has truly earned the name "Rome of the East". It abounds in churches
and chapels, some dating back to the 16th century. The
profusion and architectural excellence of churches include superb
examples of late Renaissance, early Baroque, Manueline and Gothic.
These churches have very intricate detailing and ornamentation.
The most popular or the best known are the churches and cathedrals
at Old Goa. But these are definitely not the only ones worth mentioning.
Here are some worth visiting. They will certainly be open on Sundays;
other days are variable. The ones at Old Goa are open daily.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
In Old Goa, this imposing
Basilica was built by the Jesuits, and consecrated to the Holy Name
of Jesus on 15 May 1605. The mortal remains of St Francis xavier
are housed inside. Until the church was built, they were kept at
St Paul's Old Goa.
The casket holding the body
of the saint was a gift of the Duke of Tuscany. The body of the
saint is dressed in rich vestments with an embroidered coat of
arms. On the right-hand side is a golden baton with 194 emeralds
and at the feet is a big gold medal of King Dom Pedro II.
The Basilica's three-storey western
front overlooks a forecourt, which it shares with the 'Casa Professa'
(Professed House) of the Jesuits. The imposing fa?ade of black
granite is remarkable for its simplicity. The first thing the
visitor sees as he enters the church is the life size statue of
St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, which occupies
the center of the main altar.
the Professed House was built, this area was a vast square known
as 'Terreiro dos Galos' because cockfights were held here. The
professed House of the Jesuits was constructed in 1585, stoutly
opposed by the Municipal Chamber of the city, the Santa Casa de
Misericordia and the Franciscans. It was rebuilt in 1663, after
a fire. The somewhat forbidding fa?ade is linked to the Basilica
of Bom Jesus by a beautiful arcaded courtyard. Today there are
only few Jesuit fathers who hold retreats for youngsters who occupy
this building. The most important feature of the exterior of this
Basilica is the west fade, more elaborately decorated than that
of any other Goan Church.
of St Anthony
Goa, this chapel, on the hill near the church of Our Lady of Rosary,
is dedicated to the patron saint of Portugal. It was the royal
chapel. The statue of St Anthony was given the rank of captain
of the army, with a salary due to his rank. This statue was even
taken in solemn procession to the State Treasury Office where
the treasurer would respectfully deposit, in the hands of the
statue, the salary due to him. Small
in proportions, the chapel has only a nave with flanking passages.
The main alter has a vaulted paneled ceiling similar to that of
the church of St Francis of Assisi. Clerestory windows flood the
nave with sunlight.
of St Catherine
Old Goa, as a small freestanding structure, it was the first place
of worship ever to be erected in Goa after the reconquest in 1510.
It was built in thanks for the victory against the Muslims and
is dedicated to St Catherine because her feast day is on 25 November,
the date of the reconquest.
Although small in size,
this chapel was made a cathedral on 3 November 1534 and remained
so until the new cathedral was built. Its fa?ade is Renaissance,
a style later amplified for the present cathedral built nearby.
A place card on the enlarged structure implied that the gateway
of Muslim city's wall was located here. It was further rebuilt
just before the Portuguese were expelled from Goa.
Church of Our Lady of the
Panaji, set in the heart of Panaji, this church was built around
AD1514. Originally a chapel, it was elevated to a church in AD1600
and then renovated in AD1619. The
bell of the church is second in size only to that of the Se Cathedral
at Old Goa. The bell's size is explained by the fact that it was
not originally in this church but was brought from the ruined
Augustinian monastery in Old Goa. At the base of the church is
Church Square. Red laterite steps joined in white create a dazzling
pattern leading to the entrance of the church. The staircase was
built in 1870. In the sanctuary, the three alter pieces are great
examples of Baroque craftsmanship. A chapel in the church dedicated
to St Francis Xavier is on the south side.
Church of the Holy Spirit
Margao, first built in 1564, it was burnt down by Muslims (1571)
and later rebuilt but demolished again in 1645. The final structure
was completed in 1675, with a fa?ade of Ionic columns flanked
by two towers, which are seen over Margao and its surroundings.
The church has ten altars and two small chapels. One is dedicated
to Archangel Michael, and the other to St Roque and St Peter.
Church of Our Lady of Mount
Goa, on the summit of hillock opposite the Se Cathedral stands
the Church of Our Lady of the Mound (Feast day, 8 September).
Neat stone steps leads up to the top. This Where the artillery
of Yusuf Ali Adil Shah fired from and decimated Alfonso de Albuquerque's
forces, Albuquerque reconquered Goa in 1510 and commissioned Our
Lady of the Mound as part of this votive offering for victory.
Although this church can hardly be called one
of the architectural jewels of Goa, from its steps one gets a
splendid view of the surrounding great churches.
