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Basilica of Bom Jesus

Among the churches of Goa, the most famous and the most revered is the Basilica of Bom Jesus. This is more renowned for the fact that this church houses the relics of famous St Francis Xavier who was the patron saint of Goa.

Construction of this church was completed in 1695, and Archbishop Dom Francis Alexio de Menezes was the man behind this mission. This church was built out of the funds donated by Dom Jeronimos Mascarenhas for this purpose. The church is a wonderful specimen of Baroque architecture.

This is a three storey church and its façade faces west. This church is a combination of Doric, Corinthian, and composite styles of architecture. This gigantic 78 ft. high and 75 ft. broad church is built in laterite. The façade of this church can be divided into four parts. The lowest part has three graceful portals and the part which is immediate above this is comprised of three windows. The third part has three circular windows while the fourth part is a quadrangle with richly decorated arabesque. These portions are well adorned with carvings and pillars. The details of the pillars are carved in basalt, which belongs to Bassein, a Portuguese enclave in north Goa.

The interiors of this basilica are a fine blend of Mosaic and Corinthian styles. This style is noted for its simplicity. The interior is 182 ft. in length, 55 ft. in breadth, and its height is 61 ft. On each side are three rows of spectacular windows. Beside these windows are the choirs. In the second row, there are projecting galleries which are very skillfully placed. The entrance is supported by columns and is beneath the choir. The basilica is quite spacious.

From 1623, the relics of St Francis Xavier are kept in this chapel. The Blessed Sacrament, which was once placed on the main altar, below the huge statue of St Ignatius, is now preserved in a gold tabernacle. The main altar is 54 ft. high and 30 ft. broad and it is dedicated to the infant Jesus. This is beautifully decorated in gold and illustrates the infant Jesus under the protection of St Ignatius of Loyola. The eyes of St Ignatius are fixed upon a huge gilded sun above his head. The statue of St Ignatius is 3 meters high and to each side of the altar are Our Lady of Mercy and St. Michael. The Liturgical altar was build by the remnants of the old discarded altars and was inaugurated on 12th March of 1965. On this altar the priest offers the mass while facing the gathering.

This Basilica of Bom Jesus is a splendid architectural marvel. You should visit this beautiful place at least once to pay homage to the patron saint of Goa, St Francis Xavier, and to appreciate the seminal beauty of its architecture.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/04

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