Insider’s guide to... St Andrew Church
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Insider’s guide to... St Andrew Church

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Nov 26, 2015 18:29 IST
As told to Soma Das
As told to Soma Das
Hindustan Times
St Andrew Church,HT48Hours,Insider's Guide
St Andrew Church at Bandra completes 400 years.(Photo: Pratham Gokhle/Hindustan Times)

Long before Bandra became a hip suburb, home to the best of eateries and shopping destinations, it was a simple fishing village. Standing testament to its past is the St Andrew Church that has witnessed the metamorphosis of the locality and has contributed to its spiritual, educational (through St Andrew’s school and college) and cultural development. As it completes 400 years, the church will host the Andrean fair, and is releasing a book — St Andrew by-the-sea. Parish priest Father Caesar D’Mello shares some interesting anecdotes.

Did you know?

*Originally built overlooking the sea in 1595 by Portuguese Jesuits, the church got its first parish in 1616.

The main altar was constructed with teakwood in 1906, the previous one having been destroyed by termites. A life-size statue of St Andrew in the main altar holds an X-shaped cross, because when he was to be crucified, St Andrew asked that he not be hung upon a conventional cross, as he felt he was unworthy of dying on the same cross as Jesus. (Photo: Pratham Gokhle/Hindustan Times)

*St Andrew is 50 years older than the Taj Mahal in Agra and is one of the oldest churches in Bandra. Churches built prior to St Andrew include Santa Anna (near Bandra station), built in 1583.

*It is designed in such a way that during the spring (March 21) and winter equinoxes (September 22), the sun beam falls directly on the arch of the sanctuary of the church at 7am.

Originally, entry to the pulpit was by stone steps from the exterior of the church. These were demolished in 1963 and two panels were removed. Strangely, the panels later surfaced in Australia, in 1999 (Photo: Pratham Gokhle/Hindustan Times)

*The Andrean fair, first held in the ‘60s, was originally a 10-day affair. The funds gathered contributed towards building the Holy Family Hospital down the road.

*In 1737, the Marathas held siege over Bandra for two years. But St Andrew remained untouched while Santa Anna and Mount Mary were destroyed. It was perhaps because unlike these two churches, which were at a vantage point, St Andrew was not considered strategically dangerous by the Marathas.

*The side altar showcases the ‘Golgotha base’ on which the crucifix is planted. The skull and crossbones are symbols of death. They are under Jesus’ feet to symbolise Christ conquering death.

The walls are over five-feet thick and were built using limestone and mortar. The benches are made of teakwood from Tungareshwar forests near Vasai (Photo: Pratham Gokhle/Hindustan Times)

Fact file

What: The Andrean will feature musical performances by Rock ‘n’ Roll bands like Victor and The Crowns, and pop-rock band The Other People. There will also be food stalls and flea markets.

Where: St Andrew’s High School, Bandra

When: November 27 to 29, 5.30 pm onwards.

First Published: Nov 26, 2015 00:00 IST