Wednesday, September 26, 2007

200 YEARS: Going past forward

200 YEARS: Going past forward
Starting September 30, St Mark’s Cathedral on MG Road will celebrate 200 years of its existence. Ashwini Y S narrates the story of this heritage structure

It was the first church to be built in the city and was known as the ‘mother church of Bangalore.’ And it has undergone many trials and tribulations in its 200-year history. St Mark’s Cathedral, located on MG Road, was built in 1808 by the British as a garrison church for Protestants. After construction, the lowroofed church bore a plain and rectangular look.
While construction work began in 1807, it was opened for worship in 1812, with a capacity to hold 400 people. However, more than 2,000 devotees thronged to the church. The space crunch wasn’t resolved until a century later.
In 1901, enlargement work were taken up, including construction of a central tower, chancel, transepts and raising of the roof. Unluckily, the new tower over the chancel, which was to house the belfry, came crashing down in 1902, and the church was in ruins. It only got worse when the church’s interiors were destroyed in a fire started by an arsonist in 1923. From then on, however, the church has remained untouched.
Today, to commemorate 200 years of its existence, the church administration has taken up several activities for an entire year, starting September 30.
The church will set up a home for the children of prisoners and will also start a day care centre for the elderly at the church. “The elderly can come here, participate in activities or just relax until evening and get back home,’’ said Fr Vincent Raj Kumar.
He said the church will also adopt a slum in Lingarajapuram, while vocational training will be extended to around 300 sex-workers from Hosur and its surrounding areas.


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