Our Lady of Dolours Basilica
|Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours|
Front of the Basilica
|Denomination||Syro-Malabar Catholic Church|
|Number of spires||3|
|Spire height||79 metres (259 ft)|
|Archdiocese||Syro-Malabar Catholic Archdiocese of Thrissur|
Our Lady of Dolours Basilica is a minor basilica of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in Thrissur City in the Indian state of Kerala. The third tallest church in Asia, it is famous for its Gothic style architecture. Built in fine Indo-Gothic style with an area of 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2), it has soaring belfries at the entrance, double storeyed aisles all along the nave and transepts, and eleven altars, five on either side of the main one. It is the largest church in India and its exuberant interior decorations include fine specimens of murals, images of saints and scenes from the scriptures.
The parish and original church building were established in 1814. Thrissur's first Catholic church, it was a center for Catholic St. Thomas Christians in the area (now the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church) for decades. In 1874, the Chaldean Catholic bishop Elias Mellus arrived in India and convinced a large part of the Christian community to accept him as their bishop. The group that followed Mellus was based at Our Lady of Dolours, and eventually separated from the Catholic hierarchy, forming what is now known as the Chaldean Syrian Church. In response the Syro-Malabar Catholics constructed a new building in 1929. The original church was renamed the Mart Mariam Big Church, and is now the cathedral of the Chaldean Syrian Church.
The construction of this biggest church in India was done in different phases, starting from the year 1929. The two front towers are of 146 feet (45 m) height each and the central tower of 260 feet (79 m) height makes this church as 3rd tallest in Asia. Completion of the towers were an architectural challenge. A few experts from Tamil Nadu were brought over. The architect who completed the church was Ambrose Gounder.
View from the balcony of the transepts.
- Vadakkekara, Benedict (2007). Origin of Christianity in India: a Historiographical Critique, pp. 101–103. Media House Delhi.
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