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Holy Spirit Church, Margao Holy Spirit Church, Margao

Holy Spirit Church, Margao

One of the most famous of Margao’s architectural attractions is the Holy Spirit church which borders one side of the main city square. This church which is more than 450 years old is a superb example of Indo-Portuguese architecture. It is a functioning parish till this day and is perhaps most famous for its feast which is held on the occasion of Pentecost, usually in the month of May.

Claim to Fame

This church is a superb example of Indo-Baroque architecture and is also famous for its superbly carved and decorated interiors and fully functioning pipe organ.

Timings
The church is open every day from 9.00am to 12.00pm
and again in the evenings from 4.00pm to 7.00pm.
The mass timings are as follows :
Weekdays – 6:30 am (Konkani), 7:15 am (Konkani), 8:00 am (Konkani), 5:30 pm (Konkani – Only on Wednesdays – Novena Mass), 5:45 pm (Konkani – Only on 1st Friday – Adoration Mass)
Saturdays – 6:30 am (Konkani), 7:15 am (Konkani), 8:00 am (Konkani), 6:00 pm (Konkani – Sunday Liturgy)
Sundays –6:00 am (Konkani), 7:00 am (Konkani), 8:00 am (Konkani), 9:00 am (English), 10:00 am (Konkani)

Must See

History

The first church that was built in Margao was constructed by the Jesuits is 1564. The site for the church was selected by the first Archbishop of Goa, Dom Gaspar de Leao Pereira and the first mass was celebrated in the church in 1565.

However, this church was later destroyed by the armies of Adil Shah in 1571 when they retook the territory from the Portuguese and tore down the church. The Portuguese later took back the land but refrained from building another church until they were sure that the territory was completely secured and defended; although they constructed smaller chapels and churches during this time.

The construction of the present day church began in 1645. Due to the lack of funds, the construction of this monumental edifice took 30 years to complete. The church was consecrated in 1675. According to the historical records, this church is built on a different site from the one that was originally constructed in Margao. There used to be an old factory on the site, which was torn down to make room for the church.

Architecture

The Holy Spirit Church in Margao is considered to be one of the finest examples of Indo-Baroque architecture in Goa. The stark white façade, fully four storeys high is graced by towers on either side of a central dome.

It is thought that the façade was built along the lines of the Augustinian church which used to stand on the hill in Old Goa. The central section is divided into the three orders, while the towers which frame it are divided into four, slightly set-back, orders.

The façade was added to later on in the church’s history by someone skilled in the making of retables, as is evident from the tight proportions of the architectural members and less refined ornamentation.

The tower crowns are comprised of drum, cupola and lantern. This type of tower top is known as zimbórios, and these are the oldest to have survived in Goa. It is thought that the church of Our Lady of Grace (the Augustinian Church) also had towers topped by zimbórios.

Interiors and Art

The Holy Spirit Church of Margao is laid out in the traditional cruciform style, with a single nave and transept. The church is accessible through the side door. The south arm of the transept is occupied by the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament. The walls are decorated profusely with moldings and carvings; especially in the chapels under the high choir, the transept and lower floors.

The ceiling over the nave consists of five barrel vaults with lateral penetrations within the arches corresponding to the nave’s five sections. There are groin vaults over the crossing and transept. The chancel is barrel vaulted with penetrations.

The nave is articulated by giant order pilasters in the Doric and Ionic architectural style. The building is the oldest in which the Goan influence on European architecture can be seen. This is evident in the semi-circular niches surmounted by shelled half vaults. This architectural phenomenon is seen all over the church; in windows and doors as well as articulating the lower order of the nave’s side elevations.

The altar is backed by a carved and gilded reredos, stretching from floor to ceiling, which is dedicated to Our Lady. This is made only more impressive by the carved and gilded archway that stands in front of it.

As well as the main altar, there are two side altars, also heavily carved, which are dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul. The old pipe organ of the church has been completely restored and is used to play for the accompaniment of hymns during mass. There are carved statues of St. Anthony and Joseph Vaz in glass cases near the north transept.

Goa Tourism - Holy Spirit Church, Margao
Welcome to Goa
Goa Tourism Development Corporation.  A Govt. of Goa Undertaking

Holy Spirit Church, Margao

One of the most famous of Margao’s architectural attractions is the Holy Spirit church which borders one side of the main city square. This church which is more than 450 years old is a superb example of Indo-Portuguese architecture. It is a functioning parish till this day and is perhaps most famous for its feast which is held on the occasion of Pentecost, usually in the month of May.

