Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry

Immaculate Conception Cathedral (French: Cathédrale de l'Immaculée-Conception de Pondichéry, Tamil: தூய அமலோற்பவ அன்னை பேராலயம்) is the cathedral mother church for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore. It is located in the Union territory of Puducherry. The church is also known as Samba Kovil[1] (Tamil: சம்பா கோயில்), which is a phonetic corruption of "Saint Paul's Kovil" where "Kovil" means church.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry
Front view of the cathedral with Sacred Heart of Jesus statue visible.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Pondicherry
11°55′59″N 79°49′50″E / 11.93299°N 79.83055°E / 11.93299; 79.83055
LocationPondicherry, Puducherry
Former name(s)St. Paul's Church
Authorising papal bull1692
StatusCathedral and Parish church
DedicationImmaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary
Past bishop(s)Msgr. Michael Augustine
Functional statusActive
Architectural typeCathedral
DemolishedThree time in the years:
  • 1693 by Dutch
  • Around 1730
  • 1761 by British
But church was re-built at the same site every time.
ArchdioceseArchdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore
ParishCathedral Parish
ArchbishopMsgr. Francis Kalist
Priest(s)Rev. Fr. Alphonse Sandanam
Assistant priest(s)Rev. Fr. Arulpushparaja

History Edit


The Jesuit Fathers came to the French colony of Pondicherry as missionaries in 1689. There they bought a very large garden to the west of the French Fort. In 1692 they, with the financial help of Louis XIV, king of France, erected a church which was demolished by the Dutch in the following year. A second Church was quickly built in 1699 but could not last long.

From 1728 to 1736 a large church was built on the site of the present Cathedral. This third church was razed to the ground by the British in 1761 during the Seven Years' War.

Erecting in 1765 provisionally (fourth in serial) a functional kind of irregularly shaped shed where the Mission Press (official press depot of the archdiocese) is now since the year 1770 the Fathers were earnest in building the present cathedral on the foundations of the 3rd Church. On 20 June 1791, the main work was finished and the Church was consecrated by Bishop Champenois. The Bell Tower was built later. The choir loft was added in 1905. The Sanctuary was remodeled in the year 1970. The esplanade in front of the Cathedral was remodeled in 1987, to allow people to take part in liturgical ceremonies and special functions held outside.

The Fest of this Church i.e., Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary falls on 8 December. Now the church which stands for around 300 years is also the place where the bishop's house is also situated. Mass services in Tamil and English are conducted.

It is one of the oldest tourist sites in Puducherry., and was visited by Mother Teresa during her visit to Puducherry.

Gallery Edit

The Church Edit

Statues and Altars in the Church Edit

Cathedral Cemetery Edit

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "50 Stars of Christmas : Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Puducherry – reminiscent of French history in india". 15 November 2017.
  2. ^ BBC In pictures: Former French colony of Pondicherry in India