Syriac language and literature: its uniqueness.
- Dear and Respected Brethren,
This refers to the posting of V. Rev. Kuriakose Moolayil Cor-Episcopa on "an additional note on the translations and versifications of the prayers and liturgies". I am sure that all will appreciate his wisdom as well as the open mind in his informative and wise writings, which are really great.
I am of the opinion that worships in Syriac tunes are the real beauty of our Orthodox worship. Though we use own Indian language, there is no need to forsake the God given heavenly melodious tunes. If somebody insists to introduce any change, it will be a suicidal attempt and nothing else. Ignorance won't be the reason prompting someone to try some other tunes or so.
I have great appreciation in hearing that the Syriac lessons have been included in the Sunday School Syllabus in SOC Churches. It is really an exemplary and excellent idea. With the frequent contact with Arab/Muslim scholars for long time, I have heard several times from that Syriac language and literature have donated a lot for the growth and development of Arabic language and literature. So the scholars have no difficulty in admitting the indebtedness to the ancient and blessed Syriac language and literature. (They too believe that it is one of the languages of heaven) In the Holy Quran we could find the story written by a Syrian Orthodox priest of the 4th century AD. The chapter of the Holy Quran is known as "the story of the cave residents" (Soorath-ul- Kahf) The book containing the same story in Syriac was translated and published in Malayalam in 1906, by H.H. Moran Mar Baselios Geevarghese II, Catholicose, when His Holiness was a Ramban. I have read in the commentaries on the Holy Quran by different Muslim scholars that the story was included in the H.Quran to teach two things.
1) There is only one God, there is no other God.
2) To prove that there is life after life on the earth.
No one could deny or hesitate the richness, beauty and uniqueness of Syriac language and literature. When we chant the hymns in Malayalam in the Syriac tunes, the attraction of the real Syriac tunes could be enjoyed marvelously. We the Christians in India must do our best to revive the language and literature as a great gift. Let there be more studies on the language.
Let us honor one and all who toiled and spent their precious time in introducing the real beauty of the solemn books in Syriac, with the apt translations.
May God bless us all.
Jose Kurian Puliyeril
St. George Orthodox Church
Member ID # 0905