“THE VARTHAMANAPPUSTHAKAM” written by Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal

9
“THE VARTHAMANAPPUSTHAKAM” written by Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal
4 (80%) 7 ratings

“THE VARTHAMANAPPUSTHAKAM” written by Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal

"THE VARTHAMANAPPUSTHAKAM" written by Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal
“THE VARTHAMANAPPUSTHAKAM” written by Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal

“An account of the history of Malabar Church between the years 1773 and 1786 with special emphasis on the events connected with the journey from Malabar to Rome via Lisbon and back undertaken by Malpan Mar Joseph Cariattil and Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal”.

“Varthamanappusthakam” (1785) is the first travelogue written in an Indian language. The narrative of “Varthamanappusthakam “ begins with the death of Florence, Vicar Apostolic of Malabar in 1773. It elaborates all that happened after the death of Florence including the journey of Malpan Cariattil and Cathanar Paremmakkal to Europe with the events connected with it and ends with their return journey until they sighted the island of Ceylon. Dr. Placid J Podipara CMI translated this book into English and it is published by Pontifical Oriental Institute of Rome in 1971.

About the Author

Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal was born on September 10, 1736 Kadanad in the present Syro Malabar eparchy of Palai. He was ordained as a priest in 1761 and was the pastor of a few churches including his native church at Kadanad. He was well versed in Malayalam, Syriac, Latin, Sanskrit, Italian and Portuguese. He also authored a number of books including the translation of the book entitled ‘Imitation of Christ’ into Malayalam.

Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal returned from Goa as the Governador or the Administrator of vacant See of Cranganore. He could not do anything officially for the reunion with Mar Thomas VI as the faculties were given to Mar Cariattil.

Up on return, Paremmakkal resided at Angamali. In 1787, the representatives of all churches assembled at Angamali and executed the famous Padiyola. All their grievances beginning from the death of Mar Abraham ( 1599) is addressed in Padiyola. They asked the Queen of Portugal to nominate Paremakkal as the archbishop, and in case the Queen did not agree, they decided to re course to Chaldean Patriarch. In due course, the Carmelities got assurance from Portugal through Rome that Paremmakkal would not be made archbishop.

Tippu Sultan’s invasion caused Paremakkal to shift his residence and administration of the Church to Vadayar near Palai in 1790. He moved to Ramapuram towards the end of his life and administrated the Church from there. He died at Ramapuram on March 20th 1799.

On March 26 1936, the body was exhumed and the remains were taken out and deposited in the wall of the sanctuary of old church at Ramapuram.

Background

After the Coonan Cross Oath, the Saint Thomas Christians were divided in to two groups one under the Archdeacon and the other with Rome.

Among the Catholics, the Carmelite delegate in 1663 consecrated Alexander Parampil ( Chandy Pallivettil) as Vicar Apostolic of Cranganore and Malabar under the Propaganda for those who were reluctant to be under the Padraoado Cranganore ( Jesuits ). No native was appointed as his successor and was followed by Carmelities. The Malabar Catholics had several complaints about the ‘Propaganda’ authorities who were all Carmelities. They alleged that their priests were treated so badly that even one was killed at the instigation of the Vicar Apostolic.

Those under the Archdeacon were ruled by the successors of Mar Thomas I. The Vicar Apostolic Francis Sales was not favorable to the re union of Mar Thomas VI ( known as Mar Dionysius I).

Contents

After many deliberations at different places, the Malabar Church assembly resolved to send a delegation to Rome. The delegation included Malpan Joseph Cariattil and Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal. They were authorized to do anything appropriate for the good of the Malabar Church. The main concerns were reunion with Mar Thomas VI and matters concerning the Arch diocese of Crangangore which had remained vacant. Two boys were also sent with them to be admitted to the Propaganda College, Rome. The journey started from the boat jetty at Athirampuzha in 1785. The delegates, the two boys and several others traveled through land visiting Periamala and Chinnamala, and finally in search of a ship in any of the ports at Coramondal Coast. Only Malpan Joseph Cariattil, Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal and the two boys were permitted to go. They took a Portuguese ship at Chinnapattanam near Madras. Rounding the Cape of Good Hope, they reached Benguela on the other side of Africa. Then they went to Bahia in Brazil. From Bahia, they reached Lisbon in Portugal, where they submitted their petition to the Queen of Portugal. Then they went to Genova and from there, to Rome. Their journey to the destination took more than a year.

