St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Introduction

St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bangalore in India. Initially, Bangalore was the seat of the diocese of Mysore from 1886 to 1940 and during this time, St. Patrick’s church in Bangalore was the cathedral of the diocese. When the diocese of Mysore was bifurcated on 13 February 1940 to form the diocese of Bangalore, St. Francis Xavier’s church was chosen as its cathedral.

The first church of St. Francis Xavier was constructed in 1851 by French missionaries of the Paris Foreign Missions Society. Due to the huge increase in the catholic population, this church eventually became inadequate. Hence in 1911, the foundation stone was laid for a new church. This church was inaugurated on 26 May 1932, which would become a cathedral in 1940. Two new domes of the facade were inaugurated on its platinum jubilee in the year 2009. Bangalore archbishop Bernard Moras re-dedicated the cathedral to St. Francis Xavier. The domes had been constructed along with several other renovations. Though they were part of the original plan of the cathedral, they could not be completed due to lack of funds. The cathedral’s large compound has three schools: St. Aloysius’, St. Anthony’s and St. Rock’s. There is also a Shrine dedicated to St. Anthony.

History of St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral

Rev. Fr. Chevalier was the first parish priest of St. Francis Xavier Church. The Church in 1851 was situated on a site measuring 550 square feet. Mrs. Zulime Watkins, a French Catholic and the widow of an English Commander, Capt. Watkins, sold the land to Fr. Chevalier for a sum of Rs. 1,000/-. After the death of Bishop Charbonnaux, Fr. Chevalier was appointed Bishop of Mysore in 1873. He died in 1880 and laid to rest in St. Patrick’s Church, Bangalore.

In 1894, Fr.P. Jansoone was appointed as the parish priest of St. Francis Xavier Church. Fr. J.B. Servanton, born on 11th September 1865, ordained on 21st September 1889, was working hard in Shimoga and Hassan with great missionary zeal, was appointed as assistant parish priest to St. Francis Xavier’s Parish to work under Fr Jansoone. Fr Servanton showed keen interest in the development of the Parish. Eventually in 1898, he was appointed as the parish priest where he worked day and night. The little parish of a thousand Catholics soon grew with him into fifteen thousand Catholics. It comprised the present parishes of Holy Ghost, St. James, Marianapalya, St. John the Evangelist, M.R. Palyam, Ascension Church, St. Mary Town, St. Pius X, Kamanahalli, Good Shepherd, Murphy Town, Our Lady of Lourdes, Whitefield and a portion of Christ the King, Malleswaram. In 1909, he erected a chapel in honour of St. Rock, as a protection against the bubonic plague of 1898. St. Rock is the patron of the plague stricken and confided to his care the whole of the parish.

In 1905, the cross from the tower of the old church fell down which he considered to be outward sign to build a new church. The foundation stone for the new church was laid in 1911. To raise funds Fr. Servanton tapped every source by personal appeals, holding concerts and dramas etc. He went with a begging bowl from door to door. Finally, his dream was realized after 21 years of toil. The church was opened on the 26th May 1932. In 1940, Bangalore was erected as a separate diocese, and St. Francis Xavier’s Church was chosen as a Cathedral. Most Rev. Dr. Thomas Pothacamury was the first Indian Bishop of Bangalore, appointed in 1942. The Cathedral was consecrated by him on 24thJanuary 1948.

Francis Xavier’s Cathedral is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bangalore in India. Initially, Bangalore was the seat of the diocese of Mysore from 1886 to 1940 and during this time, St. Patrick’s church in Bangalore was the cathedral of the diocese. St. Francis Xavier was considered as a saint during his lifetime. After a careful study of his life and Apostolate he was canonized. As we said earlier, his body defied the normal destiny of the mortals throughout the centuries and has not yet crumbled into dust. This is an additional aspect of his life but not the main one.

