THE CONVENT AND CHURCH OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI,
To the west of the Se Cathedral is the former palace of the
Archbishop that connects the Se Cathedral to the Convent and
Church of St. Francis of Assisi. The structure is built of
laterite blocks and is lime-plastered. The church faces west
and has a nave with three chapels on either side, a choir,
two altars in the transept and a main altar. To the north
of the main altar is a belfry and a sacristy. The convent,
which forms an annexure to the church, now houses the Archaeological
The Architectural Grandeur
The exterior of the Church is of the Tuscan Order while the
main entrance is in Manuline style. The main altar is Baroque
with Corinthian features. There are no aisles but only a nave,
which is rib-vaulted. The internal buttress walls, separating
the chapels and supporting the gallery on top, have frescoes
showing intricate floral designs.
In a niche on the facade, stands a statue of our lady of
miracles brought from Jaffna in Sri Lanka. A wooden statue
of St. Francis of Assisi adorns a pedestal bearing the insignia
of the Franciscans. A wooden pulpit, richly carved with floral
designs is to the left as one enters. Beneath a ribbed vault
with frescoes showing floral decorations, is the main altar,
which is gilded and has a richly carved niche with a tabernacle
supported by the four evangelists.
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The tabernacle was used for displaying the holy sacrament.
Above the tabernacle, in the main altar, is a large statue
of St. Francis of Assisi and an equally large statue of Jesus
on the cross. Beneath the two figures are inscribed the three
vows of the Saint - poverty, humility and obedience. On either
side of the main altar, in the nave, are beautiful large paintings
on wood, depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis of
The scenes include:
(I) An angel revealing to his mother that she would beget
a child who would become a great saint
(II) His birth
(III) His first anointment
(IV) Praying at the church of St. Dominica when Jesus commands
him to support his kingdom.
(V) The saint taking the oath and joining the Dominican odder.
(VI) His visit to the Sultan of Damascus.
(VII) The saint showing his wounds to Pope Gregory IX. In
the first floor on the western side, is the choir, which has
amidst carved wooden panels, portrait from Franciscan hagiology
The origin of this church and the attached convent can be
traced to the humble beginnings made by eight Franciscan friars,
who, on their arrival in 1517, secured from the then Governor
a few houses that belonged to a deceased Thanadar. By their
persistent efforts they constructed a small chapel with three
altars and a choir. A church consecrated to the Holy Ghost
was built in 1521 and was later pulled down and the present
church was built on the same spot in 1661 retaining only the
entrance of the earlier church.
Location: Old Goa, Panjim, Goa.