St. Philomena's Church, Mysore

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Coordinates: 12°19′16.1″N 76°39′29.8″E / 12.321139°N 76.658278°E / 12.321139; 76.658278

The St. Philomena's Church in Mysore
St. Philomena's Church

St. Philomena's church is a Catholic church built in honour of St. Philomena in the Diocese of Mysore, India. It was constructed in 1936 using a Neo Gothic style and its architecture was inspired by the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.[1]

Patron saint[edit]

Saint Philomena is a Latin Catholic saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church. She was a young Greek princess martyred in the 4th century. The remains of a teenage girl no older than 14 were discovered on May 24, 1802 in the Catacombs of Saint Priscilla at the Via Salaria in Rome. Accompanying these remains were a set of tiles bearing a fragmented inscription containing the words LUMENA PAXTE CUMFI, words of no known meaning in that order. The letters were rearranged to read PAX TECUM FILUMENA, which in Latin translates to Peace with you, Filumena.[2] also some symbols of her martyrdom and a vessel, containing dry blood, was also found in the tomb. From these discoveries, it was concluded that a Christian named Filumena (Philomena) was buried in the tomb and the vessel containing blood was thought to be her relic, an evidence of a martyr's death.

History[edit]

The St. Philomena's Church in Mysore

A church at the same location was built in 1843 by the then Maharaja Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. An inscription which was there at the time of laying the foundation of the present church in 1933 states: "In the name of that only God - the universal Lord who creates, protects, and reigns over the universe of Light, the mundane world and the assemblage of all created lives - this church is built 1843 years after the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Enlightenment of the World, as man". In 1926, T. Thumboo Chetty who was a secretary to the Maharaja of Mysore, Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar obtained a relic of the saint from Peter Pisani, Apostolic Delegate of the East Indies.[1] This relic was handed over to Father Cochet who approached the king to assist him in constructing a church in honour of St. Philomena.[3] The Maharaja of Mysore laid the foundation stone of the church on October 28, 1933. In his speech on the day of the inauguration, the Maharaja is quoted to have said: The new church will be strongly and securely built upon a double foundation — Divine compassion and the eager gratitude of men..[3] The construction of the church was completed under Bishop Rene Feuga's supervision. The relic of Saint Philomena is preserved in a catacomb below the main altar.[1] This church is a good example of blending of local culture. Some of the female statues are dressed with local traditional dress, Saree.

Architecture[edit]

The church was designed by a Frenchman named Daly.[1] It was designed to be built in the Neo Gothic style with inspiration drawn from the Cologne Cathedral. The floor plan of the cathedral resembles a cross. The long part of the cross is congregation hall called the nave. The two arms of the cross are the transepts. The part containing the altar and the choir is the crossing. The cathedral has a crypt that houses a statue of St. Philomena. The twin spires of the church are 175 feet (53 m) in height and they resemble the spires of the Cologne Cathedral and also the spires of the St. Patrick's Church in New York. The main hall (nave) can seat up to 800 people and contains stained glass windows depicting scenes from the birth of Christ, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ. It is considered to be Asia's second largest church.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d A history of St. Philomena's church is provided by "Saint Philomena's Church Mysore, India (Note: After opening the page associated with this link, click on the link Cathedral of Saint Philomena at the bottom of that page to see the description of the church)". Online webpage of Santuario Santa Filomena. Retrieved 2007-05-22. 
  2. ^ A biography of St. Philomena is provided by "The Story of St. Philomena". Online webpage of The Saint Philomena Foundation. Retrieved 2007-05-22. 
  3. ^ a b A brief description of St. Philomena's church is provided by Usha Bande. "A hymn in stone, Speaks of a secular vision". Online webpage of The Tribune, dated 2002-02-03. The Tribune Trust, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-22.