Churches Of Goa
Basilica of Bom Jesus
It is dedicated to Bom Jesus, meaning good or infant Jesus. It is a large impressive red building located 10 kms east of Panaji in Old Goa. The construction of the Basilica started in 1594 and was completed on 15 May 1605 and is now declared by UNESCO as a ‘World Heritage Monument’. The Church houses sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier and the tomb which took ten years to build the tomb and tomb were completed in 1698. The imposing black granite façade, measuring 183×55 ft, is an exquisite combination of Doric, Corinthian and composite styles. The finely carved wooden statue of St. Francis Xavier, the elaborate wooden pulpit with carved figure of Jesus, the four evangelists and the four doctors and seven angle supporting it; the main altar with its elaborate design flanked by two richly gilded and decorated altars and the chapel in the transept with gilded twisted column and floral decorations where the sacred relics of the body of St. Francis Xavier are kept are some of the inspiring feature of the Basilica. The paintings around it depict scenes from saint’s life.
The saints died on a sea voyage to china and to the right of the main alter lies the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, which is the attraction of the basilica. The body was brought in 1622 to this church. In accordance with his wishes his body was found to be as fresh as the day it was buried. This miraculous phenomenon stills continues and an exposition of his body is done on every ten years.
Church of Se Cathedral
Se Cathedral church dominates the main Square and is the largest church in entire Asia, measuring 35.55 m high on the façade 76.2m in length and 55.16 m in width. It was dedicated to St. Catherine for it was on St. Catherine’s day -Nov 25th that Alfonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa. Construction started 1562 and the Cathedral was completed in 1652.The cathedral is built in Portuguese Gothic style with Tuscan Doric exteriors and Corinthian interiors. The existing tower houses the largest bell in Goa, often referred to as the “Golden Bell” owing to its rich tone. The scale of construction is impressive: apart from the main altar there are three altars on other side and there are four chapels along the aisles on either side, each with its unique features and stories of origin worth exploring. In one of the chapel is the cross of miracles on which people had a vision of the Christ and the rock on which it was found was said to spout water, while today, the cross is slowly growing and is said to have healing powers. In the nave there are two wooden pulpits, a projecting gallery with an eighteen century organ, seats for the canon and a throne for the arch bishop. The columns, the arches, the rib vaulted high ceiling I on a grand scale.
The Church of Mary Immaculate Conception
The Church of Mary Immaculate Conception is located at Main Square in the heart of Panaji City. The church was originally build in 1541, and was rebuilding in 1619. The stairways crisscrossing at the entrance of the church are main attractions for photographers delight. The bell from the church of St Augustine was moved in 1871 to the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception at Panaji where it remains functioning to this day. Though the interior is simple, the backdrop to the main alter and the two flanking altars are impressive with their gilded carved ornamentation. Recently, Western classical music concerts have also been featured here.
Reis Magos Church
Reis Magos Church is adjacent to the Reis Magos fort. Church was built in 1555 and is 7kms from Panaji city and stands on the banks of River Mandovi, its white washed gabled façade is visible from Panaji across the river Mandovi. . Also interesting are the Portuguese royal coat of arms imprinted below the crucifix at the top of the gable and the tombstone of two Viceroys. The interiors are colorful with the multicolored wood reliefs of the Three Wise Kings (Reis Magos), which form the centerpiece of the elaborately painted recedes behind the high, alter. It and dedicated to the three wise kings. The feast of three kings is held on 6th Jan. on this occasion, the story of three kings is recreated with young local boys doing the play.
Our lady of miracles Church
Our lady of miracles Church is located in mapusa and 13kms form Panaji. It is dedicated to our lady of Miracles and it is worshiped by both Christians and Hindus. The church was constructed in 1594 and subsequently rebuild in 1719 and 1838. It houses the image of Nossa Senhora de Milagres and locally known as Milagres Saibinn. According to some legends she was the sister of Hindu goddess Lairayee. The annual feast held on the 16th day after Easter. Christians as well as Hindu celebrated its feast and this is shining example of communal harmony in Goa.
Church & Convent of St Francis of Assisi, Old Goa
The church of St Francis of Assisi is located behind the Se Cathedral and originally chapel was build on the arrival of Franciscan friars, eight of whom came to Old Goa in 1517. Church connects the Se Cathedral to the convent which forms an annexure to the Church and now houses the Archaeological Museum. In 1521 this chapel was replaced by a beautiful church. The church has two octagonal towers. A wooden statue of St. Francis of Assisi adorns a pedestal in one of its chapels. The main altar has its Baroque and Corinthian features; the rib-vaulted nave with elaborate frescoes, a richly carved wooden pulpit, the tabernacle support by the four evangelists, the wooden statue are key features.. Above the tabernacle is a large statue of St. Francis of Assisi and an equally large statue of Jesus on the Cross, about 6 1/2 feet in height. The church presently is not used for religious functions.
Church of St. Cajetan, Old Goa
Church of St Cajetan was build by Italian friars in 1640.on the model of basilica of St Peter in Rome. The church is dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence but is popularly called St. Cajetan. It is built of laterite stone and is lime plastered. The external architecture is Corinthian and the interior mosaic-Corinthian. The main altar is dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence. The central circular dome that rests on a drum, the columns, the piers, the niches for the apostles and the two octagonal rooms with domed roofs are some of the features of an unusual church. In the middle of the nave directly underneath the dome is a well or a tank with a small opening in its covering closed with a square slab. This is reported to have been a Hindu temple tank or tirtha before the construction of the Church over it. Below the main altar inside lies the catacomb, originally the burial place of priests and later of the early Portuguese governors.
Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine
The Ruin of the Church o St. Augustine draw attention to the tower that rises 46m into the sky, a remnant of the façade of a magnificent church built in 1602. It was reportedly in good shape until it was abandoned in 1835. The church had four storey, eight chapels, a grand high alter and numerous arches. The church fell into neglect and its vault collapsed in 1842. The facade collapsed in August 1931. All that is left today is a bell tower without the bell. The bell was moved to the Fort Aguada Light House initially in 1841 and in 1871 was moved to the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception at Panaji where it remains functioning to this day.
The ruins continue to impress especially with extensive restoration and conversing work undertaken by the Archaeological Society of Goa under the auspices of the World Heritage Society.
Church of the Holy Spirit
Church of the Holy Spirit is located in Margao town at the old market Square and it is 33kms form Panaji city. It was build in 1564, over the ruins of an important Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Damodar whose idol was rescued and secretly moved to Zambaulim in Quepem Taluka. The newly built church was sacked and ravaged by the Muslims It was rebuilt and a seminary was also established. The seminary was also destroyed and shifted to Rachol. The Present church was built in 1675.
Church of Our Lady of Rosary
Church of Our Lady of Rosary is one of the earliest churches of Goa, and was built in 1510 by Afonso de Albuquerque. The church is built in Manueline and Gothic architecture, the church represent a fusion of Hindu designs on the wall fresco and Muslim Bijapur style on the alabaster tomb of Dona Catherine, its rounded windows close to the tiled roof resembles a fortress church. According to legends it is believed that Albuquerque monitored the attack over Adil Shah’s city from this point and he vowed to build a church here if he was victorious.
Church and convent of St Monica
Construction of Church of St Monica commenced in 1606 and completed in 1627. This huge three storeyed building was known as the Royal Monastery due to the Royal patronage. It was the only nunnery which was burnt in 1636 and rebuilt in 1937 it is now used as a nunnery by the Mater Dei Institute from 1964.