“I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the subject of Aramaic chants,” explained Palackal, the parochial vicar at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Maspeth.
In continuing his decades-long pilgrimage studying the now endangered 3,000-year-old language believed to have been spoken by Jesus Christ, Palackal explored different parts throughout the state of India for answers.
In a yearlong journey through the country, a trip sponsored by Maspeth Federal Savings Bank, the reverend returned with 65 hours of video footage that he has since whittled down to an all-inclusive film on the topic to air at St. Stan's, located at 57-16 61st St., on Friday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m.
“The people still remember the song and text that they haven’t used in 50 years,” Palackal recalled from his journey. “These singers were so grateful to me, that someone found them interesting. They thought people had forgotten about these melodies.”
After returning home, Palackal said he was surprised most by the lack of understanding that society still has about such a significant piece of history.
“It would have been lost to humanity,” he said. “We are doing a service to this cultural treasure.”
Palackal added that he recently received a call from Al Jezeera producers, inquiring about his film and findings.
“My plan is to give the recordings to the Library of Congress,” Palackal said. “That way it will stay in the world and future scholars will have access to that.”