‘Tis Christmas time again and the aroma of Christmas cakes is all around. Christmas trees, stars, bells and gifts have already made their way to their respective destinations. The joy of festivity is all around as the world has begun to celebrate the season with Christmas followed by the new year in a week. So I take this opportunity of Christmas to celebrate it in my own way as I tour you through a few churches of Pune through this post.
Even being a Hindu majority city, Pune has a considerable amount of Christian religious institutions. A majority of the old churches and cathedrals were built during British rule. After the British annexation of Pune, many churches and schools were constructed to meet the growing religious and educational needs of the British soldiers and other Europeans and their families based here. (Read more about Christmas in Kolkata.)
Although Christianity travelled to Pune long back holding hands of the North Konkanis who were believed to be converted in the 2nd century by Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. After many years, Christianity was reintroduced here on a larger scale by the British East India Company after the Peshwas lost the Battle of Khadki. (Read about Christmas celebration in Chandannagar.)
Since then many churches and Christian religious establishments were built and most of them stand to date witnessing the transformation of the city. Pune now has a reasonable number of Christian populations including Roman Catholic, CNI, Methodist, Protestant and Presbyterians. The Christian Missionaries also established many schools and colleges across the city with the objective of educating people as well as spreading the faith. (Read about churches of Goa.)
Different Christian communities residing in various areas of the city with passing time felt the need for a separate place of worship and thus many churches came into existence in and around the city. Today I will take you through the streets of Pune to visit a few famous churches within the city area. (Read more about Pune.)
Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is located in Tadiwala Road near Pune Railway Station. Mass is held at 6:30 AM in the morning and 6 PM on weekdays; at 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM on Saturdays and at 8:30 AM and 6:00 PM on Sundays.
St. Paul’s Church, CNI is located in Church Road. The construction of this church was completed in February 1867 and was consecrated in the month of March the same year. After the great fire in 1900, the church was restored and opened for service in 1901. Mass timings are: Monday and Saturday 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM and 4 – 7 PM, the church remains closed on Tuesday, on Wednesday and Friday the timings are 7:30 AM – 12:30 PM and 4 – 7 PM, on Thursday the timings are 8:15 AM – 12:30 PM and 4 – 7 PM and on Sunday the timings are 8 AM – 12: 30 PM and 4 – 7: 30 PM.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is located in Prince of Wales Dr Road, Ghodpadi. It was built in 1850 for the Irish Catholics. The Diocese of Poona was established in 1886 and the first bishop was appointed. The St. Paul’s Church thus became the St. Paul’s Cathedral. In 1984 major rework and renovation were done on the damaged roof of the cathedral. The latest restoration works were done in 2010. The mass timings of the cathedral are 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM on Weekdays and Saturdays, 6 – 11 AM and 6 PM on Sundays.
St Mary’s Church is located in General Bhagat Marg near Pulgate. The foundation stone of the church was laid by the Bishop of Calcutta in 1825. It was the first church to be built for the British soldiers stationed here. The church timings are 7.30 AM to 6 PM.
St. Xavier’s Catholic Church is located in Vincent Street, Camp. The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1860 and the construction was completed in 1864. The church has beautiful murals painted on the wall by the artist Angelo da Fonseca in 1944. He introduced an interesting blend of Christian themes with Indian culture in his paintings for which he was often threatened by religious groups. A couple of his works are also showcased in the Vatican under the category of Asian colours. The church timings are 6:00 – 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM on Weekdays; Saturday 7:00 PM and Sunday 6:30 – 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM.
The Church Of The Holy Name is located in Guruwar Peth. The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1883 and the construction of the church was completed in 1885. The main attraction of the church is the five-storied bell tower. The church timings are 6:15 AM on weekdays and Saturdays and 6:00 – 8:00 AM on Sundays.
St. Anthony’s Catholic Church is located in Shivajinagar. The church timings are 6:30 AM and 6:30 PM on weekdays and Saturdays, 7:30 – 8:30 AM on Sundays.
St. Mary’s Malankara Catholic Cathedral is located in Bhau Patil Road, Anand Nagar Bopodi. This was built with the initiative of the Malankara Catholic Association (MCA). The Malankarites are the Malayalees. They are known to observe religious customs and rituals rigorously. To cater to this need the church was built in 2000. The church timings are 6:00 PM and 7:30 PM on weekdays; every fourth Saturday Holy mass is followed by Spiritual and Healing retreat at 8:30 AM and 2:30 PM, and every Sunday at 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM.
The Methodist Church is located in Elphinstone Road, Khadki. The church holds services in various languages in Kannada at 7:45 AM, in Marathi at 9:15 AM, English at 11:00 AM and Tamil at 4:00 PM every Sunday.
St Thomas’ Orthodox Syrian Church, is located behind Khadki Railway station. The construction of the church was completed in 1986 and the first service was held in the month of August the same year. The church timings are 7:30 AM and 8:30 AM on weekdays and special services are held every Sunday.
St Ignatius Church is located in Khadki station road opposite Khadki court. The church was built by the Anglicans and later handed over to the Catholics. This church still retains its ancient look. The church timings are 6:30 AM and 6:00 PM on weekdays and Saturdays and 6:00 – 10:15 AM and 5:00 – 6:00 PM on Sundays.
All Saints’ Church is located in Khadki Bazar. The church was built in 1869. This was a garrison church built to cater for the religious need of the soldiers of higher designations. It got the name of All Saints’ Church probably because it was consecrated on the 1st of November which is celebrated worldwide as All Saints’ Day. The church is open on Sundays at 8:00 AM and 1 PM.
St Francis De Sales Church is located in Shaanwadi, Nagar Road. The church timings are 7:00 AM and 6:00 PM on weekdays and Saturdays and 7:00 -10:00 AM and 6:00 PM on Sundays.