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Encyclopedia of Syriac chants

Complete List

ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ
Bar Maryam (Son of Mary)
ബർ മർയം

Encyclopedia of Syriac Chants - Index

CMSI Ref Number 101-0025
Category Chants for Special Occasions
Liturgical Context Wedding ceremonies and other festive occasions

Introduction

Icon of Madonna and the Infant Jesus, at the center of the Main altar - St. Mary's Forane Church, Pallippuram

A centuries-old Syriac hymn that loudly proclaims sound Christology and Mariology. The version that is currently available contains 44 couplets that succinctly narrate the life of Jesus. In performance, the first couplet serves as the refrain which reminds that the Blessed Virgin Mary (Maryam) gave birth to Jesus the Son of God (Bar alāhā). In other words, Maryam is the Mother of God. The anonymous author of the song ingeniously elevates the status of Mary. There is a semantic shift to the derogatory comment that people made about Jesus in the Synagogue at Nazareth: “isn’t this the son of Mary?” (Mk 6:3). The song extols the life and deeds of Jesus and returns to the refrain, saying that this Jesus is the Son of Mary (Bar Maryam), and that son of Mary is the Son of God (Bar alāhā).

The song text, which may be of Middle-Eastern origin, is a common patrimony of the Chaldean Catholics as well as the Syriac Christians in India. The Chaldean Catholics continue to sing this song, albeit with a different melody and an Arabic vocal inflection ( see Chaldean Catholic Bishop Singing Bar Maryam ) . Sadly, some of the Syro Malabar Catholics disowned this intangible cultural heritage even before the vernacularization of the Syriac liturgy (1962). Fortunately, the younger generation is currently warming up to the song enthusiastically to rediscover their identity.

It is not clear if the melody is of Indian origin. We have one example of a Marian song in Tamil in the meter and melody of Bar Maryam (Aramaic Project-5A ). Also, we have a recorded sample of the tune with different texts from the Syriac singers from St. John Nepomucene Church at Kadavanthara, Ernakulam (Aramaic Project-51M ). This church belongs to the Archieparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly. There is yet another sample of a popular devotional song in Malayalam that is sung to the melody of Bar Maryam (see Aramaic Project-53 ).

Although the song was a common patrimony of all the Syriac Christians in Kerala, the Knanaya community among the St. Thomas Christians can be credited with preserving the tradition of singing this song at the conclusion of the wedding ceremonies in the church with a final blessing on the couple by the celebrant. The songtext, however, does not make reference to the wedding at Cana.

The historical significance of the song is noteworthy. In retrospect, the Portuguese missionaries did not have to impose the burden of Nestorian heresy on the St. Thomas Christians . By singing Bar Maryam and Sagdīnan mār, the St. Thomas Christians had been reiterating in different words the correct Christology of the Ecumenical Councils of Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451). By continuing the tradition, the present generation of Syro Malabar Catholics can reverse the course of history and redefine the future, and add India into the international imagination of Eastern Christianity.

Joseph J. Palackal
New York
15 August 2019

 

 

Transliteration of selected verses in Malayalam and English

( These are the verses included in the CD, Qambel Maran: Syriac Chants from South India [PAN Records, Netherlands, 2002] )

Text in East Syriac
Transliteration in Malayalam
Transliteration in English

ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ
ܒܲܪ ܐܲܠܵܗܵܐ ܝܸܠܕܲܬ݂ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ

ܐܵܘܥܝܼ ܣܵܘܟܹܐ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ
ܐܲܝܟ ܢܒ݂ܝܘܼܬ݂ܵܐ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ

ܩܲܕܸܫ ܡܲܝܵܐ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ
ܒܡܲܥܡܘܿܕܝܼܬ݂ܹܗ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ

ܫܲܕܲܪ ܪܘܼܚܵܐ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ
ܦܵܪܲܩܠܹܛܵܐ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ

ܐܸܟܲܠ ܦܸܨܚܵܐ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ
ܥܲܡ ܬܲܠܡܝܼܕܲܘܗܝ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ

ܫܘܼܒ݂ܚܵܐ ܠܲܫܡܵܟ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ
ܡ݂ܢ ܟܘܿܠ ܦܘܼܡܝܼܢ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ

