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Churches

The state of Maharashtra has Christians in minority. The majority of the people staying in the state of Maharashtra belong to Hindu community while the state has only 3 percent of Christian of its total population. The Christian community is further divided into two sub-communities one that belongs to the East India and is named as Roman Catholic while the other is the Marathi Christian community that majorly has Protestant but also has few of the Roman catholic people too. The major communities of Christians that are part of state of Maharashtra belong to Roman Catholics community who are majorly based in the coastal region of Maharashtra and these places generally are in Thane, Raigadh and Mumbai. The Marathi Christians are located in the regions of Ahmednagar, Pune, Jalna, Solapur and Aurangabad.

The state of Maharashtra has number of old churches that have been constructed in Gothic pattern and to name few of them are Colaba’s Afghan Memorial Church built in the year 1847 that was devoted to the heroes of Indian and British fighters who bravely fought First Afghan war that happened in the year 1843 and the other was the campaign of Sind that was held in year 1838. The other church is the first Anglican Church in Mumbai that is named as Saint Thomas Cathedral. Few of the other important churches in Mumbai are Mount Mary church located in hills of Bandra and the other is in Mahabaleshwar and is named Holy Christ Church.

History

The Christianity was spread in the region of northern Konkan by one of the twelve Apostles named Saint Bartholomew. In AD 180 India was visited by Pantaneus and where he located a written Gospel of Matthew that had been written in Hebrew language that St. Bartholomew left here. These points were written by Eusebius a Roman historian and also by Saint Jerome in one of their letters. During the 13th century Kosmos Indicopleustes and Jordanus spread the Christianity among the Christians who were located in Thana, Mumbai.

Famous Churches in Maharashtra

Afghan Church

One of the famous churches in Mumbai is the Church named after Saint John an Evangelist that is commonly named as an Afghan Church that belongs to Presbyterian churches located in southern part of Mumbai. This church was built in honor of British soldiers who fought in the first war of Afghan in 1838. The Church is situated in Colaba’s Navy Nagar.

The impressive structure of the Church was built with the usage of basalt and limestone that has buff-color. The interiors of the church have arch that resemble gothic style and the windows have colored decorated glasses. A nave and an aisle that have a chancel with the dimensions of 15 meters in length and 7 meters in width located in the premises of the chapel. The floor tiles have beautiful butterflies type of pattern that were imported specially from England. William Wales an expert in designing the stained colorful glasses in the 19th century designed the windows for western and western ends. In 1904, the eight huge bells located in the church were also imported from England’s Taylor bell foundry and these have been acknowledged as the best bells in the entire western region of India. Height of tower and the spire is approximately 60 meters.

Cathedral of the Holy Name

A Roman Catholic Church that is part of Mumbai and is also considered as the sitting place of Archbishop of Bombay and is head office of the Archdiocese of Bombay is the famous Cathedral of Holy Name. This cathedral forms the part of Colaba a place in the southern part of Mumbai city. The house of Archbishop is very near to the Church. This Cathedral replaced the Bhuleshwar’s Cathedral which also housed few of the people belonging to Christian community. After selling the place in Bhuleshwar a new Church with the name Cathedral of Holy Name that belonged to the Roman Catholics was created.

Church of Our Lady of Dolours

The other Church that belonged to the Roman Catholic is the Church of Our Lady of dolours that is located in Wadala and was constructed in 1853. A school that is associated with this Church is the Parish of Our Lady of Dolours that was delegated to the Salesians in 1948 during the time when Salesians were to settling in the area of Matunga. Both boys and girls were allowed to study together in this school until Auxilium convent a school dedicated for the girls was opened by the Salesian sisters in the area of Wadala. The statue of Pieta is located in the middle of the church.

Church Of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

A Roman Catholic Church located in the Bandra area of Mumbai is the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A Jesuit Missionaries was behind the existence of this Church in 1894. The structure of the Church was improvised in the second half of the 20th century with the rise in the count of catholic people in the Bandra area. This modernized Church was opened for public on 11th February 1981 and it was inaugurated by Bishop Simon Pimenta who was an Archbishop in Bombay.

