Saturday, March 18, 2017

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Palayamkottai, Thirunelveli

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Palayamkottai, Thirunelveli
Holy Trinity Cathedral is a small, elegant and beautiful church in the district of Thirunelveli in Tamilnadu. Holy Trinity Cathedral is the cathedral church of Thirunelveli Diocese under Church of South India. Holy Trinity Church in Palayamkottai was named by Bishop Daniel Corrie on 30th January 1836. Bishop Stephen Neill raised the status of the Church into a Cathedral. Holy Trinity Cathedral in Palayamkottai is a large church in this area.

This cathedral was constructed in the year 1826 by Rev Rhenius and was opened to the public for worship on the 26th of June 1826. The construction of this cathedral took one hundred and seventy five days and the expenditure incurred was around rupees two thousand at that time. This small church with an oblong edifice measures sixty four feet by thirty feet and it still serves as a nucleus for this massive Cathedral which developed in later years.

The amount spent in the construction of this cathedral came as donations not only from Christians, but from Hindus and Muslims as well. Venga Mudaliar had donated one hundred and sixty eight acres of punjai land for the maintenance of this Church. Several renovations and additions were also made to this structure. In the year 1845, a tall stately steeple of one hundred and fifty eight feet soaring into the skies was added by Rev. Pettilt which made the church a landmark all over the district.

This church is locally very famous as 'Oosi Gopuram' as a land mark in the Thirunelveli district of Tamilnadu. The resonant bell in this church, which was gifted by friends in England and installed in the year 1850, has unfailingly chimed the hours, calling the faithful to worship over the years and the clock set in the tower is relied upon by the people of the entire area as its beloved Big Ben. Several improvements, extensions and renovation works have taken place subsequently in the years from 1846 to 1998.
In the year 1940, Bishop Stephen Neil raised its status as the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Painting, flooring and other extensions were also made in the following years. This Church is involved in a number of social services like paying visit to hospitals. It plays a major role not only in spiritual upliftment of its people but also in the material upliftment like distributing free food and clothing, providing education and helping the poor and needy in the construction of their houses etc. 

Bishops of the CSI Thirunelveli Diocese
·        Samuel Morley 1896–1903
·        Arthur A Williams 1905–1914
·        Harry M Waller 1915–1923
·        Norman H Tubbs 1923–1928
·        Frederick J Western 1929–1938
·        Stephen C Neill 1939–1944 (Founder of Bishopric – CSI Thirunelveli Diocese)
·        George T Selwyn 1945–1952
·        Augustine G Jebaraj 1953–1970 (First Indian bishop – CSI Thirunelveli Diocese)
·        Thomas S Garrett 1971–1974
·        S Daniel Abraham 1975–1984
·        Jason S Dharmaraj 1985–1999
R Joseph served as the senior pastor of Holy Trinity cathedral from 1987-92.
Palayamkottai is located at about 2 Kms from Thirunelveli, 160 Kms and 156 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Palayamkottai has an efficient bus network. Palayamkottai bus stand, or Palai Bus Stand as it is popularly called by the locals, was the major connecting hub of the bus network. New bus terminal in the highway near the Thirunelveli bypass road connects Palayamkottai and Thirunelveli in an extensive network of neighboring towns, cities and also the major metropolitan cities of Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The Palayamkottai bus terminal is also a major stopover for all buses going to Kanyakumari and Nagercoil. There are also numerous connections between the local Palayamkottai bus-stops and Thirunelveli town. Palayamkottai also has a railway station connecting Thirunelveli Junction and Tiruchendur.
Share-autos (auto rickshaws that car-pool paying customers on a common route) ply extensively along Palayamkottai's streets and are easy to flag down. The regular yellow-black Greaves Garuda auto rickshaws, although plenty in number, are considered to be the common man's taxis of Palayamkottai. Auto rickshaw drivers are known to overcharge tourists. Cars as taxis are generally only available in taxi stands where tourists and locals use them to travel to short distances outside of the city. As a common practice, people of Palayamkottai or Thirunelveli do not use taxis as an alternate public transportation to buses or trains. Nearest Airport is located at Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram. 

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