Tuesday, 6 February 2018

St. George's Church, Hyderabad - interesting facts on the oldest church in this part.

St. George's Church, Hyderabad, Telengana, India en Wikipedia. org
Interior, St George's Church, Hyderabad (1844) The Hindu
India is endowed with a lot of old churches dating back to second  and third BC. For example St. Thomas, one of the disciples of Christ,  himself established the seven and half churches on the SE part of coastal Kerala. During the Raj there was a spurt in the growth of churches  to meet the needs of the European communities living here and many of them were built through donations and public subscription. In the heartland of the Muslim rule - The State of Nizam, southern India, the oldest Church St. George's had a very close link with the colonial past and the link continues without any break. 

The following are some of the interesting facts about this old church:

01. It is the oldest church in the city of Hyderabad, Telengana, India built in 1844 AD by the Church Missionary Society (CMS). In 1947, it became part of the Church of South India (CSI), a uniting Church (Anglican, Wesleyan,Methodist, Lutheran, etc.)

02. The church was originally an Anglican church but is now under the auspices of the Church of South India

03. The British Resident (appointed by the East India Company) in the court of the Nizam of Hyderabad used to worship in this church. 

04. The foundation stone was laid in the month of February 1844. Mr. T.W.Wray, Postmaster, designed and supervised the construction of the church  that was completed and opened for Divine Service on the 19th September 1844.

05. it is pertinent to know the political situation prevailing  then. The Nizam state became a focal point for the British and French forces to control it. With the French, now focusing their attack  on Madras, in 1799,  a British  Resident was installed in the court of Hyderabad to advise the Nizam on matters related to administration. Eleven years later under a fresh treaty the EIC supplied two battalions of sepoy under British officers for a specified sum annually, besides the Nizam meeting the cost of maintaining them. The later period saw  an influx of British civilian and military officers  and their families moving into Hyderabad with support from the Nizam. 

06. As the British community grew in size, there was a necessity to have an Anglican church built there to take care of their spiritual needs. 

07. Under a Firman-e-Mubarak the British Community in 1836, using the good offices of the Resident, got a piece of land from the Nizam upon which the first place worship called Christ Church was built  and later it became St. George's.Church. It was built by way of public subscription near the residency to cater to the needs of Christians of Protestant  and other denominations.

08. St. George's Church. Hyderabad played a vital  role  in the realm of the spiritual and social welfare of the Anglican Community in Hyderabad. The earliest churches Christ church and this one never failed to touch the heart and soul of thousands of Europeans who passed through its portals.

09. An interesting fact is it not only served the British community but also people from Germany, France, Portugal, Holland, whose contribution to the growth and development of this city has left behind their imprint. Many Europeans stayed here to focus on ecclesiastical management of the Church and Schools.

10. On Christian festival days like the Easter, Christmas, the church became a beehive of activities with amazing flower decorations, etc. The reverberation of voices of the choir and congregation  in praise of the lord during worship in the colonial era would be heard far beyond the Church compound wall, spilling the spirit of veneration and devotion.  The same trend in equal tempo continues even today. 

11. It is interesting to  note that in early days, it was a tradition to specially mark and reserve  family pews  with their names placed on cards under small brass plaques attached to each pew. The purpose was such patrons should not go home disappointed on account of over crowding.

12. There is a small church graveyard  behind the church where the departed souls were laid to rest. Presently,  Protestant Cemetery at Narayanguda, a few miles east of the church on King Koti road is being used for last rites.
St. George's church,Hyderabad  a pipe organ 1887.organsinindia.weebly.com
 Abobe image: St. George's church , Abids, Hyderabad (CSI) has a pipe organ built in 1887 by Hurry brothers, Calcutta. it was partially functional till 2008. .........................
13. A re-dedication ceremony was held for the historic St. George's Church at Abids on the occasion of completion of its 143 years in the past after some restoration work on the old structure was carried out without losing its heritage value.  They used the old building technique - lime and other materials to retain the old flavor.

14. Bishop Kanaka Prasad Presided over the re- dedication work in the presence of Mukesh Goud, B.C. Welfare Minster of the state government.

15. An antique pipe organ made in 1887 adorns this church and, unfortunately, since 2008, it has fallen into disuse. It is said that efforts were on to get it repaired soon as it was difficult to procure the spares for the age-old organ.

 The walls of this St. George's Church retain innumerable interesting as well poignant stories to offer - special Church functions such as baptisms, weddings, and funerals that it witnessed during the heyday of early colonial era, besides important meetings and services. This Church is a priceless old monument and needs to be protected and preserved for our posterity. In this regard, the Telengana Government is doing a right job.

http://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/St.-Georges-Church-turns-143/article16135265.ece

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._George%27s_Church,_Hyderabad

http://www.britishempire.co.uk/article/churches/stgeorgeshyderabad.html