Lucknow city and Lucknowites seem to take pride in the Nawabi influence on their culture and mannerisms. The city folks tend to accept and practice the secular nature of the Nawabs, a testimonial of which can be seen in the form of visitors from all castes and religions who visit the Cathedral, undoubtedly the largest and the most famous church of Lucknow.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral is one of the major landmarks when we talk of Lucknow. Located in the heart of the city, amidst the hustle and bustle of the busiest street of Hazratganj, the St. Joseph’s cathedral stands tall with grace and grandeur. The Cathedral also houses a very well-known reputed Catholic school by the name of “Cathedral Sr. Secondary School” within the spacious premises.
History of the Cathedral
The origin of the Cathedral dates back to 1860 when an Irish priest Rev. Fr. William Gleeson purchased land in Hazratganj and constructed a stately church, dedicating it to St. Joseph. In the year 1862, the church was consecrated by Bishop Anastasius Hartmann.
Fr. Gleeson later built a boundary wall and a priest’s house in 1860–1862, handing over charge of the station to Rev. Fr. Felix O.F.M. Cap, of Turin. Some years down the line, a school was started within the premises with just two students considering the pressing need of education among the city youth.
Architecture of the Cathedral
The moment you step inside the gate, you are bound to get mesmerized by the beauty of its architecture. It reflects a spectacular piece of architecture with the upper part of the Cathedral given the form of a crescent supported by a broad structure. From the middle of the crescent rises a column high into the air ending with the symbol of cross at the top.
The statue of Jesus Christ with open arms, which stands atop the entrance to the prayer hall on the first floor, that we reach through the broad stairway is very awe-inspiring and reverential. The vast expanse from the church gate to the broad staircase also adds to its charm.
The prayer hall of St. Joseph Cathedral is very spacious with pews on either side for you to say prayers in silence and pay obeisance to the Almighty with due reverence and devotion.The walls of the prayer hall are covered with the paintings representing the events from the life of Jesus Christ. The pictures demonstrate his journey right from his birth to his crucifixion very vividly and in a lucid way.
The Present State of Cathedral
Since 16th July 1952, the Cathedral Senior Secondary School is being operated from the Church complex. The school has been upgraded to class XII level and is affiliated to the CBSE board.
During the Christmas festivity, when the St. Joseph’s Cathedral is illuminated with lights, it is a scene not to be missed. It is a visual delight worth waiting for. When the church building is brightly lit, it seems to radiate light in all directions, attracting local population as well as tourists from all across the city. The excitement and happiness on everyone’s face coupled with festival fervour makes it a memorable scene, to be cherished forever.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral is a must visit place in Lucknow as it is a representation of the masterpiece built by an Irish priest, imparting education to students from all religions. The Church and the school helps imbibe the feeling of oneness and brotherhood among Lucknowites, carrying forward the “Ganga Jamuni tehzeeb” that Lucknow has always stood for.
Also read- Christmas celebrations at St. Joseph’s Cathedral
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