Holy Trinity Church

M.G. Road - Trinity Church Road, Bangalore, India

One Hundred and Forty Years ago.... a Historical Sketch

St. Mark's Cathedral was the only Government Church in Bangalore City which catered to the spiritual needs of English speaking Congregation. This Church was not large enough to accommodate the large Congregation. There was a big demand for the construction of a New Church from the local Congregation. The British Government was hesitant to grant permission for a new Church as the East India Company had a policy of one station, one Church. As a result of local agitation the Directors of East India Company made an exception to their policy and approved for the construction of a second government Church in 1845. The site for the new Church was chosen by Bishop Corrie. The Holy Trinity Church is at the East end of the Parade Grounds and Richmond Road ( Now M.G. Road and Richmond Road), towards the Cavalry Barracks. Straight as the crow flies at the other end of the South Parade is the Statue of Queen Victoria facing towards the Church. Perhaps on a clear day, long ago in the past one could possibly see the Statue from the porch of the Church, now, one may be able to view it from the Church belfry. The original estimate for the cost of construction was under Rs. 27,000/-. The foundation stone was laid on the chosen site on 16th February 1848 by Major General Aitchison, Commanding Mysore Division. The Arch Deacon of that time had suggested various improvements and especially for the erection of a lounge attached to the Church. Therefore, they had to spend another Rs. 6,500/- and so the total cost of the building had exceeded Rs. 33,500/- The Church was dedicated by the then Bishop of Madras, Bishop Dealtry, on 16th September 1851. In fact, the Church was not ready for use and it took another 10 months to make the Church ready for worship. The Church was ready on 25th July 1852. But, the first Divine Service with Holy Communion was celebrated within the walls of Holy Trinity Church on 8th August 1852. To first Baptism Service was conducted on 27th July 1852 itself by the appointed Chaplain of Holy Trinity Church, Rev. W. W. Lutyens. M. A., the child who got the priviledge was a girl name Frances Eleanor. The first couple who got married was Ebenezer Gay and Elizebeth on 15th September 1852. The Church could accommodate 700 people, and was said to be the largest Military or Garrison Church in Southern India.

The Beginning:

It is refreshing and revealing to look back upon the history of the Church. The Church was built to cater to the needs of the British Regiment stationed in Bangalore. Government allowances had helped them to finish the building but for the furniture and fittings, contributions were made by the members of the Church in kind, cash, gold and silver. They would have spent lots of money because, the workmanship of the furniture was of very high standard, and the furniture still remains beautiful even after 140 years. The first Chaplain Rev. W. W. Lutyens was responsible for the building and furnishing. The great bell of the Church was cast in the Mears Foundry of London in 1847. The magnificent Pulpit and the Pipe Organ were also built in London. (The Pipe Organ was sold to the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church and at present it is being used in one of the churches in Madurai). The front pews were reserved with brass plates, for the Hon'ble Resident, the G.O.C, the Officers, the Staff, the Q.A.I.M. The stained glass at the altar and the baptismal pond at the entrance give a majestic look to the Church. These were brought from London and installed at the time of construction.

The Beauty of Holy Trinity Church

The beauty of Holy Trinity Church is not alone in it's tall tower and unparalleled pillars but also in its high class statues, of generals and other officials, mural tablets and memorials inside. The Holy Trinity Church is certainly a massive and majestic piece of architectural gandeur. The decorative memorials and articles inside are `history in stone' that speak the stories of great men and women. If one goes to the tower of the Church one can admire the strength of the structure, the solidarity of the wooden ladders and the view of the beautiful city of Bangalore. We learnt that the Cross which surmounts, it was the present by the Queen Victoria's Own West Kent Regiment. `In memory of those who died whilst this Unit was in Bangalore' (1928-32). Many of the older monuments were also made in London by famous firms, the most beautiful being the one of the young Soldier in full uniform, in memory of Lieut. Augustus Croft Dobree, who died in 1867, aged 22. There was also another wall monument of Gen. Clement Delves Hill, clad in the garments of ancient Rome, who died on January 20th, 1845 by the Gersoppa Falls. His brother was a famous commander of the Peninsular war. Another monument To Arabella, the wife of Lt. Gen. Sir James Wolfe Murray had full Latin stanzas from Virgil inscribed on it. Some told of tragic occurrences. Maj. Gen. Faunce was lost when, after the campaign in Burma, his vessel was found in the Bay of Bengal, and in the same month his wife died on her voyage to England. Their married daughter died in Tellicherry a few weeks later. There are many more tablets and memorials which speak about the great people who toiled and equipped this House of God. The stained glass which depicts the baptism of Jesus in splendid colour is a rare piece;

