is for a three-part hymnal that the author edited: Bhakthagānamālika (Garland of Devotional Songs). Part III consists of 73 songs,probably written by Fr. Mawunkal, and Part I was going for a second edition, according to the advertisement. The booklet is also a contemporary witness to the numeric literacy of the Keralites. The page numbers appear in Arabic numerals, whereas the number of the Stations and stanzas appear in the Malayalam numerals. During this transitional period, the Keralites were familiar with both systems of writing the numerals.The Malayalam numerals went out of vogue in the second half of the twentieth century. So, too, the price is given in the name of the local currency (chakṛam and aṇa; later this changed to rūpa and paisa). I hope future researchers will be successful in locating the books that are mentioned on the back cover; they are primary source materials for the musical aspect of the religio-cultural history of Kerala.

Dr. Joseph J. Palackal
New York
14 June 2017


The wedding Songs of the Cochin Jews

and of the

Knanite Christians of Kerala:

A Study in Comparison.

Prof. P. M. Jussay

The wedding Songs of the Cochin Jews and of theKnanite Christians of Kerala:

A Study in Comparison.

Prof. P. M. Jussay


The Syriac Manuscripts in Mannanam Library

Paper Presented


Fr. Emmanuel Thelly C.M.I.

in the

Symposium Syriacum VIII

Eighth International Congress of Syriac Studies

held at

University of Sydney, Australia

on 26th , 27th June 2000

The Syriac Manuscripts in Mannanam Library

NOTE: Fr. Emmanuel Thelly, C. M. I. (1925-2015) was kind enough to give me this copy of the paper that he presented at the Symposium Syriacum VIII, Eigh-th International Congress for Syriac Studies, held at the University of Sydney, Australia from June 26 to 30, 2000. Fr. Thelly spent innumerable hours at the archive at St. Joseph’s Monastery at Mannanam to gather the information that is presented here. This is a golden treasure for researchers on an array of topics, ranging from language and linguistics to music and history. I hope these manuscripts are still intact at the archive. Recently, the monastery has decided to digitize the materials at the Archive and make them public. That will be a great boon to scholars around the world. I cherish the sacred memory of Fr. Thelly, who helped me immensely during research for my doctoral dissertation on Syriac chants at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and pray for his continuous blessings on the Aramaic Project and anyone who is involved in Syriac studies.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
27 April 2017


(Pdf Download)

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(Pdf Download)

Aramaic Grammar Vol I & II

(Approved by the University of Kerala)

By Rev. Fr. Thomas Arayathinal, M. O. L.

Printed at - St. Joseph's Press, Mannanam, Kerala, India. 1957



( Hymnal in Malayalam Compiled by the staff and students of Dharmaram College, Bangalore)

Printed at K. C. M. Press, Ernakulam, 1963
Commercial Movies & Christian Worship in Kerala: A Musical Intersection

