Basilica Of Bom Jesus Church
Basilica of Bom Jesus is a big and one of the oldest church in India which was constructed during the Portuguese rule in Goa. Bom Jesus means good Jesus or infant Jesus and the church is dedicated to him. The construction of the church was started in 1594 and ended in 1605. The church was declared as sacred in1605 by Alexio de Menezes.
Saint Francis Xavier
Saint Francis has been buried in the church. He died in Sancian island or Shangchuan island when he was going to China. His body was taken to Portuguese Malacca but after two years it was brought to Goa. It is said that the saint’s body was fresh when it was brought to Goa.
People of all communities can come here to visit the church as it is believed that saint has miraculous power of healing. People are given a chance to see the body of the saint after every 10 years.
Feast of Saint Francis Xavier
Every year on 3rd December, feast of Saint Xavier is celebrated in which many pilgrims come to visit the church. A pilgrimage is made to the church nine days before the feast or on the day of the feast is a must. Non-Christians also come to visit the church during this period.
Alexio de Menezes
Alexio de Menezes was the archbishop of Goa who declared the church as sacred in 1605 after its construction. Alexio lived from 1559 to 1617. He was also the archbishop of Braga in Portugal and also the viceroy of Portugal during the rule of Philippine dynasty in Portugal. He became the archbishop of Goa in 1595 and of Braga in 1612. After his death in 1617, he was buried in Populo Church.
The church was constructed with laterite stone that was brought from Bassein which is 300km away from Goa. Since the laterite stone gets stronger with time, a Portuguese conservationist removed the lime plaster that was done on the outer walls of the church. Currently it seems that the walls are deteriorating.
Mausoleum of Saint Francis Xavier
Mausoleum of Saint Francis Xavier is here. There is a silver casket on top of it in which body of the saint is kept. Giovanni Battista Foggini was the architect and designer of the mausoleum and it took around ten years to complete its construction. The mausoleum was constructed on a base of Jasper which is red and purple coloured and has been adorned with marble.
Bom Jesus Basilica Art Gallery
Bom Jesus Basilica Art Gallery was constructed in front of the tomb and it has the books written by Dom Martin who was a painter in Goa. It is one of the largest art galleries in Asia having 36 paintings.
There is a professed house nearby the church which is a two-storey building and has lime plaster on the outer walls. The church and the house are linked through a colonnaded arcade. Jesuits built the house in 16th century whose façade was built by black granite. The construction of the house was started in 1585 and completed in 1589.
There is a chapel with twisted columns and floral decorations. The remains of Saint Francis Xavier is kept here. People can see the carvings and paintings in the interior of the chapel which tells about the life of the saint.