Basilica of Bom Jesus Church,Goa

This church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located very close to the Majorda Beach. It has the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier and the visitors flock here as pilgrimage as well as to see its baroque architecture.

Here rests the body of St. Francis Xavier, the Apostle of the East. He came to Goa in 1542 and died in 1552 in China. When his coffin was opened—because the body was to be brought to Goa—it was found to be in a perfect state of preservation. Till 1974, the body was exposed to the devout at the Basilic ay Basilia of Born Jesus, once every ten years.

The Society of Jesus came to Goa in 1542, and its most important figure in these early days of the St. Francis Xavier, considered the Apostle of the East for his work in the evangelization of Asia. Some time after their arrival, the Jesuits created a religious educational center, the College of São Paulo or São Roque, which had a large library and typography, but this complex was destroyed in 1830.

The great Jesuit monument that survived is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, begun in 1594 and sacred in 1605, in which the Goan engineer Júlio Simão and the Portuguese Jesuit Domingos Fernandes worked. Following the model of Portuguese Jesuit churches such as the Church of the Holy Spirit of Évora and the Church of São Roque de Lisboa, Bom Jesus is a temple of a single nave. It is covered by a curved wooden lining and has no side chapels except for two chapels in the transept area.

The facade of the church, the work of Domingos Fernandes, is of Mannerist style and has three portals and three floors compartmentalized by cornices. On the façade, there is a large scenic body with a pediment decorated by a cartela with the arms of the Company of Jesus and flanked by scrolls. The largest treasure in the interior of the church is the chapel of the transept where the remains of Francisco Xavier have been found since 1655 in a silver casket finely crafted by local artists. The urn is housed in a mausoleum executed by the Florentine artist Giovanni Battista Foggini in 1697. This monument, in Italian marble, was offered by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III Medici, and armed on the spot by a specially sent artist, Placido Francesco Ramponi, arrived in Goa in 1698 for this purpose. The chancel has a golden altarpiece, dated 1699, dedicated to the Child Jesus, with an image of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Order.

In 1946, it became the first basilica of India. In the present day, there are still pilgrimages to the place, for visits to the tomb of the Apostle of the East.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus had to be in a prominent place. It stands out not only for being the most emblematic religious building in Goa Velha. It stands out above all for being distinct from the other churches by the building materials - basalt and laterite, in their reddish tone - and by their structure. Most visitors to Goa Velha come to the city to see this monument, one of the Seven Wonders of Portuguese Origin in the World. On the right side of the transept, in an ornate chapel, are the relics of St. Francis Xavier, the Jesuit missionary who contributed most to the evangelization of Asia, hence known as the "Apostle of the East."

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