History

History

The year 1640 marks the beginning of what is now the Diocese of Madras in the Church of South India, being the year of the founding of the city of Madras, and it was only in 1647 that a Chaplain of merchant fleet of the East India Company came ashore to celebrate Holy Communion in a temporary chapel in the Fort St. George. With the consecration of the oldest Anglican Church on the east of the Suez Canal in 1680 in the precincts of the Fort, dedicated to St. Mary the Blessed virgin, under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London, came established presence of the non-Roman Catholic Church in Madras.

The next 150 years saw the growth of the Christian population in Madras, It became obvious that the St. Mary's Church in the Fort cannot serve the growing and spread-out Christian population. So in 1815 the Church of St. George was built on the arterial road linking St. Thomas Mount and Fort St. George. On October 28, 1835 Daniel Corrie, the Archdeacon of Calcutta, was consecrated Bishop and installed in the Church of St. George, it marked both the coming into being of the Diocese of Madras and the elevation of the parish Church on the Choultry Plain to the dignity of a Cathedral.

The Character of this Diocese was slowly forged over the next 160 years by rule and example of successive Bishopes.

  • Daniel Corrie who was 58 when he became Bishop, he resisted the Governmental policy of encouraging and even participating in "heathen festivals".
  • Bishop George Spencer took charge of this Diocese from 1838. He an Anglican Bishop, ordained several Methodist and Congregationist missionaries.
  • Bishop Thomas Deltry's episcopate was from 1849-1861. He consecrated no fewer than 21 new churches.
  • Bishop Fredrick Gell (1861-1899) was first and foremost a pastor. He who has commanded the love and respect of most men who are not Christian.
  • Bishop Whitehead succeeded the See in 1899 and ministered until 1922. Whitehead was involved in the eventual formation of the CSI.
  • Bishop Harry Waller who has already been Bishop of Tinnevelly for seven years took charge of this Diocese in 1922. His great contribution was the enormous upgrading of educational institutions throughout the Diocese.
  • Bishop Michael Hollis in 1941 was the first to be elected to office by the Madras Diocesan Council. The man's greatness is encapsulated in a single sentence in his first sermon as the Bishop of Madras.
  • Bishop David Chellappa was the first Indian Bishop of the Diocese.
  • Bishop Lesslie Newbigin, who had been consecrated Bishop on the Inaugural Day, had already held the charge of the Diocese of Madurai- Ramnad for twelve years before going to Geneva in 1959 as the Gen. Secretary of the International Missionary Council. He came to Madras on being elected Bishop in 1965.
  • Bishop Sunder Clarke's assumption of charge in 1974 returned the Diocese once more to Indian leadership.
  • Bishop Masilamani Azariah, was consecrated and installed on January 2,1990. It could be justifiably claimed that the individual objectives of his ten illustrious predecessor have found full and harmonized expression in his emphases. Totaly convinced as he is in the philosophy of Self- Realisation, Self- Respect and Self- Reliance. Bishop Azariah has led the Diocese in the quest for, and in the discovery of, "a new spiritually appropriate for the twentifirst Century".

Testimonies