"THE VARTHAMANAPPUSTHAKAM" written by Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal
“THE VARTHAMANAPPUSTHAKAM” written by Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal

They submitted to the Pope in person: the profession of faith of Mar Thoma VI, and his petition, and their own petition.There were many enemies who were mighty and powerful. The Propaganda Congregation, which took up the question of Mar Thoma VI was deadly against them. However, the Portuguese government took an interest in the matter. The Propaganda Congregation at the instance of Pope, made enquiries about Mar Thoma VI. While in Rome, both of them were able to revoke the nomination of Carmelitie John as the Vicar Apostolic of Malabar in place of Francis Sales, who was advised to resign in 1779.

Cariattil and Paremmakkal returned to Lisbon from Rome. In Lisbon, Cariattil was nominated and consecrated as the Archbishop of Cranganore in 1783. The enemies and difficulties only increased after this. Both of them returned to Malabar with faculties issued by Propaganda to receive Mar Thoma VI. On further enquiries and reports, the Propaganda agreed to recognize Mar Thoma VI as Bishop.

On their way back home, they stayed in Goa where Mar Cariattil died. Before his death, Mar Cariattil appointed Thoma Cathanar as the Governador (governor) after him.

Introduction

The Introduction is written by Dr. Placid J Podipara. It contains sections for history, the authors, the book, the vicissitudes of the book ( Pandari & Sankurikkel, Propagadna titular archbishop, Verapoly and two other vicariates, Berandine and Roccos, Synod and Condemnation, Leonard and Mellos, New Arrangements, Indigenous prelates), translation, Mar Thomas VI and his Church.

The history section include subsections for 1.Home and Habitat 2. Early History 3. Liturgy 4.Hierarchey 5. Gate of All India 6. Administration 7.Privilages 8. The Portuguese 9.Bishops- Goan Councils 10.Mar Abraham’s last days 11.The Archdeacon 12. Dom Menezis in Malabar 13.Diamper 14.Latin rule : Padroado 15: All India: abolished 16: Jesuit role 17: Ahatallah: Coonan Cross Oath 18: Carmelite Commissaries 19: Mar Alexander: Jacobitism 20: Raphel : Carmelities 21: Carmelities: Propaganda: Mar Simon 22: Padroado and Propaganda 23: Mar Gabriel 24: Prelates and residences 25: Kingdom of Travancore 26: Troubles under Propaganda 27: Msgr.Sales 28: Mar Thomas VI and Cariattil 29: Cariattil in Rome 30:  John and Carlo 31; Cariattil:Archbishop.

