Worship Churches

Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas : In the whole world, there are only three churches built over the tomb of an Apostle of Jesus Christ - the Basilica of Saint Peter built over the tomb of St.Peter in Rome, Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela built over the tomb of St.James in Spain and Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas built over the tomb of St.Thomas. Basilica of the National Shrine of St.Thomas is in Chennai, India. Most Indian Catholics, why, even most Catholics in South India, or even in Chennai, seem to be unaware of the importance of this extraordinary shrine.

By Apostolic brief dated 16th March 1956, Pope Pius XII gloriously raised the Cathedral Church of the Archdiocese of Madras-Mylapore to the dignity and rank of Minor Basilica. The present National Shrine of St.Thomasis built over the tomb of Saint Thomas the Apostle, who came to India in the year 52 AD. After preaching on the West Coast, he came to Chennai(formerly Madras), and suffered martyrdom on a hill at the outskirts of the city, today known as "St. Thomas Mount." His body was buried on the spot over which the present Basilica stands..
As for the church, that too has much history behind it. This lovely Gothic Church is an architectural treasure. Rising 155 feet from the ground, with a nave of 112 feet by 33 feet, and an imposing sanctuary 62 feet long and 33 feet wide, it is adorned with stained glass windows depicting St. Thomas and the other Apostles. Inside the sanctuary is a statue of St. Thomas seated.
The present National Shrine of St.Thomas is built over the tomb of Saint Thomas the Appostle, who came to India in 52 A.D. at Madras he suffered martyrdom on a hill at outskirts of the city, known as St.Thomas Mount today. His body was buried on the spot over which the present Basilica stands.

A valuable work of art kept in the Basilica is an ancient painting of Our Blessed Mother, in front of which the other great apostle of India, St. Francis Xavier, used to pray.There are two new structures today: The Tomb Chapel below the Basilica and Museum cum Theatre. The new underground chapel with a separate access outside the church structure, allows pilgrims to pray at the tomb and tourists to visit it, without disturbing the sacred functions in the church.The museum exhibits artifacts connected with St. Thomas and the Basilica, and the theatre is used for screening a short video on the life of the Apostle.

Location : 24, Santhome High Road, Mylapore, Chennai - 600 004 , Contact : 24985455, 24992943.

little_mountAnderson Church :

John Anderson arrived in Madras as one of the many Scottish missionaries. He started the John Anderson General Assembly School in 1835, which later was christened the Madras Christian College and School and later was shifted to George Town. It is indeed ironical that this zestful educationalist is now remembered not for what he actually stood for; rather his name was given to the church situated in George Town where once the handsome buildings of the Madras Christian College stood. The church, attractive with its unique, slim, towering steeple reminds us of the fire that burnt in the heart of the enthusiast. Location : Broadway, Chennai - 600108, Ph : 25351097.

Avella Theresa Church :

This church is the first Bishop House in Chennai. It was here, the first Bishop performed his duties. Later his office was changed to Mylapore. The Holy Mary of this Holy Church is Mother Avella Theresammal. The order of service is conducting by Roman Catholic system. Location : No. 5, Nungambakkam High Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai - 600 034. Ph : 28278788

Chinnamalai :

Chinnamalai (Little Mount) is another church, where, in a cave hewn out of a small mount, the Apostle St. Thomas lived and preached. It was from here that he leaped out through a small opening in order to escape from his assailants. An imprint found on the boulder on the other side of the cave is said to have been left by him. There is also a well with a natural spring gushing out water. During the turn of this century a circular church was constructed in this holy spot. Situated near Saidapet bridge, Saidapet, Chennai - 600 015. Ph : 22351080

stgeorge_cathedralChrist Church :

Christ Church and Christ Church Schools with a long history of about a century and a half. Rev. Henry Taylor, Chaplain in the Service of East India Company, realizing the sad plight of the poor people in and around the Mount Road area, opened a large room for public worship in July 1842, which of course, marked the humble beginning of the Christ Church and the Schools. Arch Deacon Harper established two schools in the chapel compound in 1843 and these schools were then known as the Mount Road Male and Female Schools, which were reorganized and later named Christ Church Schools. located at Anna Salai, near Cosmopolitan Club, Chennai - 600 002. Ph : 28583203, 28549786.

