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Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa

Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa

The Bom Jesus Basilica, perhaps Goa’s most famous church and among the most revered by Christians worldwide, is partially in ruins but still a model of simplicity and elegance, and a fine example of Jesuit architecture.

This is the only church in Old Goa, which is not plastered on the outside, the lime plaster having been stripped off by a zealous Portuguese conservationist in 1950.

Located at Old Goa, 10 kilometres east of Panaji, the Bom Jesus Basilica is a World Heritage Monument.

The foundation stone of this remarkably large church was laid on 24 November 1594 and the church was consecrated by Fr. Alexia de Menezes, the Archbishop of Goa and Primate of India consecrated it when it was completed on 15 May 1605. In 1946 it was raised to the status of a minor Basilica.

The Order of Jesuits was suppressed in 1759 and its property confiscated by the Portuguese State. The church was, however allowed to continue services.

This magnificent edifice stands as a superb example of Baroque architecture in Goa. The church is called “Bom Jesus” meaning ‘good Jesus’ or ‘infant Jesus’ to whom it is dedicated. The façade has on it, at the top, the letters, “HIS” which are the first three letters of Jesus in Greek.

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. The pillars and detail are carved from basalt which was brought from Bassein, some 300 kms away. The interior of the church is built in Mosaico-Corinthian style and is remarkable for its charming simplicity.

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. Read More+

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