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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

India – Churches and Convents of Goa



The Churches and Convents of Goa are a group of Catholic religious buildings that have been influential for spreading both the faith and their Portuguese style of art and architecture around Asia. They are located in Old Goa, which from 1565 was the capital of the Portuguese Indies. It was abandoned as such in 1760 because of a malaria outbreak.

The main buildings that are included, are:
- St. Catherine’s Chapel
- Church and Convent of Francis of Assisi
- Sé Cathedral
- Basilica of Bom Jesus
- Church of Saint Cajetan including the seminary
- Church of Our Lady of the Rosary
- St. Augustine Tower

The Basilica of Bom Jesus holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, a missionary across Asia (India, Japan, China) who died in 1552. He is regarded as the patron saint of Goa. Once every decade on December 3, the body is taken down for veneration and for public viewing.



The Church of St. Anne is a religious monument located in Santana, Goa, India. It is an example of baroque architecture.

Majestically nestled in the verdant hills of Santana, Talaulim, the Church of Anne was declared a "national monument" during the Portuguese era per Government Portario No. 1360 of 31/3/31. In that Portario – studded like priceless diamonds – were also the Bom Jesus Basilica, the Se Cathedral, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, the Convent of Santa Monica and the Church of St. Cajetan. Each of these, monumental in their architectural splendor, and all of them huddled in the former Portuguese capital of Old Goa, Goa.

Upon Goa's annexation by India, while the aforementioned edifices were embraced as "national monuments" by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and effectively taken over, the church of St. Anne was singularly overlooked and remains forsaken to this day to the ravages of time and human neglect, the glaring fact notwithstanding—it is by far the most exquisite and the largest surviving monument of its kind in all of Asia. The church of St. Anne continues to remain largely forsaken to the ravages of time and human neglect. Today, parts of the structure remain in a precarious condition.

Construction of the Church of St. Anne began in 1577 by Monsignor Francisco de Rego (1681–1689) and its completion in 1695 fell upon the shoulders of his successor, Rev. Fr. Antonio Francisco da Cunha.

Legend has it that while construction was in progress, an elderly villager by the name of Bartholomeu Marchon, had a vision of an old lady donning a hat with a staff in hand. The old lady ambled down the neighboring hill and promulgated to Bartholomeu that the Church under construction was her home, and that it was her intent to reside there. A similar apparition was also encountered by a Brahmin lady of high social standing, who happened to be gravely ill and almost in death's clutch. The celestial apparition anointed the lady with a miraculous cure and as a token of supreme gratitude, she embraced Christianity. Word of her miraculous cure percolated down to the village priest who instantly interpreted it as a sign of divine intervention, and without further ado, consecrated the church in honor of St. Anne.

High up in the transept facing the sanctuary, one can see a relief picture depicting the scene of St. Anne with a staff in hand and wearing a hat as seen in the apparitions.

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