Nagapattinam (TN), Oct 11 (PTI) The Tercentenary of the New Jerusalem Church, believed to be Asia’s first Protestantchurch at Tarangambadi in the district, was celebrated Thursday.

Pastors from over 50 important churches the world over participated in the celebrations organised by the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church (TELC).

The Jerusalem Church was built in 1707 by BartholomeusZiegenbalg, a German-born Danish missionary, who arrived at Tarangambadi in 1706.

He had dedicated the church specifically for local Tamils and conducted all prayers in Tamil.

The church, which was functioning from a small building near the seashore, was damaged when a tsuanmi struck Tranquebar on November 27, 1715.

Ziegenbalg then decided to build a new church nearby.

The New Jerusalem Church, built on Danish architectural style, was inaugurated this day 300 years ago.

To commemorate the completion of the tercentenary, the TELC had organisedcelebrations at Tarangambadi Thursday.

Administrator of TELC and former judge of Madras High Court K Venkatraman inaugurated the celebrations.

German Consul General from Chennai, Karin Stoll, TELC spiritual head Edwin Jayakumar and CSI Bishop of Thanjavur-Tiruchirappalli diocese Chandrasekaran, were among those who took part.

As part of the celebrations, floral tributes were paid to the statue of Ziegenbalg, who served as the first pastor of the church.

A procession, followed by special prayers was held.

India posts released a special commemorativecover on the tercentenary.

The New Jerusalem church also faced tsunami attack on December26, 2004, but reportedly did not suffer any damage.

It was renovated in 2006 without changing the original structure.

A large number of tourists visit the church every day.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.