The three pairs of angels which are carved in wood of the roof which is above the Choir pews and the altar, symbolises the angels guarding the Holy of Holies. Indeed it is a marvellous workmanship.

The Glorious Congregation of Trinity Church :

The Church seems to have had a useful but uneventful life. The congregation naturally changed from year to year and the goings and comings of the regiments are recorded by the various monuments on the walls and pillars of the Church. Through the testimony of the Rev. Edmund Bull, who died in 1950, there is a tradition that The Rt. Hon'ble Winston Churchill (former Prime Minister of England) lived in this parish and doubtless, attended the Church with the Fourth Hussars, who were stationed in Bangalore at the end of the last Century. During the two world wars, when Bangalore was a great Center for the Army, there was a very large congregation. The Rev. Geo. J. Howard reports that during the last war, the Army made good use of the Church and among the regiments which paraded there and worshipped within the walls were the 1st Royal Norfolk Regiment, the 1st Wiltshire Regiment, the 2nd Welsh Regiment and the 13th Jungle Field Artillery. There were 41 Chaplains who rendered their services to this church till 1947. The marriage registers and the baptism registers were maintained very neatly and still they are preserved by the Karnataka Central Diocese (C.S.I)

After Independence of India:

The declaration of Independence and the inauguration of the Church of South India in 1947 completely altered the ecclesiastical circumstances and the political background of this Church. The church was left without a Chaplain as there was no one to pay the salary. The Church was also left without a congregation as the British Army stationed in Bangalore left India. There was no funds to protect and to take care of the building. After some time the Christian Indian Military Personnel and their families started worshipping in this Church. Military chaplains were appointed by the Indian Army and they were taking care of the congregation. It continued for nearly 15 years. Rev. L. Easterraj and Rev. T. S. Pushpanathan and Rev. F. William Joseph were the Indian Military chaplains who served in this Church. The remaining survivors of the old English speaking congregation continued their worship during different times of worship for some years and did their best to support this church. During this time Rev. W. L. Holder was in-charge of this church. In course of time the English speaking congregation and the congregation of Military personnel gradually faded away. At this juncture, a few Christian Tamil families who were living in Ulsoor approached Rev. T. S. Pushpanathan to have their worship in Tamil. He agreed to do the Pastoral care of this new Congregation. Rev. S. R. Swamidass was one who led this small Tamil CSI Congregation. Rev. T. S. Pushpanathan and Rev. S. R. Swamidass served tirelessly and built up this Tamil Congregation. They served upto 1955 with the fullest co-operation and leadership of Bishop of Mysore Diocese Rt. Rev. N. C. Sargent. Then Rev. William Joseph became the Pastor of this Church in the year 1995 and the congregation grew rapidly. The fact remains, that none of these congregations was in any way capable either singly or collectively taking responsibility for the maintenance of this huge Church. Therefore, a Committee consisting of representatives from the worshipping congregations was constituted by the Bishop of Mysore, Rt. Rev. N. C. Sargent, to take care of the maintenance of the campus and the church building. They constructed a small shopping complex to raise funds. This was carried on for some time and slowly the CSI Tamil Pastorate took over the responsibility.

From the beginning till 1965 this Church was called as Holy Trinity Garrison Pastorate. In 1965, The Mysore Diocese deleted the name Garrison Pastorate and named this Church as Holy Trinity Church. The Bishop of the Mysore Diocese transferred and appointed Rev. S. Samuel to this Tamil Pastorate in 1964. Rev. S. Samuel was the one who served for more than 12 years in this church in tow different periods and elevated this Church as a prominent Tamil Church in Karnataka Central Diocese. He did a marvellous job in building this congregation.

