There are three most important churches in Old Goa. On one side of the main road are st Francis of Assisi and the Se Cathedral. And just across the road lies the Basilica Of Bom Jesus. The first thing that strikes you as you look at the majestic structure is that it is not whitewashed like the other churches. It is said that the church’s plaster was removed by Portuguese conservationists in 1950 and they were never replastered.
Once you enter the church your eyes are automatically drawn towards the gilded altar and the exquisitely carved pulpit.
The Basilica is also famous because it houses the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier. He had been instrumental in spreading Christianity in the Portuguese colonies. He died while on his way to China and was buried on an island. When his body was dug up three months later it showed no signs of decay. Even after a year when he was laid to rest in the Basilica his body had not decomposed. This was declared a miracle and he was canonized thus making him a saint. There are photographs that show how his body remains in a [reserved state.
The remains are placed in a silver casket which was adorned with precious jewels. The casket has 7 panels that depict important incidents from the life of the saint.
This is the casket he was bought back in from the place he was initially buried.
Once every 10 years the remains of St Francis are opened to the public and taken around the town. The next event will be in 2024.