MONDAY, 9/6/2014 | 16:05 GMT+7

History of Old Churches in Mumbai

St. Michael’s Church: Mahim

St. Michael’s Church in Mahim is one of the oldest Catholic churches. It is also the oldest existing Portuguese buildings in Mumbai. The church is famous for its Novenas on Wednesdays. Thousands of devotees,Catholics as well as those of other faiths visit the church and pray to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour for the novenas. Devotees believe that visiting the Church on nine consecutive Wednesdays (Novena) will grant their wishes

The church was originally built in 1534 and later rebuilt a number of times, the present structure dating to 1973. The church also served a refuge to popular icon of the Virgin Mary from Our Lady of the Mount chapel, Bandra from 1739 to 1761.

The weekly Novena services were started in 1948 by Fr. Edward Placidus Fernandes from Mumbai who had experienced a similar ritual celebrating Our Lady of Perpetual Succour at Belfast, Northern Ireland, during his visitto Europe. Fr. Fernandes brought with him a picture touched to the original Our Lady of Perpetual Succour picture at Rome.


Mount Mary Church: Bandra

The Mount Mary Church or The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount is located in Bandra and is one of the most visited ‘religious places of worship’ in the city of Mumbai. Every September, the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on the first Sunday after 8 September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary. This is a week long celebration known as the Bandra Fair and is visited by thousands of people.

Although the current church is just 100 years old, the history behind the current statue of Our Lady goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to the current location and constructed a chapel.

In 1760, the church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators in St. Andrew’s church nearby. This statue has an interesting legend. It goes that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. The statue was found floating in the sea between 1700 and 1760.  The Koli Fishermen call the statue as Mot Mauli, literally meaning The Pearl Mother (Mot= Moti= pearl and Mauli= Mother). However the pervious statue is now restored and now enjoys the place of honour in the bascilica.


St Peter’s Church: Bandra


The foundation of the original St Peter’s Church was laid in April 12, 1852, by Bishop Hartmann. The Church was completed in September 1853. It measured approximately 100 by 75 feet. In 1867 a second storey was added to the old top floor.

The growing needs of the parish necessitated the building of a larger Church, and so in September, 1938, Archbishop Thomas Roberts, S.J. blessed the foundation stone of the present St Peter’s Church.The new Church has been built on the site of the old and has been designed on the Romanesque style.


Our Lady of Salvation Church : Dadar

In the sixteenth century, Dadar was known as lower Mahim and was part of the island of Mahim. The church, built in 1596, was rebuilt in 1651 and again in 1914. The present church, therefore, is the fourth on the original site although repairs and additions were often made.

The restoration of the old church and the addition of a broad porch and terrace was undertaken in 1935, when the parochial hall was built and considered to be adequate to the needs of the parish. In 1940 however funds became available and the presbytery was built and provision made for a new church building.

With the growing population of Catholics in the neighborhood, there arose a need for a larger church. The foundation stone for the brand new modern church on the site of the old church was laid in 1973. Mr. Charles Correia, the well known architect, designed the new building to liturgical specification supplied by Bishop Simon Pimenta.


The Gloria Church : Byculla

In view of the acquisition of the Gloria Church building at Mazagaon, land for a new church was secured at Byculla and plans for a massive and magnificent church were drawn by Messrs. A.L. Colaco & Co.

The foundation stone for the new Gloria Church at Byculla was laid on the 29th January 1911 by His Excellency Dom Matheus d’ Oliveira Xavier, Archbishop of Goa and Patriarch of the East Indies.The new church building was completed by the end of 1912 and blessed in 1913.Though the church was under the ‘Padroado Jurisdiction’ it was not rebuilt in the style of its predecessor which had features of a typical ‘ Portuguese Church ’ Instead it was built in the English Gothic style. Incidentally many churches and public buildings were built in this period with Gothic characteristics.

The church is built in the form of a Latin Cross. The façade is comprised of an imposing and impressive whose turrets are 160 feet high. The church is 205 feet long and 65 feet broad.The reredos of the five altars of the church are carved in stone in the Gothic style. The windows of the church have Gothic tracery carved in stone and each of the transepts has a rose window which is eighteen feet in diameter. The ceiling of the church has pointed arches that are typical of the Gothic style.



St. Thomas Cathedral: Flora Fountain



St. Thomas Cathedral, Mumbai, completed in 1718, is the first Anglican church in Mumbai (then called Bombay), to improve the “moral standards” of the growing British settlement. It is located on Veer Nariman Road, close to Horniman Circle Gardens and the Flora Fountain.

The name of nearby Churchgate station has reference to this church. One of the gates in the Fort which the East India Company had built to protect their settlement was the entrance to the St. Thomas Church. It was called Churchgate. That is why the whole area towards the West of the Church is called “Churchgate” even today. The street leading to the Church was originally called Churchgate Street and has been more recently renamed (like many streets in Bombay) and is now known as Veer Nariman Road.

The church was consecrated a cathedral in July 1837. The tower and the clock at the western end were added in 1838. About 25 years later a major renovation scheme was launched to enlarge the chancel. This was completed by 1865.



Holy Cross Church: Kurla

Holy Cross Church, Kurla is a Roman Catholic Church in Kurla, a suburb of Mumbai, India. It was built during the Portuguese era by the Jesuits in 1588 and rebuilt in 1848. It is one of the oldest churches in Mumbai. The church belongs to the Archdiocese of Bombay.

A very few churches in the Archdiocese of Bombay have a long history like Holy Cross Church – Kurla.  Its history is writ large on its centuries old walls and reminisces of past artifacts.  The large history of 429 years of Holy Cross Church, Kurla, can be gleamed from certain well preserved historical records.  These historical records are available not only in India, especially in Portugal and Rome.


Afghan Church : Colaba



In the quieter lanes of Mumbai, just a kilometre before the southern most part of the city, a quiet, unassuming yet dignified structure stands in all its magnificence, peeping from behind a curtain of greens – St. John the Evangelist. The church is more popularly called The Afghan Church and is one of the oldest churches in Mumbai.

 This quintessential symbol of English architecture, with wide Gothic arches and beautiful stained glass windows, is actually a memorial to commemorate the death of officers and private soldiers in the first Afghan War in 1838.







St. John the Baptist Church:Thane


The St. John the Baptist Church is a noted landmark in the district of thane. It is situated near the Masunda Lake, close to the Thane Railway Station


Source : Wikipedia

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