Pilgrim Centre


Bom Jesus Basilica, Old Goa
Name:
Bom Jesus Basilica, Old Goa
Estd:
15th Century
Feast Day:
December 4
E-mail:
Website:
Telephone (O) +91 832 228 5790
  Contact: Old Goa Rd, Bainguinim, Goa 403402, India    
History
The Basilica of Bom Jesus or Borea Jezuchi Bajilika is located in Goa India and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. The church is located in Old Goa which was the capital of Goa in the early days of Portuguese rule.

Construction work on the church began in 1594 and the church was consecrated in May 1605 by the archbishop Dom Fr. Aleixo de Menezes. This world heritage monument has emerged as a landmark in the history of Christianity. It contains the body of St. Francis Xavier a very close friend of St. Ignatius Loyola with whom he founded the Society of Jesus the (Jesuits). Francis Xavier died on Sancian Island while en route to continental China on (December 2 1552).

The body of Francis Xavier was first taken to Portuguese Malacca and two years later shipped back to Goa. It is said that the saint's body was as fresh as the day it was buried. The remains of the saint still attract a huge number of devotees (Christian and non-Christian alike) from all over the world especially during the public viewing of his body every ten years (last held in 2004). The saint is said to have miraculous powers of healing.

This is one of the oldest churches in Goa as well as in India. The floor is of marble inlaid with precious stones. Apart from the elaborate gilded altars the interior of the church is simple. Thechurch also holds paintings of scenes taken from the life of St. Francis Xavier. The mausoleum on the top of which is placed the silver casket with the body of St. Francis Xavier (1696) was the gift of the last of the Medicis Cosimo III the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

The mausoleum was designed by the 17th-century Florentine sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini. It took ten years to complete. The casket containing his body is made of silver. The holy relicsof the saint are displayed every ten years during the anniversary of the saint's death. His liturgical feast is the third of December.
On the upper level overlooking the tomb is the Bom Jesus Basilica Art Gallery containing the works of the Goan surrealist painter Dom Martin.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is more than 400 years old and is open to the public everyday. The body of St. Francis Xavier is kept in a well-decorated casket. Solemn exhibitions of the 'body' are held every ten years.