Fr. George Plathottam(1933-2016)
A celebrated singer and teacher of Syriac chants,
preceptor of seminarians, and a holy priest.>
Copyright ©2019 Joseph J. Palackal
Fr. Plathottam was gifted with a melodious voice and a passion for the Syriac music heritage. He trained several young seminarians and priests to celebrate the solemn sung Qurbana in Syriac. Bishop Joseph Kallarangatt (diocese of Pala), who celebrates Syriac Qurbana frequently, acknowledged that his Excellency was lucky to have received training from Fr. Plathottam (see Aramaic Project 15).
I am immensely grateful to his Excellency Mar Jacob Angadiath, Bishop of St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic diocese of Chicago, for introducing Fr. Plathottam to me, in May 2006. I listened to one of his Syriac chants and realized the uniqueness of his voice, which evokes devotion in the minds of the listeners even without understanding the meaning of the song text. Bishop Angadiath agreed to my suggestion to document Fr. Plathottam’s distinct style of celebrating the Syriac sung Qurbana. The bishop provided financial assistance to organize the recording. This video may serve as a source material for researchers as well as prospective celebrants. In 2014, Fr, Plathottam sang for me the famous Syriac chant ēdtā pūšlēk, the farewell song from the funeral services for priests of the Syro Malabar Church.(Aramaic Project 81). A transcription (in staff notation) of his rendering is included in my chapter “The Survival Story of the Syriac chants among the St. Thomas Christians in South India,” in The Oxford Handbook of Music and World Christianities (Oxford University Press, 2016; see ). We pray that this saintly priest continues to intercede for everyone who supports the Aramaic Project.