This hymnal is a witness to a period (1950s to 1970s) in the history of Christian music in Malayalam, when composers of lyrics looked up to film tunes in Hindi, Malayalam, and to a lesser extent, Tamil, and wrote Christian lyrics to the meters and melodies of popular film songs. These songs reached Kerala through the government sponsored All India Radio.. The hymnal also shows the intersection of commercial movies and Christian worship at this time in Kerala, India. The hymnal was intended for private use at Dharmaram College, the Seminary of the religious congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate that the saintly Palackal Thoma Malpan (1780-1841; my collateral ancestor),Porukara Thoma Malpan (1799-1846), and Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara (1805-1871) founded in 1831 in Kerala. The title of the hymnal takes after the Sanskrit name of the seminary, Dharmārām, which literally means “garden of virtues.” In the 1960s, over two hundred seminarians lived and studied at one point in time at Dharmārām, The hymnal was in use until the 1970s. There are 133 songs of which 130 are in Malayalam and the other three are Syriac chants printed in Malayalam script. The songs are grouped under 12 headings: Hymns in praise of Jesus: songs 1-38 Hymns in praise of Blessed Virgin Mary: 39-65 Christmas songs: 66-74 To the Holy Spirit: 75-79 To St. Joseph: 80-86 St. Thomas the Apostle: 87-93 St. Theresa of Avila: 94-100 St. John of the Cross: 101-105 St. Theresa of Lisieux: 106-110 The patron saints of different residence buildings of the Seminary Songs for various occasions: Syriac chants for the Benediction: 117-118 Litanies: 120-124 - Stations of the Cross 125 Hymns to the Holy Spirit: 126-128 Stations of the Cross 125 Hymns to the Holy Spirit: 126-128 The Lord’s Prayer: 129 Hail Mary: 130 Hymn to Mary: 131 Dedication to the Holy Spirit 12. Malayalam translation of the Latin chant Te Deum: 133 The tune is indicated in parenthesis below the title by the opening words of the film song to which the lyrics are written;in some cases, the name of the film in which the song appears is also mentioned. The number of stanzas and the number of verses in each stanza coincide with those of the film song. These songs were not part of the official liturgy of the Syro Malabar Church, they were sung during such paraliturgical services as the Holy Hour (adoration of the Blessed Sacrament), Benediction, prayer gatherings, litanies and novenas to saints. The hymnal lacks an Introduction. Hence, we have no information on the thought process that went into its preparation and publication.What is conspicuous by its absence are the names of the lyricists. It is possible that a few of those hymns were written by the talented students at the seminary. Some of the hymns were popular among Catholics all over Kerala. The preparation of the hymnal took place during the time when the Syro Malabar Church was engaged in translating the liturgy from Syriac to Malayalam. The inauguration of the Malayalam version took place on July 3, 1962, one year before the publication of this hymnal. The inclusion of the Syriac chants shows the continuity and comfort level of the worshippers with the Syriac language and chants. Two of the three Syriac chants (117 &118) are translations of the Latin chant Pange Lingua by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1244). The third one (65), šlām lēk (“shanti to you (Mary]”) is a chant in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The community used to end the night prayers with a hymn to the Blessed Virgin. This Syriac chant was sung on that occasion.. Interestingly, there is only one instance of using a melody from a Tamil film (38); Tamil is the language of the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu. Yet, the Christians in Kerala were more tuned to the film songs in Hindi, the language of the distant north. One reason may be that All India Radio. stations in Kerala gave greater importance to Hindi songs than Tamil songs, and cinema theaters in Kerala screened comparatively more films in Hindi than Tamil . This hymnal is a case in point for an uncanny musical interface of commercial movies and Christian worship in Kerala. The Catholics were quite comfortable in celebrating their faith by singing secular melodies with their visual connotations. The hymnal also portrays the poetic imagination of a particular period in the history of Christian lyricists in Kerala, and bears a testimony to the theological thinking and prayer vocabulary of the time. Finally, this hymnal documents the names of a number of popular songs and the names of films in which they appear, indicating cross cultural communication within the country.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
1 November 2016




Music Teacher (Book I)

Lyrics and music for - :Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday,Good Friday, Benediction, Christmas midnight services, prayers for the beginning and end of the calendar year
Lyrics:- Fr. Abel, C. M. I.
Music:- Rafi Jose
Printed at :- Mar Louis Memorial Press, Ernakulam, Kerala. 1969.

This book is a valuable addition to the resources for researchers on the Christian music of Kerala, India. It tells the story of the meeting of the musical minds of two great men: Fr. Abel Periyappuram, CMI (1920-2001) and Mangalappilly M. Jose (d. 2010), popularly known as Rafi Jose. Their collaboration happened in the 1960s at Ernakulam, Kerala. That was the time of transition of the Syro Malabar liturgy from Syriac to Malayalam. Drawing inspiration from the ancient Syriac liturgical texts, Fr. Abel wrote lyrics in Malayalam for the Holy week services, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Christmas midnight service, as well as prayer services for the beginning and end of the calendar year. This was also the time when Fr. Abel pooled the best musical talents in the greater cochin area and formed the Christian Arts club, which eventually would evolve into Kalabhavan. Mangalappiily Jose was one of those gifted musicians; he had already become immensely popular by singing the Hindi film songs of Muhammad Rafi (hence the nickname “ Rafi Jose). Fr. Abel tested his talent as a composer by entrusting the new lyrics to Rafi Jose. Rafi Jose composed captivating melodies to those lyrics that became instantly popular. (These melodies continue to be sung in the Syro Malabar churches until this day). The gramophone company of India published a record that included two of Rafi’s compositions: “thālathil weḷḷameṭuthu” (for Maundy Thursday) as well as “gāgulthā malayil ninnum” (for Good Friday). These soulful melodies were heard from the public address systems of most of the churches in Kerala and became imprinted in the minds of the people of Kerala.

Meanwhile, Fr. Abel and Rafi Jose embarked on an unusual project of publishing this book (printed at Mar Louis Memorial Press at Ernakulam, in 1969) with the lyrics and music of their songs in Western staff notation. The book is a monument to their great talents, their musical collaboration, and their intention to enhance Western musical literacy among musicians in Kerala.

