Aramaic Project No. 100 to 91 - Interviews and Performances - Video List

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Aramaic Project Number Description Duration Date and place of Recording Video

A Historic Event - Solemn Qurbana in Syriac

Dukhrana Perunal Celebrants Rev. Fr. Varghese (Saji) Mattathil -

Main Syriac Celebrant Rev. Fr. George (Joshy) Elambasseril - Vicar

Co-Celebrant Rev. Fr. Dr. Luke Kalarickal - Homily

Co-Celebrant Server Minto Manavath - Minneapolis, Minnesota


Jones Kalarickal Jewel Sunny Jewelin Sunny Jevin James Jocelyn George Sonia Mathew Vincy Antony Manjith Kainickara Shaji Thomas


Keyboard - Vincent Valiaveettil

Violin - Jones Kalarickal Percussion - Leon Shaji

Guitar - Jevin James

1:25:15 St. Thomas the Apostle Syro-Malabar Forane Catholic Church, Dallas, Texas, USA on June 30, 2018
99 Qandīšā alāhā at St. Alphonsa Syro-Malabar Community, Southend at Sea, England. 2:31 Southend at Sea England on 13-July-2018
98 "Sagdinan Mar" in Birmingham, England - Dr. Joseph J. Palackal teaches the choir members, the aramaic chant "Sagdinan Mar" 1:50 Birmingham, England on 16-July-2018

Qandīšā alāhā at Syro Malabar Church, Dallas, Texas, USA

Note: This is yet another example of the young American-born Syro Malabar Catholics reclaiming their Syriac heritage. The singers, Jones Kalarickal and Jewel Sunny, are University students in Texas, and Jewelin Sunny is a high school student. Encouraged by their parents, they learned a few Syriac chants and sang them during Qurbana on special occasions in their parish.Tensen Kalarickal, who recorded this video said that the youngsters were enjoying singing this chant and were planning to increase their Syriac repertoire. They are, in fact, contributing to the history of the East Syriac language and music in North America. We are grateful to Tensen Kalarickal for sharing this video and granting permission to post it on our channel. If he had not done that, the outside world would not have known that such events were happening in that part of North America. CMSIndia is glad to release this video on the feast day (Dukhrana) of St. Thomas the Apostle.

Joseph J. Palackal
3 July 2018
New York
3:24 Recorded at St. Thomas the Apostle Syro Malabar Catholic Forane Church, Dallas,Texas. USA on 21-May- 2018

Solemn Sung Qurbana in Syriac at Irinjalakkuda

Note: The solemn celebration of Qurbana in Syriac on this video is a loving tribute of a son, Babu Lonappan, to his father, Mangalathuparampil Pyloth Lonappan, who deeply cherished the Syriac heritage of the Syro Malabar Church. Babu Lonappan took a remarkable decision to observe the customary 40th – day of demise by celebrating a solemn Qurbana in Syriac at his native parish, the St. Thomas Cathedral Church at Irinjalakkuda. The Cathedral Vicar, Fr. Antu Alappadan, agreed to the idea. This was a special celebration with only family and friends in attendance. The celebrant, Fr. Augustine Kandathikkudy, is a young priest who grew up in the post-Syriac era of the Syro Malabar Church. Yet, he developed a personal interest in the Syriac Qurbana and learned the language and the melodies. Fr. Augustine is blessed with a resonant voice. He is one of a handful of young priests who gets special invitations from Syro Malabar churches in different parts of Kerala to celebrate solemn Qurbana in Syriac. In this video, we hear the intonation of the Syriac language from a representative of the younger generation of Syro Malabar priests. We are grateful to Babu Lonappan, who is far removed from the Syriac era of the Syro Malabar Church, for making an effort to document this rare and historical event, and for granting permission to post this video on our channel.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
27 June 2018
1:03:55 Recorded at St. Thomas Cathedral Church, Irinjalakkuda, Kerala on 10-March-2018

Qurbana begins with Puqdankon at St. Jude Syro Malabar Church, N. Virginia, USA

Syriac hymns sung by Fr.John Vianney and Fr.Justin on 06-03-2018

6:13 Recorded on 06-03-2018 at St. Jude Syro Malabar Church, N. Virginia, USA

Meera Mary Jacob, on the way to school, singing a Syriac Chant.

This is an endearing video clip that sheds light on a four-year-old’s cognitive process in absorbing the melody and text of a chant. At home in Aldie, in northern Virginia, USA, Meera Mary Jacob kept a close watch on her dad, Alex Jacob, practicing the famous Syriac chant, Qandisa alaha. Alex had to lead the First-Communion children in singing this chant at St. Jude Syro Malabar Catholic Church in Northern Virginia, on 26 May 2018. Meera correctly absorbed the melody like a sponge, including the cadence on the final verse. Her vocal cords, however, were not ready for the sound of Syriac phonemes, yet. On May 30th, while sitting in the car on the way to school, Meera started singing the chant spontaneously. Mily, Meera’s mother, immediately captured these precious moments on her cell phone. We are grateful to Mily and Alex Jacob for sharing this video and granting permission to post it on our channel. Meera has become the youngest missionary of the Aramaic Project. Meera, whose name resonates with that of Meera Bai (1498-1546), a Rajput princess who dedicated her life to music and poetry in praise of Lord Krishna, gives us hope. The new generation of Indian-American-Syro Malabar Catholics may reclaim their Syriac heritage faster than I initially thought at the time of embarking on the Aramaic Project in 2013. This generation, I am sure, will add to the history of the Aramaic language and music in America, and America itself.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
7 June 2018

