St. Cajetan Church, Goa

The party destination of India, Goa, is a kaleidoscopic blend of cultures. Here you would find pristine beaches, gorgeous seafood, and a spiritual sanctuary. Goa is also filled with stunning landmarks and architectural marvels, which establishes its link to its colonial past. Portuguese colonial architecture makes this state blessed with a unique heritage. Among the most popular landmarks of this interesting state, St. Cajetan Church is probably the most famous.

Also referred to as the Church of Divine Providence, the architecture of the monument was built as a replica of St Peter’s Church in Rome. Completed in 1661, this church is listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Churches and convents of Goa.

Let’s uncover the beauty of St. Cajetan Church, Goa.

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Keynotes on St. Cajetan Church, Goa

Address: Old Goa, Panjim 403001

Built-in: 1661

Type of monument: Church

Architectural style: Corinthian-style

Opening time: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm

Entry Fee: Free

Visit Duration: Almost one hour 

Best time to visit: October to March

How to Reach: Buses and private taxis available


Overview of the St. Cajetan Church  

The St. Cajetan Church in Goa is one of the most charming monuments of the state overlooking the serpentine Mandovi River. Built by the friars from the Order of Theatines, the beautiful church in Goa’s only domed church. According to records, the monument was constructed in the mid-17th century and is dedicated to the Our Lady of Divine Providence. However, with time the church came to be known after the name of St Cajetan.

The church has a classical design with statues of apostles standing at the front end of the monument. Overall the church, with its beautiful façade is a charming place.

History of the St. Cajetan Church      

Constructed in 1655, the monument was built by the friars (from Italy) of Order of Theatines. These monks were sent to Golconda Empire (present-day Hyderabad) by Pope Urban VIII for spreading the word of the Lord and preaching Christianity. Unfortunately, these monks were not permitted to enter Golconda and had to settle in Old Goa.      
 
In 1655, these friars began church construction. The Italian architects, Francesco Maria Milazzo and Carlo Ferrarini designed the monument and supervised the construction process.  

Legends Associated with the Monument

According to several legends, Italian Theatine monks after settling to Goa embarked on constructing a hospital in the region. However, the construction of the hospital was stopped mid-way on the orders of Viceroy of Goa. Also, these monks were asked to leave the city immediately.

To complete their mission, these monks went all the way to Portugal and petitioned Emperor Dom Joao IV for consent to build a hospital in the Old Goa region. The king, impressed by their dedication, granted the permission and helped in building the hospital. Later on, a convent and a church were added to the existing hospital structure.      

The Architecture of St. Cajetan Church, Goa       

The St. Cajetan Church is Goa’s only cathedral with a dome-like structure and was built with the lime plaster covered laterite blocks. Apart from that, the monument has two turrets that substituted as belfries or bell towers. Several historians point out that the church, although the replica of Vatican City’s St. Peter's Basilica, there is several elements included in the St. Cajetan’s that were picked from the Church to the Sant'Andrea Della Valle (seat of the Theatine Order).

Constructed in the shape of a Greek cross, with inscriptions from the Gospel of Matthew etched on it, the church reflects an aura of spiritual peace and serenity. As you enter the church, you will be greeted by the statue of four apostles - John the Evangelist, Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and Saint Mathews – standing in the Corinthian style portico.        

Inside the cathedral, there are seven alters among which the central altar is dedicated to Mary. She is referred here through her title Our Lady of Providence. The main altar of the St. Cajetan Church in Goa, according to art historians, is very similar to the Church of San Nicolo in Verona.

A fine example of the Corinthian architecture, the St. Cajetan Church’s interiors has elements of Rococo, Baroque, and Goan style. The gilded and latticework quite beautifully segregates the church into a nave with vaulted chapels. The patron saint of the church, Mother Mary, resides inside the main altar. There are six more altars, three on each side of the central altar. One of the subsidiary altars is dedicated to Saint Cajetan – the founder of the Theatine Order.

Star Attractions of the St. Cajetan Church

1. The statues of four apostils at the patio of the church.
2. The stunning hemispherical dome that reminds of Vatican’ St. Peter’s Basilica.
3. Cupola and its accompanying arched pillars.
4. Incidents from the life of St. Cajetan are etched on the walls of the church.
5. Two quadrangular turrets that act as the bell towers.
6. Inscribed Latin verses from the Book of Matthew on the cupola.
7. Intricately carved main altarpiece dedicated to the Our Lady of Divine Providence (Mother Mary).

An Interesting Fact  

Within the compound of the St. Cajetan Church, Goa you can find the last remnants of the Hindu carvings on ancient arches and pillars. Historians believe that these carvings belonged to the Palace of Adil Shah, one of the emperors of Bijapur.

Although smaller in size, the St. Cajetan is one of the most peaceful and calm venues of Goa. The all white edifice, with striking statues of four important Apostilles standing in the façade, and the soothing smile on the face of Our Lady of Divine Providence, would surly fill your heart with happiness and peace.       


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