In the absence of an Introduction, we do not know who transcribed the melody in staff notation. To clarify this, I had a telephone conversation with Rex Isaacs (18 August 2016), who was closely associated with Christian Arts Club and, later, Kalabhavan. Rex is a violinist in the Western tradition and comes from a family of musicians. Rex told me that he assisted Rafi Jose in preparing the score of the melodies of “thālathil weḷḷameṭuthu” and “gāgulthā malayil ninnum” as well as the background music for those melodies, before they traveled to Madras (Chennai) for the audio recording at HMV studio. Rex reiterated that the transcriptions that are printed in the book are not his. He thinks that Mr. Patrick David, who knew Rafi Jose, very likely prepared the score that is printed in the book. Rex added that he could not understand the reason for the addition of a bar line after the time signature on the opening staff, and then a measure-long space and bar line at the beginning of subsequent staves. In any case, the score helps us to understand the melody as the composer envisaged it; it also helps us to understand how a great singer like K. J. Yesudas emotes with and interprets the melody, and gives it a different life.

I happened to see the book, by chance, during a visit to the music library at Nadopasana at Thodupuzha, that I started in 1986. This was in the first week of August 2016. While browsing through the collection of recordings and books, Fr. Kurian Puthenpurackal,CMI, the director of Nadopasana brought a set of books from his personal collection. Gānādhyāpakan was one of them. I was overjoyed to see the book, and immediately recognized its historical value. Fr. Puthenpurackal said that he got the book from Fr. John Kachiramattom, CMI several years before. Ironically, this book and its content never came up in my conversation with Fr. Abel, during my three years at Kalabhavan.

The book assumes another layer of importance at the present time. It offers a definitive answer to the recent disputes regarding the authorship of the melody of "gagultha malayil ninnum " The dispute arose after the publication of an article (“gāgulthā malayil ninnum”), on Rafi Jose by Shajan C. Mathew in the Sunday edition of Malayala Manorama Daily, on March 27, 2016. In the article, Shajan Mathew cited much evidence to support the authorship of the melody by Rafi Jose Another living composer, however, disputed Shajan’s findings and claimed authorship of the melody. The Christian Musicological Society of India gladly presents the pdf version of the book for the benefit of scholars and journalists as the final proof of the authorship. May the soul of Rafi Jose have the last laugh, and rest in peace!


Courtesy :-- Joseph J. Palackal , August 18, 2016

008-011 Funeral services for priests in the Syro-Malankara church

Chants sung by Fr.Paul Nilackal Thekkethil. Recorded at Oasis Digital Studio, Ranni, Kerala on 18-19 Feb 2012. In this recording, electronic tamburu was used for sruti; in actual service organ, keyboard, or harmonium is used for accompaniment.

008-010 Deleted
008-010a Deleted
008-010b Deleted
008-009 Kristeeya Keerthanangal

Kristeeya Keerthanangal (Christian Hymns): Staff Notation

Published by Department of Sacred Music and Communications, The Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Thiruvalla (2002). Pp. ii + 757. Contains notation of over 484 melodies from the liturgy of the Mar Thoma Church. Certain significant details regarding the structure of the lyrics (pallawi-anupallawi-charanam, for example) and meter are missing in this edition. For these and other important information on the hymns, researchers may consult Malankara Mar Thoma suriyani sabha parasyaradhanakramam (Order of Public Worship of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church), published by the Mar Thoma Sabha Publication Board, Thiruvalla.
A call-to-attention to the rich repertoire of the Mar Thoma Syrian Church can be found in Palackal 2005, pp. 123-125.


Puratanappatukal (Ancient Songs (of the Syrian Christians of Malabar]) by P. U. Lukas.

Compiled by P. U. Lukas (Puthenpurackal Uthup Lukas). 10th ed. Kottayam: Jyothi Book House. 2002. First published in 1910. Pp. xxxiv + 240. This book includes the complete text (pp.142 - 155) of the songs of Marggam Kali.
puratanappatukal cover Puratana ppatukal toc

Puratanappatukal toc


Die Melodien des Chaldaischen... by Heinrich Husmann

Die Melodien

Die Melodien des Chaldaischen Breviers Communenach denTraditionen Vorderasiens und der Malabarküste, edited by Heinrich Husmann. Orientalia Christiana Analecta, no. 178. Rome: Pontificum Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 1967. Part I: Die Melodien des Commune des Chaldaischen Breviers, ach der tradition des vorderen orientes. Gesungen von P. Ephrem Bede, Chaldaischer Chorbischof, Patriarchalvikar in Kairo. Part II: Die Melodien des commune des Chaldaischen Breviers, nach der tradition der Indischen christen der Malabarkuste. Gesungen von P. Amos C. M. I., Generelakonom des Ordens Carmelitarum Mariae Immaculatae, Prior General’s House, Ernakulam, Kerala.


