Opposite Se Cathedral, beyond the road is a large and beautiful Church of St. Cajetan built of laterite blocks, which were lime-plastered. The facade having two towers on either side to serve as belfry, has Corinthian Columns and pilasters supporting a pediment, and four niches in which arc kept the statues of the apostles. The main body of the church is shaped like a Greek cross on plan internally and oblong externally, with a nave ending in an apse and aisles marked by four massive piers faced by Corinthian pilasters. These piers also form the base for supporting, at the crossing, a circular dome, which rests on a drum and was crowned by a lantern. The ribbed vaults of the nave and aisles are of varying height and coffered with different floral designs. The two octagonal rooms having domical roofs on either side of the main altar serve as the sacristy.

There are six altars, besides the main one, which are dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence. These altars are profusely carved and gilded in Baroque style with twisted shafts and figures of angels dominating in each. The altars also have paintings on Canvas of the Italian school, some depicting scenes from the life of St. Cajetan. The niches running along the sides of the vault have wooden statues of saints.

As one enters, three altars on the left side are dedicated to the Holy Family, Our Lady of Piety and St. Clare, while to the left are those dedicated to St. John, St. Cajetan and St. Agnes.

There is a decorated wooden pulpit projecting from one of the piers. In the crossing is a square raised platform, which serves as a pulpit. There is a tank or a well beneath it that has led to many conjectures. Some regard that the platform covers the holy tank (tirtha) of a Hindu temple that once existed here, while others explain that the reservoir at the centre of the building was deliberately planned by the architect to provide greater stability to the structure.

Church of St. Cajetan, which is modelled on the original design of St. Peter’s Church in Rome, is architecturally Corinthian, both externally and internally, while the gilded altars with rich carvings are in Baroque style. The church was built by Italian friars of the Order of Theatines who were sent by Pope Urban III to preach Christianity in the kingdom of Golkonda. As they were not permitted to work there, they settled down in Goa in 1640.

They obtained the site in 1655 by a Royal Order and the church was built in, the seventeenth century.

In the course of conservation work undertaken by ASI’s Mini Circle in the Church  of St. Cajetan, the wooden., pedestal of the altar on the northern side of the church was dismantled and new packs and planks provided. The decorated mouldings of the pillars were replastered and doors and windows repaired. The cracks that had developed on the lower rim of the huge dome were repaired and the crevices filled with liquid cement. Patch plastering at several points was carried out and the lotus designs were recarved wherever they had flaked off.

The dead plaster of the Corinthian pillars in the Church of St. Cajetan was removed and they were replastered. The moss and lichen growing on the exteriors of the church were rubbed off and the walls freshly painted. The decayed wooden windows were replaced and the new ones covered with wire mesh to ward off birds. The floor was relaid with red-oxide.

Content sourced from asigoacircle.gov.in



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