THE ARAMAIC PROJECT
TO RESUSCITATE AN INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF HUMANITY
A program to honor and preserve the unparalleled legacy of an ancient language and music tradition that are part of the history and an intangible treasure in the world’s cultural heritage .
The Aramaic (Syriac) language in which Jesus and His disciples preached the Gospel reached South India in the early Christian era. Until the 1960s, the St. Thomas Christians in Kerala, who trace the origin of their faith to St.Thomas the Apostle, celebrated liturgy in this language. Since the vernacularization of the liturgy, the language and the melodies are on the path to extinction in the Syro Malabar Church (3.25 million members)....
The Aramaic project is a part of a larger plan of a digital library of Christian music in India under the auspices of the Christian Musicological Society. This library will be beneficial to the general public, as well as academic departments that specialize in such topics as South Asian and West Asian studies, Indology, musicology, anthropology, theology, religion, Church history, Syriac Christianity, liturgy, and linguistics....
This website is dedicated to Fr. Chandy Kadavil (1588-1677), a great son of India and a celebrated St. Thomas Christians from Kaduthuruthy, in central Kerala. He was also known by his nickname in Syriac, “Alaksandros hendwāyā” Alexander the Indian. Fr. Kadavil was a great scholar, orator, and a prominent leader of the St. Thomas Christians. He lived at a tumultuous period in the history of the St. Thomas Christians,, who reacted vehemently ....
The source of inspiration for the Aramaic project is the life story of the saintly Palackal Thoma Malpan (Pālackal Tōmmā Malpān, circa 1780-1841), my collateral ancestor, a teacher and scholar of the Syriac language and liturgy, founder of the first seminary of the Syriac Christians in India, founder of the first indigenous religious congregation for men in India (see video), and a father to the Syro Malabar Church......
Bishop Mar Francis Kalabat is welcomed by singing the Syriac Song "Slothak Awun". Syriac Songs are getting attention in the Syro Malabar Church, an indication of the increasing comfort level of the younger generation of Syro Malabar Catholics, especially in the USA with the Syriac tradition.
Fr. Antony Kaitharan from the Chaldean Syrian Church of the East, India, sings three melodies of the 'Anthem of the Mysteries' in this special video. Fr. Kaitharan, who is studying in Rome, has the privilege of listening to these melodies from the students who came from the Middle East. The same text gets three different articulations in the three renderings, expanding the scope of comparative musicology.
The conversation on the Syriac heritage of the Syro Malabar Church is taking a new momentum in North America. The inclusion of Syriac chants in a Nuptial Qurbana is an extraordinary event. It is the result of much ongoing internal dialogue in the minds of the couple and external dialogue with the extended family, the choir members, and the celebrating priests.