Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vision in white

It’s rather hard to miss the St Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral when you pass through the Palayam neighbourhood in Thiruvananthapuram. The church’s bell tower, which looms benignly over the area, can be seen from some distance away.
For many years, the Cathedral was clad in red livery — a distinctive, red-brick-like finish. And the statue of Jesus, at the very top of the tower, was enveloped in robes of silver.
Popularly known as the Palayam palli or church, the 137-year-old St Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral was on Pope John Paul II’s itinerary when he visited the city in 1986.
Earlier this month, the Cathedral reopened its doors to worshippers after extensive restoration. Painted a dazzling white, with the statue of Jesus clad in robes of gold, the church is a beacon of light, especially at night.
Though the church’s new livery is striking, it does feel a little strange not to see the familiar brick-red finish when you pass through Palayam. But, it seems, that the original colour of the church was white and the brick-like finish was apparently painted on in the late 1920s, say these stories in The Hindu and the New Indian Express.
Whatever its colour though, the Cathedral along with its neighbouring places of worship — the Palayam Juma Masjid and the Palayam Ganesha temple add to the area’s spiritual energy.


Seeking Rumi said...

It was so strange not to spot the familiar red-brick livery, as you describe it - one had got used to the beacon! But the white is perhaps more awe-inspiring, though the golden-hued Christ on the steeple offsets it's serenity. I wonder if it wouldn't have been more impressive to have garbed him in white....

Sankar Radhakrishnan said...

@Seeking: For a few days the statute was indeed garbed in white and looked really striking. And then the golden paint came on.

Mee said...

Personally prefer White. Feels more purer. Looks stunning with the gold robed Christ on top- somewhat similar to the Golden Temple (in my mind)