Ancient Texts of St. Thomas Christians to Be Digitalized

According to a report in Asia News, 180 ancient texts of the Saint Thomas Christians are now being digitalized for preservation and study by the St. Ephrem Ecumenical Research Institute in Kerala. Another 200 documents are scheduled to be added as the project continues. Because Portuguese missionaries destroyed numerous texts of the Syrian Christians in 1599 in order to insure the dominance of Latin liturgy, ancient documents such as these are rare. The surviving texts offer potential for new discoveries concerning the religious roots of the region. One of the liturgical texts to be digitalized is Kashkol, a breviary which “miraculously survived destruction.”


      1. It gives you some idea of how pervasive and strong the antagonism has become.

        I guess people are as much opposed to the process by which the imposition of this translation on the English-speaking world has come about as they are to the mangled translation being marketed by its producers as English.

      2. I confess, as editor, to hoping at least to change the subject once in a while so that we don’t forget that there is more going on in the world of worship than the new translation of the Roman Missal.

        At the same time, I sympathize with the comments made thus far, because reminders of a violent past (I can’t call it anything other than violent) are made even more poignant by the tensions, and dare I say new forms of violence, that we encounter in the present day Church. Gerald Arbuckle’s fine book, Violence, Society and Church, takes up this question helpfully, I think.

        Anyway, I am happy for the St. Thomas Christians, that their ancient texts — those left to them, anyway — are going to be preserved and made available for wider study. I am happy for all of us, because what profits them is good for us too, as members of this one great world of Christianity. Although the claims made for the retrieved texts in some of the comments quoted in the article seem quite inflated to me (are we really going to be able to trace the activities of St. Thomas himself?), this sort of thing is always said. The bigger point is that a precious heritage is being unearthed, and cherished.

        I wonder what prayers the “Breviary prayerbook” contains? I hope we shall learn more details as the project goes forward.

        I was also pleased to see that the (communist) government of Kerala has supported the project!

  1. Kinda funny that the old and unreformed and unupdated texts of these faraway and exotic folks are a precious heritage to be unearthed and cherished and the old Latin texts of the Roman rite are a pre-modern hierarchical embarrassment to be ICEL’d.

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