Our Church, The Cathedral of St. Thomas the Apostle, was established in 1718 at Fort Mumbai (then Bombay) by the Anglican Church (Church of England) to providing a place of worship as well as Pastoral/Episcopal care in the city (then town) of Bombay.
Thereafter it is half a century long history from the conception of the idea of building this church in 1668 to its completion in 1718. It involved the vision, dedicated efforts and generous contributions from many faithful Christians who wanted a place of worship in Bombay in the tradition of the Church of England.
The idea of building a church was conceived by Sir John Oxinden, the East India Company’s first Governor of Bombay in 1668. He was an intensely religious man who foresaw the religious needs of his men and thought of building a church in Bombay. Gerald Aungier, who succeeded him in 1669, pursued Oxinden’s wish. Aungier introduced a definitive religious policy in India and he wanted to invite the natives and strangers to embrace the reverence of the wholly reformed religion and see their form of worship. An amount of Rs. 50000 was raised by voluntary contribution from the servants of East India Company and was handed over to the chaplains of Bombay to build the church. Most of these contributions were by people who came forward offering their full year’s wages, some half year’s and least a quarter. Foundation of the church was laid in the present site in 1676 and the work continued for 3 years during the governorship of Sir John Child who succeeded Aungier in 1677. The church walls were raised to a height of 15 feet, but the work was then suspended since the English community had several setbacks after Aungier’s death in 1677. This project to build the church remained at a standstill for over 30 years.
Richard Cobbe who was appointed as the Chaplain to the factory of Bombay to the Merchants of England in 1714 campaigned aggressively for the resumption of building and completion of the church. Cobbe proposed the building of the church in his sermon on the Sunday after Trinity in June, 1715. That sermon had a great impact and Cobbe was granted leave to build the church. The Governor and the East India Company were the first ones to generously contribute towards the building. On 18 November 1715 the foundation stone for the church was laid once again on the same site as the old church by Stephen Strutt , Deputy Governor of Bombay. The church building was ready for opening in December, 1718.The church was inaugurated on Christmas Day in 1718 by Charles Boone, the Governor of Bombay in a grand ceremony.