There are five songs in the booklet. Fr. Abel did not make a verbatim translation of the original Latin text or their Syriac translations (See Aramaic Project-126,) but used them only as a reference. There is one exception. The second song, Akhila lōka nāyakā (Lord of all the world, p.3) is a faithful translation of the Resurrection Hymn (Lāku mārā) from the Eucharistic liturgy in Syriac. The Syriac version of the Benediction, however, did not include this chant. It was Fr. Abel's decision to incorporate this chant as part of the incensing the Monstrance. The third song (p. 11), Swargathil ninnāgathamām (That which came from Heaven), Fr. Abel uses the famous Latin chant, Tantum Ergo, as a source of inspiration. The fourth song, Parišuddha šarīrathālum (By the Holy Body, p. 12), is a free translation of the prayer in Latin, Panem de caelo. In contrast, the final song, Daiwathe wāzhthiṭuwin (pp. 14-15), is a close translation of the final hymn, Laudes Divine (the Divine Praises), in the Latin version of the Benediction. Overall, the prayers and chants of the Malayalam version of the Benediction are Fr. Abel’s free creation.
Fr. Abel employed Shri K. K. Antony (1924-1987), Music Director of Kalabhavan, to compose melodies for the five songs. Antony Master composed songs in the style of popular movie-songs in Malayalam and recorded them with instrumental accompaniment on a spool tape and made them available to the church choirs across Kerala. In the following year (1969), Fr. Abel asked the talented composer, Rafi Jose, to compose a different set of melodies for these songs and included a musical transcription Rafi’s melodies in staff notation in the book Gānādhyāpakan.
Cardinal Joseph Parecattil (1912-1987) gave imprimatur, ad experimentum, to the booklet on 10 August 1968. The songs and the ritual became instantly popular, and continue to the present day, all over the Syro Malabar communities. No one has attempted to create a different version of the Malayalam text yet.
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is one of the paraliturgical practices in the Latin rite that the Portuguese missionaries introduced among the Catholics in Kerala in the sixteenth century. The Syro Malabar Catholics refused to use the original chants in Latin. Instead, they translated the chants into Syriac and continued to use the Syriac version until 1968. So the history of this pious paraliturgical practice extends over several centuries and multiple countries and their respective cultures.
If my memory serves me right, Fr. Joseph Kunthara, CMI, gave me this booklet in 1968. Fr. Kunthara, who was a friend of Fr. Abel, was also a musically talented person and a promoter of Christian music. I was a student at the St. Joseph’s Postulant’s Home at Kalamassery. We, the choir members, used copies of this booklet to sing for benediction almost every Sunday as well as special occasions at the Sacred Heart Provincial House chapel. Subsequently, we memorized the songs and did not need the booklet. For some reason, I held on to this copy during all these years of my sojourn in various parts of India and the USA. I plan to give the hard copy to Felix Simon for safe keep. He is free to hand it over to the Library of Congress at some point in time. I dedicate the digital version of this copy to future historians of the music of the Syro Malabar Catholics.
Joseph J. Palackal, CMI
6 January 2020
- Booklet Title-പരിശുദ്ധ കുർബാനയുടെ വാഴ്വ് Benediction –Booklet (Malayalam)
- Booklet size - 10.5 cms x 7.2 cms
- Pages - 16
- Year of publication -1968
- Imprimatur Ad experimentum - By Cardinal Joseph Parecattil
- Printed at -Mar Louis Memorial Press
Songs added to Directory of Christian Songs (DCS)
|#||DCS Call Numbers||Song Title||Page Link|
|1.||MA-MAL-031-DCS-419||Mishiha Karthave - മിശിഹാ കർത്താവേ||Mishiha Karthave - മിശിഹാ കർത്താവേ|
|2||MA-MAL-031-DCS-420||Akhilaloka Naayaka - അഖിലലോക നായകാ||Akhilaloka Naayaka - അഖിലലോക നായകാ|
|3.||MA-MAL-031-DCS-421||Swargathilninnaagathamaam - സ്വർഗ്ഗത്തിൽനിന്നാഗതമാം||Swargathilninnaagathamaam - സ്വർഗ്ഗത്തിൽനിന്നാഗതമാം|
|4.||MA-MAL-031-DCS-422||Parishudha Shareerathaalum - പരിശുദ്ധ ശരീരത്താലും||Parishudha Shareerathaalum - പരിശുദ്ധ ശരീരത്താലും|
|5.||MA-MAL-031-DCS-423||Daivathe Vaazhthiduvin - ദൈവത്തെ വാഴ്ത്തിടുവിൻ||Daivathe Vaazhthiduvin - ദൈവത്തെ വാഴ്ത്തിടുവിൻ|