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Goa Churches

Goa, Jewel of India, is studded with temples and churches, which remain as silent but forceful witnesses to the intense religious history of the diverse people who lived here. Hence a pilgrimage to Goa is a unique experience.
 
The Church of St. Francis Xavier in Goa | Church Of the Carmelites in Goa | Se Cathedral Church in Goa
The Chapel Of Our Lady Of The Mount in Goa | The Chapel Of St. Catherine in Goa
The Church And Convent Of St. Monica, Goa | The Church Of Our Lady Of The Rosary, Goa
The Church Of St. Cajetan, Goa | The Church Of St. Francis Of Assisi, Goa | The Church Of St. John Of God, Goa
The Church Of The Cross Of Miracle, Goa | The Professed House And The Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa
The Royal Chapel of St. Anthony, Goa | Ruins Of St. Augustine's Tower in Goa
 
The Church of St. Francis Xavier, Goa
Behind the gate of St. Paul's college is a Kuchcha road branching off the main road, leading to the chapel of St. Francis Xavier. It is built of laterite plastered with lime mortar, with tiled roof supported by wooden rafters is a plain chapel with only one altar.

Architecturally, it is of the Doric order. The Chapel was within the enclosure of the College of St. Paul and was dedicated either to St. Anthony or to St. Jerome. As the chapel was used by St. Francis Xavier, it was re-dedicated to him after his canonization in 1622.

The original chapel was in existence in 1545. With the outbreak of the epidemic and the consequent abandoning of the college of St. Paul in 1570, the chapel fell into ruins and the present chapel was built in 1884.

Church Of the Carmelites in Goa
Nothing remains of the Church of the Carmelites excepting the façade and a raised pavement, which served as an altar. Its location is to the southeast of the Church of St. Cajetan and is on a hill more or less contiguous to the hill on which the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount stands.

The church was built in 1621. The Carmelites, on their refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance to the king, were expelled from Goa in 1707. The church fell into disuse and ruins soon after.

Se Cathedral Church in Goa
The Portuguese Viceroy Redondo commissioned the Se, or St. Catherine's' Cathedral, southwest of St. Cajetan's, to be "a grandiose church worthy of the wealth, power and fame of the Portuguese who dominated the seas from the Atlantic to the Pacific".

Today it stands larger than any church in Portugal, although it was beset by problems, not least a lack of funds and Portugal's temporary loss of independence to Spain. It took eighty years to build and was not consecrated until 1640.

The Chapel Of Our Lady Of The Mount in Goa
As one proceeds, about 2-km on the main road towards Ponda, a Kuchcha road branches off towards north at a place where a cross is fixed. The road leads to a hill on which, commanding a picturesque view, is the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount. A series of steps leads to the Chapel, which is built of laterite plastered with lime mortar. It has three main altars dedicated respectively to our lady of the mount, St. Anthony and St. Andrew.

The chapel was built under the orders of Afonso de Albuquerque in 1510 and is referred to as in existence in 1519. It was reconstructed twice.

 
The Chapel Of St. Catherine in Goa
Further to the west of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi is the chapel of St. Catherine. Built of laterite blocks it has a tower on either side of the façade. The chapel in the interior, having only one altar is plain.

The chapel was rebuilt in 1552 on the remains of an earlier structure, built in 1510 by Afonso de Albuquerque to commemorate his entry into the city on St. Catherine's Day. The earlier chapel was enlarged in 1550 by the Governor George Cabral, who put up an inscribed slab, which when translated, reads as follows: "Here in this place was the doorway through which Governor Afonso de Albuquerque entered and took this city from the Mohammadans on the day of St. Catherine in the year 1510 at the expenses of his Highness." Thus the chapel was built on the spot where stood the gates of this city under the Muslim rule.

The Church And Convent Of St. Monica, Goa
In the Holy Hill, on the way to the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary , is a huge three-storeyed building of laterite which was originally lime-plastered but is now plastered with cement. It is square on plan with a large inner courtyard, around which is a cloistered verandah and numerous cells and halls. The vaulted ceilings in some of the halls are tastefully painted with floral decorations and scenes from the Holy bible.

The construction of the convent and the church of St. Monica was commenced in 1606 and completed in 1627. The building was destroyed in a fire in 1636 and re-built the following year.

The Church Of Our Lady Of The Rosary, Goa
Not far to the west of the Basilica of the Bom Jesus is the Holy Hill at the extremity of which is the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. Built of laterite and plastered with lime mortar, it has a two-storeyed portico. The portico as well as the façade of the church has rounded towers on either side with the cross on top. The roof of the church is tiled, supported by wooden rafters.

