07/22/2020, 13.00
PAKISTAN
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Minister Augustine wants two historic churches added to the national heritage

by Shafique Khokhar

The two churches – the Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and the Anglican Cathedral Church of Resurrection – are in Lahore. According to Fr Faisal, such government initiatives truly build peace and project a positive image of Pakistan in the world.

 

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Punjab’s Minister of Human Rights, Minorities Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Ijaz Alam Augustine has brought to the attention of his government the state of dilapidation of Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral and the Church of Resurrection, the cathedral of the Anglican Church (Church of Pakistan), both in Lahore.

Augustine asked the provincial government to recognise the two large historic churches as part of the national heritage. He visited both Sacred Heart Cathedral, on Lawrence Road, and the Church of the Resurrection, on Mall Road, where he and met their clergy.

The Catholic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart was consecrated on 19 November 1907 by the then Bishop of Lahore, Fabien Antoine Eestermans. The church was built thanks to funding and materials from Belgium. A Belgian architect, Edouard Dobbeleers of Antwerp, designed the building in the Roman Byzantine style.

The neo-Gothic Cathedral Church of the Resurrection, located in the heart of Lahore, was built in 1887 out of pink sandstone by architect John Oldrid Scott (son of George Gilbert Scott). It contains a Saint Thomas Cross found in 1935 in the ancient city of Sirkap, near Taxila.

Both cathedrals need restoration, including new pipes, electrical system and other beautification work, and should be included in the country’s artistic heritage.

According to Mr Augustine, approximately 50,000,000 rupees (about US$ 300,000) are needed, and his ministry will cover the expenses with the World City Authority.

Both churches will undergo extraordinary repair work in accordance with the appropriate engineering methods.

The minister thanked Punjab’s Chief Minister, Usman Buzdar, noting that the work would be completed within a year.

Both the bishops, the clergy and congregations are grateful to the provincial government, and are waiting to see the work done.

Church of Pakistan Rev Salman Babar, Diocese of Karachi, expressed his appreciation for the government's initiative, adding that it will project a very positive image and help build better relations.

Pakistan is going through a hard time as it faces the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the country’s minorities are suffering. This type of initiative encourages inter-faith harmony and peace in the country.

For Fr Faisal Pervaiz of the Archdiocese of Lahore, the government is taking a very positive and courageous step, showing interest in safeguarding the local culture, heritage and historic sites.

This will bring inner peace and satisfaction because such initiatives show that minorities, their heritage and historic buildings are safe in Pakistan.

Fr Faisal noted that this is really good news for everyone. People need education as it is the most powerful weapon to change relationships and even the world, inspiring future generations to live in peace.

Speaking to AsiaNews, the Catholic clergyman said that the media can play an important role by highlighting government projects of this kind, which truly build peace. What is more, through them, the world will have a more positive image of Pakistan.

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