Inspiring St. Philomena's church (1843), Mysore and secular Mysore Maharajah.

Imposing Philomena church, Mysore.

interior portion-Philomena church, Mysore. Bangalore

For generations the maharajahs of India  practiced secularism and never failed to show their catholicity and respect for other faiths. The maharajahs of Mysore were more generous  in this regard and their munificence is really praise-worthy. In the later part of 1700s the Maratha ruler of Thanjavur (now in Tamil Nadu) Maharajah Serfoji helped Fr. Friedrich Schwartz, an Angelo-Saxon preacher build a church there. Fr. Schwartz happened to be his mentor and tutor in foreign languages.   Later Fr. Schwartz had  built churches and many educational institutions in that region. that survive even today.
Maharajah Nalvadi Kishnaswami Wodeyar,Mysore. vanamaarts,org

The architecturally impressive St. Philomena's church, an important land mark and a tourist destination in the palace city of Mysore, was built in 1936 by the Maharajah of Mysore  under the supervision of Bishop Rene Feuga.  Blended with  local as well as European architecture,  the unusual feature of this church is  some of the female statues are dressed in saris, thus giving importance to traditional dress worn by the natives. The simple but crisp  design with deep stone recesses enhances the grandeur and look of the fa├žade  of the church that  has  a pair of sky- caressing, imposing spires that taper toward the top. The high vaulted interior with stained glass windows at selected places in the massive  building will leave the visitors breathless and dumbfounded. Considered as the most regal place  of worship in India when the cathedral is illuminated on festive occasions, it will be an amazing sight that can not be missed.

Location map of Mysore.

St. Philomena church,Mysore

St. Philomena's church construction work began  in October, 1933 using a Neo-Gothic style and its architecture was on the model of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. The church was designed by Daly, a French man. Philomena, a Latin Catholic saint as well as a martyr of the Roman Catholic Church, was a young Greek princess who was martyred in the 4th century. The remains were discovered on May 24, 1802 in the Catacombs of Saint Priscilla at the Via Salaria in Rome. There were several fragmented inscriptions containing the words LUMENA PAXTE CUMFI. From these discoveries, it was concluded that a Christian named Philomena
was buried in the tomb.

St. Philomena church, Mysore.

St. Philomena church,;

The  church was built at the same location in 1843 by the then Maharajah Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. In 1926, Thamboo Chetty, who was  secretary to the Maharajah of Mysore, Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar obtained a relic of the saint from Peter Pisani, Apostolic Delegate of the East Indies. The relic was handed over to Father Cochet who requested the Maharajah to assist him in constructing a church in honor of St. Philomena. The Maharajah of Mysore immediately obliged and laid the foundation stone on October 28, 1933. The relic of Saint Philomena is preserved in a cavern below the main altar. This church is very much revered not only by Christians but also by the Hindus. During the colonial period there was a growing community of Europeans in Bangalore and Mysore.  The church was built to fulfil the spiritual needs of the Europeans living in  and around Mysore. 
St. Philomena church,Mysore

St. Philomena church, Mysore,

St Philomena church, Mysore,

The floor plan resembles a cross. The long part of the cross is congregation hall known as the nave. Transepts are the two arms of the cross. The crossing is the part containing the altar and the choir. The cathedral has a cellar that houses a statue of St. Philomena. The twin spires of the church resemble the spires of the Cologne Cathedral and St. Patrick`s Church in New York. The main hall contains stained glass windows, depicting scenes from the birth of Christ, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Christ.
The Church attracts  lots of people not only from Karnataka but also from other parts of India.
St. Philomena church, Mysore.

Above image: St. Philomena Cathedral, Mysore, Karnataka state, India.  front appearance along with the statue of St. Philomena's statue...................................... 

An interesting, but  an uncommon  feature is both the height of the church (spires) and the length of the church are the same 175 feet.  The other attractions are the  marble altar and the statue of St. Philomena, and an  old description of the church. It is a surprising fact that a priceless French statue of a celebrated Greek saint in a German cathedral  is located in the heart of  southern India. Philomena church is  truly an abode of God and of faith  where man be at peace with himself.

A brief description of St. Philomena's church is provided by Usha Bande."A hymn in stone, Speaks of a secular vision" . Online webpage of The Tribune, dated 2002-02-03. The Tribune Trust, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-22.