About St. Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s Church is the oldest Church in Pune and is located in the Cantonment Camp area of the city. It was built during the British Empire. Built in the early 1820’s and consecrated on the 3rd of July, 1825, since then, this church building has been a place of worship for people from different walks of life.
The interior of the Church is of the British architectural form. There is a vestry and lamp room on the ground floor, with a staircase on the south leading up to the gallery. The eight round pillars, four on each side of the nave, are remarkable for the excellency of the limestone (chuna) plastering with which they are covered with a surface almost like marble.
History of St. Mary’s Church
This Church is as old as the British and they originally came to India to trade. The Britishers had a large military set up in Pune (then Poona). It was therefore natural that the British felt the need to have a church for their military personnel. Therefore this Church came into existence. This is the oldest established Church in Poona or its neighborhood. The Church was built by Lieut Nash of the East India Company’s Engineers. The tower at the west end of the church is surmounted by a mixture of lath and plaster.
The bell in the tower at present replaced the original one and was brought from Kaira Church. The Church foundation were laid by Bishop Reginald Heber in the year 1825.
St. Mary’s is the oldest Church in Pune and has many memorials under its name. The stone and brass plaques commemorate many noble names. The stained glass window over the communion table was erected by Colonel Nasmyth, a superintendent of Trigonometrical Survey. The late Mr. R.G. Oxenham, Director of Public Construction, designed the window. The Lectern dates back to 1870. It was executed by a native boy under the superintendence of Colonel Finch, from designs by a London firm. The Altar Cross was presented by a lady in memory of her brother.
This church was part of the Church of England, which later became an independent Province of the Anglican Communion with the name ‘Church of India, Pakistan, Burma & Ceylon’. A major change occurred in the year 1970 when the Church of North India came into existence as a result of the union of six different church denominations, and this church became a part of the Church of North India.