Church of Our Lady of Miracles
In Mapusa, this church was built
in 1594 over a destroyed temple. It has an exquisite Baroque fa?ade,
three alter, and the main one is dedicated to Our Lady of Miracles
and is richly carved, as is the pulpit. The ceiling is intricately
patterned with strips of wood. The image of Nossa Senhora de Milagres
(Our Lady of Miracles) is held in great veneration, both by Hindus
and Christians alike. The Hindus consider her a sister of Lairaee
at Sirigao. The church was restored after a disastrous fire in
1838; it was again damaged when the Portuguese tried to blow up
the adjacent bridge in 1961 while resisting India's attempt to
Church of the Rosary or
Mac De Deus Church
In Saligao, this church,
in fine neo-Gothic style, was built in 1873 amidst picturesque
surroundings. The shrine of the miraculous statue of the Mother
of God was brought from the ruins of the convent of Mac De Deus,
Old Goa. Young boys are prepared at the minor seminary here for
eventual enrollment at Rachol.
Church of Our Lady of the
Goa, also known as the Church of St Mary of Rosary, this church
was build in 1543 on the Holy Mound (Monte Santo) close to the
convents of St Monica and St Augustine. Its importance is that
it stands on the exact spot from where the conqueror of Goa, Alfonso
de Albuquerque, witnessed the reconquest of Goa in 1510. The church
bears following inscription place there in 1931: Deste alto assistiu
Alfonso de Albuquerque em 25-11-1510, a recoqquista de Goa (from
this hill Alfonso de Albuquerque on 25 November 1510 witnessed
Portugal's reconquest of Goa). This was Old Goa's parish church
from 1543. St Francis Xavier would preach here in the evening,
ringing his little bell to attract large crowds. The church is
the oldest complete structure to survive in Old Goa. The church's
architectural style is Manueline, a blending of later Gothic and
Renaissance. It is similar to the churches in Portugal such as
the Church of Madelena of Olivenca noted for its fa?ade composed
of large square towers. The ceiling of the church is wooden. The
Church's austere, Romanesque external simplicity contrasts with
the internal richness of the late Gothic decoration. Inside lies
the tomb of Dona Catarina, wife of the Viceroy Garcia de Sa, whose
marriage St Francis Xavier is said to have celebrated. As a whole,
the church marks the beginning of Indo-Portuguese art. As the
church is open only on special occasions, few visitors are able
to view the simple but delightful interior with its beamed roof.
Church of Reis Magos
In Verem (Bardez), set
on the right bank of the Mandovi River, the church was built in
1555. It is dedicated to the Three Magic Kings. Three viceroys
who died while on service in Goa are buried here. Every 6 January,
the feast of Reis Magos is celebrated here. This was once the
home of all dignitaries of the Franciscan order and their mission.
It is built next to the Reis Magos fort, which is entirely a prison
Church of St Anne (Santana)
In Talaulim, dedicated to St Ana,
the grandmother of Jesus Christ, this is Goa's best surviving
Baroque church. It was completed in 1695 on the right bank of
Siridao River not far from Pilar Seminary and has picturesque
surroundings. The unique feature of this church is that it has
hollow walls through which people could walk in secrecy for the
purpose of confession. Best visited on Sundays, as it is sure
to be open.
Church of St Cajetan
In Old Goa, standing close to the
ruins of the Viceregal Palace, Italian friars of the Theatine
order built this beautiful church in 1656. Though the church is
small, it is clearly inspired by the Basilica of St Peter in Rome.
The external architecture is Corinthian, the interior Mosaico-Corinthian.
In the middle of the nave, directly under the cupola, is a well
that is covered except for small opening. The green grass on the
cupola is attributed to the moisture emanating from the sell.
The Pastoral Centre for its liturgical services recently renovated
the church. It is the only surviving domed church in Goa.
of St Francis of Assisi
In Old Goa, the convent
and church of St Francis of Assisi is next to the Cathedral. The
church was first built in 1510 and rebuilt from 1521 onwards on
the site of a mosque. It has the most beautiful interior of all
churches in Old Goa, wonderfully enriched with gold, especially
at the east end. The painted ceiling remains, as do the 17th
century wall paintings in the chancel. Portuguese tombstones carpet
the nave floor. A Manueline doorway and octagonal towers flanking
the fa?ade are the two unusual features in the style of the otherwise
exclusively Baroque church.
Church and Convent of St
In Old Goa, a lonely tower
retaining its original height of 46 meters (150 feet) overlooks
the old city. It is a mere skeleton of the old square towers and
the treat church, which are now a heap of ruins covered by vegetation.
