The story and history behind the Basilica of Bom Jesus
The church that is located in Old Goa, was declared as the UNESCO world heritage site. The church was built in 1605 and is one of the best site for those who love history and admire the architectural brilliance.
When you are in Goa searching for the must visit places around, Basilica of Bom Jesus will be on the top of your list of recommendations. As you enter the church and you’ll start admiring the architectural splendor of wood, paintings and carvings. Wonder how much of man hours would have it taken? To the right of the altar situated is the body of St Francis Xavier himself.
St.Francis Xavier, was born on 7th April 1506 was the sixth and last child born to Dr. Joao de Xavier and Maria d’Aspilcueta at Xavier castle, Navarra, which is now located in Spain. Being a Roman Catholic missionary who preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of Asia and was the co-founder of the Society of Jesus. St. Francis during his voyage to various regions such as Mosambique, Palestine etc. arrived in Goa. Here he began preaching to the natives and attempted to reform his fellow Europeans. During his trip he converted tens of thousands of people into Christianity as well.
On his last missionary work in China, he fell ill and died on the island near Canton, China in 1552 at a very young age of 46. His body was then buried in three different places before being shipped to Goa. Each time the body was dug out, it was found to be free from physical decay. The body was placed in a silver casket in 1637 at the Basilica of Bom Jesus. The silver casket is lowered for public viewing once in 10 years for a period of 6 weeks.
In its first public viewing of the body in Goa, India, a Portuguese woman bit off his big toe. The toe is then said to have gushed blood, and she was caught. Today, St. Francis Xavier’s toe is on display in a silver reliquary in a cathedral in Goa. And it isn’t the only part of St. Xavier’s corpse to travel: There’s a diamond-encrusted fingernail on display in a different village in Goa, part of an arm was sent to Rome, and there’s a hand in Japan too.
Interesting right? So, on your next visit to Goa, remember to explore Old Goa and pay a visit to the Basilica of Bom Jesus. And guess what? Now that you know the entire story, you won’t even need a guide to explain you more.