Sunday, November 26, 2006

St Andrew’s restored to its former glory

St Andrew’s restored to its former glory
The Times of India

Bangalore: The St Andrew’s heritage church that stands tall for its architectural marvel has been restored after years of wear and tear. The unprecedented rain last year damaged the bell tower and the portico.
The foundation of the bell tower had sunk causing a gentle incline of the building and cracking the surface of the front of the church.
IISc professors, in coordination with Padmashree Dorairaj of Chennai, have carried out renovation work and restored the church to its original glory. The church will be celebrating its 142nd anniversary on Sunday as St Andrew’s Day coinciding with rededicating the church.
“The church Pastorate Committee is grateful to the authorities of the Diocese, the benevolence and guidance of our beloved Bishop with his technical team, the advice of the professors from the IISc, who gave us the right direction to proceed with the restoration work,’’ says Rev M B Kotian, Presbyter-in-charge of the church.
St Andrew’s Church, a Presbyterian church on Cubbon Road, is an orthodoxical Presbyterian Scottish architecture with a tall belfry and chiming clock at the apex of its tower, bearing its name after the patron saint of Scotland, St Andrew.
The foundation stone was laid in 1864 by Lady Grant, wife of Lieutenant-General, Sir Hope Grant, the then Quartermaster-General of Her Majesty’s Forces. The building was completed and opened for worship in 1866 within a period of two years and at an overall cost of Rs 45,000 including the cost of land.
The dedication sermon was given by Reverend Stewart Wright, one of the then chaplains of the Church of Scotland in the Madras Presidency, and pastor-in-charge of the newly-formed congregation.
The church building is purely Gothic, measuring 105 feet in length by 57 feet in breadth standing 43 feet high. The height of the tower is exactly 90 feet. The interior of the building is extremely beautiful.
The windows, including a very large gabled one, are filled with stained glass. The pulpit is made of teak wood richly carved and in keeping with the style of the building. The pulpit, velvet cushion and hangings along with a very fine harmonium were the gifts of the ladies of the congregation to their pastor.
When St Mark’s Cathedral was engulfed and damaged in a fire accident in 1923, it was this heritage building which provided accommodation for the congregation to worship until St Mark’s was rebuilt in 1927.
A magnificent pipe organ installed in the year 1881 adds grandeur to the sacred music in every worship service.
The church was then known as ‘St Andrew’s Kirk’, a westernised church with Scottish customs, classical Scottish square dancing, western music, celebrating St Andrew’s Day, Burns’ Night and so on.
“The total restoration work of the church has been completed in record time and the church building has been brought back to its original glory and splendour. It is the congregation which is responsible for this stupendous achievement,’’ says Stanley R Chellappa, secretary of the church.


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