Our Lady of Egypt Church

The Church that belonged to Archdiocese in Bombay was Our Lady of Egypt and is dedicated to Roman Catholics who belonged to Kalina area in Mumbai. This Church was formed in 1606 and during the mid of year 2006 the church noted its 400th anniversary. During the current days Friar Adrian Ferreira is the parish priest of the Church. This Church can be named as few of the churches who survived the devastation that happened in 1739 by the Marathas and later the Church was looked by the Secular Priests. The construction of the Church was improvised in the year 1960 since more and more Catholic people started visiting the Church. Two wings that had the capacity to accommodate around 200 people were built on left and right side of the main altar. The earlier days structure can be still seen other than the changed porch that was modified to give it a larger space. Towards the northern side of the Church is a newly built up graveyard since the space of old graveyard became insufficient with the passage of time because people of Vakola area were also later buried in the existing graveyard.

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Church

Since 1547 to 1739, the Roman Catholic Church came into existence which later in 1912 was reopened and is named as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church. The Parish community has increased over the period of time in the last two decades and has become major in the liturgical activities performed by the community. On 8th December each year a feast is organized at Mount Poinsur that is attended by people of Mumbai. This tradition of the feast has been practiced for years and has been passed down to people from one era to other.

St. Andrew's Church

One of the oldest Churches that came into existence in the city of Bombay is the saint Andrew’s Church that came into existence in the year 1575. The Church is located in the suburb area of Bombay at the sea-shore. This Church is as old as 400 years. Till the 17th centuries first quarter this was the only church located in the Bandra area. The altar that is located inside the church is as high as it reaches the top of the Church and the Church also has sculptures of Sacred Heart, Saint Andrew and Our Lady. Above the major sculptures in the Church are located the small statues of Saint Sebastian, Saint John a Baptist and Bom Jesu.

St. Michael's Church

The Church of Saint Micheal’s is considered as the oldest Church of the Catholic and also is one of the oldest Portugese building located in city of Mumbai. The Church is located in the area of Mahim that is situated on the inter-joining of L.J. Road and Mahim Causeway. The location of this Church gave it another name commonly called as Mahim Church. Almost hundreds of people gather for the Novenas that are held every Wednesday in the Church. Originally, the Church was constructed in 1534 and the Church was later modified in 1973 and the modified structure still stands at the place. For 1739 to 1761 Church was a place of shelter for Virgin Mary who belonged to Our Lady of Mount Chapel of Bandra. The recent incident associated with this Church is dated on 27th June 2008 when hundreds of worshippers came to the Church to witness the portrait of Jesus Christ that was believed to bleed and was considered as a miracle by the worshippers. But later it was seen that the red spot on the portrait were not the blood stains.

St. Teresa Church

The Mauli Shrine worshipped this Church named as Saint Theresa in Haregaon as a holy place that also organizes a Yatra each year in honor of Mauli and this is organized in the month of September. The Church has been linked to the altar of Mt. Mary located in the area of Bandra in city of Mumbai. Mount and Mary jointly was named as Mauli that means a mother. The people who are believers of Catholic worship the village that organizes the sacred feast that is done in favor of Virgin Mary that is organized on second Saturday in the month of September each year. In 1950, rev. Fr. John Haldner put up the Church and the feast had already been started in 1947 by the people who belonged to this village and were not capable of celebrating the occasion in the area of Bandra in city of Mumbai. During the current times this place is named as Pandharpur where Catholics who speak Marathi are located. Almost 400,000 worshippers come to attend the feast from the areas like Ahmednagar, Nasik, Mumbai, Pune and Aurangabad.

St. Thomas Cathedral Church

The very first Anglican Church that was constructed in 1718 in the area of Mumbai is the Saint Thomas Cathedral. This church came into existence with the purpose of developing the moral values among the budding British soldiers. The location of the Church is on the Veer Nariman Road that is located near to Horniman circle gardens and the famous Flora fountains. The Church was sanctified into a Cathedral in 1837 in month of July. In 1838, the western end of the Church had an added tower and clock. Later a major work of restoration was carried out after almost twenty five years with the purpose of expanding the chancel and this work of restoration was concluded in 1865. In 2004, The UNESCO Asia-Pacific heritage considered this Cathedral for conservation.

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