Kayamkulam Philipose Ramban, who was the first to translate the Bible into Malayalam, played an important role in acquainting the general public with Christ, Valiya Metropolitan of Mar Thoma Church Philipose Mar Chrysostom said here on Tuesday.
‘’If the Bible is not available in our language, it is as good as not having it,’’ Chrysostom said, addressing a function organised by the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church to mark the 200th death anniversary of Philipose Ramban and the 200th anniversary of the Malayalam Bible.
‘’Philipose Ramban was able to translate the Bible because he had scholarship in two languages (Syriac and Malayalam) and because he possessed the experience of having lived among the common people,’’ he said.
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien, who inaugurated the function, said that the Malayalam Bible and English education led to a ‘’renewal’’ in the Christian community of Kerala, which was also reflected in the society in general. ‘’I’d been taught that it was Benjamin Bailey who translated the Bible into Malayalam. It is refreshing to know that Philipose Ramban did it 20 years earlier,’’ he said.
Finance Minister K M Mani, who delivered the keynote address, said it was indeed a limitation that the 2000-year-old Christian community in Kerala lacked a Malayalam Bible until 200 years ago.
Thiruvananthapuram Bishop of the Orthodox Church Gabriel Mar Gregorios said that Philipose Ramban’s Malayalam translation contributed to the evolution of prose and alphabet in Malayalam.
Writer Perumbadavam Sreedharan, former Additional Chief Secretary D Babu Paul, CSI Bishop Dharmaraj Rasalam and Bishop Joshua Mar Ignathios were among those present.