Basilica Bom Jesus - Kochi



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  Video - In and Around of Basilica Bom Jesus

One of the most popular churches in Goa is the Basilica of Bom Jesus truly deserves to be given the status of a World Heritage Site. It is located in Old Goa which was the capital city during the Portugal rule. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is famous for the preserved mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. He was the member of Society of Jesus and came to India to spread Christianity with the Portuguese. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is India's first minor cathedral and is supposed to be the best example of decorative architecture in India.

Significance of the Church
The name of the Church, Bom Jesus basically means "Good Jesus" and is used for Jesus when he was an infant. The Bom Jesus church was constructed around 1695 and it became an important milestone in the historical legacy of Christianity. St. Francis Xavier was a member of the Society of Jesus who preached the enlightening teachings of Christianity when he came to India along with the Portuguese. While on a voyage to China from India, he died on the ship on 2nd December, 1552.

St. Francis Xavier boarded the ship of Santiago from the port of Lisbon and reached Goa on May 06, 1541. Serving at the Holy Spirit Hospital in Goa for six months, he would go through the streets ringing a little bell and inviting the children to hear the word of God. When he had gathered a considerable number, he would take them to a church to explain Catechism to them. He then shifted his attentions to the pearl fisheries of the extreme southern coast of the peninsula devoting three years to preaching and converting many. In his endeavor, he reached the Island of Ceylon.

St. Xavier's quest took him to Malacca and then the Molucca Islands, Amboyna, Ternate, Baranura, and the island of Mindanao, Philippines. He met a Japanese man called Anger and baptized him in Goa. He arrived in Japan in 1549 and began preaching. After three years, he returned to Goa. Thereafter, St. Xavier left for China where he fell ill en- route. With his aggravated condition, he was offloaded at Sancian where a make shift hut had been built to shelter him. Here, he breathed his last.

It is said that the following year when the body of the saint was being transferred to Goa as per his wishes, the people were shocked to find his body fresh as ever. This was claimed to be a miracle and his body was preserved in an air tight coffin made of glass and placed inside a silver casket. Every year thousands of devotees visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus on 2nd December to see the mortal remains of the saint that is displayed publicly. Now, the practice has been stopped to prevent the body from deterioration.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the richest churches in Goa and also all over India and a renowned pilgrimage site of Christians. It is covered with marble flooring and inlaid with precious stones. Except for the elaborately gilded altars, the interior of the church is simple. The church houses paintings of St. Francis Xavier. In fact the Tomb of St. Francis Xavier (1696) was the gift of the last of the Medicis, Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Carved by a 17th century Florentine sculptor, named Giovanni Batista Foggini, it took 10 years to complete. The casket containing his body is made of silver. The holy relics of the saint are displayed every 10 years on the anniversary of his death.

The Feast of St. Francis Xavier is held on the 3rd of December at Velha in Old Goa, which witnesses thousands of pilgrims and a special mass held here. The embalmed body of the saint, Francis Xavier, in honor of which the festival is held, is enshrined in a silver casket, in the Basilica of Bom Jesus built in 1605 by the Jesuits. It is exposed to public homage every 10 years and thousands of pilgrims come from all over the world to pay their tributes to the departed saint.

Architecture of the Church
A fine specimen of Jesuit architecture, the design of Basilica De Bom Jesus was inspired by the Church of St. Paul, which is now in ruins. Built of laterite, the church is cruciform on plan having a tiled roof. The exterior of the church, excepting the facade was lime plastered which was subsequently removed. The three-storeyed facade of Basilica De Bom Jesus, with delicately carved basalt embellishments is one of the richest in Goa.

The facade serves as a visual delight for your eyes and its Ionic, Doric and Corinthian columns depict the fine use of classical orders, in the Renaissance style. At the top of the facade you can see an intricately carved basalt medallion which depicts the emblem of the society of Jesus. As the facade follows the Baroque style, the layout of the basilica with its single rectangular nave follows the Renaissance style. In the ground floor of the basilica you will see three portals, on the first floor there are three corresponding long windows while on the second floors are three circular windows.

Best Time to Visit
The Basilica is open to visitors from 9 am to 6.30 pm on weekdays and from 10 am to 6.30 pm on Sundays. Masses are held at 8 am and 9.15 am on Sunday and at 7 am and 8 am on weekdays.

Facilities at the Temple

Nearby tourist places to Basilica Bom Jesus

Goa Margoa
, Mumbai

How to reach the Church
  • Through Aiways The domestic airport at Dabolim (30 km from Panaji) has frequent flights from Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore and Kochi, besides chartered flights from overseas.

  • Through Railways: The two railway stations- at Vasco da Gama and Margao- have a number of trains arriving at Goa from the rest of the country.

  • Through Roadways: There are bus networks which connect the state to other cities and towns in Western and Southern India. From Panaji- or any other place in Goa, there are excellent bus connections to Old Goa. Alternately, you can hire a car or take a taxi to visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus, including the exciting motorbike taxis.