Authors Preface

Chapters

I. On what happened at Verapoly after the death of Msgr. Florence. bishop of Areopolis
II. That by virtue of the invitation of the churches assembled at Alangat all the churches of Malabar assembled at Angamale
III. On what happened after the assembly at Angamale had begun the deliberations
IV. The church assembly of Edappalli takes its complaints to the representatives of the churches assembled at Angamale
V. On what happened after the Padres had arrived at Angamale
VI. On what happened at Angamale after the Padres handed over the Padiola to the representatives of the churches and before the assembled took leave of each other.
VII. On what happened at Angamale after the blessing and the banquet ..
VIII. On what happened after Francis Sales. bishop of Germnicia had arrived as Vicar Ap. of Malabar
IX. On what happened after the bishop was made to stay at Alangat
X. On what happened after the civil authority had heard of the solemn conducting of the bishop from Verapoly to Alangat
XI. That bishop Mar Thomas of Niranam wrote a letter to Alangat to bishop Sales
XII. On what happened after Malpan Cariattil had approached bishop Mar Thomas
XIII. On the return of bishop Sales to Verapoly from Alangat and on what happened in consequence
XIV. ……………………
XV. ……………
XVI. ………………
XVII. ………………..
XVIII. On Udayagiri and what happened after reaching it.
XIX. On Thuthukkuti and on what happened there .
XX. On what happened after we had arrived at the house of the Kuppayakkaran Parunki
XXI. On what happened after our arrival at Tharankanpati
XXII. On what happened after our departure from Tharankanpati ….
XXIII. On our journey to Periamala and Chinnamala after the meeting with the bishop at Mylapore and on other things
XXIV. On the ship and on the efforts we made to embark ….
XXV. On what happened afterwards until we embarked …
XXVI. On what happened after we had embarked….
XXVII.On Benguela and on what happened to us there
XXVIII.On Bahia and what happened there
XXIX. On what happened after the archbishop had received us
XXX. On the city of Lisbon and on the administration of the king
XXXI. On Padre Cajetan and on what he did for us
XXXII.On what happened after this ….
XXXIII.The original wording of the petition the Malpan Cariattil and Cathanar Thomman Paremmakkal submitted to the queen of Portugal in August the year 1779 after the birth of the Lord of the world
XXXIV.The reasons why the six points mentioned above were included in the petition
XXXV.On what happened after we had prepared the petition
XXXVI.On what happened at Quellus after we had gone there to see the queen
XXXVII.On the arguments that we added to the petition .
XXXVIII.On what happened after Padre Cajetan had been informed that we had submitted the petition
XXXIX.On what happened in Genoa after we had reached Genoa by the grace of God
XL. On the city of Genoa and on the letter of Padre John of St. Margaret
XLI. On how Padre John of St. Margaret went to Rome and became the Vicar Apostolic
XLII. The letter Padre John wrote to us – a true translation
XLIII. On our Journey from Genoa and on what happened on the way
XLIV. On what happened after we had reached the town Livorno
XLV. On what happened after our departure from Pisa
XLVI. On what happened after we had spoken with the Cardinal
XLVII.On what happened when we were in Sant Antonio and on our going to the Propaganda to live there and on our petition to the Pope …..
XLVIII.On what happened after we had prepared the petitions that were to be submitted to the Pope…
XLIX. That letters were received from Portugal in consequence of the reports concerning our experiences in Home
L.On what happened after Padre John of St. Margaret had reached Genoa and how he was impeded from proceeding to Malabar
LI.On how Cardmna1 Antonelli the new Prefect of the Propaganda concluded our affair….
LII. On what happened after the Cardinal had given the final decision about our case..
LIII. On the Propaganda…
LIV. On how we left Rome after taking leave of Cardinal Antonelli, the Pope and those to whom we were indebted
LV. On what happened after we had left Rome
LVI. Starting from the city of Ancona we reached Genoa: on what happened thereafter . ..
LVII. That after we had been at Madoneta we left Genoa; on what happened after we reached Cadiz by ship from Genoa
LVIII. That we reached Tavira from Cadiz and Lisbon front Tavira
LIX. On what happened after we had reached the shipbuilding yard called Arsenan
LX. On what Padre Cajetan did at the end of what has been mentioned above
LXI. On what happened to our affairs while the above mentioned events were taking place
LXII. On what happened after the Malpan had spoken with the Viscount
LXIII. On what happened after Padre Cajetan had known we were managing our affairs ourselves and on the direction our affairs were taking
LXIV. That the Malpan was nominated archbishop and on what happened after this
LXV. On how the archbishop went and expressed thanks to the queen, to the king and to the ministers
LXVI. That our friend Mesquita visited the archbishop the next day and that the archbishop going with him to visit the Viscount a second time removed all the obstacles created by Padre Cajetan, and on what happened after this…
LXVII.That the archbishop went to the Internuncio and underwent the scrutiny; and on what happened after this
LXVIII.On what happened after the scrutiny at the house of the Internuncio had been concluded
LXIX. On what happened until the arrival of the credentials from Rome: that the credentials were given to the archbishop
LXX. On the consecration of our archbishop and on what happened after that
LXXI. On what happened during our stay in Lisbon which was caused by the jealousy of the minister mentioned above
LXXII. On what Padre Joseph de Soledade, the bishop of Cochin and the missionaries who work in Malabar wrote about us.
LXXIII. On what happened to our cause after the adverse reports of the bishop of Cochin and of the missionaries had arrived
LXXIV. On what happened after this regarding the case of Mar Thomas….
LXXV. On what the minister mentioned above did afterwards and on what followed
LXXVI. That after having made all the preparations we took leave of the queen and of the others, and what happened afterwards
LXXVII. On what happened after we had left Lisbon by ship
LXXVIII. On what happened after we had reached this house

