Archdiocesan Heritage Museum
Off the Western Express Highway at Goregaon, the city fades away inside the verdant campus of St. Pius X College, the Archdiocesan Seminary of Bombay. Since 2011, a small slice of space in the main building, earlier the college gym, has housed the Archdiocesan Heritage Museum. With collections scouted from church attics, crypts and family altars, the museum showcases and celebrates the history and artistic production of Christianity in the Mumbai region. It’s worth the trip just to see a copy of the enormous King James’ Bible, the first ever in the English language, its leather cover decorated with the 12 Stations of the Cross in gold gilding. Or the many instances of artistic crossover and reinterpretation in Christian objects produced in India – works such as the statue of the Saint Paul from a parish church in Malad, sporting a very hindu-ised beard and standing on a lotus shaped footstool. A statuette of Mary with a bindi. Altar parts from a Manori church with angels in Mughal dress with Gandhara style curls in their hair. An evocative wooden image of St. Roch acquired from a church in Bandra stays with me. St. Roch, traditionally evoked against the plague, is believed to have become particularly venerated during the devastating plague epidemic of the 1890’s; he is shown here as he is usually depicted, pointing to a plague sore on his leg.
The Museum is open Tuesdays – Sundays, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Guided tours are conducted on prior notice and are strongly recommended.