St. Ann’s Co-Cathedral Visakhapatnam Saccy

Catholic

Andhra Pradesh, India

Contact

Cathedral Street
Near Reading Room
Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh, India


The history of the Church can be traced back to 1770. A por tuguese merchant residing in Visakhapatnam by name Paul Rosario gave his house and proper ty to the Theotine Fathers visiting the place on condition that it should be used as a chapel. The centre par t was turned into chapel dedicated to St. Ann. This is the very first Catholic Church in Visakhapatnam. The said proper ty is the present co-cathedral compound. The Theotines coming from Goa were visiting the East Coast. We are not sure whether all the fathers were Europeans or if there were some Goans too. The catholics in those days were mostly Europeans and Anglo-Indians, either army personnel or attached to them.

When the first missionaries of St. Francis De Sales reached Visakhapatnam on 19th February 1846 it was to this St. Ann’s chapel that they were enthusiastically taken by the Catholic Soldiers. The plans of the Cathedral was prepared by Mgr. Neyret and Fr J M Tissot; the old chapel was pulled down and on 2nd February 1852 the foundation stone was laid by Fr. Tissot in the absence of the Vicar Apostolic. On 8th December, 1854 the new Cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Neyret.

In 1858 the Sisters of St. Joseph began to stay in the Cathedral. As their number increased, the Fathers went back to their first home at the For t which they had left for the sisters when they first arrived at Visakhapatnam in 1852. Together with them came the boarders and orphans. In 1898 when they shifted for good to Waltair Convent, then newly built. So, for 40 years the Cathedral served as a convent.

In 1898 the Gopalpur Seminary of the MSFS was closed and the Seminarians came to stay in the Cathedral in the month of December. From 1911 to 1950 the Cathedral was the novitiate of the Missionaries of St. Francis De Sales.

The Cathedral school was opened by Fr. Anselm Rey for boys and girls soon after his return from Gopalpur early in 1900. This school got recognition from the Government. In 1924 the boys and teachers were transfered to the newly star ted St. Anthony’s School. Girls were taken care of by the Sisters in 1925. In 1929 they bought the house where the Cathedral school is at present located and shifted the school to there.

Between 1920 and 1935 the cathedral was also a boarding home for boys till it was shifted to St. Anthony's in 1939.

As the Bishop’s House at the For t was declared unsafe after the 1923 cyclone Bishop Rossillon had the idea to shift to the Cathedral church premises. For this purpose, the two storied building with the cellar where the parish priest resides now, was built between 1927-29, but the Bishop never stayed there.

When the Novitiate was shifted in 1950, Cathedral became the residence of the Regional Superior of the MSFS upto 1966.

In 1986 because of the pastoral reasons the Cathedral is shifted to Gnanapuram. Thence St. Ann’s Cathedral is given the status of a co-cathedral with all the privileges and honours attached to a cathedral while St. Ann continues to be the principal patronness of the Diocese.