Goa churches to undergo major restoration

PTI Panaji | Updated on March 12, 2018

The Basilica of Bom Jesus in Panaji, Goa, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier.   -  PAUL NOROHA

Inside the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Panaji, Goa. The Basilica, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier.   -  PAUL NOROHA

Several churches across Goa are heading for a massive restoration, a laborious and costly job undertaken once in 50-60 years.

The lifespan of interiors and antiquities in these churches built during Portuguese colonial rule in the coastal State, has entered a phase where they require a lot of upkeep.

The restoration of wooden altars and gold-plated antiquities is mandated every 50-60 years, according to experts.

The church authorities are employing restoration experts who are working on these major projects.

“A protective coat needs to be given to the altars while the interior design has several gold plated carvings which wither with time,” Sadashiv Parab, working as a modeller with the Goa State Museum, told PTI.

Four generations of Parabs have worked tirelessly on restoring paintings, antiquities and wooden altars in churches.

Goa has 180-odd churches and chapels spread across almost every corner of the State, which has a 27 per cent Catholic population.

According to information available from the Goa State Museum, each of the religious orders has its own style of architecture and motif.

“A typical church square generally has one or more piazza (square) crosses, a Cristo Rei (Christ the King) monument and a Grotto to our Lady. The square is often bound by 14 crosses of the Via Sacra (Way of the Cross),” a senior official said.

Goan churches dating to the 16th century have undergone restoration several times, but this is the first time such an extensive exercise has been taken up post-liberation (1961).

Published on May 23, 2013

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