A sudden visit to St Gregory Parish Church
Ashley Shoptorshi Samaddar
Weekend is knocking at the door and my restless mind is desperate for a new experience. After all, who would want to spend a weekend in the same old boring house? A small day-out was needed.
Dhaka, a city of crowds, has a lot more to offer than just busy streets and new faces. In this chaotic atmosphere my heart was craving for a little peace. Instantly following my inner voice, I called a friend who was equally bored like me with the chaos of city. Without much delay, we planned and decided to visit Saint Gregory Parish Church at Sadarghat, Dhaka.
Looking back into history, this prayer house was established on September 14, 1887 by the Holy Cross Missionary of Fathers. Even today, this grand shrine stands undaunted and unharmed in the heart of the city. Amidst all the chaotic distractions this whole location conveys serenity and peacefulness which relaxes a tired mind instantly. The cleanliness and white purity completely removes all distortions and impurity of mind.
This 200 years old monument explicitly projects the excellence of Roman architecture. Its dome shaped cathedral curved with tiny colourful pigments show majestic qualities. For devotees' antique wooden benches are there to pray to the lord Christ. The burning candles in the holy shelter of wishes arouse the feeling of shelter that every mind seeks in this era of Darwinism. Faith gets restores as the fountain of joy flows beside the statue of Mother Mary holding little Jesus in her arms on the gate of the cathedral.
We witnessed an old architectural and cultural aspect of the church and vaulted graves! During the time of the Renaissance, the Catholic Church had a tradition of burying notable priests within the churchyard so that they could rest in the place where they dedicated their life. For them vaults were built in the walls of the cathedral. In St Gregory Church Fr. ILL Timotheus (1945), LL Prancis Fred, Fr. Ill Aug Louage(1894) and many are resting in peace.
This church has a very vital role in the spread of Christianity in Bangladesh during the nineteenth and twentieth century. Being one of the oldest Christian churches, this whole building holds the ancient doctrines of Christianity and the rules and foundations of Catholicism in this country. The existing church committee today consists of twenty qualified and kind religious preachers. Adjacent to this church, the Holy Cross Fathers today run The St. Gregory High School and College which is one of the best schools in Dhaka.
Coming back to the role of the church, this church has over 2000 Christian members who attend the prayer according to their convenience. Caretaker Simon and his 4 colleagues work in maintaining and preserving this heritage. The best part of our visit was when we met our faculty member Fr Anol and Fr. Tom! They told us that they were there with a group of foreigners who went to explore this ancient church. We were ecstatic with joy! After all who does not like known people at an unknown location?
This visit gifted me the priceless present of unnumbered memories and knowledge. As it is open for all, I have already taken the pleasure, so when are you planning to take an adventure?
PHOTO: Alex Romario