Infant Jesus Cathedral

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Infant Jesus Cathedral
Infant Jesus Cathedral, Tangasseri
Infant Jesus Church Thangassery.jpg
Infant Jesus Cathedral of Quilon at Tangasseri
8°53′05″N 76°33′57″E / 8.884644°N 76.565856°E / 8.884644; 76.565856
Location Tangasseri, Kollam(Quilon)
Country India
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Churchmanship High church
History
Former name(s) Bom Jesu Church
Founded AD 1614
Dedication Saint Francis Xavier
Architecture
Status Church
Functional status Active
Architectural type Portuguese
Completed 1614[1]
Administration
Parish Tangasseri
Diocese Roman Catholic Diocese of Quilon
Province Kollam
District Kollam
Clergy
Bishop(s) Stanley Roman
Vicar(s) Fr. Joseph John

The Infant Jesus Cathedral is a historic Roman Catholic church established by Portuguese during 1614, situated at Tangasseri in the city of Quilon (Kollam), India.[2] It is now the pro-cathedral of Roman Catholic Diocese of Quilon, the ancient and first catholic diocese of India. The Church remains as a memento of the Portuguese rule of old Quilon city.

History[edit]

The history of Infant Jesus Cathedral dates back to 1503 when Tangasseri came under the control of the Portuguese, the Portuguese who came to Quilon in 1503 led by Afonso de Albuquerque made Tangasseri a well fortified city by building a fort, which was called San Thome Fort (known as St. Thomas Fort). Saint Francis Xavier established a church, a college(San Salvadore College), a printing press(San Salvadore seminary Press), and a religious study centre at Tangasseri during his visits in 1544 and 1549. In 1614, the Portuguese established the Infant Jesus church in its present location.[3][4]

Grave slab of Bishop Charles Hyacinth Valerga in Quilon
400-year-old Infant Jesus Cathedral at Quilon-Tangasseri. In 2006 it was demolished and replaced by a new building

Later in 1661, Dutch gained control of Tangasseri and started deteriorating churches and other structures built by Portuguese, but in 1789, the Carmelites missionaries, who have arrived Quilon renovated this church and named it the Bom Jesu Church. In 1838 when Malabar Vicariate was erected with Verapoly as headquarters, Quilon was joined to it. Tangasseri retained its pivotal position in ecclesiastical parlance and became the base for Carmelite expeditions. Quilon vicariate was formed in 1845. Messenger Charles Hyacinth Valerga, pro-vicar Apostolic of Quilon died in Tangasseri on December 24, 1864 and was buried in the church, his successor Msgr. Maria Ephrem Carrelon was consecrated in Tangasseri in 1866.

Infant Jesus Church has been serving as the pro-cathedral of Kollam Diocese since 1886. Mortal remains of former Bishop of Quilon, Fr. Bishop Jerome M. Fernandez are also buried in the Infant Jesus Cathedral.[5][1]

As the old Pro-Cathedral was ageing, a plan for a new building both beautiful and large to accommodate the increasing congregation was put forward, the old church was demolished and the foundation stone was laid by the then bishop Rev. Dr. Joseph G Fernandez in 2000 during the tenure of Monsingor Paul Mullassery. Later in the year 2001 Rev. Dr. Stanley Roman became the Bishop of Quilon and carried on with the construction. Rev. Msgr. George Mathew took charge as the parish priest in 2002, taking an active part in the completion of the church in the year 2005.

The new structure was completed at a cost of ₹04,56,00,000(US$676,000) and was concentrated by Rev Telespher P Toppo on 3 December 2005 and elevating the status of the church from pro-cathedral to a cathedral, the church is rich and beautiful, with mosaic paintings and glass paintings depicting various stages of Jesus's life. The biggest glass painting is of the patroness of the Diocese of Quilon, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A huge bell tower having 3 bells dating back 100 years is an adjacent structure to the cathedral along with a small shrine dedicated to Saint Joseph. A new modern parish house with guest house is built adjacent to the cathedral to accommodate the incoming guests as well as serving as the residence of the parish priest. A small chapel is located under the cathedral and is used for small prayer meetings and masses as well; in 2015, the bell tower was renovated and three new shrines dedicated to various saints of the Catholic world were concentrated. The saints whose statues are placed are Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint Sebastian, Saint Francis Xavier and blessed Devasahayam Pillai. In early 2016 one of the bells in the bell tower was made automated which was the first time in the whole diocese.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Hindu - 400th anniversary of Infant Jesus cathedral to be celebrated". Kollam, India. Retrieved 2 December 2014. Bishop Jerome Institute, Kollam 
  2. ^ "About Kollam City". Kollam, India. Retrieved 2 December 2014. About the city of Quilon 
  3. ^ "Parishes - Roman Catholic Diocese of Quilon". Kollam, India. Retrieved 2 December 2014. Parishes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Quilon 
  4. ^ "Catholics celebrate Epiphany". Retrieved 2 December 2014. Catholics celebrate Epiphany 
  5. ^ "An inspiring memory - Bishop Jerome Institute, Kollam". Kollam, India. Retrieved 2 December 2014. Bishop Jerome Institute, Kollam