Syriac Translation of Latin Chants

The CD, Qambel Maran: Syriac Chants from South India contains six chants (tracks 19 to 24) from an interesting repertoire of texts that were translated from Latin into Syriac in Kerala during the Portuguese period. These texts were composed anew in Kerala, mostly for paraliturgical services. See a preliminary study of the Syriac version of the famous Latin chant Pange Lingua by St. Thomas Aquinas, in Palackal (2005: 112-117). These chants are reference points for a special period in the history of Christianity and Christian music in India .

Kerala Kaldaaya Suriyaani Reethile Thirukkarmma Geethangal by Fr.Mathew Vadakel and Fr. Aurelius.

Kerala Kaldaaya Suriyaani Reethile Thirukkarmma Geethangal (Liturgical hymns of the Chaldeo-Syrian rite of Kerala), edited by Fr. Mathew Vadakel and Fr. Aurelius. Syriac texts transliterated in Malayalam script; music in staff notation. Printed at Codialbail Press, Mangalore. Published by S. H. League, Aluva. 1954. See Cover page and Table of Contents.

008-004 The Syriac Malayalam Hymnal

The Syriac-Malayalam Hymnal, edited by Rev.Saldanha A, S. J.

Printed at Codialbail Press, Mangalore, for the Cathedral Church, Calicut, in 1937. Pp. 27 + 181 + x + v. Part I: Syriac chants of the solemn high mass of the Chaldeo-Syrian rite of Kerala (text transliterated in Malayalam, music in Western staff notation). Part II: Malayalam devotional songs in Western staff notation. This is the first publication of Syriac melodies in staff notation in India. Probably, these melodies were composed in Kerala. The Preface (in English and Malayalam, pp. 9-18) by Rev. Saldanha is quite informative, among other things, on the status Christian music in Kerala in the first quarter of the twentieth century.

See Foreword, Preface, and Table of Contents

008-003 manuscript of syriac chants in staff notation manuscript of syriac chants in staff notation

Manuscript of Syriac chants in staff notation by Fr.Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I.

Fr. Aiden Kulathinal

Copied in 1948 from an earlier manuscript (now lost) by Fr. Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I., at St. Theresa's Monastery at Ampazhakkadu, Kerala. So far as we know, this manuscript contains the earliest transcriptions of model melodies from the liturgy of the Hours in the Chaldean rite of the Syro-Malabar Church, India. The 27 pages are divided into three sections: pages 1-14 contain 51 Syriac melodies from the Hours; pages 15-19 consist of notation of what looks like Western melodies (to be verified) without text underlay; and pages 20-27 contain Marian litanies in Latin with Syriac translation. The Syriac texts are written in Malayalam script. The original copy is at the library at Acharaya Palackal Jeevass Kendram, Aluva, Kerala. See more details in Palackal 2005, pp. 134-135.

Letter written by Fr. Aiden Kulathinal, C. M. I. to Joseph. J. Palackal.
Ist Edition
Dewalaya Geethangal Elthuruth 1902

(Pdf download)

VII-th Edition
Dewalaya Geethangal Elthuruth 1954

(Pdf download)

Devalaya Geethangal (Malayalam, Church hymns), edited by Fr. Basselios of St. Theresa, T. O. C. D.

ദേവാലയ ഗീതങ്ങൾ

Ist Edition - 1902

Printed at - St. Mary's Press, Elthuruth (1902). 172 pages (10 cms x 15 cms)

The book contains text of Syriac hymns for various occasions, for the use of the church choir. A large number of hymns are translations of Latin chants that were composed anew in Kerala. Names of translators and composers of the melodies are unknown. The text is printed in Malayalam script, indicating that Syriac literacy was on the wane among the lay people in the Syro-Malabar Church, by the end of the 19th century.

VII-th Edition-1954

Printed at - St. Joseph's A.S. Press, (188 pages)




Marriage Customs and Songs of the Syrian Christians of Malabar by Dr. P. J. Thomas

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