Monday, 5 September 2016

Oldest historical church in Delhi - St. James

St. James church, oldest in Delhi. www.indiatimes.com


Oldest church, Dehi, St. James.pixels-memories.blogspot.com.
India is home to innumerable historical churches of grandeur and beauty  that were  built by the European colonists during their active years. Many are classified as heritage structures and the Indian government is seriously restoring those monuments that are  facing severe damages due to various reasons. St. James Church of Delhi is the oldest place of Christian worship and is up for repair and restoration work.
Skinner'grave,St.James church,Delhi. en.wikipedia.org
St. James church (an Anglecan church) is an important land mark in the busy area of Kashmiri gate and is a significant heritage building. Built in 1836 AD, the oldest church in Delhi, is a ‘Grade- I’ notified heritage building under the jurisdiction of North Municipal Corporation of Delhi (Zone C). It was built by Colonel James Skinner, an army officer with the East India Company in 1836. it was consecrated on 21 November 1836 ADby the Bishop of Calcutta Daniel Wilson. It was designed by Major Robert Smith.
 It is also called Skinner's church. The church is similar to Italy’s Florence Cathedral and made of Mughal brick masonry in lime mortar, prevalent in that era.

The old church  includes the graves of the entire family of Col Skinner and his 14 wives and children; British Commissioner of Delhi, William Frazer, and Thomas Metcalfe.  William Frazer's bungalow was behind the church. Metcalfe lived in Delhi from 1813 to 1853, serving as Agent to  the Governor General of India and  Commissioner. The grave yard has innumerable tombs - many commissioners were  buried here. There is  a memorial to those killed in the 1857 Sepoy mutiny.
St. James church, Delhi.pixels-
memories.blogspot.com
The church over the decades have become weakened, in particular, the foundation because of  heavy vehicle movements, vibrations caused by trains moving on the near-by tracks, underground metro train projects and other civil construction works. Plinths, cornices and moldings and other architectural features  have faded and further the plaster and yellow paint have peeled off at many places. Other problems are black fungus spotting on the wall and  drainage  issue, as the river Yamuna is close-by.  The good news is the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), an NGO dedicated to historical restoration of  the early 19th century structures is going to restore this church and the work will begin soon.

The church design is based on 'Renaissance Revival’ style church  on a cruciform plan (Greek Cross) with three porticoed porches and an octagonal dome. The fascinating rare features of this heritage church are  the original European stained glass windows depicting the Crucifixion, Ascension of Christ and his Resurrection, besides  a painting called ‘The Prodigal Son.’ It seems to be an original work of Italian painter Pompeo Batani.. Other rare possessions are  a processional cross gifted by Lord Irwin, and a rare Pipe Organ, gifted in 1899 by T. Ralph. 
9th June, 2016 www.dailymail.co.u
The St. Stephen's Church, at Fatehpuri, Delhi built in 1867 was the other church during that era. 
Ref:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-3634106/Delhi-s-oldest-chus-srch-St-Jame