Saturday, 6 October 2018

St. Stephen Church, Delhi, named after the first Christian Martyrs of India in 1857


St. Stephen’s Church Delhi sarsonkekhet.in
The capital city of Delhi, once the seat of power of the Raj, has many historical churches that were built in typical European style. Among them the St. Stephen's church is an interesting one.  Perhaps, one may be wondering why the exterior of the church is red in color.  The red color  is  said to symbolize the blood of St. Stephen, the first Christian Martyr and Patron Saint of the city, and also the blood of the first Christian martyrs in India who were killed in Delhi in 1857 revolt - Sepoy Mutiny against the atrocities of the East India company and its corrupt officials.

St. Stephen’s Church, located on the busy Church Mission Road in old  Delhi is a historical church built in 1862.  It was constructed  by Anglican missionaries and DPW Engineers and  it is now part of  Church of North India Diocese of Delhi. The famous St. Stephen’s College and St.Stephen’s Hospital  are also within the same compound. The Anglican mission Society for the Propagation of the Gospel was responsible for building this church to take care of the spiritual needs of the early European settlers and the newly converts. This organization was given full support by the Cambridge Mission to Delhi which founded the St. Stephen's College which is now affiliated to Delhi University. 
St. Stephen’s Church Delhi victorianweb.org
The impressive feature of this Church is its typical Gothic style of design influenced by the Romanesque architecture This church is well known for its stained glass rose window which is exclusive in Delhi and also for its ornate walls and ceilings. The unique feature  in this  baroque styled church is the arched windows are set in a way as to allow  enough sunlight to brighten the interiors.There are  nice pictures, carvings, well-made pieces of  beautiful furniture. and motiff.  A series of fine plasters form arcade on either side with lined columns made of sandstone. These columns carry beautiful carvings. The structure itself is described on the heritage board outside as a "large Romanesque Church" 
St. Stephen’s Church Delhi. lickr.com

'Ian Baucom explains that the Gothic triumphed so completely "in the cities, cantonments, and stations of the British Raj" because the "architects and engineers of the colony's Public Works Department had at their disposal not only the writings of Ruskin and Pugin but also such journals as the Camden Society's Ecclesiologist, a periodical devoted to disseminating Pugin's Gothic principles, and the The Builder, the leading architectural publication of the period"  Jan Morris labels this kind of building work neatly as "Royal Engineers' Gothic, Public Works Department Gothic". But the architect's name may have been deliberately omitted from this church's history...........' (vide: http://www.victorianweb.org/history/
empire/india/12c.html). The church has high ceiling with baroque style of decoration which gives the feeling of divinity and a sense of sanctity prevailing on the premises.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Stephen%27s_Church,_Delhi




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