St. Philomena's church is one of the oldest churches of India. It is about 200 year's old church, but initially there was a small church that was about 250 years old in its place. Legends say that in the year 1799 when the capital was shifted from Srirangapatnam to Mysore, there were many British officers and soldiers who came down to Mysore and settled here. Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar 3 realized that they need a church for worshiping and hence he gave them a small land for building a church near Mysore-Bangalore Road. Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar 4 had laid the foundation of the new church in the year 1933 on 28th October. The design of this church was made by a French man Daly. The floor plan of this cathedral is in the cross form.
The longer part of cross is the 'nave' that is called as the congregation hall of the church. This hall has the capacity of seating 800 peoples at a time. There are stained glass windows that are depicting pictures from the birth of Christ, till the Ascension of Christ. The huge two arms of the cross are the 'transepts', of the church. The last and the forth part having the altar and the choir is the main crossing of the church. The entire church is constructed in the Gothic style; this is the largest cathedrals in South Asia. The construction of this church is completed under the supervision of Bishops Rene Fuga's. During that time Thamboo Chetty was the Huzur secretary of Maharaja and after hearing about the significance of the St. Philomena he obtained relic of saint from Pisani Apostolic delegates in 1926. This relic was given to the Fr. Cochet. There was a new state that was brought from France just a year after the relic.
Legends say that Philomena was a famous saint and martyr of Roman Catholic Church. She was a young Greek princess martyred in the 4th century. Philomena was a daughter of the monarch in Greek. His father took her to Rome to gain the favor of Emperor. The emperor was impressed by her beauty and wanted to marry her. The young girl refused to marry him and swore to give herself to God. After being refused the emperor tortured her and beheaded her in Rome itself. But the devotion of the people spread all over and they honored her as Saint.
There are holy masses that are conducted in the church daily and they are in three languages that are in Tamil, Kannada and in English. Behind this there is a wonderful marble altar on which there is a statue of Saint Philomena. There is also a deity of Christ lying in his holy wounds. The most beautiful and attractive part of this church are its towers or the spires. These towers are similar to the cathedral that is in Cologne in Germany and also to those of St. Patrick's church of New York. These towers are about 175 feet tall.
This church runs an orphanage that is in the premises of the St. Philomena's church. There are mass during festivals also. There is an annual feat of the church that is held on the 11th of August . Visitors are not supposed to take photographs inside the cathedral of the church. This church is open for people from all religions; there is no restriction of cast, creed and religions. People visit this church for seeking spiritual satisfaction and happiness. The devotees come here to offer prayers and light a candle in the premises of the church as a respect for St. Philomena.
Airways: There is a domestic airport in Mysore that is connected to all major cities of India. There are regular flights from here to all main cities of India.
Railways: Mysore is well connected to all the major cities of India via rail lines and there are trains running from here to all the important cities of India.
Road ways: There are state transport and luxury bus services from Mysore to all the major cities of India. There are also local buses and taxi services from bus station to St. Philomena's church.
Best time to visit
St. Philomena's church is from October to March as during this period there are festivals that are celebrated here.