City Faith – St. Anthony Chapel, Manora

Manora is a personal favorite. For the reason that it truly qualifies as a settlement by the sea. While rest of the city turns its back towards the sea, making it impossible to look at it behind the curtains, blinds and tinted windows, Manora embraces it. You don’t have to go and look for the sea. It’s right there, visible from every street and window.

Manora was ethnically and religiously diverse settlement since the beginning. The tiny strip of land has temples, churches, mosques and gurdwaras dating back to few centuries now. St. Anthony church is part of that league although it is much younger than the rest of landmarks of religious nature. Or is it? St. Anthony Church was built in 1921 as the plaque on the entrance reads. However long before it became a church, It used to be an Anglo vernacular school. Named after an English Gentlemen ‘Humby’, the school was one of the earliest in entire Karachi. Alexander Francis Baillie, in his book “Kurrachee: (Karachi) Past, Present and Future” written in 1890, noted that there were 39 students enrolled in the school and no less than four languages were taught to the students who come from a ‘mixed’ population. He further noted that this was true for entire Karachi back in the day with so many dialects and tongues that a lot more schools needed to be established than it would have been necessary in a population speaking one language. Also the school had a room which served as a meeting spot for Freemasons long before they built the lodge in Saddar. The periodical noted the consecration of the lodge in its periodical of Nov, 1892

“The usual monotony of Manora , Karachi , in the Province of Sind , was agreeably enlivened on the 28th September last by the consecration and opening of the Faith Lodge, No. 2438, in the Hnmby Vernacular School, and the installation of Bro. David Morris as the first W.M. The school room had been decorated with banners and evergreens, which formed a very handsome little lodge, thanks to the exertions of the W.M. and the indefatigable Treasurer of the lodge”

Manora already had St. Paul as the primary church by that time but with an increasing population of local Christians, another church was needed. After few years the school was handed over to the St. Patrick Church and after some additions to the buildings, it was opened as a church in 1922. The building is built with limestone with sloping roof. The interior of the church is not very different from other churches in present day Karachi but it sure has history very different from the rest.

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Categories: City Faith

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