St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Karachi. It is situated on Shahrah-e-Iraq, formerly known as Clarke Street, located near the Empress Market in Karachi, Pakistan. The first church in Sindh (except for possibly one in Thatta) was initially built on the grounds of this cathedral in 1845 at cost of Rs. 6000 and was called St. Patrick’s Church. It was in April 1881 that the present cathedral was opened, since the Christian community grew in number, and the need for a larger place of worship became apparent. Despite the construction of the new building, the little church continued to function until it was destroyed by a storm in 1885.
The present-day cathedral is built in Gothic style; it measures 170 ft by 75 ft, and has the capacity to accommodate at least 1,500 worshippers at the same time. It was designed by three members of the Society of Jesus: Father Wagner, Brother Kluver and Brother Lau.
The Gazetteer of the Province of Sindh describes this Cathedral as follows:-
“Its exterior is not ornamental, though striking from a distance, but money and art have been lavished on the interior. The chancel, itself spacious, acquires a special impressiveness but its additional height, while the noble contours of the aspiring altar are seen to the best advantage. The whole interior is painted in oil and the windows are all of stained glass, the members of the congregation.”
In 1978 the cathedral celebrated its centenary. The Pakistan Post Office issued special commorative stamps on the occasion. Today, the cathedral’s grounds are adorned with a marble monument of Christ the King, which was constructed in 1931 to commemorate the memory of the Jesuit Mission in Sindh. An explosion on December 22, 1998 inside the Cathedral caused partial damage to the building.