India

St. Philomena’s Cathedral – Mysore

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Located on the north side of Mysore, St.Philomena’s Cathedral is a neo-Gothic building constructed between 1931 and 1951.

The church was designed by a Frenchman named Daly, who it is said drew inspiration from Cologne Cathedral.

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Having never heard of Saint Philomena before, I did a little research…

She was a young Greek princess martyred in the 4th century and became a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. On 24th May 1802 the remains of a teenage girl no older than 14 years old were discovered in the Catacombs of Saint Priscilla in Rome.

Along with her remains were a set of tiles bearing a fragmented inscription containing the words LUMENA PAXTE CUM FI, words of no known meaning in that order. The letters were rearranged to read PAX TECUM FILUMENA, which in Latin translates to Peace with you, Filumena. There were also some symbols of her martyrdom and a vessel containing dry blood in the tomb. The conclusion from these discoveries was that a Christian named Filumena (Philomena) was buried in the tomb and the vessel containing blood was thought to be her relic, which is evidence of a martyr’s death.

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In 1926, Sir T. Thumboo Chetty who was the Huzur Secretary to the Maharaja of Mysore, obtained a relic of the Saint from Peter Pisani, Apostolic Delegate of the East Indies. The relic was then handed over to Father Cochet who approached the king to assist him in constructing a church in honour of St. Philomena. The Maharaja of Mysore laid the foundation stone of the church on 28 October 1933, and upon completion the relic of Saint Philomena was placed in a catacomb below the main altar.

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If you have a spare hour in Mysore it’s well worth visiting the cathedral, this and Mysore Palace can be easily combined in a day.

 


 

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