The Basilica of Bom Jesus is famous throughout the World. It houses the tomb and the mortal remains of the St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goa. The exterior walls of the Basilica are not plastered. The construction of the Basilica was completed in the year 1605. The facade has elements of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian designs and the pillars and details are carved from basalt. The huge and ornate gilded reredos that stretches from floor to ceiling behind the altar is beautiful. To the right of the Altar is the body of St. Francis Xavier.
This is the most beautiful of all the churches of Old Goa, The church of St. Cajetan modeled after the original design of St. Peter church in Rome was built in laterite blocks, in the second half of the 17th Century by Italian friars, greek cross on the plan. this church is constructed in Corinthian style, having a rectangular tower on either side atop the facade to serve as a belfry, the niches below have statues of apostles. the interior is divided into a nave ending in an apse and aisles divided by a massive Corinthian pillar supporting a large circular dome further crowned by a lantern-shaped dome of the lesser circumference. the aisle end with an octagonal room, serving as a sacristy. on the two sides of the apse, the rice floral designs on the ribbed vault and a decorative wooden pulpit projecting from the pier are worth mentioning. the main altar, dedicated to our lady of divine providence, and the three subsidiary altars with twisted shafts on each side of the hall, having figures of the holy family, our lady of piety, and other saints including St. Cajetan are exquisitely carved in baroque style.
This forty six meter high colossal four storied arched belfry tower built of laterite, formed part of the facade of the church of St. Augustine facing east. The ruins of eight chapels, four altars and extensive convent with numerous cells may be seen. This tower and church was build in 1602 by the St. Augustinian Friars.
The Friars of Augustinian Order arrivd in goa in 1572 and built a small convent on holy hill and later it was enlarged. The convent building has three storey provided with two large stone staircases leading to th efloors above. On entering the convent there were two cloisters, corridors, pillars, Galleries, Halls having numerous rooms, A refacory(dinning hall), Guest house and Infirmary ( First Aid) which were very spacious. It also had vast domitories and numerous cells and other structures which are now in ruins.
In 1835 this complex was abandoned due to the expulsion of the religious orders from Goa and the Portuguese Government ordered its demolition. In 1846 the main vault of the Church collapsed and the convent rapidly decayed. The valuable articles belonging to the religious complex were either sold or lost, being nowadays dispersed over many churches in Goa. The bell from the tower was initially taken to Fort aguada and later in 1871 was shifted to the Church of Our lady of immaculate Conception church in Panjim.
The church had a sprawling vault(roof) which collapsed between 1842 and 1846. It is said that the vault collapsed twice during construction and on the third attempt the architect to test its stability ordered a heavy cannon to be fired at the building with his only son standing inside. Fortunately the vault withstood the shock to be brought down due to the ravages of time. As per the records the convent and the church dedicated to Our lady of Grace was occupied by the Augustinian order till 1835. it was then abandoned as a result of an official decree and the Portuguese Government ordered its demolition.
As a result of partial demolition, weathering and natural decay, the facade of the church including the 46 meters tall tower again fell in 1938. What remains of the five storey tall tower is being conserved against all odds.
The archaeological survey of India has been carrying out scientific clearance of the ruins since 1998 and simultaneous conservation of the site.
The Se Cathedral situated at Old Goa (UNESCO world heritage site) is the Largest Church in the whole of Asia.
The cathedral took almost 90 years for completion. The exterior of the cathedral is notable for its plain style, after the Tuscan tradition, and for the rather lopsided look that the loss of one bell tower, which collapsed in 1776 has given it. The remaining tower houses the famous “Golden Bell”, the largest bell in Asia and is renowned for its rich tone.
There are 4 chapels on either side of the nave, which include the Chapel of the blessed Sacrament and the Chapel of the MIraculous Cross.
The present church of Our lady of Immaculate Conception dates to 1619, although there had been a church on this site around 1540. The huge bell that now hangs in the central belfry was brought from the ruins of the St. Agustine Church, Old Goa. It previously had hung in the tower of St. Augustine Church. This is the second largest church bell in Goa. The largest being the Golden bell in Se Cathedral in Old Goa.
The Church of Our Lady of Rosary was built during the period from 1544-1547 in fulfillment of a vow taken by Afonso De Albuquerque. This Church having two-storied portico flanked by rounded towers crowned with cross and windows near the roof gives an impression of a fortress church cruciform on plan. This church has two chapels and three altars, the main altar is dedicated to Our lady of the Rosary through the influences of Gothic Style are seen in the Rb-Vault of the Portico. Manueline style is also present both in the interior and exterior.
