Santa Cruz Basilica - Kochi



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 Video - In and Around Santa Cruz Basilica
Santa Cruz Basilica, a Roman Catholic Cathedral located at K.B Jacob road in Fort Kochi, is one of the finest and impressive churches in Kerala. It is a place of devotion as well as a center of historic significance, endowed with architectural and artistic grandeur and colours of the gothic style. Located close to St. Francis Church it is the 'capital church' of the diocese of Cochin.

Santa Cruz Basilica is one of the oldest and famous churches in India. This church was originally built by the Portuguese in the year 1505. It was later in the year 1558 that it was elevated to the cathedral by the then Pope, Pope Paul IV. This church was spared by the Dutch people who invaded and destroyed many catholic buildings. This church is located in Kochi region in Kerala, state of southern India. Later this sacred building was demolished and renovated by the British in 1887 by the orders of Bishop Dom Gomez Vereira. In the year 1984 Santa Cruz was titled as Basilica by Pope John Paul II.

Significance of the Church
The name Santa Cruz Basilica bears a special significance for the Christians residing in the south-western peninsular city of Kochi, as it celebrates the dawn of Christianity in the enigmatic land of India.

Legend has it that the Santa Cruz Basilica has been stoutly standing its ground for a mammoth 500 years which is a spectacular feat in itself. Although the Santa Cruz Basilica had suffered ugly bruises at the hand of the robust British invaders in the year 1795, it continues to dazzle the on-lookers with its indelible charm and unparalleled charisma.

On the auspicious occasion of the 500th Anniversary of the Santa Cruz Basilica church in Kochi, the residents of Kochi had celebrated to their heart's content and displayed their love and passion through an entire volley of well-coordinated cultural and religious programs.

In order to restore the charm and splendor of the Santa Cruz Basilica of Kochi, some measures were taken so that the annihilated portions of the church could be reconstructed. This operation commenced from the month of November, in the year 1905.

The most gorgeous features of the Santa Cruz Basilica at Kochi include the incredibly beautiful wooden panels and the pulpit.The interiors of the church are adorned with the propitious presence of some exquisite paintings of Italian origin.It was Pope John Paul IV who had conferred on the Santa Cruz Basilica in Kochi with the status of being a cathedral.

The history of Santa Cruz Basilica begins with the arrival of Portuguese missionaries along with the second Portuguese fleet under Pedro Alavarez Cabral on December 24, 1500. The Kochi king Godha Varma I received them very warmly. This caused the Zamorin of Calicut to declare war against Kochi. But the Portuguese army under Commander Francesco de Albuquerque who reached Kochi in 1503 defeated the enemies of the King of Kochi and in return he gave them permission to built a fort in Kochi.

Best time to visit the church is from the month of October to March.

In 1505, Francesco de Almeida the first Portuguese Viceroy got permission from the Kochi Raja to built a church edifice using stones and mortar which was unheard of at that time as the local prejudices were against such a structure for any purpose other than a royal palace or a temple.

The foundation stone of the Santa Cruz church was laid on May 3, 1505, the feast day of the 'Invention of the Holy Cross', hence the magnificent edifice when completed was named Santa Cruz. This church was located on the eastern side of the present Children's Park, Fort Cochin.In 1558, Pope Paul IV, raised the Santa Cruz church to the status of a Cathedral along with the erection of the Cochin diocese as the second diocese in India. Afterwards when the Dutch conquered Cochin in 1663, they destroyed all Catholic buildings. Only St. Francis Church and the Cathedral escaped this fate. The Dutch made the cathedral their arms storehouse.

Later it fell into the hands of the British who demolished it when they took over Kochi in 1795. One of the decorative granite pillars of the destroyed Cathedral is still kept as a monument at the southeastern corner of the present Basilica premises. Nearby tourist places to Santa Cruz Basilica



Santa Cruz Basilica - Kerala

How to Reach the Church
  • Through Aiways: Airport at Kochi is Nedumbassery International airport which is about 20 km away from Kochi. Taxi charge from Nedumbassery to Kochi is about Rs 300. This airport is well connected to all airports in India and also to many cities in abroad, including the Gulf countries and Singapore.

  • Through Railways: Kochi has three important railheads, namely, Harbour Terminus on Willingdon Island, Ernakulam town and Junction.

  • Through Roadways: Kochi is well connected by bus services. KSRTC connects Kochi with all major cities in Kerala and with many cities in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Deluxe Volvo buses are available in plenty at any time to Chennai, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Hyderabad and Mumbai from Kochi.