Syro-Malabar Catholics worship eastward

  • St. Mary's Forane, Kanjoor, Kerala before the Feast of St. Sebastian.
  • Families living abroad often bring children back for baptism and first communion during the days leading up to the huge St. Sebastian Feast at St. Mary's Forane Church, Kanjoor.
  • Worshipers arrive early to pray at St. Mary's Forane Church, a Syro-Malabar Church in Kuravilangad. The red drape covering the sanctuary is opened during liturgy.
  • Male worshippers, seated on the left, line up to receive Prasadam after Mass at Lourdes Forane Church, a Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India, 2013.

The Syro-Malabar liturgy, known as the Qurbānā, or Offering, originates in the Chaldean church in Persia. As such, it differs from the liturgy of the Syro-Malankara church, the other Syrian Catholic church in India. The liturgical language of the Syro-Malabar Qurbānā is Malayalam, the language of Kerala. The church follows its own liturgical calendar.

At Syro-Malabar liturgies, men and women generally separate into different sides of the church. Shoes are left outside of church, and prayer rugs cover the floor. The altar is veiled behind a large red drape that opens after the beginning of the liturgy to reveal the sanctuary, and closes at the end of the Mass. Worshipers in Syro-Malabar churches face east when worshiping.

Holy Qurbana at St. Mary's Forane Church, Kuravilangad, India.

Syro Malabar Holy Mass in Malayalam, June 2009.


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