The Ruins of the Sancoale Church. Today only the front portion of the church stands erect. It has been declared a protected monument. Behind it is the new chapel of Our Lady of Health which was built by Rev. Fr. Proto Faria between 1983-1990.
The Miraculous crucifix
Let it be known to all who see this “Letter of Bondage”, angels, human beings and all creatures, that I, Fr. Joseph Vaz, sell and offer myself as a perpetual slave of the Virgin Mother of God. This I do through a free, spontaneous, and perfect act of devotion which in law is known as an irrevocable act among the living. I give myself and all that I possess so that she, as my true Mistress and Mother, may dispose of me and my possessions as she wills. And because I consider myself unworthy of such an honor, I beseech my Guardian Angel and the glorious patriarch St. Joseph, the most blessed Spouse of this Sovereign Lady and the Saint whose name I bear, as well as all the citizens of heaven that they may obtain from Her this favor to be included among the number of Her slaves. I confirm this and seal it with my name. I would have liked to sign it with my heart’s blood. Written in the Church of Sancoale, at the foot of the altar of the same Virgin Mary Mother of God, Our Lady of Health, on this day the 5th August, the feast of Our Lady of Snows, in the year 1677.
The present massive Church of Calangute is the third one built in the village. The first chapel was built of palm leaves (Olas), along the sea-shore, in actual Poriett, in 1576. It was filial to the church of Nagoa. The church was erected, with a cemetery, in 1595 by the Franciscans at the expense of the Ganvkars (village people) in the same place where there was previously the chapel, this is, in Poriett, where there is still a cross, vestige of the church-cemetery. (It is interesting to note that a procession was taken on holy Friday from the actual church to the cross of Poriett till around 1940, remembering the old church site. Today the feast of the holy cross is celebrated in the same place) it was only a simple structure covered with palm leaves. It was set on fire. Soon it was demolished for being too small.
The existing church was built in 1741 by the Communidades (village communities) with the help of donations. The towers were erected in 1765. There is a “cupola falsa” of Indian style. Its main sanctuary “capelamor” was rebuilt on July 16, 1916, and blessed on July 16, 1916. The church was entrusted to the diocesan clergy in the year 1767.
In the churchyard there is a Grotto of Our lady of Lourdes, it was the first grotto dedicated to the Our Lady in entire Goa.
Its pulpit in Rococo style was brought from the Church of Holy Rosary, today misnamed as the church of St. Francis of Assisi. It was described by Prof. Jose Pereira in Marq (Golden Goa) as follows: “Thus happens in the pulpit as Kongotti, a palpitation of volutes, can touches, encincture, canopy, pendants, flounces and tassels, all crested by the figure of the lamb of Apoclypse in the book of Seven Seals – a vision of white-and-gold climaxed by the symbol of an innocent victim god, or of the elegance of the Rococo going up in a flame of mystical flamboyance.
The church has two towers and a magnificent dome (Like that of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome), with its seven altars, the three main being at the center and two sides, dedicated to our lady of the Mount, Our lady of Perpetual succor, the sacred heart of Jesus &d Mary and the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The church is indeed unique.
Patron of Calangute Church: St. Alexius (extract from the book Saint Companions for each day) St. Alexius was the only son of a rich senator of Rome, Euphemian, and his wife Aglae, born and educated in that capital in the fifth century. From the charitable example of his parents, he learned that the riches which are given away to the poor remain with us forever and that alms-deeds are a treasure transferred to heaven, with the interest of an immense reward. while yet a child he was intent on the relief of all whom he saw in distress, and though himself obliged to those who received his charity and regarded them as his benefactors. Fearing lest the distraction of earthly honors might at length divide or drawn his heart too much from more noble objects, he decided to renounce the world.
On his wedding night, by gods special inspiration he secretly quit Rome, and journeying to Edessa, in the far east, gave away all that he had brought with him, content henceforth to live on alms at the gate of Our lady church in that city. Here he lived for seventeen years until and image of Our lady spoke and revealed his holiness to the people, calling him, “the man of God”, thereupon he fled back to his home, his father did not recognize him, but received him as a beggar and gave him employment, allotting a corner in his house.
