S. J. Berchmans
|Fr. S J Berchmans|
August 3, 1949|
Soosaipatti, Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu, India
|Origin||Kalayar Kovil, Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu|
|Genres||Gospel songs, contemporary christian music, contemporary worship music|
|Occupation(s)||Priest, evangelist, singer-songwriter, worship leader, musician, record producer|
|Years active||1978 – present|
Fr S J Berchmans is an Indian evangelist and Christian worship songs writer-composer from Tamil Nadu. He has composed over 350 songs, mostly in Tamil. Many of his songs have been translated into other languages including Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Sinhala, Hindi and English. He is being viewed as an inspirational figure among Tamil Christians and many young and new worship leaders. He operates mainly from Kalayar Kovil in Tamil Nadu, where the headquarters of his "Jebathottam" Trust is located. Fr. Berchmans is well known and is referred to as “Father” in the Christian circles. There is no church in Tamilnadu where his songs are not sung.
Berchmans was born on August 3, 1949 in Soosaiapparpatti (Semmangkudi), a small village near Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu, India. His parents were farmers, and were devout Catholics. Berchmans was the youngest of five children- elder sister, two elder brothers and one younger brother. He has completed his middle school in “Thiruvarangam” a village nearby and high School in St.Mary's Higher Secondary School, Madurai.One of his aunts was a Catholic nun. Right from his childhood days, his sister who was also a nun was influential in making him lead a holy and God fearing life. As a youth he used to sing in the Church choir. He has had basic training in Carnatic and Western musical systems. After completing his high school education, he intended to become a Catholic priest and joined a Catholic seminary. Hence on completion of his schooling, he joined a St. Paul's Seminary in Trichy for his Philosophy and Theology. On completion of his studies there, he was ordained as a Priest in the year 1970 For the Arch Diocese of Madurai. While in the seminary, he improved his musical skills and by the time he became a priest, he had become well known as a good singer in the local Church circle.
Priesthood and Ministry
Fr. Berchmans started his ministry as a Catholic Priest in Satharasanpatti near Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu in 1978. While performing his duties as a priest, he developed a longing to do something more creative. He is said to have experienced a spiritual transformation in 1983 in a meeting organised by DGS Dhinakaran, another well known Tamil evangelist. He later began organising evangelical meetings, and composing and releasing Christian worship songs, which were received well by Tamil Christians who found the "voice...new...(and) melody...different". A land of about 5 acres was donated to his ministries by the villagers of Kalayar Kovil near Madurai. He established his "Jebathottam Trust" in the area, which now hosts an auditorium with a seating capacity of 2000, a 24-hours prayer chamber, board and lodging facilities and a shelter for helpless women. 'Jebathottam' is a Tamil word meaning "Prayer-Garden".
Father Berchmans still organises evangelical rallies in Tamil Nadu and other Indian states including Bihar, Punjab and Delhi. He also works abroad especially in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Canada, France, England, Germany, Netherland and Middle-eastern countries.
He is now a well-known figure among Tamil Christians, and his songs are being extensively used in church worships across denominations. He still composes and releases worship songs.
His latest production, released on December 3, 2017, was his 37th volume in Tamil.jebathotta jeyageethangal vol-37→←
Fr Berchmans had been singing in the church choir while he was young. He began composing his own songs after 1983. People found his music to be "different" as compared to the traditional Tamil Christian worship songs. Unlike many musicians, he does not prefer composing his songs under special environments or with a band of fellow musicians. He composes melodies spontaneously mostly during his morning worships and sometimes while preaching in church.
He released his first four volumes of compositions under the title "Visuvaasa Geethangal" (Songs of Faith), and the later ones under the title "Jebathotta Jeyageethangal" (Songs of victory from the Prayer Garden). His latest volume was released on September 24, 2016, which was the 36th volume in Jebathotta Jeyageethangal series. Altogether he has composed more than 400 songs, mostly in Tamil. His songs have been translated into other languages as well including Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Sinhala, Hindi and English.
- Sadhu Sundar Singh, a 19th-century Indian missionary.
- Dr DGS Dhinakaran, a well known Tamil evangelist and founder of Jesus Calls ministries.
- Paul Dhinakaran, son of Dr DGS Dhinakaran.
- Sam P. Chelladurai, the senior pastor of the Apostolic Fellowship Tabernacle, Chennai.
- www.jebathottamministries.org – The Official website of Fr Berchmans ministries
- lyrics.abbayesu.com/author/berchmans – Song lyrics of Fr Berchmans
- "Profile/Fr S J Berchmans". Jebathottam Trust.
- "Top Hits of Father Berchmans Songs". Our Master's Voice.
- "Fr.S.J.Berchmans". Bro.A.Gnana Wilson, BSc,Rg.D.BRIT.
- "Fr. SJ BERCHMANS PROFILE".[better source needed]
- Jebathotta Jeyageethangal. Fr SJ Berchmans. p. Index.
- "Fr.S.J. Berchmans".
- "PRINCE EZEKIEL". THAMARAI.COM.
- "Contact Us". Jebathottam Trust.
- "Prayer Garden – Jebathottam". Jebathottam Trust.
- "Jebathotta Jeyageethangal Vol 33". Melchi Evangelical Services.
- "JEBATHOTTA JEYAGEETHANGAL VOL 33". Evangelical Literature Service.
- "Jebathotta Jeyageethangal, Vol. 34".