The St. Philomena's Church in Mysore is one of the oldest churches in India. It is over 200 years old. Initially over 250 years ago there was a small church in its place. When the capital of Mysore state was move from Srirangapatnam to Mysore city in 1799, many British officers and soldiers came and settled down in Mysore. The Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar III realized the need for a Christian church for these people. So the Maharaja gave them a small plot of land on the Mysore-Bangalore Road and a little church came up there. As the city expanded and the Christian population of the city increased there was a need for a larger church.
The story of St. Philomena dates back to the 3rd century A.D. Philomena was the daughter of the monarch of a small state in Greece. Her parents were childless. They prayed to God and asked Him to bless them with a child and promised to convert to Christianity if their wish was granted. The next year Philomena was born to them. Even in her childhood Philomena showed signs of piety. When Philomena was 13 years' old her father took her to Rome to obtain the favour of Emperor Diocletion. The Emperor was enthralled by her beauty and wanted to marry her. But she refused and vowed to give herself to God. As she refused to marry the Emperor she was tortured and beheaded in Rome.
But people's devotion for her spread near and far and she was given sainthood. There are a number of churches dedicated to her all over the world. Today the church stands as a monument to the secular outlook of the Mysore rulers. It is no longer just a religious place but has become a major tourist attraction in Mysore. There is an orphanage on the premises of the church that is run by the church. The church is located at a distance of 3kms from the city bus stand and 2km from the Palace. The church is open from 8am to 6pm. Holy Mass is held in the morning and evening. Special masses are held on Sundays and on festivals. An Annual Feast is held on August 11th each year.
How to Reach Mysore
Mysore is 139kms to the south west of Bangalore. The state highway that connects these two cities is very well maintained. Travelling from Bangalore to Mysore by road is a pleasant experience and will take about 3hrs. The Karnataka Road Transport Corporation has excellent bus service to Mysore. There are ordinary buses, semi-luxury buses and luxury buses operated by the Government of Karnataka. Every half an hour there is a non-stop bus to Mysore from Bangalore Bus Station. Corporations of other states and private tour operators have buses plying to Mysore as well. All these facilities have made Mysore extremely accessible by road.
Mysore is connected with a number of trains to Bangalore. The super fast luxury train the Shatabdi Express connects Mysore to Madras. The quickest and most comfortable way to reach Mysore is via Bangalore.
The nearest airport to Mysore is Bangalore (139 km). All the domestic airlines in the country operate their flights to Bangalore from all the major cities in the country. Some international airlines too have flights to Bangalore. Bangalore is to have an international airport shortly.