Uscan Chapel

Also Known As: Old Vepery Church

Built: 1730

Location: Church Road Vepery Madras


Denomination: Roman Catholic and Protestant

Notes: A generous Armenian merchant, Coja Petrus Uscan, built and finished the church between 1730 and 1740. Uscan was the one who provided money to build the Marmalong bridge and the steps up St. Thomas Mount. He died in 1751 and his tombstone is in front of the porch of St. Matthias bearing his epitaph in Armenian and Latin. Tradition has it that his heart was taken in a golden box to his hometown in Persia (according to his wish) and buried there.

Originally a mission chapel of the French settlers, it was dedicated to our Lady of Miracles of the Roman Catholic church.

After the French were finally expelled from Madras in 1750 the chapel was given over to the SPCK missionaries and was still being used by them in the early 1800s. It was known as the Old Vepery Church - because the area was then a grove of neem trees around a lake.

It was demolished between 1821 and 1840 to make way for St. Matthias Church.

References: The Church In Madras, Rev Frank Perry, (1904), The Missionary Gazetteer, Walter Chapin (1824)