Friday, 6 March 2015

First historical British Cathedral, Mumbai(Bombay),St.Thomas Church.India - Britsh India

St.Thomas' Cathedral,Mumbai..wikipedia/commons

St. Thomas' Cathedral,Mumbai. expatsinindia.org
St. Thomas' Cathedral, the first Anglican Church in Mumbai was built in 1718. Situated near Flora Fountain and Church Gate railway station in the busy part of Fort area of Mumbai, this cathedral was selected for the UNESCO Asia-Pacific heritage conservation award in the year 2004. The idea for building the Cathedral of St.Thomas, named after the first apostle of India who came from Malabar, was initiated by Governor  Aungier in 1676 AD.
St.Thomas' Cathedral,Mumbai.en.wikipedia.org
St.Thomas' Cathedral,Mumbai.tripomatic.com
After his sudden death, the church construction was stopped midway. The foundation stone for the church was laid in 1676, on Bombay Green, at the present site of the St. Thomas' Cathedral, but over 40 years elapsed before construction could be completed.

 In 1668 King Charles transferred Bombay and its surroundings to the East India Company on lease  for the latter to carry on their trade activities. Previously the island of Bombay   was under the  Portuguese possession   became a part of the dowry of the Portuguese princess Infanta Catherine of Braganza on her marriage to Charles II of England under the Anglo - Portuguese treaty of June 1661.                      
It was one Richard Cobbe, the Chaplain,who completed the construction of the building between 1715 and 1718. The East India Company took up the responsibility of resuming the church construction work. Since its opening on the  Christmas Day in 1718, It has served continuously as a church initially to the local European community and later after independence to the local Angelo-Indian and Indian communities in and around Bombay(Mumbai).

This cathedral aptly was named after St.Thomas, a prominent  disciple of Christ, who came to India in the first century
The tomb of St.Thomas the Apostle in Mylapore, India.en.wikipedia
 with a view to preaching  Christianity. Having settled down in India he  built several churches all along the Malabar Coast in Kerala state that has significant Christian population. The St.Thomas Christians are an ancient body of Christians from Kerala, India, who trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century. They are  known as "Nasranis" because they are followers of "Jesus of Nazareth." The term "Nasrani" is still being used by St. Thomas Christians in Kerala. In the earliest British settlement in Bombay there was no  church establishment. So, there  arose  a need for  a building for common Christian prayer and religious activities of the early settlers  who formed a small community and later it started growing. The church had a special space for women devotees. 

Though the British left the shores of India for  good in Aug. 1947, this historical Church majestically stands as a great  grand monument that reminds the people of younger generation of Mumbai and the visitors about the  eventful colonial era and the  strong impact of British legacy as brought out by  several historical buildings built by the British in this metropolis  including  dozens of  poignant eulogies engraved on the marble tablets  of the departed souls and the numerous  tombstones of military generals, clerks and young maids  in the cemetery who died here thousands of miles away from their country of birth and who were part of the British society centuries ago.

Lots of people visit this St.Thomas cathedral to spend their time to look at the  wonderful British architecture, huge stained glass windows and the vintage furniture and brass items.
St. Thomas  Cathedral was built in  Neo-Classical and  Neo-Gothic styles with a white facade. The roof was built to withstand cannon attack in case of war.
 Proper and sustained maintenance of this church is a  must as the church is already old and shows signs of aging.
 Ref:

St._Thomas_Cathedral,_Mumbaien.

www.mumbai.org.uk/religious-places/st-thomas-cathedral.html