Friday, 20 September 2019

St..Antony's Church in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu - a colonial legacy

Saint Antony's Church in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu.   thehindu.com
St. Antony's Church in Coonoor is also one of the oldest  catholic churches in this part taking care of the needs of a large Christian community here. In those days many Britishers who  settled here ran tea and coffee plantations on the hills around. Sources in the the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ootacamund point  out this church is   one of the most prominent legacies of the  early British rule.



Ooty and Coonoor hill stations maps-india.com/
Saint Antony's Church in Coonoo, Tamil Nadu  roursquare.com/

 The church had a humble beginning to serve the early settlers and Catholic priest T. J. Leese took the initiative and in 1863 he did something  to immediately arrange for Christian worship. So, what he did was he converted a barn in Coonoor into a place of worship for the benefit of soldiers stationed at Wellington Cantonment, which  now has an Army Staff college  relocated after partition of India.

Saint Antony's Church in Coonoor, TN   mapio.net/
As the small place was not good enough, in 1886, a new structure came up and later a big building was built to meet the spiritual needs of a large number of people. The church management started a school to meet the educational needs of the people here and the cantonment.
Saint Antony's Church in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu  business.facebook.com
Surrounding area of Coonoor town, Nilgiri hill, Tamil Nadu. yatramantra.com

 It was in June 2011, the silver jubilee of this church was celebrated with devotion and religious fervor. This occasion  marked special masses in various languages including English, Tamil and Malayalam, a community feast and a procession. People from various communities surpassing religion and castes actively took part in this grand event. Now this church is 133 years old and is still being fairly maintained by the authorities concerned.
 https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/125th-year-of-coonoor-church-celebrated-with-fervour/article2118492.ece