It’s a well-documented fact that people adopt aspects of other cultures around them. The churches in Andhra Pradesh are following this custom and Indianising some of practices. At St Andrew’s Orthodox Church, West Marredpally, a Dwaja Stambam has been erected. A common phenomenon in temples, and seen in the Kerala churches, it is the first of its kind in the state.
With a cross on top, bells and imprints of the saints, the bronze Dwaja Sthambam stands tall, highlighting how Indian Christians are adopting the religious customs of their Hindu brethren. During parish feasts the faithful light the multi-storied traditional lamp in front of it. Fr Koshy Thomas, the vicar at St Andrews, says, “The Dwaja Stambam flag pole is seen in Kerala churches but in Andhra Pradesh we are the first ones to have adapted this Indian tradition. For us, this is a flag-hoisting pillar, with a cross on top and imprints of the martyrs of the Church. A flag will be hoisted during festivals. This is one of our efforts to proclaim the Gospel of the Lord.”