Situated in old Goa is the Basilica of Bom Jesus Church which is one of the oldest church in India and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Basilica contains the tomb and mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. The Church attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world, especially during the public viewing of St. Francis Xavier body every ten years, last being held in 2014.
Construction work on the church began in 1594 and was consecrated in May 1605 by the archbishop, Dom Fr. Aleixo de Menezes.
Some interesting things to know:
- The church is called “Bom Jesus” which means “good Jesus” or “infant Jesus”.
- The church is the final resting place of St Francis Xavier. He died on his voyage to China on 3rd December 1552 at the Chinese island of Shangchuanand and was buried there. After St. Francis Xavier death and before his final resting place in the Basilica of Bom Jesus in 1624, his body was buried in three different countries. Each time the body was exhumed, it was found to be fresh and incorrupt.
- St Francis Xavier body was brought back to Goa in accordance with his wish.
- St. Francis Xavier remains are kept in a glass container encased in a silver casket in the Basilica.
- Unlike other churches in Goa, there is no plaster layers on the exteriors of this Church.
Basilica pictures from outside:
Basilica pictures from inside:
- Best time to visit: Oct – Feb
- You can plan to visit during the public viewing of St. Francis Xavier body every ten years. Next viewing will be in 2024.
- Visit other churches of Goa as well which are also beautiful.