Church of St. Andrew the Apostle

Goa-Velha villagers were under the Batim Parish Church that had begun about the year 1541 with a small Chapel located near the present cemetery of Batim and later the Jesuit seminarians from Old-Goa used to come to teach catechism. Under the Archbishop Joäo Vincente de Fonseca, (1582-1587) Dominican, Goa-Velha became a separate parish in 1583. The first Church was built probably by the Jesuits and dedicated to St. Andrew at the foot of the Pilar hill where the Holy Cross still stands intact. It belongs to the old Church located on the edge of the National Highway 17 near the house of”Provedoria da AssisténciaPüblica”. However, on September 3, 1759, Marquis de Pombal the Prime Minister to the King Dom Jose I of Portugal ordered the expulsion of Jesuits from Goa, this brings a black shadow on Jesuits Churches, after that certainly Franciscans looked after this Church, as a little evidence is available.

After the death of Archbishop Manuel de Saldinho (Franciscan) in 1831, the Archdiocese of Goa was without an Archbishop until 1844. In 1835, Queen Maria Il of Portugal issued a Decree for the expulsion of all religious orders in Portugal and her colonies. This brings another black shadow on the St. Andrew’s Church and then the Church reached a dilapidated state. During this period, many images and vestments were destroyed. By 1841 , most of the belongings of this Church were transferred to the Pilar Monastery. In 1846, Archbishop Jose Maria da Silva Torres (1844-1849) gave permission to build a new Church and ordered to complete the Church in two years, but the present Church of St. Andrew was completed in about January 1868 under the Archbishop Joao Chrisostomo de Amorim Pessoa, Franciscan (1862-1874). Vicar Friar Cinlo de Anunciacao blessed the Church on April 8, 1869. April 28, 1869 was celebrated as parish day and the parish house was blessed on May 10, 1869. The stones used for this new Church were most probably from old St. house was blessed on May 10, 1869. The stones used for this new Church were most probably from old St. Andrew’s Church, because at the site of the old Church, one cannot see any remains of the old Church. Meanwhile, Siridao parish was put under Goa-Velha parish about 1869 for few years. During that time, the stones of the old Church of St. Maria Magdalena from Siridao village were transferred to Goa-Velha for the construction of the present cemetery, which was built about 1879.

St. Andrew’s Church is located on the northern border of the village in a scenic and picturesque part of the village. The Church square is bounded by six Crosses and a beautiful monument of Christ the King surrounded by modern lamps is in the square. The facade of the Church is architecturally in beautiful Mannerist Neo-Roman style with large size 4 bays into three storeys, facing to the east. The single bell tower has three bells in different sizes with harmonious charming peals. The finials: urn with flower bud style; four finials on the base of balustrades on top of the bell tower and flower bud style two finials on the base of balustrades on third storey these two finials give beauty and support to the gable that holds the Cross high above. The upper triangular portion (frontispiece) of the facade with Rococo curves has two pelicans holding the Chalice and the Host above, in the niche is an image of St. Andrew the apostle signified as the Patron of the Parish. One of the attractive points on the facade on the second storey above the main entrance is an outdoor pulpit, (years ago, this pulpit was used at the end of the procession of Saints and Good Friday services). This is the only Church in Goa, which has an outdoor pulpit on the facade. Also on the second storey two oculus with Cross moulding flank, the two oculus and the door of the pulpit provide natural streams of sunlight into the interior of the Church creating luminous effects. The magnificent cornices and flattened pilasters give
impressive look to the facade. To enter from front it has three doors with moulded flank and corniced arched frame.

When you enter, the Church from the front door immediately in the narthex to the right side there is an artistic wooden polish finished Altar dedicated to Our Lady of Carmel. There are other images on the altar; at the right side is the image of St. Joseph and at the left side the image of Our Lady of Lourdes. Little ahead to the nghtside there is a small altar with framed fine paintings of and dedicated to Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Further ahead in the nave, there are two side-altars facing each other, both are designed exactly same, these altars each have four spiral columns and on top of it has spear styled wooden finials, supported by three gothic style wooden pinnacles while the center pinnacle has a niche. Both altars are painted in white and finished with golden shade to the carved area. The right side altar is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, above the image of Jesus there is an image of St. Theresa ofAvila, at the right side the image ofSt. Joseph and at the left side image of Immaculate Heart of Mary. At the bottom is image ofbaby Jesus sleeping on the Cross and the heart of Mary, carved on the wood and painted. The left side altar is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, above; the image of Our Lady of Assumption, at the right side image of St. Anne and at the left image of St.Francis ofAssisi. At the bottom an image of a lamb holding a Cross.