2:14 Recorded on 30-May-2018 at Aldie,Northern Virginia, USA

Fr. Issac Chackalaparampil, CMI

Note: Rev. Dr. Isaac Chackalaparampil is a member of the Sacred Heart Province of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (C.M.I.). He is also a scientist who worked in the area of Cancer research. After serving as the pastor in a Roman Catholic Parish in Canada for several years, Fr. Isaac retired two years ago. Currently, he serves as chaplain at the Rajagiri Hospital at Aluva in Kerala, India. Fr. Isaac went through his religious and priestly formation during the Syriac era, when the Eucharistic liturgy and the Hours were celebrated in Syriac. Fr. Isaac is proud to have learned “the language of our Lord.” Even today, he enjoys reciting the rosary in Syriac. He deeply appreciates the Syriac heritage of the Church. Yet, he thinks that the Syro Malabar Church did it right in translating the liturgy into the vernacular to make it more intimate to a people who lost Syriac literacy at some point in their history. Recently, Fr. Isaac was on a tour in the USA and Canada. We happened to meet at a gathering of the CMI priests, held at Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Church at Richwood in Queens, New York, on 21 May 2018. During the concluding prayer, Fr. Isaac surprised everyone by saying the Hail Mary in Syriac. That was unusual. I wanted to document the way he recited the prayer. Fr. Biju Naranath, CMI recorded the interview on my cell phone. We are grateful to Fr. Isaac for sharing his thoughts with us.

Joseph J. Palackal

New York

23 July 2018

12:52 At Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church, Queens , New York on May 21,2018

Fr. Cyril Thayyil Chants the Institution narrative in Syriac

Here is yet another example of chanting the Institution Narrative in Syriac by a young priest who did not grow up in the Syriac era. Fr. Cyril grew up in the Malayalam era of the Syro Malabar liturgy. Yet, he developed a fascination for the Syriac language and liturgical music and learned to celebrate the Syriac Qurbana. Fr. Cyril gets invitations from different parishes in Kerala to celebrate the solemn Qurbana. A recording of his celebration of Syriac Qurbana is getting ready for posting on this channel.


Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt sings "Sagdīnan mār"

Sagdīnan mār Transliteration: Sagdīnan mār lālāhūsākh Walnāšūākh d’lāpūlāga Translation: We adore, my Lord, your inseparable divinity and humanity. Or We adore you, my Lord, in your divinity and humanity without doubt


Glossary (courtesy: Zacharias Thundy) Sagdīnan mār (sagdīn + an) = we adore; mār = my Lord; lālāhūsāk (l’ + alāhūsā + akh) = your divinity; walnāšūākh (w’ + al + nāšūsā + akh) = and your humanity; d’lāpūlāga (d’ + lā +pūlāga) = that which [is] without division/ without doubt


Note: This is the 18th verse from the hymn, “Brīk hannānā” (“blessed is the merciful one”) from the night prayers (lelya) for Sundays in Advent and Christmas in the East Syriac tradition. The hymn belongs to the category of “Tešbohtā” (“praise”), in praise of the mystery of Incarnation. The hymn consists of twenty couplets. Each verse has 4 + 4 = 8 syllables (Sag-dīn-an- mār/ lā-lā-hū-sākh). Because of the theological significance of the text, the breviary prescribes this couplet be sung three times. At some point in the history, definitely before the seventeenth century, the St. Thomas Christians started treating this couplet as a separate hymn. The performance context varied from the beginning of Qurbana on the major feasts of the Lord to the conclusion of festal processions. Here, the Bishop sings the chant while incensing the statue of the risen Christ. The usual performance practice is to sing the same text and melody three times in three ascending pitch registers. The earliest reference to the hymn is in the acrostic hymn in Syriac, written by a Catholic St. Thomas Christians priest, Fr. Chandi Kadavil, popularly known as “Alexander the Indian” (1588- c. 1673). The title of Fr. Kadavil’s acrostic hymn on the Eucharist contains a reference to the opening words of this chant. Fr. Kadavil wrote the acrostic hymn according to meter and melody of “Sagdīnan mār.” It means that the hymn was already popular among the St. Thomas Christians at the dawn of the seventeenth century (i. e., before the Coonan Cross Oath (1653) and the ensuing divisions in the community. The text is highly Christological and deserves further study. This may very well be the earliest known East Syriac hymn on the subject of hypostatic union and Incarnation. It is, in effect, a paraphrasing of the exuberant acclamation of St. Thomas, the Apostle of India: “Mār walāh,” “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). In those two words, the Apostle acknowledged the humanity and divinity of Christ. In the course of history, the manner of the coexistence of the humanity and divinity in the person of Christ became a topic for heated discussions that shook the foundation of the Christian religion. There is a play on the shades of meaning of the final phrase “lā pūlāga.” It can mean “without doubt,” or “without division.” The alternate translation given above is based on these meanings. The hymn resolves the long-standing Christological controversies (Council of Ephesus and Council of Chalcedon). The special significance the East Syriac Churches in India gave to this hymn is an indication that these Churches were not subject to those controversies. The hymn is a perfect example of the interface of music, poetry, pedagogy, dogma, theology, liturgy, and catechesis. It also represents an era when liturgy was the prime medium for catechesis. So far, we know of two melodies for this hymn. See one example in Aramaic Project-79 . Fr. Thomas Kalayil, CMI sang a different melody during our interview. This video remains to be published. Interestingly, both melodies are different from the traditional melody of Brīk hannānā (see track no. 7 in the CD, “” Qambel Maran: Syriac Chants from South India). Until further evidence appears, we may presume that these melodies were composed in Kerala.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
19 May 2018

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