There are two chapels and three altars. The main altar is dedicated to our Lady of the Rosary. The church, with windows near the roof and with rounded towers giving an impression of a fortress church, is Manuline in style though Gothic influence can be seen in the rib-vault at the portico.

This votive chapel was built in fulfilment of a vow taken by Afonso de Albuquerque while reviewing the battle between his forces and those of the Bijapur sultan from the same spot, on which the church stands. The vow, however, could be fulfilled only after his death, since this church was built in 1544-49.

The Church Of St. Cajetan, Goa
This church, which is modelled on the original design of St. Peter's Church in Rome, is architecturally Corinthian both externally and internally while the gilded altars with rich carvings are in baroque style.

The church was built by Italian friars of the Order of Theatines who were sent by the Pope Urban III to preach Christianity in the kingdom of Golconda. As they were not permitted to work there they settled down in Goa in 1640. They obtained the site in 1655 by a Royal order and the church was built in the 17th century

The Convent And Church Of St. Francis Of Assisi, Goa
To the west of the Se Cathedral is the former palace of the Archbishop that connects the Se Cathedral to the Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi. The structure is built of laterite blocks and is lime-plastered. The church faces west and has a nave with three chapels on either side, a choir, two altars in the transept and a main altar. To the north of the main altar is a belfry and a sacristy. The convent, which forms an annexure to the church, now houses the Archaeological Museum.

The exterior of the Church is of the Tuscan Order while the main entrance is in Manuline style. The main altar is Baroque with Corinthian features. There are no aisles but only a nave, which is rib-vaulted. The internal buttress walls, separating the chapels and supporting the gallery on top, have frescoes showing intricate floral designs.

The Convent And The Church Of St. John Of God, Goa
Situated to the east of the tower of St. Augustine it is a plain looking building constructed in the beginning of the 18th century. The convent was abandoned in 1835. The Society of the Misericordia occupied it for some time.

From 1844 onwards, it was used as a residence for chaplains, confessors and others employed on behalf of the nuns of St. Monica. The roof of the church was removed in 1850. The present roof was built recently.

The Convent And The Church Of The Cross Of Miracle, Goa
On the southern outskirts of Old Goa is a hill on which stand this convent and church. Built of laterite, plastered with lime mortar, the plain looking church and the single storeyed convent with numerous cells are now in ruins. A church, specially built in 1619 to house the Cross of Miracles, having crumbled, the present church was built on the same spot in 1674.

The Convent housed the congregation of the Oratory of Philip Neri of Goa. In 1835, the Church and the convent were abandoned. The Cross of Miracles was transferred to a chapel in the Se Cathedral in 1845.

The Professed House And The Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa

The Professed House
Immediately to the south of the main road is the Professed House, a two-storeyed laterite building covered with lime plaster. Despite the opposition, which the Jesuits faced, the building was completed in 1585. A part of the building was accidentally burnt down in 1663 and was rebuilt in 1783.

The Church of Bom Jesus is also of laterite; its exterior, excepting the facade, was lime plastered, which was subsequently removed. The roof was originally tiled. The church is cruciform on plan. The flying buttresses on the northern side of the church are recent additions. A single-storeyed structure adjoining the church on its southern wing connects it with the professed house.


The Royal Chapel of St. Anthony, Goa
To the west of the tower of St. Augustine is the Royal Chapel dedicated to St. Anthony, the national saint of Portugal and held in great veneration by the Portuguese. It was built in the beginning of the 17th century.

In 1835 the chapel was closed but opened again in 1894 when it was also renovated. It was inaugurated again in 1961 after complete restoration done by the Portuguese Government.

Ruins Of St. Augustine's Tower in Goa
Built in 1602, the only ruin of the Church of St. Augustine on the Holy Hill at Old Goa near the Nunnery, is a lofty 46-metre high tower defying the torrential rains. The tower is one of the four of St. Augustine Church that once stood there. There were eight richly adorned chapels and four altars, and a convent with numerous cells and artistic columns attached to the church.

The Church when intact was perhaps the biggest in Goa. With the religious suppression in 1835, the Augustinians deserted the church and the convent. The latter was used for some time by the charitable institution of the Misericordia. The buildings fell into neglect resulting in the collapse of the vault on 8 September 1842. The Government appropriated the property selling the materials the following year. The façade and half of the tower fell in 1931 and some more parts of it collapsed in 1938.

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