Fr. Abel

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Rev. Fr. Abel Periyappuram
Statue at Kalabhavan
Born 19 January 1920
Mulakulam, Travancore, British India
Died 27 October 2001(2001-10-27) (aged 81)
Thodupuzha, Kerala, India
Alma mater University of Rome (PhD)
Occupation Catholic priest, Journalist, Lyricist
Years active 1963 - 2001

Reverend Father Abel Periyappuram, C.M.I., (1920 - 27 October 2001), commonly known as Fr. Abel, was an Indian Catholic CMI priest, journalist, and lyricist, best known as the founding father of Kalabhavan, a centre for learning performance arts in Kochi, India.[1] Fr. Abel, with the help of K. K. Antony, a music teacher, and Yesudas, then a budding playback singer, started Kalabhavan as the Christian Arts Club to promote Christian music, in the year 1969. Soon, with the support of Major Archbishop Mar Joseph Parecattil and the Archdiocese of Eranakulam, the Club was registered as Kalabhavan.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Fr. Abel Periyappuram was born on 19 January 1920 in Mulakulam village as Mathew to Mathen Vidyan and Aleyamma. In the 1940s, he set out for pastoral studies at Mannanam, Thevara and Koonammavu. He later went to Mangalore and was ordained as a priest in 1951.[3]


In 1952, he joined the Deepika Daily at Kottayam as a journalist. The next year, he left for Rome, where, from the International University of Rome, he took a Doctorate in Journalism and Political Science. On returning to Kerala, he rejoined the Deepika Daily, where he worked as an Assistant Managing Director, till 1961. During this time, he started writing lyrics and poetry. He was then entrusted with a job of a professor at St. Joseph's College, Devagiri. On the request of Joseph Parecattil, Fr. Abel moved to Ernakulam to translate Christian prayer books from Syriac to Malayalam. This gave him the idea of writing original devotional songs in Malayalam. He penned the lyrics to numerous songs which were set to music by K. K. Antony. Their music was successful among the public as well as with the clergy. Kalabhavan was started in 1963 to train young artists in formal music education.[3]


Fr. Abel died on 27 October 2001, at the age of 81 at Thodupuzha, following a cardiac arrest. His body was kept at Ernakulam Town Hall for the public to pay homage on two days later.


  1. ^ "Story of Kalabhavan Fr. Abel About Kalabhavan Academy Art Gallery Degree Courses". Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  2. ^ "K. K. Antony". Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  3. ^ a b "Kerala Celebrities - God's own country Kerala, India". Retrieved 2015-10-20.