Jump to content

Abel Periyappuram

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Fr. Abel)

Abel Periyappuram
Statue at Kalabhavan
P. M. Mathew

(1920-01-19)19 January 1920
Died27 October 2001(2001-10-27) (aged 81)
Resting placeSt Anne's CMI Monastery Kurianad, Kuravilangadu, Kottayam District
Alma materSapienza University of Rome
(Doctor of Philosophy)
  • Catholic priest
  • Journalist
  • Lyricist
Years active1963 – 2001

Abel Periyappuram (born Periyappuram Mathan Mathew, 19 January 1920 – 27 October 2001), commonly known as Fr. Abel, was an Indian Syro-Malabar Catholic CMI priest, journalist, and lyricist, best known as the founding father of Kalabhavan, a centre for learning performance arts in Kochi, India.[1] Periyappuram, with the help of K. K. Antony, a music teacher, and K. J. 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 Archbishop Joseph Parecattil and the Archdiocese of Eranakulam, the Club was registered as Kalabhavan.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Abel Periyappuram was born on 19 January 1920 in Mulakulam village (near Piravom) as Mathew to Periyappuram Mathen Vaidyar and Aleyamma, as their fifth child. 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 Sapienza 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, Periyappuram 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]


Periyappuram 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, two days later.


  1. ^ "Story of Kalabhavan Fr. Abel About Kalabhavan Academy Art Gallery Degree Courses". kalabhavan.org. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  2. ^ "K. K. Antony". www.thecmsindia.org. Archived from the original on 25 September 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Kerala Celebrities - God's own country Kerala, India". www.kerala.com. Retrieved 20 October 2015.