KOCHI: Even after his death, Dr K J Antony’s dream of conserving the St Sebastian’s Church as a testimoy of Indo-Portuguese architecture in Kochi lives on. That is despite the partial demolition of the church in 2011.
Dr Antony, who was confirmed the other day to have been killed in Jharkhand in 2009, had taken the initiative to protect the heritage value of St Sebastian’s Church in Thoppumpady, back in 2000. He went missing in 2009.
It was Dr Antony, a parishioner of the St Sebastian’s Church, who first raised his voice against the move of the Kochi diocese to demolish the church citing inability of the church to accommodate the huge gathering there.
“Although a doctor by profession, Antony was interested in various activities, including environmental protection. He, along with former MLA Simon Britto, had planted saplings at various schools and colleges under the Social Forestry project,” said a close friend of Dr Antony.
A Left sympathiser, Antony was the personal doctor to various CPM leaders in Ernakulam, including CITU leader M M Lawrence and former MLA Simon Britto.
The Church had raised a good amount of fund for a new church. But the decision was opposed by a section of parishioners, including Dr Antony, concerned about the archaeological importance of the church. “Antony had to face the wrath even from his fellow parishioners,” the friend said.
The Department of Culture in 2007 declared the historically-important church, built in 1833, as a protected monument.