KOCHI: After the Catholic Church, now it is the turn of the Chaldean Syrian Church, one of the four archbishoprics in the Assyrian Church of the East, to transcribe the Bible. The 475 families under the Mar Aprem Church, a parish of the Chaldean Syrian Church in Thrissur, are currently engrossed in transcribing the Bible.
It has been two months since they started the work. Once completed, the manuscript would be worthy of being added to the 100-odd ancient manuscripts - all written in Aramaic -stored at the Chaldean Metropolitan Palace in Thrissur. The transcription is being done as part of the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of the Mar Aprem Church.
Members of each of the families will write the chapters assigned to them. Thus, their combined effort will bring out a handwritten Holy Bible. They are transcribing the Bible published by the Bible Society of India, which is called the ‘Sathyaveda Pusthakam’ in Malayalam.
“From time immemorial, the Chaldean Syrian Church has a strong legacy of transcribing documents. The attempt to write the Holy Bible could be regarded as a continuation of it,” said Mar Awgin Kuriakose, Episcopa, the Chaldean Syrian Church.
Of the holy manuscripts that lay scattered in different parts of the world, the Chaldean Metropolitan Palace in Thrissur is believed to be having a good collection of them, after Iraq, which is the headquarters of the Assyrian Church of the East. In India, the Assyrian Church is known as the Chaldean Syrian Church, and it is headquartered in Thrissur.
“The 66 books, with 1,189 chapters, were divided in the 10 wards of the parish. We have briefed them on the instructions to be adhered to while writing. The transcription should be done only after the evening prayer. We did not want them to write it at a stretch. They can take their own time. The list of the chapters were given to them as well. They can only write on the paper provided by the church,” said Fr K P Varghese, Vicar, Mar Aprem Church.
“Even the pens were given to them. The numbers of the chapters and the verses should be written in red ink. The rest of the letters should be in black,” he said.
Mar Aprem, Metropolitan, the Chaldean Syrian Church, India, who kick-started the project by writing the chapter of Genesis, said, “in the olden days, one had to transcribe manuscripts to be ordained as a priest. But, as time flew by, and with the introduction of the printing press, that practice came to an end. However, this effort would remain in the memories of the people.”
Riju A Mannukkadan, a parishioner, said that his whole family was involved in the project. “My children would read the assigned chapters aloud. Everyone in the family, except my little daughter, contributes,” he said. The Sacred Heart Church, Kumbalangi, and the Cruz Milagres Church, Vypeen, are the catholic churches that have transcribed the Bible earlier.