CSI Church Trivandrum

CSI Church Trivandrum
CSI Church Trivandrum - Favourite Homes

Christianity is believed to have come to India as early as 52 AD through St. Thomas, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus who supposedly landed in Muziris, Kerala. And the first church is believed to be the St. Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic Church established in Palayur, Thrissur district in Kerala. Since then, the population of Christians in Kerala has increased to around 18.4% and to about 2.3% of India’s population.

As far as the history of Churches goes in Trivandrum, Kerala’s capital city, divine services for the European settlers started as early as 1817. As per the instructions of the Madras Government, services were conducted once a month by the Military Chaplains of Quilon. Christ Church, which is located in Palayam area, is built on land donated by the Travancore Government and its foundation stone was laid on 13nth December 1858 by General Cullen, a British resident, in the presence of H.H. the first prince Rama Varma of Travancore.

On 15nth November 1859, Bishop Dealtry of Madras consecrated the church. In 1883, H.H. the Maharaja sanctioned more land on the north and west sides for the cemetery. A Malayalam service was however only started in 1876 and the first Indian priest inducted in was Rev. P.O. Mathen in 1887. The Christ Church is the oldest church in the city and is built in the gothic style with beautiful stained glass windows depicting The Good Shepherd and dating back to 1889.

The design typically consists of high towers, arches, and spires along with buttresses and stained glass windows. Some of the interesting antique features of this church include the altar, the pulpit, the lectern, the brass altar railings as well as the carved teakwood screen.

Another historical gem this CSI church owns is the tubular bell here dating back to 1915 and is one of the very few working four-piece tubular bells still in existence. Interestingly, there is a biblical garden here too which grows all the plants and trees mentioned in the Bible.

There is also a beautiful horse-drawn carriage hearse that was used by the church till 1960 and is on display in a glassed-in museum in the church compound.

The cemetery in the church plays host to over a thousand graves with about 200 belonging to Europeans. Interestingly enough, a grave exists here that was built in 1814 AD, 45 years before the original church structure was constructed.

While the Christ Church was earlier maintained under the Metropolitan of Calcutta, in 1956 it officially became a part of the Church of South India (CSI).