Church of the Saviour of the World

Church of the Saviour of the World

Loutulim [Loutolim], Goa, India

Religious Architecture

The Loutulim church is, barring its front façade, one of the most well preserved late 16th century Jesuit churches in Salcette and one of the most refined from the architectural standpoint. It is also very close to its prototype, the church in Rachol. The very elaborate and complex façade certainly corresponds to major changes implemented in the 19th century, so it is risky to speculate about its original appearance, even though it kept or copied many ornamental elements from that period. The church has a single nave and tile roof; its proportions are closer to those we see in Old Goa or Rachol than in other churches in Salcette, i.e. it is not wider than it is high. It has a false transept and chancel with barrel vault decorated with coffers. A single tower stands against the west side of the front façade (which faces north). Particularly notable are the west and south exterior elevations, i.e. the side façade, including the chancel and the front of the latter. The system is similar to the one in Rachol, which it certainly copies: wall panels, blind or with rectangular windows with or without straight pediments, separated by pilasters with incisions and complete smooth-frieze entablatures-all carefully plastered and whitewashed. The proportions are absolutely correct, the ornament minimum and canonical. These elevations have a refined classicism, as we see in major works in Old Goa in the early 1600s. The careful design and finishing of these façades indicates that the church’s builders took into account the location parallel to the road linking Rachol and Margao to Cortalim and the passage to north of the Zuari. This road is now secondary, but obviously was not in the past. Anyone heading northward from Margao or Rachol first sees the front of the church and then bypasses the side façade. There are few churches in Goa outside the Old City in which the sides are as important as the front. Situations like that of Loutolim rarely occur: examples are the Seminary Church in Rachol or Our Lady of the Mount in the immediate outskirts of Old Goa. In front of the façade is a courtyard ringed by dwellings and completed by the modern cemetery in a position nearly axial to the church door. The village sprawls on the east and south sides of the church, along the road and up the slope.

Paulo Varela Gomes