The moment I enter St. Thomas’ Cathedral in the Fort area of Mumbai, I am transported to England. Everything about the Cathedral from the cool white-washed interiors to the simple wooden pews to its polished brass memorials and wall plaques, and its many stained glass windows reminds me of the Anglican churches of England.
St. Thomas’ Cathedral is the first Anglican church in Mumbai and is also believed to to the oldest British building in this city. Though construction of the Cathedral of St. Thomas began in 1676, it was abandoned and remained neglected for nearly 40 years, when it was “adopted by an East India Company Chaplain in 1710. It was opened for worship as a church on Christmas Day in 1718″ (for details click here). St. Thomas’ was consecrated as a cathedral in 1837 and was selected for the UNESCO Asia-Pacific heritage conservation award 2004.
I love stained glass windows and spend quite a while admiring the many windows in the Cathedral. But the one window that completely captivates me is one that I almost missed. It is to one side and in a niche: a stained glass window of St. Thomas, flanked by two archangels St. Michael and St. Gabriel in a single frame.
This window also points out that I am in an Anglican Church. Though the Roman Catholic Church venerates St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael as the 3 archangels, St. Raphael is not really considered as an archangel by the Protestants. So, it was not surprising to see just 2 archangels instead of the 3 that I have seen in Catholic Churches.
My rather bad quality photograph does not show the details of the stained glass figures, but this window is absolutely fabulous. I was unable to find the name of the artist or when the window was made and installed. I first visited this Cathedral in August 2011 and it is time to revisit this beautiful place of worship once again, particularly since I heard that it has been spruced up with a paint job and some minor repairs.
The rains in Mumbai is also the perfect season to explore all the “indoor” treasures that the city has to offer. So if you are a Mumbaikar or you are visiting Mumbai, why don’t you drop into St. Thomas’ Cathedral?
Mumbai Lens is a photographic series which, as the name suggests, is Mumbai-centric and is an attempt to capture the various moods of the city through my camera lens. You can read more of the posts here.