The Schwartz Church founded by the Danish missionary & Maharajah Serfoji of Thanjavur

 The Schwartz Church, adjacent to the Sivaganga park in the prime area of Thanjavur  city, Tamil Nadu  was built in 1799 CE on the land gifted by great Maratha King   to show his admiration, gratitude and respect for the Danish Missionary, Rev. Friedrich Christian Schwartz who was born at Sonnenburg, Prussia. Schwartz Church, a Protestant place of worship, is still seen as a sign of open-mindedness and secular attitude of the then  Maratha rulers  towards various religious beliefs. Fr. Schwartz was Raja Serfoji's tutor and mentor. His saintly approach and integrity left a good impression on the young Raja. Schwartz was instrumental in getting the kingdom back from the  East India company, a proxy government for the  British Crown.  Using the doctrine of Lapse as a pretext the English company had taken over a lot of Indian kingdom and, no doubt, the EIC officials at Madras (now Chennai) kept an eye on the small, but culturally rich kingdom of Thanjavur region. The reason was  there was no legal heir in the Maratha royal family and the company never accepted legal adoption of a relative to ascend the throne as per the Hindu tradition.   The young ruler was not happy with the British rule and frequently complained about their lack of integrity  and and honest dealings.  The avarice of the British angered the Maratha ruler.
In the Church, there is a monument or tablet made by John Flaxman commissioned  by Raja  Serfoji   that shows the King holding the hand of the dying Lutheran missionary  whilst receiving his blessing. John Flaxman, an Italian sculptor who lived in London,  sculpted this statue in 1807 and was installed in this church in 1811. This was known from the writings of Tanjore Vedanayagam Sastriar, a court poet in the palace of Serfoji II. The monument is in white marble and is a popular attraction for  the tourists.  In those colonial days, this church was known as the  big church or Christ church and mostly  Europeans used the services. 

A legacy of Thanjavur’s colonial past, the historical Schwartz Church continues to be cited as an important shrine by believers of the Christian Faith of the God’s work being carried across the seas by those entrusted with it. Rev. Schwartz was an early pioneer in the field of education and was responsible for founding a few Christian mission schools in this area to impart education to the natives. He was the first to introduce the English language in St. Peter's school of Thanjavur which is considered  as one  among the oldest schools in India. This school is on the North Main Street.

Schwartz church,Thanjavur  Thanjavur Information & Local Directory Listing

Schwartz church,Thanjavur  Thanjavur Information and Local Directory Listing

It is said that one  Major Stevens  laid  the foundation stone for the church under nine feet depth. It is fairly a big church measuring   90 feet long x 50 feet  wide and is under the control of the Archaeological Society of India as the land on which  the church is built  is part of the Big temple land.  

 Gen. Hector Monroe and the  English Resident  were helpful during the construction of the church. Father Schwartz is believed to have  conducted regular masses in this church from April 1780. He used to live on the church premises in the NW part  of the church. In his capacity as a Danish priest, he  had a close relationship with the British East India company's officials   and was quite familiar with higher-ups  at Madras. There is a monument to Rev. Schwarz by John Bacon arranged by  the British East India Company in St Mary's church at Chennai (formerly Madras). There is also a well-known school named after Rev. Schwartz  in  Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu and  Dr. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, was an old student of that school.

 Tit bits: 

St. Peter's church, Thanjavur., Tamil Nadu.

Above image: St. Peter's church, Mission st., M. Chavadi, Thanjavur.   Upon his death the  mortal remains of Fr. Schwartz were interred behind the first chapel he had built here  for the natives to worship. Later it  developed into St. Peter's church which was restructured  by Fr. William Blake. A vast track of land was gifted by Raja Serfoj for the Christian community to live comfortably. ...........

Ref: wiki/Christian_Friedrich_Schwartz

                                               (Minor modifications made: 11 June 2015)