About Us

Welcome To St.John's Cathedral, Nazareth

With profound gratitude and thankfulness to our God, Jesus Christ, we are pleased to present this submission. As per the history, 23 years older than the Church of South India, Tirunelveli Diocese the biggest and the 2nd oldest among the Dioceses in C.S.I. - was itself a product of a small-scale experiment in Church Union. In 1896 Tirunelveli had become a bishopric. The C.M.S. & S.P.G. merger in Tirunelveli was a signification forerunner of the Church Union in South India.

The Diocese thus formed was carved out of the then sprawling Madras Diocese to include the revenue Districts of Tirunelveli. In 1947 the Diocese of Tirunelveli became limited to the erstwhile revenue district of Tirunelveli which has since been bifurcated, the Eastern half now named as Tuticorin District. As the history of the church, a small village by name “Shanpathu” with 8 families became Christians in the year 1803 through Rev.Sathyanathan. Its revenue extent is 7 sq.miles. The first church a thatched building with palmyrah leaves was built in 1803 named St.John’s church at Nazareth. In 20/11/1830 the 2nd church was built by Rev.Adaikalam.

It was decided to build a new church.

In June 1920 this church was demolished and the foundation was laid for a new church on 5/7/1920 by Rt.Rev. E.H.M. Waller, Bishop in Tirunelveli. A temporary church was built in front of the present church. In 26/5/1924 Rev.C.S.Stapley the then Presbyter and missionary was transferred and handed over charge to Rev. Canon D.Koilpillai. Rev.Canon D. Koilpillai took charge in 26/5/1924 and the present church was built by him. The church was dedicated by Rt.Rev. Norman H.Tubbs, Bishop in Tirunelveli on 12/3/1928. The interlude between the formation of the Diocese in 1924 and the formation of the Church of South India in 1947 saw some distinct developments in the life of church. Nazareth got the feeling that it is the “Tower land” in the entire then Tirunelveli District. For increasing the various institutions and revenue at Nazareth and its members it was felt necessary to get bifurcated or trifurcated among Tirunelveli By God’s grace The C.S.I Synod has accepted the request of Nazareth and it was gracefully the bifurcation was ordered to form Tuticorin-Nazareth Diocese from out of Tirunelveli Diocese and the celestrial ceremony was conducted on 25th October, 2003 forming of a New Diocese and our church was elevated to the position of Cathedral of Tuticorin-Nazareth Diocese since 23/10/2003. The ceremony was conducted by the then Moderator of C.S.I, Rt.Rev.Dr. K.J.Samuel in the presence of Moderator Commissionary of Tuticorin-Nazareth Diocese, Rt.Rev.Dt.J.W.Gladston

Our church has various special features which could not be seen anywhere in the world. Twelve (12) of them as Relic features are described as under:

Doors – Three sides of the Church are provided with 5 entrances, as a symbol of welcoming all into the church from all sides

Baptism - tub (Font) Baptistery has been put up at the main entrance of the Church, so that it is open to accept everyone as the member of the Church. An adult baptism (immerse)tub has been provided within a campus of the church. And as initial 50 members were baptised in this tub.

Baptism - tub (Font) Baptistery has been put up at the main entrance of the Church, so that it is open to accept everyone as the member of the Church. An adult baptism (immerse)tub has been provided within a campus of the church. And as initial 50 members were baptised in this tub.

The Floor (Nave) –Marvellous flooring has been beautifully laid throughout the church.

Litany Desk – There is a litany Desk, provided in front of the congregation. It is used at the time of Praying Litany.

The Lectern – Bronze made lectern is beautifully provided in the shape of an eagle’s legs showering as its foot-rest

Pulpit – The majestic pulpit is located at the centre of the church in a nominal height so that the entire congregation can see the preacher face to face from all the sides of the church.

