Cathedral of the Holy Name is a Roman Catholic church in Colaba. It has been functioning as the Archbishop’s seat and mother church of the Archdiocese of Bombay. It is located on Nathalal Parekh Marg (formerly Wodehouse Road), opposite YMCA. It was opened to the public in January 1905 and designated a cathedral in March 1964. The church was declared a heritage building in 1998.
On entering through the massive carved doors, the eyes are drawn to the marble main altar. The central niche holds a life-size statue of Jesus Christ. The three stained glass windows above depict the Annuncation, the emblem of the Holy Name of Jesus, and the Nativity. During World War II, these windows were taken out and deposited in a safe place.
This beautiful sculpture of Virgin Mary has been installed to one side of the main altar.
The ceiling and walls are overlaid with frescos and geometrical designs which were painted by A. Moscheni of Bergamo and his two assistants. The beautiful work was completed in just over a year.
The Cathedral of the Holy Name is bordered by Archbishop’s House, Cathedral House and Fort Convent. The architect was Walter Chambers. The architectural style is Gothic and verges on what is recognised as Early Decorated in English architecture.
Fresco is a technique of mural painting where paint is applied directly on freshly laid lime plaster. The paint permeates the plaster. Once the plaster is set, the painting merges with the wall. The word fresco is derived from the Italian word affresco meaning fresh.
The pigment is absorbed by the wet plaster after a few hours The effect of gold and bronze has been created by using shades of ochre distemper. Gold has not been used in the paintings. Natural pigments were used for the paintings.
The walls are covered with frescos and geometrical designs. They have retained their beauty is spite of the passage of time. But heavy monsoons have taken their toll on the roof and walls. Restoration work was undertaken in 2004.
The elaborate windows were made of Munich glass. They are surrounded by geometric designs.
There are several gravestones embedded in the walls and floor of the Cathedral. Archbishop Theodoro Dalhoff and Cardinal Valerian Gracias are both laid to rest here.
The exterior has two towers which hold the belfries surmounted by octagonal spires. The main roof and spires are capped with Mangalore tiles. The spires are 130 feet tall above street level.