Left: Photograph of whole frontage, copy; Aleksandr Zykov. Right: Closer view of the rose window and other Gothic elements on the tower.

St Joseph's Metropolitan Cathedral, at Palayam, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram), is the Roman Catholic Latin Rite cathedral of the Archdiocese of Trivandrum. Built in 1873, it has been extended and restored since then: it was given a cruciform shape in 1912, for example, and its Gothic façade and bell-tower were only completed in 1927 (see "About Us"). It was renovated during the period 2008 to 2010. The figures on the cathedral are Jesus, arms stretched out in blessing, at the top of the tower, and Joseph, holding the infant Jesus, over the west entrance.

The deeply recessed rose window and one of the crocketed pinnacles.

St Joseph's congregation is drawn from "descendants of converts made in the last four centuries since the Portuguese landed in India" (MacKenzie 1). This is why it follows the "Latin Rite" rather than the Syrian rites followed by many other Christians here, who trace their history back as far as St Thomas's preaching on the coast in 52 AD (see St George's Syrian Cathedral, Trivandrum). The church only became a cathedral when the new diocese of Trivandrum was formed in 1937; it became a metropolitan cathedral as recently as 2004.

Looking down the side of the cathedral to one of the transepts of 1912 (the south one) with its red tiled roof.

St Joseph's looks quite different in some old photographs because it was painted red from 1927 to 2010. The cathedral is in the same area (Palayam) as the Masjid-i Jahān-Numā, and since the mosque itself shares a wall with the Hindu Ganesha temple next door, this part of Thiruvananthapuram seems to exemplify and reflect peaceful co-existence and tolerance in the local population.

The photograph at the top right was © Aleksandr Zykov, with thanks; originally posted on Flickr, and slightly adjusted here for perspective, this may be reused on the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) licence. The other two photographs and the accompanying text are by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images 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 in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]


"About Us." St Joseph's Metropolitan Cathedral, Palayam, Trivandrum (the cathedral's own website). Web. 29 April 2019.

MacKenzie, Gordon T. Christianity in Travancore. Trivandrum: Trivandrum Government Press, 1901. Internet Archive. Contributed by Harvard College. Web. 29 April 2019.

Created 29 April 2019