Fr. Bertrend SJ, bought a piece of land in 1840 and a mini chapel dedicated to our Lady of Dolours was constructed in 1841 by Fr. Garnier. He settled down nearly 30 families of Saliers who were persecuted and driven out from W. Pudupatti church. During the period of Fr. Trincal, (1855) the number of Catholics in this area rose from 600 to 2500. To accommodate the Catholics, the Church was expanded by Fr. Hibolite sj and Br. Lemothe, sj who built two bell towers in Roman style about 1972. The Church was extended to the present Gothic style in three parts. Due to lack of fund from Europe caused by World War I in 1914, Fr. Planchard had to sell the land (the present Mission Hospital opposite to the Cathedral) and continue the construction. The work was over in 1916 and Msgr. Faisandier blessed the church on 15th of August. Mr. Savarimuthu, who built St. Joseph’s College buildings was the architect of the Cathedral. When Madurai was created as a new diocese, Msgr. Leonard sj. announced Our Lady of Dolours as Pro-Cathedral. After Fr. Gomez sj,
Fr. Adaikalam sj. executed the plan of the present bigger church and the taller towers. At the time of Msgr. Justin Diraviam, Our Lady of Dolours attained the status of a Cathedral and was handed over to the Archdiocese in virtue of the Decree given by the Sacred congregation for Religious and seular institutes in 1969.
The Cathedral church stands as a unique symbol of beauty and spirituality with a blend of various forms of European, Roman and continental architecture. The spiritual aura of the agony of Jesus and Mary inspires pathos and passion.
From the beginning, this Church is one of the attractions of Madurai. This parish is more than 150 years old. The parish is full of traditional Catholics and some settled Catholics. The parish comprises of fifteen sub stations and 1600 Catholic Families.
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