The last of the great churches that were constructed in Karachi, St Patrick’s Cathedral was built in 1881 and stands adjacent to, surprisingly enough, not St Patrick’s School but St Joseph’s Convent School. In fact, the compound in which it stands has a small, unobtrusive gate on one side that directly leads to the all girls’ Convent. Initially there was no wall separating the school from the cathedral, and they stood in the same compound—so that a newcomer visiting it could not be blamed if they still mistook it for being part of the school. One often gets to see students of the school in uniform, appearing for Mass (Christian religious ceremony of Communion) in the mornings.

As one enters the compound that houses the church one is first greeted by a grand monument of white marble behind which stands the enormous church. The monument was constructed in 1931 to perpetuate the memory of the Jesuit Mission in Sindh.

The Cathedral itself, dating from 1881, was built in response to the increasing needs of the growing number of Christians congregating in Karachi in the 1870s. Hence, it superseded the much smaller chapel, the first Roman Catholic Church established in Sindh by the British which had been built during the days of Charles Napier. St Patrick’s Cathedral was designed by three members of the Society of Jesus, the pastors Father Wagner, Brother Kluver and Brother Iau. Constructed from Gizri stone it is the largest church in Karachi. With a nave of 170 feet by 75 feet, it accommodates 1500 worshippers at one time.

The interior is beautifully dramatic, and with its impressive vaulting, internal volume embellished with wonderfully executed stained-glass windows and life-size statues, boasts a sumptuous architectural ensemble.

Even today with the Christian community considerably diminished in size—a large number of them have migrated to distant shores—there are close to 1000 people attending the special Mass on religious occasions like Christmas and Easter. Festively decorated at Christmas with lights, wreaths, bells, Christmas trees and stars, the church looks magnificent in its fine décor and is attended by Christians from far and wide. —Shanaz Ramzi

Information gathered from Yasmeen Lari’s book, A travel guide: Karachi

Opinion

Farewell Roosevelt Hotel
21 Jan 2021

Farewell Roosevelt Hotel

It is worth noting that massive plans have been upended and assets are now on the verge of being seized.
A horned dilemma
21 Jan 2021

A horned dilemma

Trump would rather ‘reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n’.
Violence & Afghan peace talks
Updated 20 Jan 2021

Violence & Afghan peace talks

Many of those killed in recent weeks have actively been campaigning against rampant violence and rising human rights violations

Editorial

Updated 21 Jan 2021

Agosta kickbacks trial

A POLITICALLY significant trial opened in Paris yesterday. Former French prime minister Edouard Balladur is in the...
Updated 21 Jan 2021

Indian media scandal

Common sense, factual reporting and ethics are all chucked out the window in the maddening race for ratings, influence and power.
21 Jan 2021

Rising food prices

FOOD inflation continues to challenge the resolve of the government to control the prices of essential kitchen items...
Updated 20 Jan 2021

Broadsheet judgement

There are plenty of skeletons in the Broadsheet cupboard and they must be brought out into the open.
20 Jan 2021

Unequal justice

IT seems no one wants to testify against former SSP Malir, Rao Anwar. At least five prosecution witnesses, all ...
20 Jan 2021

Schools reopening

THE disruptive impact of Covid-19 on education will be felt for years to come. For countries like Pakistan, where...