Thursday, 17 April 2014

THE GREEK CHURCH

This church of considerable historical interest was founded by Alexias Argeery , one of the first well known Greeks to settle in Kolkata.  Reputed to have been build in 1780, it was dedicated to Christ’s Transfiguration on Mount Tabour.


A handsome, though diminutive, structure in the Doric style of architecture, its flat roof has at the west end a low, triple belfry for three bells. Marble steps lead to the vestibule, the interior being paved with grey marble and lighted with crystal chandeliers. The sanctuary is hidden from view by a wooden screen on which are four old oil-paintings.  In front of these are four silver lamps. In the sanctuary itself is an Alter of white marble, on a dais supported on five carved pillars.


A strange story is attached to the erection of this church.  In 1770, Alexies Argeery accompanied Captain Thornhill as an interpreter on the ship “Alexander” bound for Jeddah. The vessel, caught in a severe storm, was about to founder, when Argeery vowed to build a Greek Church in Kolkata if he ever reached that city.


The voyage accomplished, he applied to the Bengal Government for permission to build the sanctuary. Unfortunately he died before he could fulfill  his desire. In spite of this the work began in 1780 with Rs. 30,000 contributed out of his estate and Rs. 2000 subscribed by Warren Hastings. The first priest to officiate was father Parthenis, who is said to have served as model for the Christ in Zoffany’s  famous paintings of the “ Last Supper” now hanging in St. John’s Church.



Sources  :   a) Guide to Calcutta – Firminger
                   b) Recollections of Calcutta-M. Massey.
                   c) Handbook to Calcutta- Edited by Eardley Latimer (Calcutta Historical Society).


  Research  -Santanu Roy.
   Picture Courtesy - Sudip Ghosh.        


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