St John the Baptist Church Thane


Mumbai, Maharashtra, India


Jambli Naka, L.B.S. Marg
Mumbai Maharashtra, India


06:00 a.m. (English)
07:00 a.m. (English)
08:00 a.m. (English)
09:15 a.m. (English)
11:00 a.m. (Malayalam)
05:30 p.m. (English)
06:30 p.m. (English)

Even before the Portuguese missionaries brought the Christian faith to Thane around the middle of the 16th century, Thana had already acquired a place in the history of the church in India. For one march 9th 1321 four Franciscan friars suffered martyrdom in Thana (cf.milestones). More than two centuries later, the Franciscan were back. In the beginning of 1547, Fr. Antonio do Porto and his companions arrived in Bassein.

That same year he sent two Friars to open a house in Thana; but this attempt was a failure. A second attempt was made, but much later in 1580 and this time they succeeded; in 1582 the Franciscans built the St. Anthony Friary near a tank.

When the Marathas captured Thane in 1737 all the churches except that of St. Anthony, were destroyed. (The ruins of Ghormal and the Pokhran churches outside Thane still exist. The Ghormal church was renovated about 4-5 years back. These perhaps had fallen into disrepair when the Portuguese missionaries had to leave Thane).

The church of St. Anthony though, was allowed by the Marathas to function, but now under the secular clergy, were severely damaged and needed extensive repairs. Of that old Franciscan church only the wooden main altar, the two side altars, and the roof of the sanctuary did not suffer damage and exists till today. When the secular clergy took over St. Anthony’s, they changed the name to that, of the former parish church of Thane – St. John the Baptist.

The Franciscans left, but that is not the last we hear of them. They made attempts to return to their church in Thane, and were temporarily successful in 1773. According to the records in one of the registers preserved in the present parish, Fr. Humbert is able to write: “1773 Mar 19, the Franciscans from the Madre de Deus Province take charge of the parish till the beginning of 1776” (l: 193). This is the last we hear of the Franciscans: after that the parish reverted to the secular clergy (also Meersman, 1971:462).

Till recently the parish of St. John’s was the most extensive of all the parishes in the Archdiocese, with a catholic population that resided from Mulund in the west to Dombivli in the east, and from Bhiwandi in the north to Belapur in the south. (now individual functioning parishes in their own right).

To accommodate the ever-growing number of parishioners in a highly industrialized area of the state, the church was extended in 1965, and two schools (besides two centrally located schools) opened at outlying points of the parish. There is also a chapel dedicated to O.L of Fatima (now full fledged parish) in the village of Majiwada, which celebrated its Silver jubilee in the June 1979.