For seventeen years he lived here unknown, bearing patiently the mockery and ill-usage of his own slaves, and witnessing daily inconsolable grief of his spouse and parents, at last, when death had ended this cruel martyrdom, they learned too late, from writing in his own hand, who it was that they had unknowingly sheltered. God bore testimony to this servant’s sanctity to many miracles, he died early in the fifth century and is buried in Edessa.
Feasts held at St. Alex church :
|22nd July||Feast of St. Alex – Patron|
|11th February||Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes|
|15th August||Feast of Our lady of Assumption|
|8th September||Feast of Our Lady of Mount|
|8th December||Feast of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception|
Chapels of Calangute:
|1||Chapel of St. Anthony of Lisbon (Meridional) Gaurawaddo|
|2||Chapel of St. Anthony (Setentrional) Gaurawaddo|
|3||Holy Family Chapel Gaurawaddo|
|4||Chapel of St. John the Baptist, Umtawaddo|
|5||Chapel of Our Lady of Piety, Khobrawaddo|
|6||Chapel of Our lady of Purification (Candelaria chapel) Sauntawaddo|
|7||Chapel of the Holy Cross, Porbawaddo (main market)|
|8||Our lady of Boa Viagem (Good Voyage), Dongorpur|
|9||Chapel of St. Anne, Baga|
|10||The small chapel of the Grotto of Our lady of Lourdes, church|
|11||Chapel of Radeemer (Redentor), Gaurawaddo|
|12||Holy cross chapel, Agarwaddo|
|13||St. Joseph Chapel, Tivaiwaddo|
|14||Bom Part Chapel, Maddowaddo|
|15||Chapel of Perpetual Help, Khobrawaddo|
|16||Chapel of Holy cross, Porbawaddo (small chapel)|
The St. Anne Church at Talaulim was founded in the year 1577. It is renowned for its magnificent architecture. It was reconstructed by its Vicar, Monsignor Francisco de Rego between 1681-1689 with his own funds and contributions of villagers. It was completed in the year 1695 by his successor Fr. Antonio Francisco da Cunha. Then Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage has been working on the restoration of this 432-year Old Church. wooden altars, statues, and framed lithographs are being restored.
A couple of kilometers away from the majestic Churches of Old Goa and on top of a little hill is the Oratorian convent and The Miraculous cross church situated. It is here that Blessed Fr. Joseph Vaz resided when in Goa.
Blessed Fr. Joseph Vaz worked for four years (1681 to 1684) in forane of Kanara. He returned to Goa in 1684. On 25th September 1685, at the church of Holdy Cross of Miracles, Old Goa, he joined a community of Goan Priests who were trying to form a religious congregation of its own, He was elected their superior. With them, he organized the regions first fully native religions congregation on the lines of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri of Rome and Lisbon, as the “Oratorian Institute of Milagristas of Goa”
From the top of the hill, where the church of The Miraculous Cross is situated, one can have a clear view of the beautiful and majestic churches like the Basilica of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral, etc situated at Old Goa and it rightly justifies why Goa was called the “Rome of the East”. Because of the beautiful view of the full city from here, this hill was named the “Boa Vista” which is a Portuguese word that means “Beautiful View”.
There is a nicely built but quite narrow tar road that goes up to the “Convento da Cruz dos Milagres” which means “the Convent of the Miraculous Cross”. The Miraculous cross installed here was initially situated at the Se Cathedral and was believed to have been growing and later moved here.
The people of Goa have deep faith and belief in this miraculous cross. People of all faiths come and offer prayers here and seek blessings. On the 23rd of every month at 10.00 a.m. Holy Mass is celebrated at this church. Hundreds of devotees attend the mass. After the mass is over the devotees line up to seek blessing and veneration of the miraculous cross. Thereafter, “kanji” a dish from rice, (popularly knows as “Pez” in Konkani)” which is prepared in large pots and is served in bowls to the hundreds of devotees attending mass.
Taking a walk around one can see the ruins of the Oratorian Convent. The huge broken walls, the broken roof and shows us the lifestyle of the people living there. There is a statue of Blessed Fr. Joseph Vaz installed in the oratory premises. There are also other remains like that of what looks like a bakery that was used for the inmates there.
It would be good news for the people of Goa if the Archeological Survey of India takes over the premises and work on its conservation because it a part of our Goa’s rich culture and Goan heritage.
So the next time you visit Goa, don forget to pay a visit to the Oratorian Convent where blessed Fr. Joseph Vaz Resided and the Church of the Miraculous Cross and seek blessing.