The windows and doors in the nave are framed by sunburst arches. The clerestories, there are six windows, three on each side with framed coloured glasses, the left side windows that provide natural luminous effects, when the sun dawns in the evening. The windows have artistically carved wooden pelmets with a cherub. The cornices captivates the interior design of the high relief walls, the very artistic wooden balustrades gallery gives an impressive look. The entire ceiling is covered with wood and finished with white paint. Little ahead to the right is the pulpit with oil painted image of St. Andrew. It is an example of the skills of local artisans. Next to the pulpit, the image of Crucified Jesus covered with a small wooden finished canopy. A painting hung on the left side of the Church depicts a scene of the Apparition of Our Lady to St. Domenic Guzman (possibly centuries old).

Facing front, the two flanking altars in front of the chancel, designed with the pilasters and the woodcarvings are almost similar. However, the right side altar has two cherubim holding the Crown over the niche; the altar dedicated to Our Lady of Monserate, at the right side has an image of Our Lady of Sorrows and at the left an image of Our Lady of Carmel; above in a small niche there is an image of St. Sebastian. The left side altar is dedicated to the Crucified Jesus, at the foot of the Crucifix there is an image of Our Lady of Conception (the image of Our Lady of Conception is from the Pilar Monastery and it was transferred to the old Church of St. Andrew on October 25, 1835). At the right side, there is an Image of St. Anthony of Padua, and at the left an image of St. Peter the Apostle; above in a small niche there is an image of Our Lady of CandeIaria (candles).

The Church has a huge marvellous main altar dedicated to St. Andrew, with artistic five tiers holding above the niche of St. Andrew, on the edges superimposed with candle stands, in the center of the tiers are imaginatively and artistically carved two branches of lilies holding the Host. The aesthetic arch tasseled garlands of carved flowers are supported on the attractive pilasters. The upper portion of the altar with Rococo curves holding the beautiful Crown and the symbolic sun in the center. The urns with flowers finials placed on top of the pilasters on both side end part ofthe altar. There are two small artistic images of Saints on the altar between the pilasters, at the left St. Dominic Guzman and the right side St. Cajetan the Theatine. The Tabernacle is always covered with the beautiful lace. On the bottom tier of the altar there are six wooden candle stands creatively cawed, in the extremely bottom a woodcarving of Jesus offering bread and wine placed exactly in place of the last supper, which was removed and fitted on the main altar table during the 125 years celebrations of the Church. The entire altar painted with cream white wood paint with gold filling entire carving area alluring glory and graces to aesthetics.

In the chancel area, there are four life-size wooden candle stands with creatively carved cherubim around the candle stand. A beautifully carved majestic chair is behind the altar table for the main celebrant of the Eucharist. The main altar table contrastive is the gloriously and artistically finished work of an artisan. The image of Crucified Jesus is in the right side ofthe altar The Church is true Tau T’ form in plan, the transepts, at the right side extension previously was the sacristy, and it has a small altar dedicated to Crucified Jesus. The left side has a new wing, which was built in 1995 and blessed by Patriarch Archbishop Raul N. Gonsalves on December 31, 1995; there are images of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and Our Lady of Fatima, the steel window grills are designed with the Chalice and Host.

Seating capacity in the Church; in the nave there are 44 benches, in the transepts 41 benches and 100 plastic chairs. There are 44 backrest benches, while all the benches hold six persons, but five persons can sit very comfortable, so about six hundred people can sit very well in the Church. The Church houses the following parish offices and groups: The Parish Office, Confraria of St. Andre, Parish Council, Parish Youth, Catechetical Association, Altar Boys/GirIs, Legion of Mary senior and youth, Charismatic Group, Couples for Christ, Social Action cell, Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Franciscan Third Order. In addition, the
residence for the Parish Priest and Assistant Parish Priest is attached to the Church. At present daily prayers in the Church start at 6:45am followed by the Mass at 7:00am, every Wednesday novena prayers to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour start at 6:50am. On the first Friday, the Holy Eucharist is celebrated at 5:30 pm, and its Sunday Masses are at 6:00 am, 7: 15 am and 8:30 am Mass for the children. The feast of the Patron St. Andrew is celebrated on November 30, every year with great pomp.