Sunday, 14 June 2015

A historical colonial Church Our Lady of the Assumption, Secunderabad, India

India has the rare distinction of having lots of historical, majestic and well designed churches across the land, mostly built in the colonial period. They are the silent spectators of the colonial rule and their legacy during their heyday.

Gothic styled St. Mary's Church.1840, Secunderabad.www.thehindu.com

The minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption, commonly known as St. Mary's Church, is  in  Secunderabad in the new state of Telengana, S. India. It is  the oldest Roman Catholic colonial church in the city and owes its existence  to Bishop Daniel Murphy  and Bishop Carew.  Fr. Murphy worked among the Irish Catholics in the British army stationed in this area. Some misunderstanding cropped up between the British higher ups and the Irish soldiers in the regiment regarding the possession of the Church. For the rivalry, Bishop Murphy was held responsible and later expelled by Governor General Dalhousie. Upon appeal by Bishop Murphy in the higher court in London to render justice, the court gave the judgment in favor of Bishop Murphy. It was a blow to the British higher authority. This victory  was considered the first and prophetic victory against the British authority in India.

Formerly called the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Hyderabad in 1886, it was no longer a cathedral. This  church, built in Gothic style of architecture with majestic arches,  is  dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary because the foundation was laid on  the feast day of Mother Mary’s Assumption  - August 15, 1847. Like  other Catholic churches, St. Mary's has several side altars dedicated to saints. 

Fr. Daniel Murphy was instrumental in starting the construction work of this church  which was completed and blessed in 1850. At that time, it was  the largest church in the state of Hyderabad. The fascinating features are the four church bells made in Italy that were installed in 1901. A statue of the ‘Mother of Sorrows’ with crucified Jesus in her lap is a recent addition.This is one of a few colonial  buildings left behind in this area. One can hardly see old churches with a clock tower. There is a beautiful statue of Mother Mary installed in a niche in the front part of the tower.


Our Lady of the Assumption Basilica.Secunderabad,.test.cbci.in

Lots of people belonging to other faiths also come to this old historical church, light up candles and pray to Mary with deep devotion and faith to solve their problems. On September 8, 2013 the Vatican bestowed the ‘Basilica’ status on  this church that happened to be the birthday of Mother Mary. It is a  rare distinction  very few churches in the world get from the highest authority in Vatican. This church is worth visiting.

Ref:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_Our_Lady_of_the_Assumption,_Secunderabad

Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Diocese of Hyderabad-Deccan". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.