Yet it is impressive. A dozen Augustinian friars on their arrival
in Goa built this convent in 1572. After a decade this convent
was rebuilt, mainly through the efforts of Fr.Gaspar de Sao Vicente,
and dedicated to Our Lady of Grace. It became Goa's richest convent,
with a massive adjoining church, whose vaulted nave was one of
Goa's feats of construction. During construction, the high vault
fell down twice. However, the Italian architect would not give
up. When built a third time, he and his only son stood under the
vault and asked for a heavy cannon to be fired to test the stability
of the structure. It did not fall down-until much later. Then
the bell, Goa's second largest, was removed from the belfry and
transferred to the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception,
Panaji. Towards the south of the convent, the Novitiate of the
Augustinians was an integral part of the convent, while the majestic
'Collegio do Populo' was for training younger brethrens. It was
linked to the Novitiate by a bridge over the Rua dos Judeus (Street
of the Jews). This group of imposing Augustinian buildings was
abandoned when the order was suppressed.
Church and Convent of St
John of God
Goa, built in 1685, right next to St Augustine, the church is
dedicated to Our Lady of Good Success. It gradually declined in
importance until 1834 when the building was bought by the nuns
of St Monica to be used as residence for their chaplains and confessors.
It is comparatively simple in style and was completely restored
by the Portuguese just before they were expelled from Goa. Franciscan
nuns who run an Old Age Home now occupy the church and convent.
Church and Convent of St
In Old Goa, although largely
decayed now, this was Goa's only convent for nuns. It was started
on the holy hill in 1606 but was finished only in 1627, because
a fire destroyed the building in 1620. It took 15 years to rebuild.
This vast church and convent met all the needs of the 150 cloistered
nuns from the retreat of Nossa Senhora de Serra. It had vast corridors,
vaulted ceilings, a courtyard called 'Vale de Liro' and a three-storey
palazzo-style building containing nun's cells, penance rooms and
The 'penitents', either
voluntarily or through persuasion, flagellated and stigmatized
themselves with ropes, lather straps and iron nails. The 'recalcitrant'
were cast in the dungeon, and here the Rodeira-the nun who held
the keys to the outer door of the cloister-dealt with them and
they were jailed for life.
In the entrance the nunnery, there
was a turntable with a hand-bell by it. Until the 19th
century, illegitimate children were deposited here in the dead
of night. When the bell was rung, the Rodeira would turn the table
through an opening in the wall, pull the unwanted child and have
it baptized. The turntable has long since been dismantled, the
wall whitewashed and all memories of the practice physically erased.
The 17th century frescos on the dome have also been
destroyed. Today, much decayed, it is Asia's largest training
center for Catholic nuns. At present this building is also the
Master Dei Institute, use by nuns of various orders for their
Goa, the imposing Se Cathedral was completed in the year 1631.
Work had begun in 1562 and it took over 62 years to complete.
The massive structure, the largest in Goa, is dedicated to St
Catherine of Alexandria on whose feast day in 1510, Alfonso de
Albuquerque defeated the Muslim army and repossessed the city
of Goa. The tower on the right fell down in 1776 and has not been
rebuilt. A mosque earlier occupied the cathedral site.
Its inspiration may be the cathedral at Porto
Alegre in Portugal, although it differs in the plan of the apse
and the transepts.
rises 115.66 feet to the crowning cross. The exterior is built
in half-Tuscan, half-Doric style, the inside in Mosaico-Corinthian.
The nave is 72 feet high; near the entrance is the Baptismal font
where St Francis Xavier is said to have baptized thousands of
Goan converts. The main alter is engraved with images of martyrdom
of St Catherine. The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament is beautifully
decorated. The north tower was lost in 1776 after being struck
by lightning. The south tower accommodated what is known as the
'golden bell', due to its resonant tone. Adjoining
the Cathedral, on its northwestern side, stands the Old Palace
of the Archbishop.
In the neighborhood of
the Cathedral was the famous Palace of Inquisition, the Senate
House and the 'Estancia Real de Tobaco' or Royal Depot of Tobacco.
Here you will also find the ruins of the Royal Palace and its
gateway just in front of the Church of Diving Providence, or the
Church of St Cajetan, as it is popularly known. The doorway suggests
Indo-Muslim influence, and remains one of Muslim tombs and mosques.
In Calangute, this is one
of Goa's oldest churches, built in 1597 on the site of a Hindu
shrine called Ravalnath, whose remains can still be seen. It overlooks
the main road to Mapusa.
Our Lady of Mercy
In Colva, founded in 1630,
and rebuilt in the eighteenth century on the village square, houses
one of Goa's most venerated cult objects; the miraculous statue
of "Menino" Baby Jesus.
METHODIST CHURCHES IN
2nd floor, General Bernardo Guedes Road. Tele.No.+91
832 2465378. English service at 9.00 a.m on Sundays.
Carmel Chapel, B-2, Neel Kamal Co-operative Housing Society, Shanti
Nagar. Tele.No. 316719 English service at 10.00 a.m on Sundays.
Jet International Travels, Borda. Tele 9822180638, +91 832 2700297
or +91 832 2788985. English service at 09.30 a.m on Sundays.
Hotel, Opp.Anapurana Hotel, Near Market. Tele.No. 519738, 519739.
Tamil service at 9.00 a.m on Sundays.