Monday, 26 December 2016

St. Mark's Cathedral, Bangalore - legacy of East India company


St. Mark's Cathedral(founded1808), Bangalore. www.google.co.in
 As I already pointed out in some of my earlier posts, the number of churches in this region during the colonial period shot up slowly only after the fall of Tipu Sultan in 1799 in the decisive battle against the EIC army at Srirangapatna. The French missionaries were primarily responsible for  reviving Christianity in this region. Further, deployment of EIC army necessitated the growth of Anglican churches in Bangalore, Mysore and other cities.

St. Mark's Cathedral, Bangalore named after Saint Mark  was built in 1812, drawing inspiration from the 17th century St Paul's Cathedral, London. It is one of the earliest churches in colonial India. Located  in a serene  environment on   Mahatma Gandhi Road, MacIver Town, the foundation stone was laid in 1808, but consecration was done only in 1816  by the Bishop of Calcutta. In the early stages in 1808,  it was just  a garrison Anglican Church and it saw much of  the expansion  in 1901 and reconstruction in 1927. The extension in 1901 was done, using government funds  of British India. The renovated church was dedicated on 26 August 1902 by Bishop Whitehead of Madras.
St. Mark's Cathedral ,Bangalore. Team-BHP
In 1808, the church  was mainly used by the Madras army men of the East India company and its capacity was just 400 and to accommodate the growing members in 1902, the church  was expanded in 1906  and unfortunately in February in 1923, the church was damaged by a  fire accident purported to be caused by a short circuit and in the same year it resulted in reconstruction. Again, as ill luck would have it, part of the building caved in while the work was on in 1924. So, the church construction work was completed   only in 1927. During the major construction work and organization, church services were held at St. Andrew's Church, Cubbon Road.  
The Colours of the 77th Moplah Riflesen.wikipedia.org
 St. Marks Cathedral is steeped in historical events related to EIC. The uniqueness about this church is there is a memorial for those who gave their lives in the Moplah revolt of Kerala. It was a violent armed uprising in 1921 against British authority and Hindu landlords and Brahmins in the Malabar region of Southern India by Mappila Muslims who were descendants of the Arabs.There are innumerable plagues of those British who died in Bangalore cantonment. Yet another historical event is the disbanding of 77th Moplah Rifles Infantry Regiment  and the burial of  military colors on the west wall of this famous church. It was  the only  church under the control of the government - East India company, Madras Presidency.
St. Mark's Cathedral, Bangalore.1900. en.wikipedia.org

Interior. St. Mark's Cathedral, Bangalore. Journeys across Karnataka
The dimension  of the church is  100 feet X 53 feet X 20 feet Using  St Paul's Cathedral, London,  as a model, this impressive colonial building with a dome, semi-circular chancel, Roman and amazing  ornate wooden entrance  draws the attention of the new comers to this sprawling city, a major center in IT. The stained glass windows are unique and they along with majestic ceilings and arches bring out the beauty of European church architecture. Added to these features is the church  bell, believed to be the best maintained one in India. The stained glass  work was created by M/s Sreenivasulu Naidu & Sons, Madras. The stained glass on the west facing window was created by the architect of St. Dunstan's Society, England and cost INR 4500.00. Italian Marble from Genoa is used in designing the pulpit and the font meant for baby baptisms
 There is a 
Brass lectern (eagle with spread wings on the globe) in this church  and it was gifted by  some planters of Mysore in 1903, in memory of Harry Alexander Campbell and Montague Beaden Follett of Lumsden's Horse Regiment who died in the Boer Conflicts of South Africa. The bible on the lectern was presented by  one Mrs. Laura Amelia Amaller.

Tit Bits: 

01. The church has a memorial plaque for Lt.-Col Sir Walter Scott,  the nephew of Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott and  2nd Baronet, who died at sea in 1847. 

02. After Indian independence in 1947, it became part of the Church of South India and later the Cathedral of the Karnataka Central Diocese in 1961.

03. Saint Mark, after whom this church is named,  is believed to be the first gospel writer.

04. The St Mark's Ecumenical Center for church Music founded in 1990 is functioning here. It trains people interested in Church music regardless of religion and denominations and also helps  train people in violin, piano, music theory and singing for the Trinity College of Music and Royal School of Music examinations

 05. The cathedral celebrated its 200 years bicentenary in 2007-2008. It is one among a few earliest colonial churches in  this region fully funded by the colonial government.

06. On 1 July 1928, Bishop Tubbs of Palayamkottai , now in Tamil Nadu,  was the first to preach on the marble pulpit, delivering the sermon 'The reunion of Christendom'.
pipe organ (19290 , St.Marks church , Bangalore. www.saclifestyles.in
07. The pipe organ of the St. Mark's Cathedral installed in 1929,  was a gift  from  Avis F Cowdrey of the Cowdrey family. He was the father of  famous Test cricketer Michael Colin Cowdrey in the 1950s and early 1960s. He  represented MCC, England. It fell into disrepair and was fixed by the Swiss experts for Rs. 5 million.

Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Mark's_Cathedral,_Bangalore


http://navrangindia.blogspot.in/2015/12/christ-churchsecond-oldest-in-north.html