They have stood the test of time and housed congregations, sacraments, celebrations, prayers, confessions and weddings—these are some of the oldest churches in the city. As the city is drenched in the yuletide spirit, we bring you this story of unique churches, their heritage, architectural value and historic significance, unfolding a Christmas story  

Glorious at 175…

One of the most famous Catholic Churches of the city, St. Mary's Basilica is located at Sarojini Naidu Road in the heart of Secunderabad. The decree designating it as a basilica was issued in November, 2008.

The church owes its history to Father Daniel Murphy along with Bishop Carew. Completed in 1840, the church was formerly called the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Hyderabad. In 1886, it ceased to be a cathedral. In 1871, a few nuns from St. Anne at Turin came to the city and opened a school that is popular as St. Ann's school. 

The church is a typical example of Indian Gothic style, with curved arches and pointed buttresses. As with other Catholic churches, St. Mary's has side altars dedicated to saints.

Delivering the Christmas message, Fr. Yeruva Balshowreddy, Rector and Parish Priest said, “Christmas is the biggest festival of the world celebrated by millions of the people. St. Mary’s Basilica is one of the Basilicas in India a title given to some Roman Catholic churches.

By canon law no Catholic church can be honored with the title of basilica unless by apostolic grant or from immemorial custom. The title is bestowed upon large churches that are important as places of pilgrimage or for a specific devotion such as to a saint.”

Adding a note on the Church’s 175th anniversary he said, “The New Year would be a "Red Letter Day" in the annals of the St. Mary Basilica as we complete the feat in April.”

168 years…

One of the most historic churches in the city, the Holy Trinity Church, also known as the Queen’s Church, is located at Bolarum in Secunderabad.

Built by Her Royal Highness, Queen Victoria in 1847, the church stands on the land gifted by the Nizam’s Government during the residence of General Frazer in Hyderabad. 

Following an Anglican tradition the church was mainly used by British army officers and families. The interiors adorn the tablets of the loved ones of the Officers, who died during their tenure in Hyderabad. One can still see the original pews, which despite the passage of time, have retained their sheen. The stained glass at the altar of 1904, the pulpit and the bell are all in their original eloquence, reflecting an era gone by.

In 1983, Queen Elizabeth II visited the church and celebrated her 36th wedding anniversary there, in a service led by Bishop Victor Premasagar and his ministerial colleagues. 

155 years…
All Saints Church is located in the Trimulgherry locality of Secunderabad. Constructed in 1860, it was originally a Garrison Church, presided by the Army Chaplains but, was subsequently bequeathed to the Church of South India in 1947. The church currently serves the Tamil Anglican congregation of Secunderabad and offers services in English and Tamil. 
The church is an imposing Gothic structure with a multitude of turrets and a tower belfry. The altar piece is a stained glass window dated 1884 and dedicated to the memory of Edward Dawson who was Lieutenant of Royal Artillery, depicting Jesus carrying the cross. Antique pews, lamps along with a baptismal front are some of the prized possessions of the church.

64 years…
The St Andrews Orthodox Valiyapally Church is located in West Maredpally in Secunderabad. The first parish was formed in 1951 with Rev. Fr. KK Mathews as its first Vicar. Speaking on their altruistic endeavours, Fr. Dr Mathews M Daniel, Vicar of the Church said, “We have been providing financial assistance to the poor for marriages, education, home building. We continue to work for brining cheer to the lives of the poor.”

64 years…
The CSI Wesley Church is located at Chilkalguda in Secunderabad. Established in 1952 with 10 families, the church has now grown to 500 families. On Christmas, the church celebrates by distribution of clothes for poor, visiting sick and caroling. Rev Dr NR Paul Raj, pastor said, “Christ was born to create his kingdom through peace, love and righteousness, which should be followed by the people for universal peace and harmony.”