St. Cathedral Church, Old Goa

Dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria, this church is known as St. Catherine's Cathedral or "Se Cathedral". This church was commissioned on the orders of Portuguese viceroy Redondo, to be made the grandest of all, to state the wealth and power of the then ruler of the oceans, Portuguese. It took a total of 60 years to made this church and what stood finally is the largest of all churches standing in entire Portugal.

Important Note:
• Novena & Feast of St. Catherine: 14-25 November.
• Church Timings: 7:30am-6:00pm

Interesting Facts About St. Cathedral Church
• This church is UNESCO world heritage site.
• The church took a total span of around 60 years to get completed.
• Huge 'Golden Bell' hung at the belfry of this church is the largest bell in the world. The bell is so called for its gold-material content which bestows its well known resonating tone.
• The church today is called "Se Cathedral", which means the Bishop's official seat, being chosen as the official seat (Se) or Cathedra of the Bishop of Goa.
• Due to collapsing of its one of the bell towers in 1776, the church today bears a lopsided look with just one tower on its right side. Standing tower has the famous golden bell atop.
• The church is notable for its plan exterior construction on the line of Tuscan tradition.
• Church has total 4 chapels on either side of its nave, which includes the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and the Chapel of the Miraculous Cross.

How to Reach the Church:
Renowned as Asia's largest bell-church, the place is fairly accessible from all parts of Goa. The church is situated at a distance of 9km from Panjim, capital city of Goa. Thus if you are planning to stay at Panjim or in Old Goa, you can easily get a convenient local transportation to reach the church. You can either take a ride on government or luxury travel buses, or hire a taxi or motorcycle. The area enjoys a fair accessibility from all the major cities.

Accommodation Facility:
As per your trip plan and preference you can opt for different accommodations in Goa. You can check in the hotels of Panjim or old Goa. Best featured hotels near St. Cathedral Church are:
• Holiday Inn Resort
• Mayfair Hideaway and Spa Resort
• Royal Orchid Beach Resort and Spa
• Neelams The Grand
• Goan Village Beach Resort

Major Attraction of the Church

Architectural Appeal
The church construction began in 1562 and got completed in 1619. Main altars of the church however could be finished by 1652. The church was consecrated to holy St. Catherine in 1640. Built for the Dominicans and finance paid by the Royal Treasury on the cost of his Highness. This enormous structure's architecture was broadly inspired by the cathedral of Porto Alegre, Portugal. Based on a raised platform of laterite and lime plaster, the church facade stands 112 feet high. Façade of the church has been made in Tuscan-Doric mix style, while the inside is Mosaico-Corinthian. Church has its façade facing eastwards. The church has a high rising drum ached nave with ribbed crossings. St Cathedral Church has three portals, two aisles and a transept. Main altar of the church is dedicated to St. Catherine and bears engravings with images of St. Catherine's life and her martyrdom. A flight of stairs lead to the courtyard of the church. Church when made to its left was the Palace of Inquisition and the Senate House, which now have totally disappeared. The adjoining convent has been turned into an Archeological Museum, open for the public.

Artistic Appeal
Plain exteriors of the church are magnificently supplemented with the majestic interiors and a high vaulted ceiling. While entering the church besides the two marble basins holding the Holy Water, you can see a Baptismal font made in black stone. This font which is dated 1532, previously belonged to the old cathedral and this is the place where St. Francis Xavier had baptized thousands of Goans. Richly engraved main altar of the church basically has three niches in its centre with three images, one placed over the other. First image is of St. Catharine, other is of Nossa Senhora d'Assumptio and the third is the Christ crucified. There as well is a niche on both the sides of the nave which house the wooden statues of St. Paul and St. Peter. The chapel of Blessed Sacrament is decorated beautifully. There are seats made in the nave for the canon and a throne for the Archbishop. There are two small statues carved into the main pillars which support the choir, one of these is of St Francis Xavier and the other is of St Ignatius Loyola. An eighteenth century organ can be seen placed at the gallery in the right side and a doorway leading to the Sacristy, which has been made in a barrel shape with a gilded altar with the image of a church (inspired from the St. Peter's, Rome). This church was bestowed with "The Golden Rose" in 1953 by Pope Pius XII, which is now placed in the Bom Jesus Basilica. The church houses five bells including the enormous Golden bell immortalized with Portuguese poem.

Aesthetic Appeal
Third chapel of the church is dedicated to 'Cruz dos Milagres' or the Miraculous Cross; which is said to have grown in its size and it is also said that a vision of Christ has appeared on this cross in 1919.

Nearby Attractions:
The Royal Depot of Tobacco, Church of St. Cajetan. Indo-Muslim doorway, Remains of Muslim tomb and mosques in close vicinity.

Enrich your Goa visit with the serenity of Panjim, opulence of Old Goa and a must to visit Se Cathedra.