ܠܥܵܠܲܡ ܥܲܠܡܝܼܢ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ
ܐܵܡܹܝܢ ܘܐܵܡܹܝܢ ܒܲܪ ܡܲܪܝܲܡ

ബർ മറിയം ബർ മറിയം
ബർ ആലാഹാ യെൽദെസ് മറിയം

ആവീ സൗക്കേ ബർ മറിയം
അക് നിവ്യൂസാ ബർ മറിയം

കന്ദെശ് മയ്യാ ബർ മറിയം
മാമോദീസേ ബർ മറിയം

ശന്ദെർ റൂഹാ ബർ മറിയം
പാറക്ലേത്താ ബർ മറിയം

ഏക്കൽ പെസ്ഹാ ബർ മറിയം
അം തൽമീദാവു ബർ മറിയം

ശുവ്ഹാ ലശ്മാക് ബർ മറിയം
മിൻ കോൻ പൂമീൻ ബർ മറിയം

ല്ആലം അൽമീൻ ബർ മറിയം
ആമ്മേൻ വാമ്മേൻ ബർ മറിയം

Bar maryam bar maryam
Bar alāhā d'yeldas maryam.

Awyī sāwkē bar maryam
Ak n'wiyuţē bar maryam.

Qandeś mayyā bar maryam
B’māmmōdīţē bar maryam.

Śandar ruhā bar maryam
Pāraqlēthā bar maryam.

 

 

Translation in Malayalam and English by Fr. Emmanuel Thelly, CMI

Translation in Malayalam Translation in English
മറിയത്തിന്റെ മകൻ മറിയത്തിന്റെ മകൻ
ദൈവത്തിന്റെ മകനെ മറിയം നൽകി

മറിയത്തിന്റെ മകൻ ശാഖകൾ മുളപ്പിച്ചു
പ്രവചിയ്ക്കപ്പെട്ടതു പോലെ

മറിയത്തിന്റെ മകൻ തന്റെ മാമോദീസായാൽ
വെള്ളം വിശുദ്ധീകരിച്ചു

മറിയത്തിന്റെ മകൻ പാറക്ലേത്തായായ
റൂഹായെ അയച്ചു

മറിയത്തിന്റെ മകൻ തന്റെ ശിഷ്യരോടൊപ്പം
പെസഹാ ഭക്ഷിച്ചു

മറിയത്തിന്റെ മകനേ നിന്റെ നാമത്തിന്
എല്ലാ നാവുകളിലും നിന്ന് സ്തുതിയുണ്ടാവട്ടെ

മറിയത്തിന്റെ മകനേ എപ്പോഴും എന്നേയ്ക്കും
അമ്മേൻ ആമ്മേൻ
Son of Mary, son of Mary
Mary brought forth the Son of God.

Son of Mary brought forth branches,
According to the prophecy.

Son of Mary sanctified the waters
By his baptism.

Son of Mary sent the Spirit,
The Paraclete.

 

English Translation of the entire text by Fr. Placid J. Podipara, CMI

Source: Collected Works of Rev. Dr. Placid J. Podipara, C. M. I. (1899-1985). Vol. IV. Edited by -Rev . Dr. Thomas Kalayil, C. M. I. Published by Sanjos Publications, Mannanam. 2007. Pp. 3-40.

There is a hymn called “Bar Mariam” (the Son of Mary) which is sung as “paraliturgical” by priests and people at the end of the wedding ceremonies of the Southist community of the Chaldeo-Malabar rite. This community traces its origin traditionally to a foreign colony that settled down in Malabar in the 4th century. The hymn is in the Syro-Chaldean language and is translated into the Malayalam characters for the benefit of those who do not know the Syro-Chaldean characters.
We give below an English translation of this hymn. The translation is from the text published in Malayalam characters by Mr. P. U. Lukas in “Ancient Songs of the Syrian Christians of Malabar (3rd edn, Kottayam, 1954, p. I. III). Mr. P. U. Lukas says (ibid. III, note) that the hymn formed a part of the Divine Office of the Chaldean rite for the feast of Christmas and Epiphany.

