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Indian History

Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine

  • 28 Dec 2018
  • 2 min read

The church was built between 1597 and 1602, and is dedicated to Our Lady of Grace by the Order of Saint Augustine.

  • The church was abandoned in 1830s due to the repressive policies of the Portuguese government, which resulted in the eviction of many religious orders from Goa.
  • In 1842, the main vault of the church collapsed after which the entire structure collapsed in stages.
  • In 1931, the facade and half the tower fell down, followed by more sections leaving only half the tower that is seen today.
  • This remnant, the renowned St. Augustine's tower is all that remains of what was once one of the largest buildings in Goa -The Augustinian Monastery.
  • In 1986, UNESCO declared the ruins to be a World Heritage Site which is also the site of the archaeological discovery of the remains of Queen Ketevan.
  • In the late 1980s, archaeologists from the Soviet Union and Georgia began efforts to trace the relics of Ketevan the Martyr, a Georgian queen who had delivered herself as a hostage to Shah Abbas I and was martyred for refusing to deny her faith whose relics were believed to be in Goa.

Architecture

  • Originally comprising of four towers built of laterite and a massive vault, the dimensions of the edifice resembles the great imperial cathedrals of the Renaissance era.
  • The whole structure being supported by soaring pillars, the vestiges of which remain visible today. The grey basalt columns provide a lovely contrast to the red laterite.
  • The altar of the church has beautiful multicoloured Italian tiles and remnants of red and blue paintings.
  • The tower's huge bell was moved in 1871 to the Church of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panjim.
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