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Bishop Foss Westcott

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Rev. Bishop Foss Westcott
Bishop Foss Westcott.JPG
Description Page on Wikipedia
Birth 23rd October, 1863
Death 19th October, 1949
In Memory Westcott Hall

The most Reverend Bishop Foss Westcott was a distinguished and fine personality; he was great in every sense of the word. He came to India and was handed over the charge of the Chotanagpur Diocese. From 1905 to 1919 he served as the bishop of Chotanagpur. His keen sense of responsibility, his integrity and his administrative acumen earned him his promotion as the Metropolitan of the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon. For nearly twenty-six years, he held his rank of distinction and authority as a true man of god.

As the metropolitan, Bishop Foss Westcott was answerable to none but the Queen of England. Not only were all the bishops, their dioceses in the entire province under him but his word held sway even in administrative circles.

Born in 1863, Bishop Foss Westcott led a full and active life. A few days before his 86th birthday, he breathed his last on 19th October, 1949 in the rectory of St. Paul’s School. Little is known about his childhood and youth. It would not be wrong to assume that his father, a famous Bishop of Durham, was the chief guiding force in his life. He instilled into junior Foss that “obstacles and hurdles” in life were meant to faced head-on. Both he and his brother chose to follow in the footsteps of their father; they joined the seminary and in time rose to the rank of Bishop.

He was man of vision and foresight and he endeavoured wholeheartedly to make sure that his visions materialised. An indefatigable worker, he allowed neither circumstances nor age to hinder him in his work. Even at the age of Eighty Two, he desired to stay in the rectory of St. Paul’s only if he was given work to do. He was therefore, appointed as honorary chaplain. He also taught Divinity to the boys whom he called “his Angels”. He was one of the first to respond to the appeal made by Bishop Cotton to set up English medium schools to educate the Anglo Indians. During his term of office, Bishop Foss Westcott inspired and encouraged setting up of such schools in various parts of the country.

Bishop Foss Westcott's coffin leaving the chapel. Picture published in School chronicle, 1949

Rich or poor, Asian or European, Christian or Non- Christian, he was equally at home among them all for he was above all pettiness of caste, race and creed. Children loved him and approached him like a friend. Like all great men, he was kind and generous and forgiving. Always ready to make allowance for others. A multi-dimensional personality, he was everything- a theologian, scientist, administrator, athlete and saint. A man fond of tennis and billiard, photography and stamp collecting, for him life was always a great adventure. He was born fighter, but a fighter with a wonderful sense of humour. In the words of Mr L.J. Goddard, “The essence of his greatness lay in his humility”. Always in close communion with his master and creator, Bishop Westcott knew not what it was to be conceited. Born an Englishman, he loved India and the Indians and what better proof of his genuine love than his selfless service to his adopted land till his end.[1] Bishop Foss Westcott’s grave lies at the centre of a beautiful knoll beside the school Chapel. A bust in his memory has been placed on the Senior Wing Quadrangle.

References[edit]

  1. Taken from Page 23 of Bishop Westcott Boys' School, Ranchi's Platinum Jubilee Commemorative Book, 2002.