History of the Anglican Church in Mauritius


St.James Cathedral lithoThe Anglican Church has been present in Mauritius since the take-over by the British in 1810. The civil Church was established when the first Civil Chaplain, Revd Henry Shepherd was appointed on 6 May 1812.  This was followed by the consecration of the first Bishop of Mauritius in 1854 and the incorporation of the Anglican Diocese of Mauritius in 1973 by Parliament. Today there are 17 parishes.

We hold the Christian faith as received from apostolic times and the scriptures of Old and New Testament as our ultimate rule and standard of life. We are committed to obeying the commands of Christ, teaching his doctrine, administering the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion and maintaining an ordered ministry of bishops, priests and deacons.

The Diocese is organised into 17 parishes and some five mission churches in Mauritius and Rodrigues. In addition to the parishes there are many organisations working in areas such as education, health, mission and evangelisation, social welfare and communications. The Diocese established the first secondary coeducational school in 1943 and now has a second secondary school in Rodrigues jointly administered with the Roman Catholic Church.

The Diocese of Mauritius belongs to the Anglican Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean which forms part of the Anglican Communion, an international community of Anglicans in over 160 countries. The Diocese is subject to the rules and regulations of its Constitution, to the Diocesan Synod which is itself under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of the Province of the Indian Ocean.

The mission of the Anglican Diocese is to serve Christ faithfully in the circumstances of our daily lives and improve the welfare of the whole nation. We invite you to join us on this journey.

Important Dates in the History of the Anglican Diocese of Mauritius

1810       Take-over by the British who arrived with a military Church of England chaplain

1812       Civil chaplain Rev Henry shepherd 6 May was given an old French powder magazine to be  converted into a church which was to become St James Cathedral

1831       Reopening of church on Christmas Day

1842       Decision to build 2 churches, one in Reduit and one in Beau Bassin, one in Belle Isle and one in MHG

1846       Opening of St Thomas church in Beau Bassin

1850       Consecration of St James Cathedral on 26 June by Dr James Chapman, Bishop of Colombo visiting Mauritius (15 June -..), St Thomas on 10 July and St John, Reduit on 12 July (p.29)

1854       Creation of Diocese of Mauritius and consecration of Bishop Vincent William Ryan as first Bishop of Mauritius in Lambeth on 30 Nov to 18 Nov1867.

1856       Consecration of Christ Church Mahebourg on 8 January by Bishop Ryan (p.73.  . ) Rev. Francis Patrick Flemming was the designer – p39). Report on the dilapidated condition of the Chapel of Vacoas and urgency to rebuild it. (p.82, 146). Foundation stone was laid by Lady Stevenson on 10 July 1862

1859       Consecration of St Barnabas Pamplemousses on 9 November by Bishop Ryan in the presence of H. E. The Governor and Lady Stevenson (p.76-79)

1862       3rd May laying of foundation stone of St Peter’s Church Pailles by Miss Breton

And consecration of the church took place on 8 June 1864. The building was later transported to Cassis (p.80)

10 Jul 1862 Laying of foundation stone of St Paul Vacoas

1863       Foundations of St Paul’s Church, Plaine Verte were laid on 2 October and the consecration took place on 27 August 1864.

1865       Schools for Indian Children and for Children of emancipated slaves.

1869       Episcopate of Bishop Thomas Goodwin Hatchard (24 Feb1869 – 28 Feb1870)

An institution for the training of Cathechists and teachers was started on 1 May near the church at Beau Bassin (on the property now belonging to Mr Derblay) P102, 147, 163

The Rev. Jean Gedeon Rene Rembault de la Chapelle de Joux was installed on 1 August as the First Archdeacon of Mauritius

1870       Episcopate of Bishop Constantine Huxtable (30Nov1870 – 18 June 1871)

Anglican Chinese Mission begun during Bishop Royston’s episcopate but really took roots during ministry of Rev. Victor Donat, Rev. and Mrs Paul To, Deaconess Janet Vincent and Rev. James Ka Fei Ling.

1872        Episcopate of Bishop Peter Sorenson Royston (15Dec1872 – 1890)

1874        First meeting of the Board of Commissioners on 15 Dec

1876        St Paul’s Theological College begun in Beau Bassin by the Rev. Henry D. Buswell .

Holy Trinity Chapel to support congregation from Beau Bassin was rebuilt and consecrated on 22 Nov 1891 still under Incumbent of St Thomas Church.

1878        Construction of St Clement’s church started in August and the Church was consecrated on 27.12.1884 by Bishop Peter Sorensen Royston. First priest: Henry Dyson BUSWELL.

1879        Consecration of St Luke Souillac

1882        CMS put Revd Nigel Honiss in charge of St Agnes Rose Belle

1883        Construction of St John the Baptist, Brisee Verdiere

1888        Bishop Royston consecrates St Mark church Poudre d’Or on 27 Dec

1891         Episcopate of Bishop William Walsh (02Feb1891 – 22Oct1897)

1891         Consecration of Holy Trinity Church (See 1877)

1898         Episcopate of Bishop Walter Ruthven Pym (29Sep1898 – May1903)

1903         Consecration of St Barnabas Church Rodrigues on 15 Oct.

1904         Episcopate of Bishop Francis Ambrose Gregory (30N ov1904 – 23Apr1919)

The materials from the small Cassis Church were used to rebuild a small chapel (to be known later as St Andrew’s church) in Quatre Bornes (where QB market is today).

