St. Francis Church

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St. Francis Church
St. Francis Church

If you have been to Goa, the late-Renaissance style of the facade of St. Francis Church may look familiar. It also wouldn’t be out of place on the streets of Lisbon or Rome. The building it fronts is a remarkable survivor: the oldest European church in India. Constructed in 1516 by the Portuguese on the site of an even earlier church, it housed the remains of explorer Vasco da Gama for 14 years. (He died in Kochi in 1524 and was buried here until his body was eventually returned to Lisbon.) The church later passed to the Dutch, who repurposed it for Protestant services, and then after that the British, who consequently utilized it for their services. Today it is still in active use as part of the Anglican Church of South India.

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