basilica bom jesus

Nine kilometers from Panaji, standing witness to a milestone event in the history of Christianity, is the world famous church of Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus.

It was the first church in India to be raised to the status of a minor Basilica in 1946. Construction work began in 1594 and the church was consecratedon 15th of May,1605 by the Archbishop, Dom Fr. Aleixo de Menezes. Dedicated to infant Jesus, this church is most revered among the Goans. The mortal remains of Goa's patron St. Francis Xavier are kept here. Referred fondly as 'Goencho Saib' (Lord of Goa) by Goans, emotions of Goans run high when it comes to St. Francis Xavier. St. Francis was a member of society of Jesus who came to Goa in a 1542.

Although his stay in Goa was short, just four months, but he kept coming back time and again since Goa housed the headquarters of Society of Jesuits in the East. He died enroute to China on December 3,1552. Though he was buried there, his body was brought back to Goa after two years in accordance with his wish. It was then discovered that the body was still intact. The body at that time was laid in St. Paul's church but after St. Francis Xavier was Canonized in 1662, it was shifted to Basilica of Bom Jesus where it remains till date. Public viewing is held every ten years. This event attracts lakhs of pilgrims from round the globe.