Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Beautiful old Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pondicherry

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Puducherry. www.come2india.org
Pondicherry Sacred heart church. India www.asia-pictures.net
The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a beautiful place of veneration with a magnificent building in the former French colony of Pondicherry far south of Chennai on the east coast of India. The two front twin towers (spires) of the Church  throw a beautiful silhouette during the sunrise and sun down.
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus  Pondicherry .. aportraitoflife.blogspot.com
The major attractions are the walls with  excellent terracotta motifs  and superb stained glass windows/ panels, depicting the life of Christ and saints of the Catholic Church. On festival days, in particular Christmas, this place becomes more vibrant with festive mood, pomp and grandeur. Incidentally the city of Pondicherry has a large  ex- pat population  and is dubbed as mini France where the well educated people speak French. French is being taught in innumerable schools. The church owes its origin to the French missionaries. The Eglise De Sacre Coeur De Jesus Pondicherry, as it is referred to in French, attained the status of basilica in 2011.
Pondicherry Sacred heart church. India.mithunonthe.net
Stained Glass windows, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Puducherry www.alamy.com
Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus built in  Gothic architecture is located  on the south boulevard of Pondicherry in Puducherry, Southern  India, Archbishop  of  Pondicherry Mgr. Gandy consecrated in the year 1895   Archdiocese of Pondicherry to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As wished by Gandy earler, he  consecrated the Archdiocese of Pondicherry to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1907.  Parish priest of Cathedral Rev. Fr. Fourcaud commenced the construction of the new church in 1902  and completed it in 1907. Under Mgr. Gandy on 17, December 1907, the blessing of the church and the first mass were  held at the western wing of the present church  and  the new parish surrounding this church was established on 27, January 1908.
Inside the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus  Pondicherry . www.team-bhp.com
Stained Glass windows, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Puducherry www.alamy.com
Stained Glass windows, Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Puducherry, www.oktatabyebye.com
The year 2008-2009 was celebrated in grand style   as Centenary  year of founding of the parish in this area   and the Government of India  issued a  special postal stamp and postal envelope  to mark the valedictory function of the centenary celebrations. During this time it was requested through Telesphore Toppo, President of CBCI, to the Holy See for the elevation of this church to a Basilica. As requested,  The Holy See granted the status of minor basilica to the church, with a papal brief dated Friday 24 June, 2011. The Papal Nuncio to India, Salvatore Pennacchio (Titular Archbishop of Montemarano)  on a visit to the basilica on September 2, 2011 officially declared the church as a basilica in the name of the Holy See. 

The main material used in the church was bricks  with well ground lime-sand mix. It is a big church and can accommodate 2000 people and has a length of  50 meter (160feet) and width of  48 meter (157 feet). It was elevated to Basilica in September, 2011. Inscribed near the main entrance of the basilica above the stoups are the Elevation to Basilica Status, Papal Decree of Elevation to Minor Basilica in Latin and in English.  Latin rite cross shape in aerial view is in Gothic style. It is the 24 main columns that  hold the structure. The biblical verse from 2 Chronicles 7:16 is written above the entrance door  in Latin,   "sanctificavi locum istum, ut sit nomen meum ibi" which means "I have consecrated this house, that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there forever."  The Grotto for Sacred Heart of Jesus facing the City Railway Station were added later.
Basilica's view from Sacred Heart Square.en.wikipedia.org
Inside the church there are  impressive stained glass panels, devotion of Sacred Heart of Jesus and glass pictures of 28 saints related to the devotion of Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Statues of the four evangelists that were erected  stand above them. It is one of the fine churches in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.
 
Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_the_Sacred_Heart_of_Jesus,_Pondicherry