Progress since 1960:

Since 1960 the Holy Trinity Church has progressed in a new setting and atmosphere. The diocese and the congregation have demonstrated their loyalty to God Almighty in various ways.

Several building projects and a few social development projects were planned and are being executed. This includes a Hostel for poor students, Home for the aged, Parish Hall, Bishop's House, Parsonages, Houses for the officials of the Diocese, worker's quarters and recently built Trinity Shopping Complex. Today, the Holy Trinity Church with more than 300 families, consisting around 1200 souls continues to shine as a Church for all the people of our City. At present, the Church is preserved as a peculiar treasure of the Church of South India and an adornment to the City of Bangalore. We should continue to serve God's purpose and be `servants of Jesus Christ' assisting in extending His Kingdom.

There is a School "Trinity School" and Boy's Home for the less fortunate, apart from the Senior Citizen's Home all in the campus of the Church, with the Bishop's House in between.

(Complied by Rev. D. M. Bhaskaran & Mr. S. Sadanandam)

Extract from the 140 Year Celebrations Brochure, Courtesy - Mr. S. Sadanandam

Services in the early years or late 1800's

During the period 1881 to 1883, Rev. John Mills Walker, M.A. was the Chaplain. The Lay Trustees were Colonel D.J. McGrigor, R.A. and Lieut. Colinel J.C. Russell, 12th Lancers. The Clerk was J. Reid and the Sexton, W. Band. Later Joseph Ellison became the Clerk. George Hodson was the Organist.

Sundays - Litany and Sermon 7.30 am; Morning Prayers and Service 11 am; Sunday School 4.30 pm; Evening Prayer and Sermon 6 pm.

Week Days - Wednsday, Morning Prayer and Litany 7.30 am; Thursday, Evening Prayer and Sermon 6 pm; Saints Days Morning Prayers and Pre-Communion 7.30 am.

Holy Communion was administered after the 11 am Service on the 1st and 3rd Sunday; and at the 7.30 am., Service on the 4th Sunday of each month.

Today, there is only one Service on all Sundays at 9 am in Tamil, since the Church has been handed over to the Tamil Congregation..

Lists of Chaplains who served before Independence

Military Chaplains & Presbyters/Deacons who served after Independence

Extract and Collation Courtesy Mr. S. Sadanandam, Trinity Church

Go to the Photographs of Trinity Church

Beautiful Memorials found on the Church Walls

1. Brass - At the left side of the main door entrance

December 1928 - October 1932

"Quo Fas et Gloria ducat"

2. Marble - At right side of the main door entrance

3. Marble: Inside the Church Left Wall at the Entrance

"Sacred to the memories of:

Erected by the Officers King's Dragoon Guards and the Officers M.L. Cavalry attached"

4. Marble: Inside the Church Left Wall

5. Marble: Inside the Church Left Main Wall

"Sacred to the Memory of

6. Marble: Inside the Church Left Main Wall

7. Marble: Inside the Church Left Main Wall

8. Marble: Inside the Church Left Main Wall

9. Marble: Inside the Church Left Main Wall

10. Marble: Inside the Church Left Main Wall near Pulpit

11. Brass: Inside the Church Left Main Pillar of Altar.

12. Brass: Inside the Church Left of Altar in the Organ niche.

13. Brass: Inside the Church Right Main Pillar of Altar.

14. Marble: Inside the Church Right Main Pillar of Altar

15. Brass: Inside the Church Right Main Wall

16. Marble: Inside the Church Right Main Wall ( Bears Coat of Arms )

17. Marble: Inside the Church Right Main Wall

(Listings of Memorials in the Church are incomplete, the central aisle and part of the right wing are still to be noted - Ron)

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Thought for the Day:" Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, For you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, Fon in the manner their fathers did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full, For you shall hunger. Woe to you who laugh now, For you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did they fathers to the false prophets." Holy Bible: Luke 6:20-26