‘Oxford Mission Epiphany Church’ is one of the most elegant looking Churches of Bangladesh, which is one of the unique artistic patterns of historic architectures. The pleasant town Barisal known as the Venice of the East stands on River Kirttanakhola covering the area of 45 square kilometers. The ancient river port and beautiful city Barisal attracted many foreigners of Christian Community in the early twentieth century and started to live here permanently. As results, few churches were built in Barisal. Oxford Mission Church is one of the most beautiful churches of Barisal among other some beautiful churches. People commonly recognize the glorious structure of Barisal as Oxford Mission Church though its original name is Epiphany Church. Epiphany Church situated in the town of Barisal beside Bogra Road is the Second Largest Church in Asia.
This stunning red brick church was built in 1903 from the sketch of Sister Edith. Father Strong gave the final shape and the construction completed in 1907. According to information, this one of the oldest churches was built by Frederick Dogglaz. Educated in Church of England, he came first in the country in1892. He once saved a policeman seriously injured by terrorists. The police authority presented him a portrait of Jesus in recognition of his great work. Throughout his life he had with the gift. Epiphany Church was built under the supervision of him.
Epiphany sister society was founded on January 6, 1903. Slowly many came to join this society and many developmental work in progress among women. In 19 March, 1904, donated twenty-five thousand rupees by Mrs. Khetramani Dutta and financial help by other foreign friends, the construction of Epiphany Church was began in Barisal.
13 small and large ponds, Oxford Mission Primary School and Oxford Mission High School are in the high walls Church boundaries. The extraordinary architecture of the church has numerous corridor and 40 archways, which ensure the particular strength of the structure. As a blessing of Jesus Christ, there is a large cross on the main altar that attracts both domestic and foreign tourists. Built by following Greek architectural style, Oxford Mission Church has vast prayer hall inside.
The authority claims first though it is the second in Asia in terms of height. The inside part of the Church with woodcarvings and the floor is decorated with marvelous marble tiles. The One stored Church is likely five stored building (around 50 feet) in height.
The Great attraction of the Oxford Mission Church is a BIG Bell. In Asia, there is no other church with such Big Bell. It is prayed 7 times per day.
The purpose of the Church Construction was to improve the quality of education in the backward regions of the South. In the early part the school was run by the British Fathers. Later on, Educated Bangladeshis took the responsibility of school operation because of few Fathers’ die and return of other Fathers’ to their country.
Church is not limited to prayer only. There are primary and secondary schools, girls’ schools, hospitals, libraries, leads tanks, students’ hostel, playgrounds, flower gardens and medicinal trees. There is a large pond in front of School Gate. Sectional swimming competition is held here. There is Boys’ Hostel and Girls’ Hostel adjacent to School. Father’s House and Mother’s House are little inside the School where Foreign Fathers’ and Mothers’ lived in.
Currently under the supervision of Father Francis Pandey, The Church is open for visitors from afternoon (4pm) to early evening. However, there are some obligations. Visitors need to take permission from the authorities to visit inside of Oxford Mission Church freely. Moreover, It is not possible to visit much time as most of the time Prayer goes on.
Epiphany Oxford Mission Church is the witness of hundred year’s communal harmony of Bangladesh and a unique architectural heritage.
Please share your experience here in comments if you ever visited Oxford Mission Church.