Se Cathedral

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India >> Goa >> Old Goa >> Attractions >> Se Cathedral

Se Cathedral

History

Se Cathedral is the largest church in Asia and is known for its giant bells and exquisite architecture. With a classical Iberian façade, the impressive Se Cathedral symbolized Portugal’s commitment to the Catholic Church as well as its overwhelming supremacy.

The history traces back to the time of Dominicans, who were the first missionaries to be sent to India by the Portuguese. This cathedral was designed by the muscular engineers, Ambrosio Argueiro and Julio Simao. The magnificent church with its sky-high ceilings is a do-not-miss attraction of Goa.

Se Cathedral is a well known cathedral and the main altar is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria. Se is also known for St. Catherine because Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa on St Catherine’s Day (25th November 1510). A beautiful gilded panel depicts the martyrdom of St Catherine while wooden statues of St Paul and St Peter stand in the niches on either side of the nave. Commissioned in 1562, Se Cathedral took a hundred years to build. No wonder, it is the largest and the grandest in Old Goa! The Cathedral stands on a raised plinth of laterite plastered with lime. The inner décor of the cathedral is Corinthian, massive pillars support the barrel shaped vault and choir housed under an orthodox oblong ribbed roof. The church is fringed with Tuscan exteriors and is 250 feet in length and 181 feet in breath.

The construction of Cathedral was ordered in 1562 in the reign of King Dom Sebastio and instructing his heirs to finance the work from the Royal Treasury. Actually, the Cathedral was built from the sale of property impounded by the government! The baptismal font (circa 1532) to the right of the entrance faces the two statues of St Francis Xavier whose sacred relics were displayed for the first time at Se Cathedral.

Of the eight chapels in Se Cathedral, the four on the left belong to Our Lady of Virtues, St. Sebastian, the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Life. The ones on the right are dedicated to St Anthony, St Bernard, the Cross of Miracles and the Holy Ghost. The chapels of the Blessed Sacrament and the Cross of Miracles are cloistered behind finely filigreed wooden screens.

The main attraction of the church is its giant bell known as the "Golden Bell". The bell is known for its tune and rich tone and is the largest bell in Goa. The walls of the church are decorated with exquisite paintings that are quite old. The Se Cathedral is a must visit while touring Goa.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit is between late October and early April. The peak season is from mid-December to mid-January, when the weather is near perfect, with daytime temperatures rarely going beyond 32° C. The carnival period in the month of February through to early March ia another peak time, attracting a lot of tourists to North Goa. It is a great time, a lot like the Christmas season with parades, pageants and lots of merrymaking late into the nights.

Trivia

It is believed that The Cross of Miracles, housed in Se Cathedral, is credited with phenomenal powers. People actually believe they see a vision of Christ on this crucifix; the rock on which it was found is said to spout water and the Cross, people swear, is growing slowly but steadily.

Timing

The Cathedral is opened from 7:30am till 6:00pm. The best time to visit the place is between the months of November and February when the weather is moderate.


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