1905         Bishop Gregory bought a house with a couple of acres at Ambrose Street Rose Hill (opposite St Andrew’s School) to be utilised as a Training College. Moka theological College closed and gave way to St Paul’s Theological College.

1911          Bishop Francis Ambrose Gregory took upon himself to purchase a plot of land and build the mission chapel of St Michael and All Angels in Saint Pierre in 1911.

1919          Episcopate of Bishop Cyril Henry Golding-Bird (18Apr1919 – 11Nov1930)

1920         St Paul’s Theological College re-opens on 14 Aug after closure during the war. Under the principalship of Rev. William Alfred Norton, the College was accorded in circa 1925 the privilege of granting the Diploma of Licentiate in Theology based on the Durham L.Th.

1924         Branch of Mothers’ Union set up on April

1930         Archdeacon Otter-Barry founded the DPRF a few months before his appointment in July.

1931          Episcopate of Bishop Hugh Van Lynden Otter-Barry (11Jun1931 –28Sep 1959)

1938         Bishop Otter-Barry acquires and occupies House in Nalletamby road belonging to Colonial Posts. Bishop House has since been occupied by all subsequent bishops.

1943         Beginnings of St Andrew’s School on 8 Feb in Rectory at Vacoas. Picture

1959 – 1966 Episcopate of Bishop Alan Francis Bright Rogers (29Sep59-7Jul66)

1960         Cyclone Carol destroys most Anglican schools and churches among them St Philp church Beau Champ

1961         Handing over of Anglican schools to government.

1965         First visit to Mauritius of the Archbishop of Canterbury (Most Revd Michael Ramsey) on 20-22 November

1966         Episcopate of Bishop Ernest Edwin CURTIS (01Nov1966-1976)

1972         Rev James Ling installed as Rector of St Paul PV on 7th May. Visit of the Queen

1973         Anglican Church Incorporation Act proclaimed on 1st Oct and First Synod on 24 Nov with PM. Inauguration of Province IO on 27 March

1976         Short episcopate of Bishop Ghislain EMMANUEL (05Dec1976-16.02.1977)

1978         Episcopate of Bishop Urban Trevor HUDDLESTON (9Apr1978-29Apr1983)

1979         St Paul’s Theological College reopened in with Rev Donald W. Smith as Director

1984         Episcopate of Bishop Luc Rex Victor DONAT (20May1984-19Jan2001)

1987          Visit of Duke & Duchess of York in October

1990         Amendments to Diocesan Constitution (also in 1999, 2007)

1993         Visit of Archbishop Geoffrey and Mrs Carey from 02-04 June

2001         Episcopate of Bishop Gerald James Ian ERNEST

2007         First CAPA meeting leading to appointment of Bishop of Mauritius as Chairman of CAPA (2008-2011). Two-day visit of Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Mauritius.

2009         Commemoration of 160th Anniversary of St Thomas BB from 15 Nov – 17 Jan 2010 (Thanksgiving service on 06 Feb, ALPHA JEUNES, Retraite at Thabor, Souvenir magazine, Marche de charite et visite a SOS Village.

Visit in 23 – 26 April of SARA Delegation from China that may have had an impact on how the Chinese authorities view Christianity

2010         Conference with TruthXchange “The rise of a global neo-paganism and its influence on church and culture” on 3-6 August. Speakers: Dr Peter Jones, Dr V. Mangalwadi, Mrs Pamela Frost MA, Joel Pelsue BA.

Oct 18 Ordinary meeting of Synod

Start of Alpha course

2012         Second CAPA Meeting 4-8 Feb

2013         Bishop Ian attends the 50th Anniversary of the Anglican Congress in Toronto on 15 – 22 Sep.  First meeting was attended by Bishop Rogers, Rev G. Emmanuel and layperson Rex Donat.

2014         Issue of an updated version of Ghislain Emmanuel book “Diocese of Mauritius 1810 -1973 with an addendum to 2000”

Visit of Archbishop of Canterbury Most Revd Justin Welby and wife Caroline 4 – 6 July. End of festivities on 30 Nov for the 160th Anniversary of the diocese with a huge service at St James Cathedral.

Diocesan Synod in October resulting in the creation of new departments, to the admission to Holy Communion of unconfirmed children as from the age of 8 years, the confirmation of the change in the appellation of the Province to “The Anglican Church of the Indian Ocean”, two changes in the Standing Orders concerning parishes and the structuring of parishes into Regions.

2015         Special Synod on 19 September to confirm the establishment of the department of Media & Communication, Regionalisation, the Ecumenical Institute of Theology and a policy declaration on drugs and alcohol addiction.

Visit of Mr Tom Miles, Alpha Africa Development Manager in July resulting in the setting up of an Alpha course for prisoners.