KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has approved Rs250 million for the restoration of the interior of St Patrick’s Cathedral, including glass, stone and woodwork, built in 1845.
He took this decision on Saturday in a meeting with a delegation of St. Patrick’s Cathedral led Rector Rev. Fr. Mario Rodrigues who called on him here at CM House.
The chief minister was told that St Patrick’s church, the first church in Sindh, was built in 1845 in Gothic revival architecture. It has the capacity to accommodate 1,500 worshipers at a time.
The chief minister said that the Gazetteer of Sindh provided a detailed description of the cathedral. He read out Gazetteer text from his Ipad and said, “Church exterior is not ornamental, though striking from a distance, but money and art have been lavished on the interior. The chancel, itself spacious, acquires a special impressiveness but its additional height, while the noble contours of the aspiring altar are seen to the best advantage.
The whole interior is painted in oil and the windows are all of the stained glass, donated by the members of the congregation.”
It was pointed out that the stained-glass windows were produced by Mayer of Germany. They depict different and beautiful scenes such the sacrifice of Isaac, the Paschal lamb, the miraculous Manna, the annunciation, the visitation, the Nativity of Jesus, the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, the flight into Egypt, the agony of the Jesus etc. The chief minister said that these scenes were painted in oil and need to be revived.
The chief minister said that the heritage committee and experts must be involved in the restoration of the old work so that it could be restored in its original glory.
Mr Shah told the father to start work and his government would provide him Rs250 million over a period of three years. “We would give you Rs50 million as soon as you would complete all documentary requirements for starting restoration work,” he said.
The father told the chief minister that the Christian community was also contributing to meet reaming expenditures.
The chief minister said that the Christian community has contributed a lot in the development of the country, particularly in Sindh. “Your contribution in the education sector is worth mentioning here,” he said and added he himself received education in St Patrick’s school.
Mr Shah said that the standard of education in the public sector has dropped down, at this stage the provincial government was in dire need of high standard St. Patrick’s type of dedicated and devoted teachers. AT this father Mario said that they were also facing short of highly qualified and dedicated teachers as they used to be some 10 to 20 years ago.