Christ Church, Tiruchirappalli, TN where Bishop Heber of Calcutta died in 1826

Christ Church, Tiruchirappalli.

Christ Church, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu built  in 1766 by  the Rev. Christian Frederick Schwartz   is believed to be the second oldest Anglican  church,  east of the Suez after St. Mary’s in Fort St. George, Chennai.
 Located in a prime locality of this big city  on  Nandi Koil Street, near Teppakulam (built by the Nayak king), exactly opposite  to Naganatha Swami Temple, it is steeped in history. The purpose of this church was  to cater to the spiritual needs of the Christian  community  that lived  here centuries ago. The English company had a garrison here. The land for the church was granted by the Nawab of Carnatic. 

Rev Friedrich  Schwartz

 Built at a cost of 2,000 pagodas raised by British military officers, Fr. Schwartz (1726–1798) a  German Lutheran Protestant  missionary  toiled to have this church built here. Here, he acted  as  chaplain to the garrison being maintained by the East India Company, and upon  taking  residence  he had a church  built  and also a  home on the same premises where Christ Church stands now.   Fr. Casper  Kohlhoff (native of England), who served the diocese for 42 years  was of great help to Fr. Schwartz  in his various activities.  He died in August 1849 His grave is in St. Peter's M. Chavadi, Thanjavur. 

Rev. Bishop Heber  buried here. Christ Church, Tiruchirapalli, TN

The old  Church, has  a marble  plaque that records its date of  consecration - May 18, 1766 and  also  states  that the  land  for the  church  was donated  by  the Nabob of the Carnatic Mohamed Ali Khan..  

Bishop Reginald Heber (1783-1826), was a well-known  English missionary belonged to the Church of England. Despite his preoccupation with his compelling pastoral duties and church work, he had set aside  his time for hymn-writing and other work in which he excelled. His church hymns are popular and  his work - the critical study of the complete work of the 17th century Cleric Jeremy Taylor was well received and gave him recognition as a writer. Heber was formally consecrated on 1 June 1823 as Bishop of Calcutta at Lambeth Palace, by none other than  the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Bishop Heber and his family  arrived in Calcutta on 10 October 1823 to carry on his evangelical work. After his  formal ceremonial installation by the then Governor General, Lord Amherst, Heber gave  his first sermon as bishop on Sunday 12 October, in St John's Cathedral Church, still a famous church even to day.

Though an evangelist by calling, he was well remembered for his interesting and attention-grabbing travelogues related to India. He was very much impressed by the diversity of culture, languages, etc., when he was on tour across India. He undertook  a long  tour of India during 1824 to 1826, visiting  churches  from Calcutta to the Deccan in the south within his Anglican Diocese of Calcutta. 

Bishop of Calcutta. Reginald Heber.jWikipedia

 Bishob Heber  died  in Tiruchirapally (then Madras Presidency),  when he was  a visit to this city.  Bishop  Heber gave his last sermon on the steps of the Mission House, just outside the C.S.I. Christ Church on Nandi Kovil Street, inside the Main Guard gate,  Tiruchirappalli before his accidental death the same day on April 3, 1826. His death, it is believed, was brought about by his poor health, fatigue and hot, unfriendly weather conditions,  He was just 42. Fate had it that he was to die closer to the holy church. Rev. Heber, Bishop of Calcutta  was buried here. He left behind his spouse Ameila and two daughters.   Bishop  Heber College and School and busy Bishop Heber street  stand as his legacy here.

In the church graveyard there are 12 graves  dating from 1766 to 1797. The concrete ceiling was laid in 1978-79, replacing the original bomb-proof roof dome. Until Nov. 1980, oil lamps were widely used inside the church.