Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Nossa Senhora de Gloria

Gloria church, Byculla, Mumbai which I visited this morning is an essay in contrast. It's magnificent Gothic edifice and exterior belies its tatty innards whch sadly, have to be seen to be believed.

It immediately brought to mind St Paul's church, Diu which faces the same predicament.

The church was built initially by the Franciscans in 1632, funded by the Lima family who owned the island of Mazagon which they procured from the King of Portugal in 1572.  It was rebuilt and blessed  in 1911.

As you move towards the entrance of the church you see two inscriptions commemorating the blessing in 1911 - one on the right in Portuguese and the other on the left in English. Shoddy whitewashing has made it impossible to read the margins of the plaque smeared as it is in whitewash.

The church looked foreboding and distant with all the approach gates closed in the morning. Yet when I saw children play cricket in its precincts I knew there must be a side gate - which there was.

The Masina hospital nearby was far more bustling in the service of humanity with even a crow condescending to perch on the white marble head of Mrs Masina 'a devout Zoroastrian who was dutiful mother, daughter and wife.' Built around the same time as the Gloria churh was rebuilt in 1911, I was particularly drawn to it as dad pointed it out to me as the hospital where my brother Kevin was born.

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