Basilica de Bom Jesus is one of the most significant attractions of Goa. This is is probably the most august and famous of all of the churches in Old Goa.
The place to find the Saint Francis Xavier, the priest responsible to create Christianity to the region, this church in Goa attracts a large number of tourists and pilgrims from all over the planet, both Catholic and Non-Catholic alike, to see what can only be termed as divine intervention itself. It is stated that the great Saint Francis Xavier had immense powers of healing that is still reflected in the remains of his mortal self. Testimony for this claim is a public viewing from the Saint’s body that happens once a decade.
Basilica de Bom Jesus is found in Old Goa which was the capital city throughout the Portugal rule. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is known for the preserved mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. He was the person in Society of Jesus and found India to spread Christianity using the Portuguese. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is India’s first minor cathedral and it is supposed to be the best example of decorative architecture in India.
A brief history
Having been inaugurated in 1605 by Father Aleixo De Menezes the Basilica of Bom Jesus has ended 400 years old and is available to tourists and pilgrims every day. Within the church, pilgrims can worship and study through the intricate artwork that talk volumes about the life and duration of Saint Francis Xavier. The remains of Saint Francis are saved in a well clad casket. The majority of the mausoleum has been designed by Giovanni Battista Foggini, a 17th century sculptor. The whole church has been built around the principles of Jesuit architecture.
There’s been talk that the Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is soon coming to going green with a galvanized roof for any better experience for Church inhabitants, pilgrims and tourists. The galvanized roof will switch the current asbestos roof. This can be a first of a kind move in India to maintain a 400 year old UNESCO world heritage site.
A cenotaph of gilded bronze to Dom Jeronimos Mascarenhas, Captain of Cochin and Ormuz and also the benefactor of the church, is around the northern wall near the side wall. The church is devoted to the Infant Jesus and it is exquisitely decorated. The infant Jesus is shown underneath the protection of St Ignatius of Loyola, the Founding father of the Society of Jesus. The statue of St Ignatius is nearly 3 m high. Along side it have altar to Our Lady of Mercy and St Michael. The Liturgical altar was setup by assembling the old discarded altars and was inaugurated on 12th March 1965. The chapel and tomb of St Francis Xavier would be to the south of the church. Your body of St. Francis Xavier was brought here in the College of St Paul after his canonization in 1624 AD. It had been shifted to its present location in 1655 AD. The chapel has three doors around the east, west and south. An enormous picture of the saint is held on the last door. The chapel is decorated with 27 pictures representing the life span and miracles of the saint.
The mausoleum is really a three-tiered bier built by the Duke of Tuscany (1670-1737 AD) to acquire the pillow on which the top of St. Francis Xavier rested for several years after his death. Giovanni Batista Foggini from Florentine designed the dwelling and was completed in1698 AD. It reached Goa on 16th September 1698 from Florence, Italy and was erected between 14th October and 9th November 1698. On top of the bier lies the Silver Casket, containing the relics of the saint.
The casket was constructed by Gaon silversmiths underneath the supervision of Fr Marco Mastrilli S.J. it’s also known as Mastrillian casket. The money because of its construction came from the donation in Goa and elsewhere. It had been completed on 2nd December 1637 around the feast of the Saint. It had been crowned by a cross standing on a pedestal using the figures of two angels on the sides, one near the head holding a heart having a halo and the other near his feat bearing the motto “Satis est, Domine, Satis est” meaning “It is sufficient, O Lord, it is enough!”. It’s believed to be the most common utterances of the saint. The plates around the sides of the casket happen to be removed to make the relics visible with the inner glass/ crystal urn into that the relics were placed in 1955.
The crystal urn was ordered following the exposition of D. Jose Costa Nunes, Patriarch of Goa in 1952, the decission was taken that the sacred relics shouldn’t be touched directly anymore. The crystal urn is made in the Casa Brandizzi at Rome and was delivered to Goa on January 30th 1955. The relics were put into the crystal urn first after which into the silver casket last month 13th 1955 and sealed. That old wooden coffin with its three keys has become kept in the museum in the Professed House of the Jesuits.
Church Timings – The visiting hours come from 9 am to 6.30 pm every day. On Sunday, the visiting hours come from 10.30 am to six.30 pm
How to Reach
The Bom Jesus church is an extremely popular tourist attraction and could be reached from Panaji or any other place nearby by getting a taxi, auto, or even a bus.
Nearby Sterling Holidays Resort: Goa – Villagio & Goa – Club Estadia
Distance from Villagio: 29.1 km, 47 mins
Distance from Club Estadia: 14.0 km, 27 mins
Closest City: Panjim – 33 km
Other nearby attractions in Goa
- Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary – 4.1 km
- Candolim Beach – 9.1 km
- Baga Beach – 10.2 km
- Fort Aguada – 13.1 km
- Chapora Fort – 13.8 km
- Anjuna Beach – 14.1 km
- Shree Shantadurga Temple – 28.7 km
An excursion of Goa is never complete with no visit to this Basilica. Many people from everywhere are attracted to this monument. A vacation to the Basilica of Bom Jesus leaves an in-depth sense of satisfaction in every one.