St. Paul’s Cathedral
Written by Editor on 31st May 2022
St. Paul’s Cathedral
A beautiful little church with a heroic story to tell. It might seem odd that the church was built between 2000 and 2004, but this is where the story gets interesting: it was built in the original place of the Church that was built there before. The site on which the new Church now sits has great historical meaning. In June 1830, at a time when Catholic Missionaries seemed to have not yet arrived in Seychelles, Reverend William Morton who was an Anglican Missionary and Scholar from India came to visit Seychelles and reflected on the possibility of building an Anglican church. With the thought still in mind, the reverend left Seychelles after baptising around a hundred inhabitants and at the same time quickly informed the Church of England that Seychelles was in great need of a permanent chaplain.
And so, the post was offered to him and he returned to Seychelles in October 1832, still intent on building the church he had wanted to years before. But this dream of his never came true, due to the lack of support from the colonial authorities a year later he left Seychelles and returned to India. Thanks to a permanent civil chaplain, Reverend George Ferndinand Delafontaine, a decade later aft Reverend William Morton left, the Anglican Church spread and grew in Seychelles. As a result of the ministry’s influence and with the arrival of another civil chaplain in 1855, Auguste Fallet’s plans to build the church began to finally materialise.
Consequently, on the 15th of May 1859, the small church of St Paul’s was consecrated by the First Anglican Bishop of Mauritius, William Vincent Ryan. Not only did this church serve as a place of worship for the growing Anglican population, but for those in the face of danger. In October 1862 a great avalanche devastated Victoria and many inhabitants sought refuge in the church and sacks of rice that we’re able to be salvaged from the debris were stored in the bell tower. At this point in time, the church became a significant sanctuary for the homeless families whose homes were destroyed in the disaster.
As the decades passed the small church was extended and renovated to accommodate the growing Anglican population in Seychelles, many of whom were liberated slaves. Interestingly enough, King Prempeh of Ashanti who had arrived in Seychelles to seek exile was baptised in the church on 29 May 1904. In April 1961 the church was given the status of Cathedral by Bishop Alan Francis Rogers in Mauritius, who also ordained the first Anglican Priest of Seychelles, Father French Chang-Him in 1963.
As time went by the church began to deteriorate and it was decided that the building would be demolished and rebuilt. And so, on the 15th of April 2004, Archbishop Chang-Him inaugurated and re-consecrated the new Cathedral that still stands today. The new church is one of grace and beauty, yet it also symbolises the history and importance of the church that was there before and the remarkable significance it was to the population at that time.
Location: Revolution Avenue, Victoria, Mahé (-4.6224, 55.451317), E-mail
Phone: +248 4 32 25 08
Opening hours: Services are held every day at the following times: Mon: 12.15 Tue: 6.30 Wed: 9.00 Thu: 6.30, 12.00 and 13.00 Fri: 6.30 Sat: 4.30 Sun: 7.00 and 9.00