Churches in Chennai
Read about various churches of Chennai city. The churches of Chennai or Madras exhibit magnificent architecture.
Since the colonial period, Chennai is the home for thousands of Christians. The rich Christian tradition and culture is very well reflected in their places of worship, Churches. Chennai city is proud of its churches and their unique architecture. Here is a short summary of all the prominent churches of Chennai.
St. Mary's Church is the first Anglican Church in India. It was built in 1678-79 in Fort St. George. The original rectangular building was about 60 ft. by 90 ft. Its outer walls were 4 ft thick and its roof 2 ft. thick and bomb proof. The treasures of St. Mary's Church are the altarpiece, a large painting of the last supper, a 1660 bible and silver plates.
The Santhome Basilica church is located on the southern end of Marina Beach. A rare church, raised on the tomb of St. Thomas, an apostle of Christ, it has in its possession a small hand bone of Thomas and the head of a lance, which brought him down. Renovated in the early 1970s, this Basilica draws huge crowds. There is a beautiful stained glass window at the basilica, which portrays the story of St. Thomas, and the central hall has 14 wooden plaques depicting scenes from the last days of Christ. In the cathedral is a 3ft. high statue of Virgin Mary, which was brought from Portugal in 1543.
This church in Elliot's Beach is in honor of Our Lady of Health, the Madonna of Velankanni. Smaller in scale than the original one at Velankanni (near Nagapattinam) the devoted believe in the miraculous curative powers of the Madonna.
The Armenian Church
The Armenian Church was built in 1772, on the site of the Armenian cemetery, The Armenian Church houses a magnificent belfry - 6 bells, claimed to be the largest bells in Chennai.
C.S.I. Holy Cross Church
The C.S.I. Holy Cross Church is more than 120 years old. It was originally called the Perambur Railway Church, when it was under the railway authorities. The C.S.I. Holy Cross Church earlier had a predominantly Anglo-Indian congregation though now there are also families from other southern states.
St. Thomas Mount
Legend has it that Thomas, an apostle of Christ, preached atop the hill here. He is said to have been killed on this 300 ft. high mount. The paintings of 'The Holy Lady and The Child' and 'Our Lady of Expectations' exhibited in the St. Thomas church are believed to have been done by St. Thomas.
St. Andrews Church
Known as "the Queen of Scottish Churches in the East", the St. Andrews Church has finely etched white Doric columns, black and white tiled marble roof, and a high, sky-blue dome of enviable beauty. On the inner surface of the dome, constellations of stars, as they can be viewed in Scotland, are painted realistically.
St. George's Cathedral
The St. George's Cathedral was built in 1815. It has a towering 45m spire and ionic columns. The highlight of this Cathedral is the graveyard just adjacent to it with its guardrail made up of war emblems - muskets, bayonets etc. of the capture of Srirangapatnam in 1799.
Lying amidst the cultural and religious center of Mylapore on St. Mary's Road, this 17th century church is said to have been the place where St. Thomas took rest and also served the people.