Thrissur: Arnos Padre should be remembered for his efforts to integrate the culture of the East with the West, Archbishop Mar Andrews Thazhathu has said.
He was speaking after inaugurating a function held here on Saturday to commemorate the 278th death anniversary of grammarian, lexicographer and philologist Arnos Padre (Johann Ernst Hanxleden).
“Arnos Padre tried to assimilate the essence of Indian culture and literature into that of the West. His contributions have not found deserving mention in Kerala history. He was a German missionary who recognised the tradition and cultural heritage of Kerala.”
Janata Dal leader M. P. Veerendra Kumar said that the Padre was not only a literary scholar and missionary but also a revolutionary of that era.
“The Malayali has been indebted to him for many things. He taught us to respect our language and culture.”
Proficient in German, Sanskrit, Malayalam, Latin, Syriac, Portuguese and Tamil, the Padre compiled Malayalam-Portuguese and Sanskrit-Portuguese dictionaries.
Historian M.G.S. Narayanan said that Christian missionaries contributed greatly to the Renaissance in the State.
Theologian and writer A. Adappur urged the government to recognise the Catholic Church at Velur and Arnos Padre's residence nearby as historical monuments.
Various programmes were organised by the Arnos Padre Academy to mark the occasion. A seminar on ‘Arnos Padre's contribution to social renaissance in Kerala' was held at St. Thomas College. A choreography based on Arnos Padre's Malayalam poem, ‘Puthenpana', was presented at the function.
Born at Ostercappeln near Osnabrück in Hanover, Germany, in 1681, Hanxleden arrived in India on December 13, 1700, as a Jesuit missionary. He built a church at Velur near Thrissur in 1712 and spent most of his remaining days there.
Among his important works are ‘Chaturandhyam' and ‘Vyakulaprabandham'. He wrote several essays in Latin especially for Europeans based on the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavatam and Vedanta Saaram.