Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The CSI Church and the AK-47

The CSI Church is located amidst a surprisngly serene atmosphere in the heart of the city with a lot of trees, birdlife and wildlife, well not the exotic kind but I did see a mongoose once. This church shares a wall with the US consulate and it's very close to where I work. I decided to visit the church as I had heard that it is one of the oldest in Madras.

The church

This is one of the few churches in the city with it's own cemetery. The church copmplex has plenty of trees and you will get sed to a lot of birds chirping. The church looks like it's around fifty to sixty years old (or even older, I could be wrong here) with a tall spire, smaller than the Santhome Cathedral. You will be greeted at the entrance by engravings and sculptures of British government employees and missionaries who served in the city prior to independence. The interior has rows of benches where devotees can sit and pray, the church authorities have provided cushions too incase you want to kneel down and pray. There are a lot of sculptures inside the church, made of marble and most of them are so life like, it's amazing to think of the amount of effort that must have gone into making these works of art. Most of them were dedicated to the British authorities who served in Madras during the late 1800's and the early 1900's.

One of the scultpures documents the conversions that happened during the times the Brits were here. It shows a missionary, god like and huge - the sculptor wanted to show that the missionary was above all, converting what appeared to be a Brahmin, which was evident from the sacred thread and the tuft of hair called kudumi. I do miss the Latin inscriptions I found at the Santhome Basilica. Well both the churches have different styles, considering the Santhome church is for Roman Catholics.

The cemetary

The church is clean and has rows and rows of tombstones, the old ones have the names of Brits who died in the city, there are new ones too, of Indians who are buried here. Each tombstone has a different design. There are tombstones of people who died in the early 50's and they are very old ones too, some of them probably dating to the eary 1900(judging from the condition of some of the tombstones). A concrete path has been laid in the cemetery so that you can walk on the path without stepping on the ground and accidently on the graves. I saw a man who was shouting out prayers, the kind of method followed by Pentecostal Christains (from what I have seen in areas around Tambaram Sanatorium and Tambaram. Tambaram has a good number of Pentecose churches which organise prayer meetings presided over by evangelists. Remember Brother Paul Dinakaran?

Most of the evangelists are from the US.

Highlight of the visit

Walking over to a sentry gaurding the US embassy wall - armed gaurds patrol the wall from the church side, and have him give a demo of the assault rifle he was carrying, the most (in)famous weapon in the world, used by the armed forces and terrorists alike because of its adaptability in any weather.

I approached the policeman, he gave a weird look as I went to where he was standing and asked him to show me the rifle. I was not allowed to touch the gun, it was loaded, the safety lock was on. He told me how many rounds the magazine would hold, how to cock the gun, the sight and how to use the stock of the gun. It was a quick demo, all the while there were sequences of bullets flying and people getting shot being played out in my head!!!


Blogger Creative thoughts said...

Hey that was a good one Andy...

12:13 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

Thanks Leena :-)

9:03 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home