Location: Fort Kochi
Highlight: It is a landmark edifice built by the Portuguese,
where the body of late legendary explorer Vasco da Gama was originally
How to Reach There: Once you land in Kochi, hire a cab,
auto-rickshaw or bus to reach Fort Kochi, where this church is located.
St Francis Xavier's Church at Fort Kochi was built in the year 1503, by
the Portuguese traders. They came here with Admiral Pedro Alvarez de
Cabral, via the same route taken by the legendary Portuguese explorer
Vasco da Gama, who landed at Calicut in 1498. The Church is actually a
quite modest, unpretentious structure. Architecturally, this church is
not very jazzy, but it stands as a landmark of history and church
architecture of India. Later, many churches were built in India keeping
the Saint Francis Xavier Church of Cochin in mind.
Initially, the church was a simple wooden structure, dedicated to St
Bartholomew. In 1506, the Raja of Cochin permitted the Portuguese
Viceroy, Dom Francisco Almedia, to reconstruct the structure in stone.
The new church was completed in 1516 and was dedicated to St Antony. The
ownership of the Church of St Francis Xavier then passed into the hands
of the protestant Dutch, who captured Kochi in 1663. They converted it
into their government church and it remained in the possession of the
Dutch until 1795.
Thereafter, its ownership passed to the British, when they captured
Kochi from the Dutch. The church became a protected monument in 1923,
under the Protected Monuments Act of 1904. In 1947, the congregation
joined the Protestant Church of South India (CSI). St Francis Xavier's
Church is also famous because Vasco-da- Gama, the first European to
discover a route to India, died here in 1524 on his third visit and was
buried in this church. Though his remains were shipped to Lisbon after
14 years, the gravestone is still seen here.
St Francis Xavier's Church of Cochin was built by the Portuguese. Explore Church of Saint Francis Xavier in Kochi, Kerala.