New Delhi, India
August 6, 2005
I guess I’m more used to the subdued austerity of Anglican churches (at least in India, Anglican churches are synonymous with subtly carved stone--the most decorative these churches ever get is when there’s a stained glass window somewhere). Which is why the subdued grandeur of this church appealed to me. The church was built as part of two buildings--the one next door used to be the Convent of St Francis of Assisi, but was abandoned in the 19th century and today houses the Archaeological Museum--by eight Franciscan monks who’d come to Goa from Europe. The patron saint of the order is well in evidence: paintings depicting his life and his ministry abound, and there’s even a wooden statue of his, on a pedestal decorated with the insignia of the Franciscans. Other than that, the highlight of the church is the tabernacle that occupies pride of place at the high altar--it stands supported by statues of four evangelists.
The church is much smaller than the Sé Cathedral and the Basilica of Bom Jesus, and although it’s heavily painted and there are profusely carved altars, the aura is one of muted dignity. Do look up at the ceiling near the entrance as you go out--the pattern painted on the ceiling near the door has a distinctly Indian touch to it.
From journal A Whiff of Portugal