Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Historical Luz Church (1516) built by the Portuguese, Chennai

Luz church(1516). Chennai, India. en.wikipedia. org 


Holy Mary, Madras Luz church, Chennai,www.madrasi.info    


Because of the arrival of Christianity in India several centuries ago and on account of a large number of European settlers living here in the 16th and 17 centuries, numerous churches with fine European architecture were built in many places in India to meet their religious needs. They are the now mute spectators of our colonial past history.
Luz Church - Church of Our Lady of Light is a historical  Roman Catholic shrine  in Mylapore, Chennai, India. Commonly  called  Luz  Church  by the locals, it  was  built in the midst of a forest  in 1516 by the Portuguese  who dedicated the church to Nossa Senhora da Luz. In Portuguese Luz means light. The famous  Stella Maris College, Chennai  is being managed by the church. Behind this church is located the well-known St.Isabel's Hospital. It is a rare coincidence that this unique European monument built in Gothic-Baroque style, which marks the  safe arrival on land by the Portuguese missionaries, is  near  the famous  San Thome  Basilica, where Apostle Thomas is believed to have been  buried. The main attractions are the ceiling with fresco painting and altars gilded with silver and gold leaves.


Alters -Luz Church.Chennai, India  www.panoramio.com

Legend has it when Christianity arrived in India during the second phase (first being the arrival of St. Thomas in 52 AD on the Malabar coast) in the wake of Vasco de Gama's landing on the Malabar coast in 1498,  several Jesuits from Lisbon arrived here in 1500 to spread Christianity. A few  were killed and the others became preachers. Once  when sailed down south off  coast, they were caught in the rough sea.  They were miraculously  saved by the grace of Mother Mary. It is believed, that they sighted a  mysterious, divine  bright light that guided  them safely to the shore. The Jesuits, built the Church of Our Lady of Light (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora da Luz) in honor of their safe arrival on the land from the rough sea. The date of this legend has been a subject of controversy  because it  was only in 1540 the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) was founded. So, many argue that the year of  arrival of Jesuits in India 40 years before in 1500 is incorrect.

It is quite  interesting to note  that during the Muslim invasions  - forces from  Golconda between 1662 and 1673 and Hyder Ali between  1780 and 1782, the church received considerable damages because East India company forces occupied the Luz Parish Residence for some years. Later major repair work was carried out in order to put the church back to its original grandeur and beauty.

Ref:     https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Our_Lady_of_Light,_Chennai#/media