Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kottayam

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Kottayam. Under the direction of Rev. Benjamin Bailey DD (1791-1851). 1830s; dedicated 1842. Kerala, S. India. Photograph kindly provided by Sunil George Koshy; commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL or cite it in a print document.]

Many churches were built in this part of India during the early Victorian period. The Kottayam Mission built churches in a long list of places — not only here but in Mallappally, Pallom, Kollad, Olessa, Ericadu, Changanacherry, Mavelikkara and Mundakayam. However, amongst these, "the largest as well as the most beautiful was the Holy Trinity, Kottayam, which Bishop Wilson called, 'the noble Gothic church, the glory of Travancore.' It was the work of Bailey whose laborious service in Kottayam went on apace" (Churches of S. India — CSI). Bailey was indeed laborious: he had already established the first printing press in the area, translating the New Testament into the local language, Malayalam, in 1829, and the whole Bible in 1841. This was the very same scholarly Benjamin Bailey with whom Keats had once corresponded, and to whom he wrote on 22 Nov. 1817 of "the holiness of the heart's affections." Then destined for a career in the church, the Rev. Bailey was eventually to become Archdeacon of Colombo. Walter Jackson Bate gives a wonderful picture of him as an "angular, industrious" young man, with a "calm moral vision" (209).

Koshy confirms that Holy Trinity Cathedral is famed for its beauty, saying that its "architectural elegance ... is maintained with great care." It is evidently thriving. Koshy adds that it has the largest Choir in its Diocese, with more than 90 members.


"Bailey, Benjamin, 1791?-1851. Scrapbook: Guide" (a Houghton Library, Harvard College Library site). 27 April 2011.

Bate, Walter Jackson. John Keats. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1979.

Churches of S. India — CSI. Web. 27 April 2011.

Palakunnathu Abraham Malpan (the biography of a reigious reformer). Web. 27 April 2011.

Last modified 27 April 2011