|Luz Church built in 1516, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. www.lakshmisharath.com|
|Luz Church, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India..creative.sulekha.com|
|Luz Church (1516), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. chennaiplus.net|
Upon the discovery of the first sea route to India in 1498 by Vasco de Gama, eight Jesuit priests landed at Calicut, Kerala from Lisbon with the fleet of Pedro Alvares Cabral on the 9 March 1500 A.D. Unfortunately a few of them were killed, rest moved down to Cochin. After a few years later, they sailed down South on missionary work. It is said, that the ship that carried Friars was caught in the rough, stormy sea in the Bay of Bengal off the present city Chennai, and they started praying to Mother Mary for their safety. Their, as a miracle, prayer was answered. It is said that they saw a divine moving light that miraculously guided them safely to the shore. The Friars as a taken of their gratitude to Mary for their safe arrival on the land, built this Church of Our Lady of Light. Yet another legend has it that it was not the Portuguese priests, but it was a group of sailors from Portugal who were rescued by the divine light.
The church suffered damages during the raid from Golconda forces (1662 - 1673). Between 1780 and 1782, the British East India Company Forces occupied the Luz Parish Residence when Haider Ali invaded this place. The famous Santhome Basilica, where Apostle St.Thomas is believed to have been buried is close to this shrine. The famous Stella Maris College, Chennai is being run by the Luz church authorities.
This church has beautiful arches in Gothic style and Baroque decorations, suggestive of characteristic classical European style of architecture. The foundation stone suggests that this church is one of the oldest monuments in the Indian subcontinent. It is an important land mark in this urban part of the city. It is commonly known as Luz Church by the locals. For the monument freaks, it is a nice place to walk around.