Lucknow’s Cathedral Church of St. Joseph is an oasis of peace, in the midst of bustling Hazratganj

Lucknow is a treasure trove of many structures and places of historical significance, but what makes this city truly diverse is the medley of cultures associated with it. You’ll find diversity in every nook and cranny of Lucknow, which truly paints this city of the Nawabs in warm tones of cordial acceptance. Likewise, the Bada Imambada in Chowk or the Hanuman Mandir in University Road are an integral part of its identity, as is the cathedral church of Hazratganj!


What is the story?

In 1858 the first steps in establishing this church were taken by Fr. William Gleeson, who was an Irish priest and there are stories that he purchased land here in Hazratganj which was shrouded only in wilderness. at that time. So in 1860, after a period of two years, this cathedral was built by him and was dedicated to Saint Joseph and on May 10 the church was blessed by Bishop Anastasius Hartmann. Father Gleeson had also built a perimeter wall and a priest’s house here and the charge of the place was handed over to Reverend Father Felix OFM, Captain of Turin.

In 1885, the Rev. Norbert, OFM Cap. de Tossignano, had started teaching two students here and soon enough he realized the pressing need for education around town. This is how one of Lucknow’s esteemed institutions, St. Francis School with an orphanage, came into being in 1890.

This cathedral has become synonymous with Lucknow’s identity and during the holy days of Sunday, Lent, Good Friday, Easter and Christmas you will see a sizable crowd here!

Knock Knock

So in Lucknow it is almost impossible to miss this imposing and sprawling structure, which has contributed immensely to Hazratganj’s reputation. No matter what your religious inclination, whenever you find yourself, after the lockdown is over, take a walk inside the premises here. And if you’re lucky enough, you might even be able to enter the church building which is only majestic in its own terms and immediately gives you a sense of solace amid the area’s urban rush. Keep your cameras handy for this one!


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Martha J. Finley