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The churches of old Goa stand as testimony of the wealth and gandeur of that city in the first two centuries of Portugese rule. The churches are all that are left about the old city, as if symbolising the permanence of the spiritual above the material.

Basilica of Bom Jesus :

The most important of these churches is popularly known as the BASILICA OF BOM JESUS in which are enshrined the remains of ST.FRANCIS XAVIER. The church was built by the Jesuites,and consecrated to the Holy name of Jesus on 15th May 1605.The imposing facade built out of black granite in an exquisite combination of the Doric, Corinthian and composite styles, is remarkable for its simplicity. It measures 183 ft in length,55 ft in breath, and 61 ft in height. The main altar is 54 ft high and 30 ft broad.As the visitor enters the church his attention is caught by a life size statue of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuites,which occupies the main altar. To the visitors right is a chapel in which stands the mausoleum that holds the relics of St.Francis Xavier.



The SE Cathedral :

The principle church of Goa and at one time the main church of the east Goa THE SE CATHEDRAL dedicated to St.Catherine of Alexandria on whose feast day in 1510 Alfonso Albuquerque defeated the Muslim army and took possession of the city of Goa. The church is 250 ft in length and 181 ft in breath. The frontispiece stands 115 ft high. The tower on the right came down in 1776 and had not been rebuilt. The exterior is built in half Tuscan,half Doric style,and the side in Mosaico-Corinthian,is divided by two rows of massive pillars into a nave and two aisle. The nave is 72 ft high. Near the entrance, to the right, is the baptismal font in which St Francis Xavier is said to have baptized thousands of Goon converts.
Engraved on the main altar are relics depicting the martyrdom of St Catherine.The CHAPEL OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT is 72 ft long and 22ft broad and is beautifully adourned.Just behind the cathedral lies the Palace of the Archbishop,a two storied edifice which is no longer in use.
To the west of the cathedral is the Franciscan church and the adjourning residence of the friars which are said to have been comple- -ted in 1521.Except for the portal which belongs to the church,it was entirely rebuilt in the second half of the 17th century.It was described as one of the best churches of Goa,and even though all that we see today are only the traces of the original grandeur,it is still worth a visit.The adjourning convent has been turned in to an Archeological Museum and is open to the public.

Cajetan Church :

To the north east of the Cathedral,about half a kilometer away and close to the ruins of the Viceregal Palace,is the beautiful church dedicated to St Cajetan,built by Italian Friars of the Theatine order. The church is small but it exceeds in beauty of the Cathedral itself.It is said to have been built after the style of the Basilica of St.Peter in Rome.The external architecture is Corinthian,and the inteiors are in the Mosaic-Corinthian style.In the middle of the nave,directly under- -neath the beautiful cupola,is a well which is covered for a small opening.The green moss on the cupola is attributed to the moisture emanating from the well.Recently with the construction of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre where the Theatine Monastry was,the church was renovated and used by the Pastrol Centre for its liturgical services. The altars of the old church are left in their original form,and though their rich gilding has faded,they are worth seeing.


Convent of St. John of GOD :

 The holy hill is so called because of the number of churches located on it.It is situated in front of the BASILICAN of BOM JESUS, about 200 meters away.As one goes up this small hill,to the left is the Church and CONVENT OF ST.JOHN OF GOD,which is now being used as a home for the aged.To the right is the Church and CONVENT OF SANTA MONICA,a large and magnificent structure,the first convent for nuns in India, founded in 1606.It now houses the college where women religious of all congregations can now come for theological study.In front of the church of Santa Monica,one sees the tower and ruins of what was once the AUGUSTINIAN CHURCH and Monastary.To its north is the royal chapel of ST ANTHONY OF PADUA,attached is the novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy family of Nazareth,a congregation of nuns founded in Goa.Further south we see the church of OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY.It was the Parish church of the city since 1543,and the place where St Francis Xavier would teach catechism in the evenings,to those who flocked at the sound of a little bell,that he would ring.

Lady of the Mount Church :

 The Church of our Lady Of The Mount stands on the summit of a hillock opposite the Se Cathedral. Neat stone steps lead to the top. It was from here that the artillery of Yusuf Adil Shah decimated the forces of Afonso de Albuquerque, who was forced to take refuge on his ships at the mouth of the River Mandovi. The vaulted building has a main altar dedicated to Our Lady Of The Mount with the Infant Jesus. The feast of the Church is celebrated on September the 8th.