Claim to Fame

This church is a superb example of Indo-Baroque architecture and is also famous for its superbly carved and decorated interiors and fully functioning pipe organ.

Timings
The church is open to the public every day from 9.00am to 8.30pm. Regular masses are also celebrated in this church the mass timings are as follows :
Monday to Friday – 6.45am and 7.45pm (Konkani)
Saturday – 6.45am, 6.00pm and 7.45pm (Konkani)
Sunday – 6.15am, 7.30am and 5.00pm (Konkani) ; 8.45am (English)

Must See

History, Construction and Architecture

The church as it stands today is the third church to be built in the village of Calangute. Previously, the Franciscan monks had made a simple cottage on the seashore, thatched with palm leaves to serve as their church in 1576. They added on a cemetery and constructed a more permanent structure in 1595. The current church was built in 1741 by the Catholic community of Calangute.

The church is built in the Mannerist Neo-Roman style and is famous for its pristine white façade, made distinctive by its domed towers and cupola falsa constructed in the Indian style of architecture.    Read more +

Interior and Art

The interior of the church is in the Rococo style with a gracefully gilded reredos and seven altars. The three main altars are located centrally in the nave with the four others being ranged around the sides of the church.

The main altar is dedicated to St. Alex, which is just below a huge crown most probably depicting that the austere life and humility won him a place in the kingdom of God. It is backed by a magnificent gilded reredos, complete with statues of the angels and the saints. The statue to the right is Saint Anthony, depicted as always with a bible and the Infant Jesus, and the one to the left is St. Francis of Assisi.

The other two centrally located altars are dedicated to the Infant Jesus and Santa Almas. The four altars on the sides are dedicated to Our Lady of the Mount, Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary and the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

The pulpit was brought here from the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Old Goa has been described by Prof. Jose Pereira as “a palpitation of volutes, cantouches, encincture, canopy, pendants, flounces and tassels, all crested by the figure of the lamb of Apoclypse in the book of Seven Seals - a vision of white-and-gold climaxed by the symbol of an innocent victim god, or of the elegance of the Rococo going up in a flame of mystical flamboyance.”


Story of St. Alex

The story of St. Alex is an interesting one and one which fascinates all those who pay homage to him at shrines that are dedicated to his name. St. Alex was born into the family of a wealthy Roman senator Euphemian, and his wife Aglae in the 5th century.

He learned charity and good works by the example of his parents and learned that acts of charity bring with them rewards in heaven, whilst earthly wealth can lead one astray. Not wanting to lose his way, and inspired by a vision from God, he renounced all his earthly goods and wealth on the night before he was to be married.

He travelled to Edessa in the Far East taking with him as much of his worldly wealth as he could carry and this he gave away to the poor and the marginalized. He continued to live here for 17 years, amongst those begging for alms at the gates of the church which was dedicated to Our Lady. One day, the image of Our Lady spoke to him in front of the masses and proclaimed him to be a Holy Man.

Fearing lest this recognition should make him vainglorious, he returned whence to his homeland, where his father, not recognizing him nevertheless gave him a small place in the household as a beggar. For another 18 years he continued to live amongst his own family in anonymity, bearing the slights and jeers of those who were once his servants.

It was only after his death, that they discovered a note written in his own hand, revealing himself to be their long lost son. His life was marked by many miracles and he is buried in Edessa.

Feast Days

The feast of St. Alex falls on the 22nd of July and is celebrated at the church on the preceding Sunday. Additionally the church also celebrates the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on the 11th of February, the feast of the Assumption of Our Lady on the 15th of August, the birthday of Our Lady aka the feast of Our Lady of the Mount on the 8th of September and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on the 8th of December.

All the feast days are preceded by a 9 day Novena while the day itself is commemorated by decorating the church with elaborate buntings and flowers while a fete is held outside with food stalls and community gatherings.

Whether to take a break from the tumultuous noise and constant toing and froing of day to day life, to pay your respects and obsequies, to fulfil your religious obligations, to explore the art and architecture of a bygone era or just to indulge in a period of quiet reflection, the Church of St. Alex provides a welcome to all.