St. George's Cathedral


St. George's Cathedral is the Cathedral Church of the CSI Diocese of Madras. Located at the center of the Capital of Tamil Nadu, this cathedral is a grand and awe-inspiring structure. Known as the grand house of prayer for worshippers who make this place their second home, the cathedral is an idol of grandeur and peace. Being the mother church of the Church of South India Diocese, it also encourages the participation of congregations for the growth and abundance of the rural communities. Marking a unique place in the history of churches, it was here on September 27, 1947, that the inauguration of united CSI was initiated as the cathedral was fully packed, with about 2,000 individuals attending the auspicious event. The Viceroys and Governors of Fort St. George and their families, worshipped here when they visited Chennai.

History and Architecture

The St. George's Cathedral is the headquarters for all the bodies belonging to the CSI Diocese of Madras. The church, known for its artistic beauty, was designed by J. L. Caldwell, the then British Colonel. Built and opened in 1815, the church has transformed over the years from a small establishment to a colossal integrated abode. DeHaviland's wife was the first person to be buried in the southeastern corner of the church premises, which was set aside as a cemetery. Mr. Banbury and Rev. Thomas Foulkes donated the bells and chiming devic,e while the alter table was arranged by Miss. De La Ford. The belfry was completed in 1832. The gold chalice and paten for the Holy Communion weighed 3 lbs 7 ounces and is made of 18-carat gold. The chalice held diamonds forming a cross pattern. The altar rail was erected by a choir member and the congregation gifted the baptismal.

The St. George's Cathedral was officially named so in 1835. Later on, the chancel was extended by 10 feet radius and Lady Chapel and Vestry were also added. The trustees of the church decided to replace the plaster roof with one made of teak wood in 1884. The teak wood was patterned with papier-mache. After 63 years, by 1947, a huge portion of the cathedral ceiling fell to the ground and over Rs. 50,000 was raised by the congregation to carry out the repairs, headed by the Rev. R. L. Watson. During this period of reconstruction, the cathedral was closed and the services were held under a makeshift pandal on the gravel, which was in the middle of the graveyard and porch. After six months, the cathedral was reopened with added flair and magnificence.

The turret clock that towers a good 139-foot height facing three directions of the church, was dedicated to the British East India Company. The oldest organ that is still played in the church is the pipe organ, which is used while singing and praising during the worship hour. There are two stained glasses on either side of the altar, with pictorial drawing of Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove ascending on one side, along with a picture of Mary the Magdalene on the other side. There are a number of statues of the saints and pastors over the years, along with a tablet situated nearby that provides information on them and their contributions for the church. They are treasured in their memory. The St. George's Cathedral was initially an Anglican church but turned over to the CSI later on.


The church holds the Holy Eucharist from Monday to Saturday every week. The Sunday school is conducted every Sunday, commencing at 7 a.m., to educate the children on the word of God. The first, third and fifth Sunday of every month is dedicated to Choral Eucharist and Sermon is held at 7:30 a.m. while the Evensong and sermon commences at 6 p.m. On the second Sunday, the Holy Eucharist is at 6:30 a.m. while the Holy Eucharist and Sermon is at 7:30 p.m. and the Evensong and Sermon is held at 6 p.m. Similarly, on the fifth Sunday, the Choral Eucharist and sermon takes place at 7:30 a.m. and the Evensong and Sermon are conducted at 6 p.m. The preaching and worship are led in the English language.


The St. George's Cathedral is located in the heart of the city of Chennai, in Gopalapuram, near the Gemini flyover. The road on which it is built is called the Cathedral Road due to its historic significance. It lies in the middle of Nungambakkam, Teynampet and Royapettah.

How to Reach

As the St. George's Cathedral is a very famous place and hordes of people flock there regularly to attend worship or admire its beauty, transport is easy to find. Tourists can take the public means of transport, a bus or a private cab in order to reach the place.

The roads are busy, crowded and congested. But once you enter the campus of the cathedral, you are sure to find a peaceful and divine setting, perfect for your exclusive time in the cradle of God's arms.

Last Updated on : 27/11/2013