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The All Saint�s Cathedral centenary celebration

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, Jan 10 � The All Saint�s Cathedral here, one of the oldest churches of the North East, affiliated to the Diocese of North East India, is celebrating its centenary year from tomorrow.

One of those rare poems of Tagore, written for the first Bishop of the All Saint�s Cathedral, Reverend H Pakenham Walsh in his poem �To the Bishop of Assam� was a �compensation poem� as the Nobel laureate could not meet him during one of his visits to Calcutta in the early 1900s.

The poet expressed his regret for not being able to meet the Bishop personally and then wrote the poem from Shantiniketan on February 20, 1922 exalting the Church�s unselfish dedication towards the almighty.

�Never fear Pilgrim! Turn not away from the terror of truth, Or the dark Phantoms of the unreal: Accept your final gift from Him who takes away everything,� the poet urged.

The Bishop of the Church today proudly displayed the poem and also announced the centenary celebrations to begin from tomorrow starting with a flag hoisting ceremony in which dignitaries from the region and the country are slated to participate. �This poem was written to Rev Walsh and delivered to Rev CF Andrews. The poet probably tried to make up for his inability to meet Rev Walsh then,� Presley Lyngdoh, Bishop of the Church said.

The All Saint�s Cathedral is the oldest Church in the State and one of the oldest in the region first built in 1877, but was destroyed in the Earthquake of 1897. The Church was rebuilt and was reopened for service in 1915.

�The Church is entirely built out of wood brought from Burma (Myanmar) and is styled in the Elizabethan model. The tinted glasses were brought from England. We have still preserved the Font and the Bible from 1877,� Purely Lyngdoh, Vicar of the Church said while giving a tour of the beautiful church.

The Church also is arguably the proud host to one of the �oldest and tallest Christmas trees� of the State. �This tree was planted when the church was built in 1877.

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