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The Basilica of Bom Jesus at Goa (India)

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During my recent visit to Goa (India), I was impressed by the magnificient Basilica Church of Bom Jesus which was built by the Jesuits. ‘Bom Jesus’ means ‘good Jesus’ or ‘infant Jesus’, to whom the church is dedicated. The church is a fusion of gilt and silver with fading paint and crumbling plaster. The awe-inspiring interior of the church is 55.77 m. long, 16.76 m. broad and 18.59 m high. It has a main altar, four side altars, two chapels, a sacristy and a choir.

The main altar dominates the whole church and in the middle, stands a giant statue of St. Ignatius in priestly vestments. His face is turned upwards in a state of ecstasy. His face is fixed immediately on the medallion containing the Greek letters ‘IHS’ which are the first three letters of the Holy Name of Jesus – IHSUS. Above the monogram, there sits the Holy Trinity in glory. This Goan church is a fine example of the unity of all cultures, languages and religions of India. The mass at this church takes place in various languages like English, Malayalam, Tamil, etc. Hindus and Muslims also flock to this church and revere and respect it.

The sacred relics of St. Francis Xavier (1506 – 1552), the founder of the Jesuit order, is also within this church. The tomb is carved in jasper and decorated by fine bronze plaques depicting the saint’s life. The rich silver casket containing his embalmed body, was wrought by Goan silver smith. The body of St. Francis Xavier has undergone several mutilations. One of the toes was bitten off by a Portuguese lady in 1554. It is said that the body bled when this took place which had stunned and shocked all around. In 1890, another toe fell off which is kept in a separate crystal case. Some portions of the body were removed and distributed as relics of the saint to various places.

The art gallery within the premises of this church is also a feast for all art lovers. This art gallery also houses real-life wax statues depicting ‘The Last Supper’ which is a must-see for everyone visiting this church. A museum is also situated near the art gallery which has pictures and relics of the St. Augustine Church before it’s ruin. There is also a portrait gallery of all the Viceroys and Governors of Goa at the top floor of the museum. Tourists, who flock to Goa for it’s world famous beaches, should definitely set aside a day to marvel at the splendor of this church.

Published: 2007-05-09
Author: Archana Sarat

About the author or the publisher
I am a freelance journalist for the last one year. my published pieces are displayed in the Blog page of my site. i am interested in challenging writing work in all fields. i can undertake extensive research. i am a student of the Writer's Bureau, UK. I am also a member of the Association of Freelance Journalists, England. my writing style and vocabulary are my strengths.

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