Translation in English
The Son of Mary, the Son of Mary, the Son of God whom Mary brought forth
For us was born in Bethlehem, the Son of Mary, the Son of Mary
The Magi came to the honor of adoration of King Christ whom Mary brought forth
The Son of Mary, made angels come down for the praise of His birth, Son of Mary
And they invited the shepherds for the adoration of King Christ
The Son of Mary called first the keepers of sheep, the Son of Mary
And they adored in the manger the great shepherd, the King Christ
The Son of Mary, His star showed according to prophesy, the Son of Mary
And the Magi of Pares acknowledged that to the earth had come down King Christ whom Mary brought forth
The Son of Mary shook the king, and he sought to kill Him, Son of Mary
He ordered His angel and He warned Joseph to flee to Egypt with Him, King Christ, whom Mary brought forth
The Son of Mary offered sacrifice to His hidden Father, the Son of Mary
The sucklings were sacrificed at the coming of King Christ
The Son of Mary was baptized in Jordan by John, the Son of Mary
On Him descended the Holy Spirit, King Christ
The Father testified about the Son of Mary from the heaven of heavens, the Son of Mary
That this is my Son in whom I am pleased, King Christ
The Son of God sanctified the waters of His baptism, the Son of Mary
And He made them the cleansing womb that brings forth life, King
With you his soul the Son of Mary to raise our fall, Son of Mary
From his servant King Christ asked for baptism
The Son of Mary gave us an example of humility, the Son of Mary
Through it he pacified the Father that we may be brothers of Kind Christ
The Son of Mary fasted in the desert for forty days, the Son of Mary
And He defeated and conquered the devil, King Christ
The Son of Mary shoed His glory on Mount Thabor, the Son of Mary
He appeared to Moses and Elijah, King Christ
The Son of Mary rode on a colt and entered Jerusalem, the Son of Mary
And the children praised Him by their Hosana, King Christ
The Son of Mary ate the pasch with His disciples, the Son of Mary
He gave His body in bread and wine, King Christ
The Son of Mary suffered on the cross through the Jews, the Son of Mary
He bet His head and gave up His spirit, King Christ
The Son of Mary was placed in the tomb for three days, the Son of Mary
And He rose up and raised up Adam who had been corrupt, King Christ
The Son of Mary rose from the tomb with great glory, the Son of Mary
And sat there at the right, King Christ
The Son of Mary sent the Spirit, the paraclete, the Son of Mary
On the disciples and made them wise, King Christ
The Son of Mary, the wood of your crucifixion was found, (O) the Son of Mary on the thirteenth of September, King Christ
The Son of Mary took to Him as spouse the Holy Church, Son of Mary
Through Simon Kepa, the son of Jonah, King Christ
Praise to your name, the Son of Mary, from all mouths, the Son of Mary
Let us all call out and say all together, “Blessed is Christ, for ever and ever, the Son of Mary, Emmanuel, the Son of Mary”

Note: The hymn contains no philosophical or theological terms such as 'qnoma', 'parsopa'. At the same time, it expresses clearly that the Son of God is the Son of Mary: in other words, Mary as the Mother of God the Son.

 

 

Available recordings

S.No Occassion/Purpose/Context Artist Youtube Link Aramaic Project Number Notes
I Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt Video 15c
II. Joseph J. Palackal Video 43 Instruction/Conference
III. George Thaila Video 53 Melody of Bar Maryam used for the malayalam song: Nalla Mātāwe mariye/ Nirmala yawusēppitāwe
IV. Lonappan Arrakkal and Team Video 51M  
V. Joseph J. Palackal Video 59B  
VI. Joseph J. Palackal Video 83  
VII. Joseph J. Palackal Video 143  
VIII Joseph J. Palackal and the choir team Video 146  

 

 

Handout for music practice

(Pdf Dowload)

 

Audio (instrumental) by S. Sebastian

(mp3 download)

 

Music score by S. Sebastian

1. Bar Maryam (Conductor's Score) 2. Bar Maryam
(Vocal Part)
3. Bar Maryam
(Chords & Voice)
4. Bar Maryam
(Violin 1, Violin 2, & Voice)
5. Bar Maryam
(Choir & Voice)

(Pdf Download)

(Pdf Download)

(Pdf Download)

(Pdf Download)

(Pdf Download)

Copyright

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