Basilica of Bom Jesus

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Basler Strasse 48
60329 Frankfurt am Main

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Probably the most famous church in Goa and one of the most revered by Christians globally, the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa is famed for housing the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier. This complex, along with some other churches of Old Goa, features on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Its exterior facade, built using black granite, is noted for Baroque architecture combined with Doric, Corinthian and composite influences.

Inside, the main altar is 30-ft-broad and 54-ft-high and its pillars have been erected using basalt from Bassein (now Vasai, a town in Maharashtra), approximately 300 km away. Richly gilded, it features the figure of infant Jesus Christ, above which is a statue of St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order. The latter gazes at a medallion, and above this is depicted the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and the Holy Spirit).
The southern side of the basilica houses the chapel wherein are preserved the sacred relics St Francis Xavier. The church's interior is richly adorned with wood carvings and paintings that depict scenes from the lives of St Xavier. A silver casket, which contains the sacred relics of the saint, is divided into seven panels each of which contains two plates that are representative of the incidents of the saint's life.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is the only church in the state to not have plastered exterior. On November 24, 1594, the foundation stone of the church was laid and it was consecrated on May 15, 1605 by the Archbishop of Goa, Fr Alexia de Menezes. It was raised to the status of basilica in 1946.