THE SANTHOME BASILICA- Châsse at Mylapore
The Santhome Cathedral Basilica in Chennai is a sacred place, especially for the Catholic Christian minority. Santhome is a place located by the shores of Marina beach. Santhome has many Catholic institutions including 100 year old buildings, garden houses, convents and the pride of the place, Santhome Basilica.
Thomas is the first missionary, who brought Christianity to India in the first century. It is believed that St. Thomas arrived at Muziris (in Kerala) in A.D 52 and later came to Mylapore, where he built a small church. The old church was built in the 16th century by Portuguese officials and rebuilt again with the status of cathedral by the British in 1893. St.Thomas was buried here and over this tomb the church was constructed. Moreover, this place is more of the reliquary kind.
This church in Chennai, erected in accordance to the Neo-Gothic style of architecture, was favoured by the British architects of the 19th century. The exotic spire is 183 feet high. This church was renovated within some period of time.
The present church is built with the tomb of St. Thomas at the centre of the structure. It stands today as a divine place with excellent architecture. There is also a Tomb Chapel below the Shrine. The underground chapel is highly praised for its simplicity, beauty and prayerful ambiance. There is a Museum which displays artefacts involving St. Thomas. On the other hand, there is a Mini Theatre which screens the life of St.Thomas.
The Santhome Cathedral Basilica is a biggest asset to Chennai, hence paying a visit to it is a must. Anyone who witnesses the Basilica will be spellbound by the divine and marvellous nature of the architecture. Even today, the basilica receives thousands of followers who attend Mass and other services regularly and welcomes many pilgrims and tourists who come to have a blessed and reviving experience.
BY Justin David