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Posts Tagged ‘Calcutta Churches’

Old or Mission Church, Calcuta (Kolata)

May 29, 2013 17 comments

Old or Mission Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)

~ Oldest Protestant Church of Calcutta (Kolkata) ~

Also see my compilation of Calcutta (Kolkata) Churches

Founded by the Swedish Lutheran missionary Johann Zachariah Kiernander the Mission Church was founded in 1770 and happens to be the oldest Protestant Church in Calcutta (Kolkata) and the second oldest (only next to Armenian Church) in the city.

Mission Church Interior, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Mission Church Interior, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Johann Zachariah Kiernander arrived in India in 1740 as a missionary under the auspicious of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK). After spending 18 years in South India he was invited to Bengal by Lord Clive. Kiernander established the Mission Church in the rent free house provide to him by Lord Clive.

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Armenian Good Friday, Calcutta (Kolkata)

April 3, 2013 4 comments

Burial of Christ ~ Armenian Good Friday

St. Gregory, the Illuminator, Armenian Chapel, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Also see my blog post on Armenians of Calcutta (Kolkata)

The coffin bearers slowly carried the black coffin, beautifully stacked with flowers outside the small chapel adjoining to the Lower Circular Road Cemetery in Calcutta (Kolkata). Strangely it was not a funeral and nor the black coffin contained any dead body !!!!

Armenian Good Friday, St. Gregory, the Illuminator chapel, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Armenian Good Friday, St. Gregory, the Illuminator chapel, Calcutta (Kolkata)

It was the Good Friday service of the Armenian Christian community at the St. Gregory, the Illuminator Armenian Chapel at Park Circus.

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Greek Orthodox Church ~ Calcutta (Kolkata)

February 27, 2013 15 comments

Transfiguration of the Saviour Church

Greek Orthodox Church of Calcutta (Kolkata)

Also see my compilation of Calcutta (Kolkata) Churches

The Transfiguration of Saviour Church, belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church is located next to the Kalighat Tram Depot.

Greek Orthodox Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)

Greek Orthodox Church, Calcutta (Kolkata)

The Greek Orthodox Church, looks more like a Greek Temple than a church, with its four Doric columns in the portico supporting the giant triangular pediment. The smart whitewashed facade the Greek Orthodox Greek church stands out amidst the chaos of Kalighat.

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Calcutta (Kolkata) Churches

December 19, 2012 27 comments

Calcutta (Kolkata) Churches

~ Compilation of Churches of Calcutta (Kolkata) ~

Kolkata (formally Calcutta) is home to several churches catering to different sects and sub – sects of Christianity. Apart from the well known Protestant and Catholic sects Calcutta (Kolkata) also houses churches belonging to the Orthodox sect including Armenian, Syrian and Greek orthodox sub – sets.

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St. Mary’s Church (Bangali Cathedral), Kolkata (Calcutta)

June 6, 2012 2 comments

St. Mary’s Church, Kolkata (Calcutta)

Banglai Cathedral

Also see my compilation of Calcutta (Kolkata) Churches

St. Mary's Church (Bangla Cathedral), Kolkata (Calcutta)

St. Mary’s Church (Bangla Cathedral), Kolkata (Calcutta)

It was a winter Sunday morning Prasanta (da) Banerjee lead me inside the St. Mary’s Church. The Sunday Mass was already on and a choir was being sung, strangely the language seemed Greek to me. As I settled down on the beautifully carved bench of the the St. Marys Church, I realised that the language was my very own mother tongue  Bengali. But in the dimly lit environment of the Church Bengali appeared totally out of the world.

It has been a couple of months I have been in touch with my on line friend Prasnta Banerjee, a Bengali Protestant Christian, who in a very short span of time became my “beloved dada.” Prasanta da personal invited me to the church not only to attend the Sunday Mass but also to photograph its interiors.

As the Mass progressed my eyes got adjusted to the dimly lit interiors of the church. The beautifully wood carved alter crowned with a intricately decorated stained glass attracted my attention. The alter was also flanked by two stained glass windows on either side, each depicting Biblical events.

My attention shifted toward the walls lined with marble memorials, to mu utter astonishment I found many of the memorials curved out in Bengali. No wonder the St. Mary’s Church is popularly known as the “Bangli Cathedral.”

Bengali Memorial, St. Mary's Church, Kolkata (Calcutta)

Bengali Memorial, St. Mary’s Church, Kolkata (Calcutta)

The concept of the Bengali Cathedral dates back to July 1885, when  Rev. Harihar Sandel, a pioneer missionary started worshipping in the Cathedral with a few Christian employees. It was later decided to build up a separate church for their worship. He acquired the land and mobilize fund for the construction of a church for the Bengali Protestant.

Sadly Rev. Harihar Sandel (Sanyal) died on 4 Sept. 1887 when his dream church was yet to open its doors. The St. Mary’s Church (Bangali Cathedral) finally opened its door on 16 Feb. 1889, under Rev. Aghore Nath Banerjee. Rev. Aghore Nath Banerjee later became the Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral.  He was the first Indian to receive this distinction.

Today the St. Mary’s Church stands on the Elgin Road (Lala Lajpat Rai Sarani) opposite the Bhawanipur Education Society College.

Stained Glass, St. Mary's Church (Bengali Cathedral), Calcutta (Kolkata)

Stained Glass, St. Mary’s Church (Bengali Cathedral), Calcutta (Kolkata)

The Mass was soon over and Prasanta Da introduced me to Rev. Sukhendu Biswas, the present Canon of St. Marys Church, who immediately gave me the permission to shoot inside the church. Armed with my camera I headed for the beautiful alter flanked with the even more beautiful stained glasses.

Sunday Mass, St. Mary's Church (Bangali Cathedral), Kolkata (Calcutta)

Sunday Mass, St. Mary’s Church (Bangali Cathedral), Kolkata (Calcutta)

Soon I shifted my attention to the marble memorials, and a memorial located very next to the alter attracted my attention. Written in English and followed by Bengali it was a memorial dedicated to Rev. Harihar Sandel (Sanyal).

As I moved towards the main entrance the memorial of Rev. Aghar Nath Banerjee, but unlike Rev. Harihar Sandel (Sanyal), it was written in English only. Next to Rev. Aghore Banerjee’s memorial lies a beautiful ,written in beautiful flowing Bengali font, dedicated to the father & daughter duo of Lukswarup Chandra Singh and her daughter Grace Khemankari.

Finally it was time for home. I bade good bye to Rev. Sukhendu Biswas, Prasanta da and all the other church members and returned with memories to last a life time.

Special Thanks:

Rev. Sukhendu Biswas, Prasanta (da) Banerjee and the entire community of St. Mary’s Church, Kolkata.