|St Peter’s Church (1829),Royapuram en.wikipedia.org|
|St.Peter's church (1829)Royapuram, Chennai thepicta.com|
In the early years, the chapel (built in 1780), under the control of Vicar Apostolic, had daily services as well as hourly prayer. Later, it was divided into two churches namely St. Peters and St. Antony's Church, following the division among the Vamsha Varnakula Mudaliars - the former supporting the Irish mission and the latter, following the Goan tradition. The church has been a prominent landmark in the suburb of Royapuram. The name Royapuram is derived from the Tamil appellation for St. Peter Royappar and Puram meaning area / place. In 1779 the Royapuram area comprising 720 grounds was allotted by the Marine Board under the English company on order from Lord Edward Clive to the Indian community - mostly fishermen moved from Chapauk to Royapuram. The marine board shifted the Customs House and Master Attendant's Office to Black Town from Fort St. George in 1799. Consequent to removal of Customs House and Master Attendant's Office to Black Town, the marine Board granted the lands to the fishing community for residential purpose.
Gurukula Vamsha Varnakula Mudaliars, who were quite enterprising community took care of the British naval and cargo ships docking at Madras and their services were quite indispensable for the British company.There was no proper harbor here in those days.
|Royapuram, chennai map. Maps-india.com|
Originally, St. Peters Church was under the dominions of the Cathedral and later it came under the Petiti Seminaire School Fathers till 1860. In the early days the priests in the church were only French and natives were not allowed, but during modern times, Tamil people were also allowed to conduct prayer, masses, etc. Presently, the Church is being administered by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madras and Mylapore.[
During the Christmas time the festival of the temple is celebrated for eight long days, beginning with flag hoisting on 24 December and ending with a feast and religious lectures on 2 January. The famous feasts offered in the temple are : the feast of St. Peter on the 29th June and the second for Our Lady of Voyage called Chitirai Matha from 29 August to 8 September. The highlight of the event is a car procession with the Church deities around the streets of Royapuram, an offshoot of Hindu temple tradition.