Altar – The most special feature of the church is the Altar with its curtain. It reminds us the verse in Isaiah 6:1 “His robe filled the whole of the Temple”. Besides there are four glass stained pictures at the back side of the altar, symbolically means the Four Gospels in the Bible. The first one portrays the birth of Jesus Christ, the second one shows St.John leaning on the chest of Jesus. The third picture depicts the last supper of Jesus Christ. The fourth picture vividly represents how Jesus was taken up to Heaven. Different coloured Altar Table cloths and screens and robes of the Priests are being used to show the different Days of Service. Mr.J.Theophilus was the then catechist was serving the church for more than 48 years. He was very excellent in making the altar beautifully and orderly arranged with coloured flowers especially in festive seasons. Cross – It is beautifully located at the centre top of the Altar. It reminds Jesus’s crucifixion. The pedestal of the cross on the Altar Table consists of three steps which symbolize Faith Hope and Love and also the sacrifice of the Lord. Candle & Candle Sticks – The candles with seven sticks are burning on the two sides of the cross. This indicates the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, True Godliness and the fear of the Lord

Organwith Benches for the Choir – From the very beginning of the establishment of the Church, St. John’s Choir is functioning as a Gem in the crown of the church. Mr. Israel Joel was the organist & Choir master. He wanted the choir to be perfect in melody and musical timings and won’t spare even the men choristers. Nazareth is a place for music and foot-ball. A foreigner once rightly described Nazareth as a ‘nest of singing birds’. The choir is very famous in singing special songs & Anthem during the times of all festivals. During Christmas & New year the city Nazareth is a ‘City that never sleeps’ as there are church services that swell and echo throughout the night. Every day evening service is being conducted with the aid of choir. The Choir used to carry three types of crosses during their services. One cross during the regular service and other two with Banner are used during festivals and Saints’ days. Mr.V.A.Theagaraj was the cross-bearer of the choir for a number of years. On special occasions they were dressed in red and white and that adds to the grandeur of the church. Many youths would assist the choir, in playing organ, violin and guitar during the time of festivals. The procession of the choir going around inside the church during all festivals and going around outside the church, but within the campus on the day of annual church dedication are adding to the grandeur of the church services.

Sanctuary Lamps – Seven lamps hanging inside from both sides of the Altar are being provided and at the centre of the Altar there is a lamp burning all the hours day and night throughout the year. After the evening service the people used to come to the front to collect some oil from out of the lamp burning and they apply the oil on the sick. Mr. G.Sundaram, the then Catechist after the evening service, he, with a hurricane light, regularly visited the house of the sick people and prayed for them. He was a family doctor to Nazareth people.

The Symbols – All types of symbols as traditional relics are seen in all the parts of the church, The sign XPICTOC or IHC (The first two letters of the word Christ in Greek), IHCOYC (the first three letters of the word Jesus in Greek), INRI ( the word as Jesus the Nazarene, the King of Jews in Latin JESUS NAZARENUS REX JUDAEORUM), the letters as Alpha & Omega, Star of David, etc.

Other Salient features of the Church:

The architectural beauty of the Church which produces emotion of wonder, the Holy Silence which inspires awe, the magnificent pillars towering without clench and supporting the roof. Flower works has been done on all the arches and along side of the walls of the church. The daily worship services including daily Eucharist in all the 365 days which is the response to the Divine act of redemption and the congregation, that worships the Lord in the beauty of Holiness, all together stimulates the spirit of devotion and dedication. The church is beautifully surrendered by greenery shade and its portico is floored with ornamental roof with required lightings. The inside church is fully equipped with sound and light systems with Gen-set as its standby. The church tower has 7 stratums at the height of 178 feet, having clocks in four sides & neon cross lights. At the top there is neon cross light. During festivals the entire tower shall be decorated with ornamental luminous lights and Joy Bell will be ringing before the service commenced.

The church congregation is celebrating the following five festivals in a year in a grand manner:

New Year


Day of Church Dedication

All Souls’ Day & All Saints’ Day


Apart from inviting people for attending church services, the church bell is rung 3 times a day with 100 strokes at 6 a.m., 12 noon, & 9 p.m.. It is to remind that we should pray 3 times a day as Daniel in Bible prayed thrice a day and achieved success. Bishops and pastors were always held in high esteem, as they are the heads of the church. On New Year’s Day, in the after noon there was great jubilation in the church compound. The whole Nazareth congregation was there. The congregations from near-by villages also came with drums, dancing and singing to pay New Year respects to the pastors and to receive their blessings. As the people of Nazareth is very fondly attached to the S.P.G. High Church traditional form of worship which they still ardently cherish and love, a typical pattern of an Anglican church is envisaged.