About the Book

The book as it stands is incomplete. The MS doesn’t contain many of the documents which the Author mentions as included in the Appendix. But these documents have come to us through other sources. Chapters XIV, XV,XVI and a good part of Chapter XVII are lost.The Author mostly uses the term ‘Malankara’ in Varthamanappusthakam to represent Catholics of those times. It has been rendered in translation as “Malabar”. Both “ Malankara” and “Malabar” stands for the same region. In today’s ecclesiastic language “ Malankara” denote the West Syriac rite of the “Malankra Orthodox”, “Malankara Jacobite”, “Malankara Mar Thoma” and “Syro Malankra”. The “ Malabar” denote the East Syriac rite of the “ Syro Malabar Church”.

The Varthamanappusthakam was widely read in Malabar. During the troubled times between 1861 and 1865 it was proposed to read a chapter of Varthamanappusthakam, every Sunday after the Holy Qurbana. Three Carmelite vicars, in a synod held at Verapoly in 1862, condemned the Varthamanappusthakam. The reading was forbidden and a circular was issued. The Roman Archives has a communication from Carmelities which demands banning the book. On the front page of an MS kept at Carmelite monastery, it is called as “Forbidden Book”.

The original MS of the book were kept by Parayil Tharakans. During the regime of indigenous prelates the Varthamanappusthakam has began to make public appearances gradually.

Cathanar Joseph Parapilly, vicar of Kumpalam copied it from the original MS between 1898-1900. In 1902 a copy was made from the original then kept at CMI house, Chethipuzha. The Latin and Italian documents were copied by Cathanar Thomas Kurialacherry. Another copy was made in 1903 at Athirampuzha by Cathanar Mathai Paremakkel.

It was published in 1936 by Saint Mary’s press Athirampuzha based on the Athirampuzha MS by Luka Mathai Plathottathil. Before this, certain portions were published in papers and magazines. The first five chapters were included as the syllabus of MA ( Master of Arts) degree examination of Kerala University. These Chapters were published separately by National Book Stall, Kottayam.

In 2000, Parayil Tharakans, the custodians of original manuscript handed over the MS to the newly set up Museum at Saint Thomas Mount, Ernakulam.

______________________________________________________________________________
Author can be reached on admin at nasrani dot net
______________________________________________________________________________

You might also like More from author

9 Comments

  1. M Thomas Antony says

    Varthamana pusthakam gives an account of the affairs of Catholic Syriac group during a period when our community was proud of our identity and traditions.

    If we study the history of Catholic Syriac group, we can see a gradual disintegration of the zeal to protect our identity and traditions when they moved from their foreign rulers to native rulers.

    The history shows that the united Saint Thomas Christians were resistant to the efforts of Portuguese missionaries in Latinising them. We can see Cathanaar Joseph, the Indian, the chief priest of the church at Crangannore confronting with Alvares Panteado in AD 1516. Even at the time of Synod of Diamper, the Jesuites failed to implement the decisions of the synod. Hence, Arch Bishop Ros had to convene the synod of Angamali in AD 1603, as many of the decisions of the synod of Diamper could not be implemented among Saint Thomas Christians. As those were also not acceptable, Ros had to yield further by the introduction of Rosian statutes in AD 1606.