Cruz Church :

South of the Basilica Of Bom Jesus on a hill called Calcada Da Luz is the church of Cruz Dos Milagres. In 1619 the miraculous apparition of Christ is said to have taken place on a wooden cross placed there by the parish priest Se Cathedral. The Archbishop of Goa then ordered the construction of the church, which was later abandoned due to insalubrious conditions and various epidemics. The cross was transferred to one of the Chapels Se Cathedral.
To the left on the road to Ponda one can see the Arch of The College Of St. Paul built in 1542 by Diogo Borvia and Minguel Vaz. It was the seminary of Sante Fe, that was handed over to the Jesuits to start a teaching institute. St Francis Xavier arrived in Goa on the 6th of May 1542 as the Papal Nuncio. The College was consecrated on the 25th of January 1543, the feast of St Paul. St Francis Xavier taught at this college. At one time there were 38 Jesuite teachers and 3000 students, including a few Japanese who had been converted by the Saint during his mission in that country. The Institute had the first printing press in Asia. Priests from this same institute went to Fatehpur-Sikri, the capital of Akbar the Great Moghul at his invitation.


Basilica :

This church is one of the richest churches in Goa and is carpeted with marble flooring and inlaid with precious stones.The church of Bom Jesus Good or Infant Jesus is well known originally for the tomb of St. Francis Xavier. The church also holds paintings of St. Francis Xavier.This church stands as the best example of baroque architecture. The mortal of St. Francis which was bought to Goa, almost 150 year after his death still remains there. It was a gift by Medici, Cosimo III who was the Grand Duke of Tuscany. The mortal lies in a silver casket, containing a airtight glass coffin, the caet being designed by a 17th century Florentine jeweller. This church is frequented by a large number of tourists.

S Catedral at Old Goa :

The construction of the church began in 1562 and was completed in 1612, during the rule of King Dom Sebastio which lasted for 21 years from the year 1557. The attars remained to be completed till 1652. The Royal Treasury paid the proceeds through the crowns property and were essentially made for the Dominicans.The building is Portuguese-Gothic in style.It has an Tuscan type exterior and Corinthian interior.The church which is one of the largest, has one of the larges bells called 'Golden Bell', amongst the five bells present there.Amongst the two towers on either side the facade one of them collapsed in 1776.The main alter which holds paintings of life Catherine of Alexandria, is dedicated to her.

Convent Church of St. Francis of Assisi at Old Goa :

This splendid building was earlier a small which consists of three attars and a choir which were constructed by five Franciscan Friars in 1517. This was then converted into a fascinating building of finely carved woodwork, old murals telling tales of life of St. Francis and a floor of carved gravestone, with family coats and arms of the 1500's.

Basilica of Bom Jesus at Old Goa :

The basic attraction of this church is the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. It is famous throughout the Roman Catholic world for this very reason.St. Xaviers had come in 1541, to spread Christianity among the Portuguese pupils.



Reis Magos Church at Verem, Betim :

This church wad dedicated to the Magi Kings of their time. It was founded by Franciscan Friars.  It holds the interest of the tourist as soon as he crosses the River Mandovi from Panaji and enters the taluka of Betim Bardez.

The Church of Me de Deus at Saligao :

The work of this Church began in 1867 A.D. and was completed in 1873 A.D. In 1973 A.D the monument was blessed as it was dedicated to the most Holy immaculate Mother of God. Hence it is called the 'The Church of Mother of God'. The shrine of the Supernatural statue of Me de Deus (Mother of God) was brought from the ruins of the convent of Me de Deus at Old Goa.  The surroundings of this church are extremely fascinating.

Church of Our Lady of Miracles :

This church which was reconstructed in 1674 A.D. was originally built in 1594 A.D. The people believe that Lady of Miracles is the Sister of Goddess Layeerai . The temple of Goddess Layeerai is situated in Sirigao in Bicholim taluka. This church which is also known as St. Jerome's Church of Mapusa, which partially destroyed in fire in 1836 and was rebuilt in 1839 A.D.

Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Panaji :

This church is renowned for its aesthetic staircase and is also regarded with great respect by the faithful. This place was made a Parish church in 1600 A.D. before which a Chapel existed here in 1541 A.D. Pilgrimage is often started with this as the first destination.

When to Visit :

The best time of the year to visit is between September and March.



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