This Abandoned Church in Andheri Opens only Once a Year

Just like many surprising stories the city holds, there is a haunted yet lively abandoned church that opens for mass only once a year. We are talking about the St. John's Baptist Church in Andheri, Mumbai.

Hitanshu Bhatt
New Update
church in andheri

Image for representative purpose only

They say the city of Mumbai never rests but this ever-brimming city has a church that reposes for the entire year but gets extremely busy on one particular day. This is the St. John's Baptist Church in Andheri, Mumbai which opens only on the second Sunday of every May. Hundreds of Christian folks head to this church for a yearly mass and history enthusiasts from all over the city join the feast and celebrations on this day. But behind the joyous celebrations there lie some ominous legends hidden beneath a small pond near this church. Are these daunty stories true or is this only a holy site, and why was the church abandoned almost before 184 years? Let’s unfold everything about the church that opens only once a year.

A Look back to 1579

This church that today lies in a renowned industrial area of Mumbai, SEEPZ (Santacruz Electronic Export Processing Zone) was once called the hilly area of Condita in 1579. A Jesuit, Fr. Manuel Gomes built a Portuguese Church dedicated to St. John the Baptist. A few years after the opening of the Church, there was a second mass conversion to Christianity in Marol as mentioned in a study called 'Thesaurum Rerum Indicarum' and the manuscript of Fr. Hauser, a German Jesuit. 

The Epidemic that Made this Church Haunted

abandoned church in andheri

The church was a holy place of religion for many years until an unknown epidemic hit in 1840 in this area. After this catastrophe, the church and the entire area were abandoned for a few years. Some years later the ownership was transferred to the nearby village of Marol by Fr. Jose Lourenco Pais, the Vicar of Condita. The church that was shifted still stands as St. John Evangelist Church in the same area. This was not well maintained by the authorities and went into complete ruin with just three arches which supported the façade, the sanctuary with the altar and the high stone walls of the nave present in the place. 

Since it is a common perception of people building stories around such forsaken, something similar happened with this church. Stories started building around it which made this calm church look sombre. People said that they saw a young bride’s spirit haunting it. It is also believed that to control the demonic possession, an exorcism was held in 1977. Some people say, the spirit still haunts the pond which is present here and has killed every being that passes through his area. The guards here also claim that there were sights of an odd figure roaming in white clothes. Although there are no conclusive shreds of evidence or confirmation to the stories, they still prevail. 

seepz church celebrations

Amidst the haunt all year around, there is one day of the entire year that makes this place come to life. The second May of every year sees a rich celebration where people from the Christian community and various other folks from the city join in for a mass and a feast. These celebrations make us realise that even a property that was revered 440 years ago can go to a standstill but its aura comes to light to remind people of its lively presence in the once-stood stagnant time. 

You can visit the church this Sunday and witness the magic come alive. 

Location: St. John the Baptist Church, Seepz Road D, Seepz, Andheri East, Mumbai - 400 096.

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