Saint Philomena Cathedral in Mysore
St. Philomena's Church in Mysore is considered to be the second largest church in Asia. This Roman Catholic Church was built to honor the memory of Saint Philomena, a Latin Catholic Saint and martyr of the Roman Catholic Church. Located in the northern part of the city, St. Philomena's Church is the most famous address on the ever-busy Ashoka Road of Mysore. The church is renowned for its spectacular architecture in the Neo Gothic style. The church was established by the erstwhile king of Mysore, Sri Krishnarajendra Wadeyar Bahadur IV.
The Saint Philomena's Church in Mysore is one of the oldest churches in India. It is over 200 years old. Initially over 250 years ago there was a small church in its place. When the capital of Mysore state was move from Srirangapatnam to Mysore city in 1799, many British officers and soldiers came and settled down in Mysore. The Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III realized the need for a Christian church for these people. So the Maharaja gave them a small plot of land on the Mysore-Bangalore Road and a little church came up there. As the city expanded and the Christian population of the city increased there was a need for a larger church.
History of St. Philomena's Church
Long before the foundation for St. Philomena's Church was laid in 1933, another church was built in the same location in 1843 by the then King of Mysore Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. An inscription found at the site in 1933 stated this fact.This old church was built to fulfill the requirement of the European population who resided in Mysore at that time. But with the expansion of the European population in the city the need for a larger church was felt after some years. In 1926 the Diwan and Chief Justice of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom, TRV Thamboo Chetty obtained a relic of saint Philomena from Peter Pisani, Apostolic Delegate of the East Indies. When the relic was handed over to Father Cochet, he requested the then king of Mysore, Sri Krishnarajendra Wadeyar Bahadur IV, to build a church in honor of St. Philomena. The king readily agreed to the suggestion. So, on 28th October, 1933 the foundation for the new church was laid by the king himself at the same place where the old church existed. The construction of the church took eight long years to complete and the church started functioning from 1941. The relic of St. Philomena is preserved till date in the catacomb located beneath the main altar of the church.
ArchitectureSt. Philomena's Church was designed by a French architect called Daly. The design is inspired by the beautiful Cologne Cathedral of Germany. The Neo Gothic or Victorian Gothic style of the architecture was the popular style followed in Europe during that period of time.
The architecture of St. Philomena's Church is a majestic work of art. The floor plan of the church reminds one of a cross. The congregation hall or the nave is built to resemble the long end of the cross.
The transepts stand as the two arms of the cross. The portion containing the choir resembles the crossing or intersection.
The altar is placed at the smaller and upper portion of the cross. The altar of the church is an elaborately crafted marble structure that contains the beautiful statue of St. Philomena. This statue was specially brought from France for the purpose.