Seventh-Day Adventist Church :

The seventh day adventist is the worldwide organisation. It’s order of the service is entirely different from the other churches like CSI and Roman Catholic etc. This church is conducting services on every Saturday, so its called as 7th Day. A Higher Secondary school is curently functioning under this Church’s control. This school also link with worldwide network of ‘Seventh Day Adventist’. Location 16, Valliammi Street, (Ritherdon Road) Vepery, Chennai - 600 007. Ph : 26412618.

St. Andrew’s Kirk :

Described in the British days as the ‘Noblest edifice in Hindustan’, St. Andrew’s Kirk, an almost two-century-old church, as S.Muthaiah, the eminent historian of Madras writes, is perhaps one of the ‘best examples of Georgian architecture in Asia. ‘W.T Munro describes the church in Madras ‘the most splendid church in Madras’. The name itself is suggestive of the Scottish connections the City had, or rather the Madras Presidency of the British days. In 1815 a Scot was even appointed minister in the Presidency of Madras. Considering such an extent of prominence, it was but natural for the Scots to build a church of their own. Location : Poonamalle High Road, Egmore, Chennai - 600 008. Ph : 25612608.

St. George’s Cathedral :

This Cathedral which is 202 years old is remarkable for its splendid architectural beauty built in 1815. It is of special historic interest for the several fine memorial tablets remembering such outstanding men as Bishop Caldwell - the eminent philologist, Bishop Heber, ardent missionary, Dr. Corrie, first Anglican bishop of Chennai, Dr. Anderson, the famous doctor who introduced silk manufacture in Chennai and William Parry and John Binny, merchant entrepreneurs whose names are still remembered in the city’s oldest business establishments. Unusual too, is the adjacent graveyard with its unique guard rail made up of musket barrels, bayonets and spikes taken at the capture of Srirangapatnam in 1799. Location : 224, Cathedral Road, Chennai-86. Ph : 28114261, 28112740.

velankanni_churchSt. Mary’s Church - Fort St. George :

St. Mary’s Church, the first Anglican Church in India, was constructed in 1680. It was here that the marriages of the then Governor of Madras Elihu Yale- the one who established the Yale University in USA - and Robert Clive were solemnised. The tomb stones found in its courtyard are the oldest British tomb stones in India. Fort St. George, Kamaraj Road, (South line beach), Chennai - 600 009. Ph : 25672023.

St. Anthony’s Shrine :

It is no exaggeration to say that the very first miracle which St. Anthony performed in this little town of Palavakkam was to select a place of his own in honour of his name on the shores of Bay of Bengal. The humble origin of this Shrine dates back to the year 1997 when on 24th February, the Catholic residents of Palkalainagar, Palavakkam, enthusiastically erected a thatched shed in honour of St. Anthony. His power of attracting the devotees, began to manifest his blessings and gathered people, irrespective of their caste and creed. It was witnessed that particularly on Tuesdays devotees thronged this humble abode of St. Anthony to receive his favours and blessings. Its haves the worlds great tallest eucharastic tower of 100 feet heights and one of the most visiting spot on East Cost Raod. Situated in 38 M.G.R. Road, Palavakkam, Chennai - 42, Ph : 044-24493684.

Velankanni Church :

This church is dedicated to our lady of Health, the Madonna of Velankanni. Though much smaller than the original church at Velankanni, this church at Elliot’s Beach still attracts swarms of pilgrims who have implicit faith in the miraculous healing of the Madonna. Besant Nagar, Chennai-600 090. Ph : 24911246, 24461516


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