History: Our Lady of Victories Church, Nagara

Nagara was the place which had several names in past. People were calling it as Bidarahalli, Bidirur, Bidanoor, Hydernagar, etc. Nagara is a place of great historical importance. One is told that Sankaranarayana Bhat was its ruler in the 16th Century. In 1763, Hyder Ali conquered it from Veerabhadra Nayaka of Ikkeri and called it as “Hydernagar”. When later it came under the direct rule of the British., Hydernagar began to be called simply as Nagar. Earlier, the famous Sivappa Nayaka had ruled from here in 1645 to 1661. His memory is still alive as his fort through ruined to a great extent stands still to this day.

Nagar is memorable in a special way also to the Christians. It was a place where once upon a time thousands of Christians lived and where the first ever Church to be built in the present district of Shimoga and in the history of the Diocese. According to history St Joseph Vaz visited this place and he had brought a Statue of Our Lady of Milagris from Goa. During the persecution of Tippu Sultan most of the Christians were banished to Chitradurga and the beautiful Church of Nagar destroyed. The Church had two bells of which one was said to be in a temple near Kundapur and the other in the Government Museum in Shimoga.

A small thatched room was put up there in 1846, and occasionally Mass was being offered there for the benefit of the few Christians that were then there. Fr Augustine Fernandes constructed a small chapel on a corner of the compound with the help of parishioners in spite of great opposition from some communal elements. It was blessed by Bishop R euga in May 1959. He also erected a big Cross, replacing a wooden one, on the basement of the original Church. A completely new Chapel was constructed in May, 1978 by Fr Daniel D’Souza of Kable, financed by the Diocese. It was blessed on 09-05-1979. Earlier also aided by the Diocese. Fr A Fernandes had put up a boarding house.

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