Architecture of St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral

The structure is completely made of granite stones with an arched concrete roofing covered with Mangalore tiles. The nave of the church measures 160’ in breadth and the wings have galleries measuring 16×28’. The sanctuary is 36’ square. Behind the altar, a semi circular place about 18’ in radius servers to accommodate priests who assist at the service held in the Cathedral. Next to this semi-circular place is the main point of attraction. The facades include two belfries which for lack of fund have not been raised to the heights originally planned. Until the towers are raised further up by one more bay, we cannot say that the structure is complete. Though massive pillars occupy a good bit of space, the church can accommodate about 5000 people. In terms of money, the cathedral had cost just about Rs. 1, 00,000. The cathedral parish had a Catholic population of about 21,000 parishioners four decades ago.

During the 50 years of his pastoral service. Fr. Servanton worked in the Lord’s vineyard without taking a single holiday and never went back to see his home land. He loved his flock and gave generously to the poor. Fr. Servanton died at the age of 83, on 25th March 1948, after a heroic life he was laid to rest in his own Church at St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral. The First Plenary Council of India was held in the Cathedral Parish hall in 1950. The Corporation of the City of Bangalore honored him after his death, by naming the circle in front of St. Germain’s High School as Father Servanton Circle in 1961. As per the request of many parishioners, a tar road for the convenience of people and for the easy movement of vehicles was laid before Christmas 2005.

During the frequent power failures the church compound and its premises were in darkness. Solar lights in 3 different locations were installed to overcome this difficulty. He reintroduced the Corpus-Christ procession outside the church after it was discontinued for a several years. In a very grand and fitting manner he organized the installation of Most Rev. Bernard Moras on 17th September 2004, the present Archbishop of Bangalore who succeeded Most Rev. Dr. Ignatius Paul Pinto. On 6th April 2005 a solemn inter-religious memorial service was organized to pay tribute to the late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II in the church compound. The Memorial Service was attended by the Governor of Karnataka, the former Prime Minister of India Mr. Deve Gowda, State Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and other dignitaries of the State Government and religious heads and their representatives.

The architecture of St. Francis Xavier Cathedral is a blend of Gothic and Romanesque styles. The cathedral has an attractive stone facade with pointed arches, pinnacles and intricate detailing. Inside, you’ll find a tranquil and contemplative atmosphere with vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows, and ornate altars.

Patron Saint

Francis Xavier, born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta (7 April 1506 – 3 December 1552) was a Roman Catholic missionary born in Xavier, Kingdom of Navarre (now part of Spain), and co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was a student of Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits, dedicated at Montmartre in 1534. He led an extensive mission into Asia, mainly in the Portuguese Empire of the time. He was influential in the spreading and upkeep of Catholicism most notably in India, but also ventured into Japan, Borneo, the Moluccas, and other areas which had thus far not been visited by Christian missionaries. In these areas, being a pioneer and struggling to learn the local languages in the face of opposition, he had less success than he had enjoyed in India. It was a goal of Xavier to one day reach China.

Inauguration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy 8th December 2015

The new Liturgical Year was dedicated as the Year of Mercy by Pope Francis through the Bull ‘Misericordiae Vultus’. As a commemoration of this event, a Holy Mass was celebrated by our beloved Archbishop and concelebrated by the Deanery Priests.

Feast Day

Feast Day: December 3rd.

The Feast Day of Saint Francis Xavier is December 3rd. The origin of Feast Days: most saints have specially designated feast days and are associated with a specific day of the year and these are referred to as the saint’s feast day. The feast days first arose from the very early Christian custom of the annual commemoration of martyrs on the dates of their deaths at the same time celebrating their birth into heaven.

Mass Timing

Sunday’s Mass – Timings

06 : 00 a.m. English
07 : 15 a.m. Tamil
08 : 30 a.m. Kannada
09 : 45 a.m. English
05 : 00 p.m. English
06 : 00 p.m. Tamil

Saturday’s Mass – Timings

06 : 15 a.m. Kannada
06 : 45 a.m. Tamil
06 : 00 p.m. English

Contact Info

St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral,
St Johns Church Rd,
Cleveland Town,
Pulikeshi Nagar,
Bengaluru,
Karnataka 560005.

Phone No.

Accommodations

Booking.com

Connectivities

Airway

St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral to Kempegowda International Airport 42 min(32.2 KM)via  Chikkajala

Railway

St. Francis Xavier’s Cathedral  via Cubbon Rd and Kamaraj Rd Railway Station 11 min (3.3 km)

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