St. Francis Xavier Church, Old Goa
St. Francis Xavier Church, the oldest church of Goa today lies under the roofs of the Basilica of Bom Jesus. Basilica of Bom Jesus, which was constructed in 1965, is dedicated to the Bom Jesus, Infant Jesus. Church of St. Francis Xavier as the name suggests is dedicated to the holy patron of Goan Catholics. St. Francis Xavier along with St. Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. He was amongst the first seven Jesuits. He has visited Goa in the year 1542, at the command of his teacher St. Ignatius Loyola. Staying back at Goa for four rainy months he preached the Goans. St. Francis Xavier is commonly called 'Goencho Saab' (Lord of Goa) and Goan devotion to St. Francis Xavier is deep across the whole length of Goa.
The original chapel is said to have been pioneered in the year 1594 under St. Francis'; which was completed in 1605. As the church originally belonged to the College of St. Paul, which he had headed for long, so later the church was dedicated to Saint Francis. Due to the epidemic lead destructions of St. Paul in 1570, the chapel was almost ruined. The present chapel was then built in 1884.
Best Time to Visit
Church visiting timings:
Weekdays: 9:00 am-6:30pm,
Mass conduction hours:
Attending the evening mass at St. Francis Xavier Church is a pleasant experience.
Some Must To Know Facts
- This church contains the relics of St. Francis Xavier, patron Saint of Goa.
- This was the first Indian church to be raised to the status of a minor basilica in the year 1946.
- It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Saint's body is solemnly exhibited every ten years.
How to Reach St. Francis Xavier Church
New city of Panjim (10km) and Old Goa are easily accessible from all major cities. Dabolim is the nearest airport. And there are adequate train and bus connectivity. The chapel can be easily reached by taking kuchha lane, behind the gates of St. Paul's college. Church is located amidst the opulence of Old Goa, The place is easily accessible. The sacred chapel is nestled on the banks of Mandovi River in east Tiswadi Taluka in Central Goa.
The best way to reach the St. Xavier Chapel is by taking a drive on NH4A via Ribander Causeway, eastwards along the Mandovi River, towards south-east to Ponda. There are a number of public as well as private transport facilities available to travel down to there. But the best option is to hire a pre-paid taxi.
For more information you can contact GTDC.
Best Accommodation Facilities
Located in Old Goa, the ancient capital city of Goa the church is at a small distance of around 10km from Panjim. Some of the best rated hotels to stay in the close vicinity of the church are:
More About Church
Divinity of this chapel settles down directly into your heart giving you the divine experience that you never had before.
Almost 400 years old, this church is very opulent with marble lined floor. The church presents the best specimen of the baroque architecture in Doric order in India.
The church has three-storeyed structure with three entrances at the front and corresponding windows at the upper floors. Built of laterite plaster and lime mortars, this church has tilted roof which is supported by wooden rafters. The roof has a tiled pattern. This chapel has only one altar made in lime and laterite with a lavish work. Sacred place of worship has been designed on the theme of Renaissance architecture.
As you enter the rectangular nave there is a statue of St. Ignatius of Loyala and below it is a small statue of the infant Jesus, the patron of this Church. At the left side you find a finely carved wooden statue of St. Francis Xavier, beneath the choir. The basilica is linked to the 'Casa Professa', the Professed House of Jesuits by a colonnaded pathway.
Church has been adorned with a fabulous line of architectural displays made in wood, stone, gold and granite. The altar has been elaborately gilded while the interior of the church bears an inimitable simplicity adding lots of charm to the place. St. Francis church from inside is beautifully decorated with stones and fresco paintings dedicated either to infant Jesus, angels or the life of the holy Saint. A fabulous line of scripts endorsing St. Anthony or St. Jerome can also be seen there, to whom the chapel was dedicated originally. There is a carved basalt medallion dedicated to the Society of Jesus at the apex of the church.
This casket also referred to as the Tomb of St. Francis is the best manifestation of the amalgamation of Italian art in India, enriched with the blend of Italian and Indian art. Upper part of the tomb has a pyramidal form, made in Indian ivory coffers resembling the Indian temple pavilion. There is a series of seven panels on the casket with thirty two silver plates on the four sides of the tomb. Each panel has two plates, one over the other with carvings representing the various stages of the Saint's life. Angel's' figures have been placed in between these panels. The Bom Jesus Basilica Art Gallery at the upper floor has a very opulent collection.
The uniqueness of this chapel is the silver casket holding the mortal body of the St. Francis Xavier. The body initially was kept on the third floor of Casa Professa Bom Jesus, residential wing of the church Bom Jesus. In the year 1624 a procession was arranged to transport the body to the Chapel of St. Francis of Borgia in the Bom Jesus Church. The embalmed body is contained in simple and plain silver especially brought from Rome. However, in 1637, the body was placed in a glass encased in a new silver casket made by the Goan Silversmiths.
With just one altar housed by the wooden rafters, this holy place offers scenic visual beauty along with lots of sanctity. The church is said to have a miraculous well which has holy water blessed with the healing powers of the Saint.
Other Tourist Attractions
Casa Professa, Old Goa Churches, Panjim locations, Beaches like Calangute, Condolim