Saturday, 14 February 2015

The historical Milagres Church,Mangalore, first built in 1680

The Milagres Church,Mangalore,Karnataka, first built in 1680.en.wikipedia.org

Bishop Thomas de Castro, a Theatine from Divar, Goa.www.milagreschurchmangalore.com
The Milagres Church (Portuguese: Igreja Nossa Senhora do Milagres, (English: Church of Our Lady of Miracles) is a historical Roman Catholic Church located in the Hampankatta locality of Mangalore City, Karnataka, S.India. Milagres church was first built in 1680 by Bishop Thomas de Castro, a Thea- tine from Divar, Goa. The original structure was built at the site where presently the cemetery is located. It is one of the oldest churches in South Karnataka.

During the 17th century. The Goan Catholics who migrated to Canara lacked priestly leadership. In 1658, a Carmelite missionary, Fr. Vincento Maria de Santa Catharina visited Canara (Karnataka) and reported to Rome about the miserable state of Christianity in that region. The Holy See came to the aid of the Canara Christians, and appointed a Theatine, Bishop Thomas de Castro as the Vicar Apostolic of Canara and Malabar. He arrived in Mangalore in 1677 and built a church there in 1680 on a piece of land given as a gift by the local Hindu  queen the Keladi  Chennamma to cater to the local Christians. Castro died on 16 July, 1684. After the Queen's death the land was taken over by her successor, King Basavappa. In 1715, a local priest Fr. Pinto, after long deliberation with the considerate local ruler, secured the land again from King Somashekara II. His nephew Fr. Alfred Pinto built a new church at the site of the present church in 1756. In 1763 Canara  came  under the rule of Hyder Ali and then his son Tipu Sultan in 1782.

Tip Sultan strongly believed that the local Christians had  conspired against him in collusion with the British during the Second Anglo-Mysore War. The British, at that time, tried very hard to capture Tipu Sultan  and his kingdom by hook or crook and Tipu developed a sort of abomination for the British and their unethical ways to get his kingdom. This resulted in his capturing of about 60,000 Mangalorean Catholics on Ash Wednesday 24 February 1784, and herded them to Srirangapatna. He also destroyed 27 churches including the Milagres Church in Mangalore. The Mangalorean

The Milagres Church,Mangalore,Karnataka, first built in  1680 by Bishop Castro.en.wikipedia.org
  Catholics were pushed into a precarious position because they and their forefathers were victims of Goan Inquisition during the Portuguese rule. They migrated to Mangalore in the hope of leading a peaceful and quiet life without losing their age old Indian Christian traditions. 

Mangalorean Christians at a festival.www.mangalorean.com
After the death of Tipu Sultan during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War on 4 May 1799 between Tipu and British military forces led by Arthur Wellesley, the Mangalorean Catholics were freed from Captivity and the Mangalorean Catholics  returned to Mangalore. Lawrence Bello was among the returnees who built a chapel to replace the demolished church, on the site of the present church. In 1811 he laid the foundation stone for a new spacious church. In 1911, the facade of the church collapsed, thereafter incumbent Parish priest Fr. Frank Pereira erected the present church structure with Fr. Diamanti S.J. as the main architect. Later on a portico was added to the structure.

Ref:

D'Souza, A. L. P. (1983), History of the Catholic Community of South Kanara, Desco Publishers.

Farias, Kranti K. (1999), The Christian Impact on South Kanara, Church History Association of India.

Prabhu, Alan Machado (1999). Sarasvati's Children: A History of the Mangalorean Christians. Bangalore: I.J.A. Publications. ISBN 978-81-86778-25-8..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milagres_Church_%28Mangalore