Museum of Christian Art opens for masses September 26, 2011 Catholic, Catholic, Church, India, Maharashtra, Mumbai: The

Museum of Christian Art, which contains artifacts of centuries old c hurch heritage in the region was inaugurated on Sunday by the archbishop of Mumb ai, Cardinal Oswald Gracias. Calling it a contribution to the cultural heritage of the city of Mumbai, Cardin al Gracias said that though was a recent convert to this museum. He confessed he was not bowled over by the concept of the museum when it was broached to him se veral years ago, he gradually realized the importance of having such a museum.”The artifacts show that Christianity is not new in this region. There were churches and Christians in the area since seven to eight hundred years,” Cardinal Gracias said. Housed in the St Pius Catholic Seminary in Goregaon (E), the museum has been put together by a team of professionals led by Fr Warner D’Souza. It includes heritag e architects, Ainsley Lewis, David Cordoz and Conrad Gonsalves, historian Prof F leur D’Souza and art restorer, Jacinta Moorthy. Speaking to TOI, architect Cordoz said they began by collecting things that the churches wished to dispose, which later developed into a fine collection. Dwelling on the importance of heritage in the cultural life of communities, Fr L arry Pereira pointed out that the first Christian community in the Mumbai region was recorded in Borivli in 1547. Historical records show a group of Marathi spe aking Christians in existence at that time. The first Portuguese settlements in Chaul and Revdanda near Alibaug were already in existence by then. He added that even during the wars between the Marathas a nd the Portuguese the local Christian communities were not adversely affected an d continued to practise their religion. The museum contains figures of Christ carved in ivory and wood and church altars dating back to 1608. work by priests and bishops, silverware used in churches f or centuries. There is an amphitheatre which will be used to screen films and ha ve discussions on art and cultural heritage. .This will make people aware of the ir heritage in the region,” he said. - Times of India Prof. George Menachery says: September 27, 2011 at 3:01 am It was quite heartening to read about Mumbai Museum of Catholic cultural heritag e, the latest in a series of Christian Historical and Cultural museums in the co untry. Bombay’s Christian cultural heritage is remarkable not only for its antiqui ty but also for the quality and size of its achievements in architecture, artefa cts in metal, marble, wood, and even granite and ivory not to mention its great treasures in painting of all categories. There have been attempts in the 19th an d early 20th centuries on the part of stalwarts like Heras and Hosten to gather items from all over the country in addition to photographs and details relating to art objects of the Christians. I am especially gladdened at the efforts of th e Cardinal and the His Eminence’s team of connosseurs and artlovers and others in this neglected field. Those interested may also visit the Palayur (shifted from thrissur 1980), Mt. St. Thomas(2000?), Cochi photos of a number of Mumbai’s Cathol ic and Protestant architectural and art achievements down the centuries cf.the S t. Thomas Christian Encyclopaedia of India esp. vols. I and III.

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