|Christ Church-1792 Thiruchirapalli.www.trichy.com|
|Rev. Schwarz St.Mary's church,chennai. Madras musings.com.|
Schwartz (1726–1798), founder of Christ Church, was a German Lutheran Protestant missionary to India. Born on 8 October, 1726 at Sonnenburg, in the electorate of Brandenburg, Prussia, when he grew up, he took keen interest in missionary and charitable work. Having learned the Tamil language (widely spoken in Tamil Nadu, India) to assist in a translation of the Bible into that language, he was keen to become a missionary in India. He received ordination at Copenhagen on 8 August,1749, and, spent some time in England to acquire the English language,
A genial person as he was, besides being a polyglot, he had a good relationship with local Indian rulers, in particular, Rajah Serfoji II, a Maratha ruler of Tanjore, to whom he was a mentor right from the early stage. Raja Serfoji was a direct descendant of Shivaji Maharaj, the great Maratha warrior. Fr. Schwartz also had an amicable relationship with Hyder Ali, the ruler of Mysore. As a Protestant missionary in India, he won the esteem of people of other religious faiths. After twelve years in Tiruchirapalli, he moved to Thanjavur, where he spent the remainder of his life. He died on 13 February 1798. The Raja of Tanjore - Serfoji had a monument erected and executed by John Flaxman, in the mission church, in which he is represented as grasping the hand of the dying missionary and receiving his benediction.
A monument to Schwartz by John Bacon was placed by the British East India Company in St. Mary's church at Chennai. Schwartz High School in Ramanathapuram has produced notable students, among them Dr. Abdul Kalam, the former President of India and a ballistic missile scientistt of international repute.
The following is the message in the Memorial commissioned by Raja Serfoji at Thanjavur CSI Schwartz church (1779):
"To the memory of the Reverend Christian Frederic Schwartz. Born at Sonnenburg of Neumark in the Kingdom of Prussia, the 26th of October 1726, and died at Tanjore the 13th of February 1798, in the 72d Year of his age. Devoted from his Early Manhood to the Office of Missionary in the East, the similarity of his situation to that of the first preachers of the gospel, produced in him a peculiar resemblance to the simple sanctity of the apostolic character. His natural vivacity won the affection as his unspotted probity and purity of life alike commanded the reverence of the Christian, Mohammedan and Hindu. For sovereign princes, Hindu, and Mohammedan selected this humble pastor as the medium of political negotiations with the British Government". ...........................................Maha Raja Serfojee