Oldest Church in North India

The Church building was built from 1819 to 1821 and is the oldest Church in North India. The Saint John the Baptist or John’s Church, is a parish church in the diocese of Agra of Church of North India, and is located Meerut, India. The parish motto Unity, Witness and Service found at the entrance serves to remind parishioners and guests alike of the purpose of this church.
The parish was founded in 1819 to serve the military garrison stationed locally. Its founder was British Army chaplain, the Rev. Henry Fischer, a Church of England clergyman, posted to Meerut, India.
The parish church of St John the Baptist is the oldest church edifice in the northern half of India. It still houses a huge but non-functioning pipe organ, which employed manually operated bellows to supply the organ with air. The wooden pews and kneelers, brass eagle lectern, marble baptistery, and stained glass windows all date back nearly two centuries.

Architecture: St John’s church building conforms to a style of English parish church architecture popular before the Gothic Revival, and is modelled on the Palladian or classical style, which was well suited to local conditions with a large open interior space for worship in which air could circulate freely in sometimes stifling temperatures. It includes an upper seating area (balcony), no longer in use. Dating back almost 200 years, renovations have changed little to the church fabric, making it a fine example of an Anglican parish church of the early 1800s.

St. John’s Church cemetery: Near to this church lies St. John’s Church cemetery. The grounds contain trees and greenery. Some of the graves are more than a century old and contain engraved headstones, carved pillars and some very elegant tombs bordering on antiquity. The older ones in the graveyard are falling apart due to weathering, and a curious visitor may have to navigate through some unfriendly underbrush and rough terrain.

The Indian Rebellion of 1857 was a rebellion in India against the rule of the British East India Company that ran from May 1857 to July 1859. The rebellion began as a mutiny of sepoys of the East India Company’s army on 10 May 1857, in the cantonment of the town of Meerut.

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