St. John’s Church elevated to a cathedral

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TIRUCHI: The St. John’s Church near Tiruchi Railway Junction here, which completed 200 years of its existence, has been declared a cathedral of the Church of South India (CSI). The church, which belongs to the Tiruchi -Thanjavur Diocese celebrates 200 years of its consecration in April 2016.

St. John’s belongs to the Tiruchi -Thanjavur Diocese of the CSI and was built by the British East India Company in 1816. According to a factsheet published by the church, permission and guidelines were provided by the British government- to construct a church to seat 600 persons in the centre of the new burial ground. In an official document dated 1852, it was stated that the cost of building the church was Rs. 28,248.

It is here that the mortal remains of the third bishop of Calcutta, Bishop Reginald Heber, are interred within the altar of the church. Bishop Heber is said to have given his last sermon at this church before he died. A commemorative brass tablet was placed in 1865, and in 1885, a stained glass backdrop was made for a more visible memorial.

According to the church sources, the first burial inside of the church was of an infant- Paulina Lushington, who died of cholera when she was eight months old on December 22, 1815.

The elevation ceremony of the church was held on 29 September with a holy communion service. A. Dharmaraj Rasalam, Moderator, CSI solemnised the service in the presence of D. Chandrasekaran, Bishop, Tiruchi-Thanjavur Diocese.

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