    Mar Simon, the then Chaldean Patriarch, who was explicitly in communion with Rome was anathematised in the Synod of Diamper and his name was banned in remembering in the Qurbana and introduced the name of the Pope instead. We can see in the Syro Malabar Qurbana taksa used until 1960, remembering the Chaldean Patriarch’s name after the name of the Pope which shows the resistance of our community and leaders against tampering our age old traditions and identity.

    In 1895, we can see our community sending letters to Rome against the use of the term Syro Malabar as the title of the church reqesting Rome to revert it to Syro Chaldean rite. It seems that Rome accepted the petition and in 1953, when the diocese of Thalassery was established, Rome has used the term Syro Chaldeac.

    In the time of Paremmakkal Thomman Cathanaar and Malpan Joseph Cariatti, we can see our community was strong and were proud of our traditions and identity. The 72 palliyogams- general assembly-of Pazhayacoor decided to send Malpan Cariatti and Paremmakkal Thomman cathanaar to Rome to complain about their grievances from the Carmelite Missionaries and to get unity of Puthencoor and Pazhayacoor effected by accepting Mar Thoma IV to Catholic Communion and accepting him as the Metropolitan of the united saint Thomas Christians. (For the Catholic Syriac group, this was the only way they can get a native hierarchy and for the Puthencoor faction, this was the option, without loosing their age old tradition and identity, Mar Thoma IV can become the united leader of the saint Thomas Christians, as Antiochian prelates were forcing them to adopt antiochian rite which was new in Malabar.)The palliyogams raised money for the travel. They were so brave to sent the delegation to Rome against the power of the hierarchy in Malabar at that time.

    Later, we can see our community sending delegates to Chaldean Patriarchate and Mar Paulose Pandari was consecrated as a Bishop in AD 1796, upon further requests, Mar Thomas Rokos arrived in AD 1861 and Mar Elia Melus in 1874. Arrival of Rokos and Melus prompted Rome to establish a separate hierarchy for Catholic Syriac group in 1887 with European Prelates initially and in 1896, native prelates.

    This is the point where the identity of our community started to disintegrate. We could witness the native prelates competing each other for more latinisations and gaining superior positions and titles. Where is the power and zeal of the General Assembly of 72 parishes in AD 1778 when we are in 2010 with our nominal assembly where we simply raise hands for our leaders who do not know what our identity is.

  2. Dr.Paulose Nellikattil says

    When we moved from foreign rule to native rule we have lost many echoes of the community. Varthamanapusthakam which is written in 1585 contains the following things,

    1) Travelogue
    2) The history of Mar Thoma Nazrani Christians
    3) Details about the governance of European missionaries who ruled the church in Kerala
    4) The efforts undertaken by Bishop Mar Kairattil and Paremakkil Thoma Kathanar to resolve the issues faced by Catholic Syrians
    5) About the right of Kerala Syrian Catholics on self governance
    6) Interpretations and explanations on Bible

    The contents from Chapter 17 to 30 ( 14 Chapters), Chapters 39 to 45 ( 6 Chapters) , Chapters 54 to 58 ( 5 Chapters) and the last two 77 and 78 Chapters are travelogue.

    That’s is 31,000 words in 150 pages, which consist of travelogue covering the Asia, Africa, South America and Europe It is not known if any other travelogue which covers four continents existed in Asia in 16th century.

  3. Tom Varkey Coppell says

    Why does the Catholics use Syro Malabar instead of Malankara ? Even Paremakkal calls the present Syro Malabar catholic church as Malankara. When did Catholics rename Malanakara with Malabar ?

    Are the Syro Malabar Catholics who claim to have preserved the liturgy and restored it, brave enough to acknowledge and go back to using the original name which was in use ?

  4. sungeo says

    The so-called Syro-Malabarians have became Zero Malabarians. They follow those tradtions, like the crucifix, Qurbana facing people, paranki names, paranki vestments, introduced by the Paranki colonialists. So they should change their name to paranko-malabar.

  5. M Thomas Antony says

    The term Syro Malabar is a relatively new invention. The Catholic Syriac Christians in Kerala were called Syro Chaldeacs. They were proud of that name. They were very proud to be associated with the Church of the East which was originated in the Biblical times.

