St. Thomas’ Cathedral is located right near Horniman Circle in Fort, the prime heritage area of the city. I must have passed by this church a hundred times but never actually bothered to enter it and now that I have, I know about its history and significance! You can easily pass by this Church as any other ordinary church but when you read about it and see it from inside you understand why this one is of significance.
The Church has been dedicated to St. Thomas, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus, who was believed to have travelled to Kerala, India to preach the Gospel. The Cathedral is the first Anglican Church to be built in the city of Bombay. It is the cathedral seat of the Bishop of Mumbai. This 298 year old church, which opened on 25th December 1718, is controlled by the Cathedral and John Connon School. The church was declared as a cathedral in 1837 when the first Bishop of Bombay, Thomas Carr was appointed. The cathedral has received a UNESCO Asia-Pacific heritage conservation award in 2004 after it was restored.
Fun fact: Churchgate gets its name through this Church! The gate of this church, which was known as Churchgate, was one of the gates the Britishers had built to protect their settlement which is where the name Churchgate comes from.
When I decided to tour Bombay, churches did not come to my mind but because it was Christmas time, I decided to specially look for churches and I’m glad I did (Wodehouse Church and Afghan Church coming up next). This one was a stunner with its carved stoned memorials. When you look at them closely, you’ll see the precision and the beauty. I didn’t think I’ll find this in Bombay but this city never fails to surprise you (it continued surprising me at other places as well). I’ve never visited a Church during Christmas. It was decorated simply, nothing extravagant, which had its own charm. They had bibles to read there and a booklet of Proverbs from the New Testament to take away. I didn’t spend much time here to read every stone memorial and the book on the history of the cathedral, but I would definitely go back to find out.
The stone memorials are the highlight of the church and what I loved the most. They are from the British Rule Era and are mainly of people who had served the East India Company.
The Bombay Text Series