Tuesday, 20 December 2016

St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Bangalore, earliest European building

St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Bangalore. xplore
 Like the British and Portuguese, the French also built many beautiful churches in India during the colonial days. St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral in Bangalore owes its origin to the pioneering work done by the French missionaries settled there. The grand  stone (granite) building with towering steeples and spires,  arched windows and blue and gray domes, one of the earliest European structures in Bangalore,  dominates the landscape and enhances the beauty of this area. This church has its origin in a church by the same name  and its history spans about 171 years. During the time of Tipu Sultan of Mysore, the missionary activities declined drastically almost to zilch  because of religious persecution  by the Muslim ruler, as he  thought the Christians were supporting the East India company rule. The Church of Milagres in Mangalore in 1680 was closed and was in ruins during his reign. So many churches fell into disuse because of Tipu's unjust rule. Christian missionaries' services  resumed in Mysore kingdom only after the death of Tipu in May 1799 at Srirangapatna in the final  and decisive battle (Angelo-Mysore war) against the British.
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Bangalore. www.polkacafe.com

It was in 1851 the first  church of St. Francis Xavier was built on a plot of 550 feet square by  Fr. Chevalier who happened to be the first  Parish Priest. He became the Bishop  of Mysore in 1873 upon the death of  Bishop Charbonnaux. Earlier, this plot was owned by Mrs. Zulime Watkins, a French Catholic and the widow of an English Commander, Capt. Watkins and  Fr. Chevalier paid a sum of  Rs.1,000/- for the plot. At that point of time,  the church was good enough for a small population of Christians in Bangalore. As there had been continuous increase in the population of the Christian community, there was  a demand for a bigger church that could accommodate more people. In 1911, the foundation stone was laid for a new church and it was inaugurated, after a long delay,  on 26 May 1932. It was  Fr. Servanton who took keen interest in the Parish and was instrumental for the construction 
a new building. In 1905 the cross on the old tower fell and it
 was interpreted as a sign to build  a new place of worship. Fr. Servanton, raised funds for the new church.  For fifty years till his death in 1948,  he was closely associated with the church and its activities. The church became a cathedral in 1940. After his hectic life dedicated to the glory og Christ,  Fr. Servanton was buried in his own Church. The Corporation of the City of Bangalore honored him after his death, by naming the Circle in front of St. Germain High School as "Father Servanton Circle".

The cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bangalore  was initially the seat of the diocese of Mysore from 1886 to 1940. The cathedral  saw its platinum jubilee in 2007 and  is located near Coles Park in Cleveland Town.  Additional domes were built in the front  in 2009.  Within the enclave, there is a shrine dedicated to St. Anthony and St. Rock, the latter possesses healing powers. In 1898 there was a threat to to the people caused by the spread of  the bubonic plague  and  Father Servanton had a chapel built  in 1909 in honor of St. Rock, the patron of the plague stricken with a prayer to the latter to care for the parish. Father Servanton stayed in India continuously and never  had he gone back to his country since his arrival in India. It is said that he never took a day off to attend to his personal matters. He loved the poor very much and helped them a lot by being generous to them. 

This church is one among the many beautiful churches in this area. Lots of people visit this church daily for blessings and prayers.

Ref:
http://bangaloretourtravel.blogspot.in/2015/12/st-francis-xaviers-cathedral-church-in.html


http://www.deccanherald.com/content/203128/cantonments-oasis-calm.html