    Our proud forefathers who did not want to change the rich traditions of their ancestors even against the might of the strong Portuguese colonialists. We can see in the history that Arch Bishop Alexis Dom Menesis could not succeed in Latinising us, but it was our own native leaders who betrayed our forefathers by diluting our apostolic Christianity evolved in our local cultural milieu, to please the foreign masters. Even today, we can see many examples.

    It is not very clear when the term Malankara was evolved. We cannot see the term Malankara in any of the ancient letters or documents. Patriarch Timothy I uses the term ‘the Archan of the hendo’ not Malankara. The famous letters of the four Bishops in 1504 also does not use the term Malankara.

    The Catholic Syrians also used the term Malankra. Even Mar Augustine Kandathil, the first Arch Bishop of Ernaculum (1874- 1956) used the title ‘The Metropolitan of Malankara’.

    The term syro Malabar was first used in 1895 period. Our forefathers fought against it. The following is taken from a memorandum submitted by our forefathers to the Pope to this effect in AD 1895.

    “ That we who have been known from time immemorial as Malabar Chaldeic Syrians and belonged to the same rite, are now called by the vicar apostolic as Malabar Syrians and an address to this effect has been sent to the Holy See and a reply is said to have been received under the new appellation. This change of our national name is quite contrary to the apostolic letter addressed to us by Your Holiness on the 30th of November 1894 headed ‘The Glory of the Oriental Churches’ which we received with the greatest submission and hold in great veneration and besides such a change is contrary to the missal printed and given to us in 1874 for the use in our churches.
    Under the foregoing circumstances and in consequence of the daily increasing schism in Malabar especially in this vicariate we make our last prayer with the deepest sentiments of veneration and filial love that Your Holiness will be graciously pleased, in the plentitude of Your Holiness’s Paternal wisdom and solicitude, to give us a Bishop of our own nationality from the Patriarcate of Babylon, and thus put an effectual end to the strifes and dissensions that have for a long time, been characterising the existence of the Catholic church in this part of Christendom” ( An account of a very important period of the history of the catholic Syrian Christians of Malabar- Rt Rev Mgr. Aloysius Pareparambil, DD, 1920, p 199-200)

    It is to be noted that in 1953, when the diocese of Thalassery was established for the Syro Chaldeac migrants to Malabar state, the bull from Vatican uses the term Ecclesia Ritus Chaldaici Malabarensium.

    The real sons and daughters of the Catholic Saint Thomas Christians should decide whether they want to keep the name Syro Malabar or not.

    1. Cherian Mathews says

      Dear Mr. Thomas Antony,

      In all your writings of Syrian Christian history, you seem to be missing the single moot event in their history. That us the tsunami that hit the Muziris harbour in 1234 AD, Of course, tsunami is a new word and history records it as an earthquake at the same time. This pushed the sand bar which protected the port and provided a safe lagoon for sail boats to anchor safely. Furthermore, it closed the two southern distributories o Periyar, forcing the flow of these branches to the south, thsu making the Vembanad kayal. It is the three distributories that gave the port city its name: muchiripattanam, a name too difficult for the Greeks to pronounce, hence they shortened it to Muziris. This happened just 71 years after Marco Polo visited and gave a glowing tribute to Muziris. As far as Syrian Chrsitians are concerned, it scattered them to the nearby principalities.

  6. Prof. Elias Pothan Anjilimoottil says

    Very informative article. Is the original Malayalam version of ‘Varthamanapusthakam’ available online?

  7. Paulose Nellikattil says

    The 275th birth anniversary of Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar is being celebrated at Ramapuram on this 10th September . Papers will be presented by Dr. Pius Malekandathil, Dr. Cherain Varicatt, Dr. Kurien Mathoth, Dr. KS Mathew etc.

  8. ABIN SOJAN says

    i would like to get a translated (english) copy of “Varthamanapusthakam”, can anyone direct me to anywhere?

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.