The enduring grandeur of Saint Joseph's Church

St. Joseph’s Church in Tiruvarur’s Perumpannaiyur. (Photo: Screenshot from The Hindu)

Tucked away in the quaint village of Perumpannaiyur, Tamil Nadu, stands the impressive Saint Joseph’s Church, a stunning architectural marvel built way back in 1871.

A recent story by The Hindu drew attention to this magnificent church, constructed over 14 years by prominent Christian landowner Sinnu Udayar.

Despite being around for nearly 150 years, the church remains unfinished, most noticeably its grand bell towers. But the towering structure still oozes history and incredible craftsmanship.

Father Albert Selvaraj took over as parish priest in 2019, ministering to some 500 local families. Keeping the iconic building properly maintained is a daily task, with those soaring walls hard to access for cleaning. Thankfully innovations like winches help get to those tough-to-reach spots.

Step inside and you’re greeted by a splendid wooden altar decorated with statues of Jesus, Joseph, Mary in her trademark blue sari, and more. With Christmas coming up, the nativity scene becomes a popular selfie spot, drawing excited visitors from surrounding areas. The church brims with heritage too – just check out the antique terracotta figurines and golden chalices, remnants from a bygone era.

While fulfilling its purpose as a thriving spiritual centre, this special church also needs preservation as an architectural gem. But funding poses a challenge, especially for specialised restoration work on those stunning antique paintings.

Father Selvaraj does his best maintaining the artefacts that chronicle an important chapter of local history under British rule. He’s appealed to officials for heritage status and financial help to complete the unfinished bell towers one day.

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