Monday, May 09, 2016

Syriac in India

SYRIAC WATCH: Bengaluru Youth Learn Dying Language, Preserve It (Mebin John, The New Indian Express).
BENGALURU: Youngsters in the city are trying to preserve a language that survives only among a small community near Kurdisthan, Iraq — Syriac.

Many belonging to the ancient Syro-Malabar Catholic Church of India study East Syriac under Rev Thomas Kalayil, a well-known scholar at Bengaluru’s Dharmaram College.

City Express speaks to some about their interest in keeping the language alive.

“Every religion has its own sacred language — Arabic for Islam and Sanskrit for Hinduism, and Syriac, the language spoken by Jesus Christ, for Indian St Thomas Christians,” says Rev Varghese Pathikulangara, renowned historian and liturgist at Dharmaram College

Technically, Jesus spoke Galilean Aramaic, a Western Dialect. Syriac is an Eastern dialect of the same language. It was the dialect spoken in the Anatolian city of Edessa, but it expanded to become the language of the Eastern Church and it remains the liturgical language of the Syrian Orthodox Church as well as surviving in Indian Christianity. (East Syriac and West Syriac, mentioned later in the article, are later sub-dialects of Syriac).

AINA has also reprinted the article and its link may prove more durable. There are past posts on Syriac in Kerala here and here and links.