Culture Minorities Telangana

St Luke’s Hindustani church in Hyderabad holds service in Urdu, Hindi

Hyderabad: You might have passed by the busy Chirag Ali lane in Abids many a time, but may not have noticed this important historical spot of Hyderabad — the St Luke’s Hindustani Church which is the only South Indian church that conducts its service in Urdu and Hindi.

Dating back to 1905, the place was said to be gifted by Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan to the missionaries who requested for land to construct a place of worship.

“Urdu was the local language at the time. It was the first language and everyone, irrespective of their religion or native language, had to learn Urdu,” says Reverend KS Herald Christian, who is the Presbyterian in charge at the church. “Thus, the missionaries, too, had to learn the language and began conducting their services in Urdu,” he says.

The plain and simple rectangle structure was originally built as a chapel, a small place of worship with an altar, known as the ‘Norman Miller Memorial Chapel’. It was taken over by the Church of South India (CSI) Trust Association on September 27, 1947, and renamed St Luke’s Hindustani Church.

“It was typical for churches to hold services in local languages. The Centenary Baptist Church in Secunderabad was built for the local Telugu masses back in 1875, there is a church in Bengaluru, too, that offers its services in Hindi as well,” says Reverend Christian.

The church still continues its age-old tradition of holding services in Urdu. The inscriptions inside the church are in Urdu and it even has an Urdu Bible. Recently, Hindi services were also included. The weekly service takes place at 10.30 am on Sundays.

“Religion and language have never been a barrier to worship. Any religious devout can worship in the church. There is no bar on visitors from other communities. We welcome everyone to join us for the Christmas celebrations this year,” Reverend Christian adds.