Home Event and Festivals #LitChristmas:Delhi’s churches shine bright – Hindustan Times

#LitChristmas:Delhi’s churches shine bright – Hindustan Times

New Delhi

‘Tis the season to be merry, and the spirit of Christmas has taken over Delhi’s churches and cathedrals, which are architectural delights in themselves. Their grandeur comes to life as they get bedecked with lights, Xmas trees and decorations. While the city’s Christian community plans to attend the celebrations with care and caution, some places are welcoming visitors to partake in festivities like the mass service, carols and feasts, albeit with safety measures in place.

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Connaught Place

The Sacred Heart Cathedral that would usually accommodate over 1.5 lakh visitors on Christmas day, plans to have only 200 registered visitors for this Christmas mass. (Photo: Gokul VS/HT)

One of the most popular and oldest churches of Delhi, the Sacred Heart Cathedral was built between 1930-35 and continues to draw visitors on major celebrations like Christmas and Easter. Decorated with a tall Christmas tree and illuminations throughout the church premises, the festivities will begin at 6.30pm on the Christmas eve and will go on until midnight, followed by the morning service.

Fr Lawrence PR (Parish Priest) at the Cathedral, says that: “Usually we have almost 1.5 lakhs people visiting on Christmas day, and majority are non-Christians. It’s sad that we are not able to accommodate everybody, but we must keep everyone’s health in mind. We’ve done all the decorations, but we are restricting the entry of the people, and waiting for the guidelines of government. But, only the people who have registered online will be allowed for the mass. There’s a cap of 200 people, and the registrations have already closed.”

Cathedral Church of Redemption, North Avenue

The Cathedral Church of Redemption is one of the biggest and most prominent in Delhi, and is decked up in lights of Christmas colours. (Photo: Gokul VS/HT)
The Cathedral Church of Redemption is one of the biggest and most prominent in Delhi, and is decked up in lights of Christmas colours. (Photo: Gokul VS/HT)

One of the oldest and most prominent churches in Delhi, the Cathedral Church of Redemption is near Rashtrapati Bhawan and is also known as Viceroy Church. Illuminated lushly with yellow, red and green lights, the church will have its Christmas mass in Hindi, English and Tamil languages, says Rev. Mohit Hitter, Presbyter-In-Charge, adding, “During pre-Covid times, we would have visitors up to 8pm on Christmas, but at present circumstances, they will not be allowed this time. People can join in the service online on the YouTube page of the church.”

Holy Trinity Church,Turkman Gate

Photo: Gokul VS/HTThe hall of Holy Trinity Church, on the border of old Delhi, is a sight to see ahead of Christmas day.
Photo: Gokul VS/HTThe hall of Holy Trinity Church, on the border of old Delhi, is a sight to see ahead of Christmas day.

At the Holy Trinity Church, founded in 1905, celebrations too would also remain more low-key than usual. Decorated with multiple sets of lights that gleam against the Capital’s night sky, the church is not encouraging visitors to join in the festivities this time. Rev. Jacob James, Presbyter-In-Charge, says: “We are trying to be within protocols. Because the church is within a compound where families live; we have local visitors, but we are not encouraging visitors this time.”

St. Stephen’s Church, Fatehpuri

One of the oldest Churches of Delhi, St Stephen’s Church in Fatehpuri is lit up with Christmas lights. (Photo: Gokul VS/HT)
One of the oldest Churches of Delhi, St Stephen’s Church in Fatehpuri is lit up with Christmas lights. (Photo: Gokul VS/HT)

The St. Stephen’s Church, located in old Delhi street, is one of the city’s oldest, having come up in 1862. Together with its facade’s sandstone columns and a tall bell tower, it looks even more resplendent in Christmas lighting. Rev. Baldev Sandhu, Presbyter-In-Charge, informs, “There will be a midnight and morning service on Christmas eve and day respectively. The devotees are already maintaining social distance inside the premises. There will be a very limited number of visitors allowed, keeping in mind all Covid guidelines.”

St. Thomas’ Church, Mandir Marg

St. Thomas’ Church is decorated in Christmas lights with a manger being visible to passers-by on the Mandir Marg. (Photo: Gokul VS/HT)
St. Thomas’ Church is decorated in Christmas lights with a manger being visible to passers-by on the Mandir Marg. (Photo: Gokul VS/HT)

The Church is a part of history and the beautiful British architecture in central Delhi. Rohan Singh, a devotee who’s also part of the Church, explains: “The Church has a building with tall ceilings with domes and arches made for voice modulation as they didn’t really have mics at that time…the church would be completing 89 long years in the coming year on 17 February. Usually we celebrate it with a a feast and visitors usually do come. This time a special service will happen depending on the Covid-19 scenario.”

The occasion is also one to remember Swapna Liddle, Delhi-based historian and author, informs: “When the city of New Delhi was being built, a lot of places of worship were given land to set up. There were already mosques and temples, but there was a lack of places for churches. Some of the denominations who applied for it, were given land. One of them is the Sacred Heart Cathedral. For the Sacred Heart Cathedral and Cathedral Church of Redemption, the architect was Henry Medd. As long as I can remember, people, even non-Christians have been going to midnight mass. Christmas service is a popular activity that people want to attend, also simply because there’s a lot of music.”

Author tweets @siddhijainn

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