The Cathedral of the Holy Name is a Roman Catholic Cathedral located in the Colaba district of South Mumbai. The Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Bombay and headquarters of the Archdiocese of Bombay and is a short 10 minute walk from the Gateway of India.
Prior to the construction of the Cathedral of the Holy Name, Catholic worship in south Mumbai was focused at Fort Chapel in Meadows Street which was built in 1767. This little chapel attracted worshippers from far and wide, and within a 100 years was no longer able to accommodate the large congregations that attended Sunday Masses.
The then Archbishop, Theodore Dalhoff, felt the need to secure of new site for a church, and one that could also accommodate not only a new church, but also a school and residences. In 1900 he entered negotiations with the “Bombay Improvement Trust”, and subsequently secured a site of 4,642 square yards on Wodehouse Road to realise his ambitions.
The plans for the Cathedral complex were approved by the trust in 1901, and less than a year later on July 9th 1902 the foundation stone was laid by the Archbishop. Less than three years later on January 15th, 1905 the Church of the Holy Name was blessed and opened to the public for worship.
In early 1942 the church status was raised to “Pro-Cathedral”, before becoming a fully-fledged Cathedral on March 3rd, 1964. In 1998 the Cathedral was recognised as a Heritage Building, recognising it as an architectural treasure not just for Catholics who worship here, but also for the entire city.
The Gothic architecture of the building is quite impressive, with buttresses, spires, stained glass, a pipe organ, and frescoes. The Cathedral houses a bell gifted by Pope Paul VI, a stole decorated in gold by Pope John XXIII, and a stole with a red hat gifted by Pope Pius XII.
If you’re exploring South Mumbai it’s well worth dropping into the Cathedral to take a look for yourself. As well as being a beautiful building to look at, it offers a great sense of tranquillity from all the hustle and bustle of city life that lies just outside.
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