Church of Our Lady of Refuge
Mandur, Goa, India
The Church of Our Lady of Refuge [Amparo] in Mandur was founded in 1710 on the initiative of the Gaunkar Dionísio Ribeiro and his wife Angélica Rodrigues, and was raised to seat of its own parish in 1717. It is one of the most characteristic 18th century churches on the Islands, and in that sense it is one of the primary Goan churches. This is a rectangular single-nave building forming a large, low compressed box with a tile roof. The chapel has a groin vault with penetrations. The side walls of the nave and sanctuary are articulated by two superimposed levels of very shallow square niches contain- ing doors or windows and topped by concave shell-form half-domes without parallel in Goa. They are a sort of compromise or alternative solution vis-à-vis the traditional straight lateral niche and the semicircular niche of the new Goan churches. Superimposed pilasters separate the niches along the nave. The main façade is probably the most appealing of all the Goan façades. It is framed by two very simple towers organised in four orders – the bays with simple triangular pediments. The central section is also composed of four orders, but is neither simple nor ordinary. Rather the contrary, its arrangement comprises thick twisted carved columns, and doors and windows with curved lintels. In the centre is an oculus above which stands a sculpturally dense templet housing an image of Our Lady and topped by eagle wings symbolising the Order of Canons Regular of Saint Augustine. Why they were placed here, pointing skyward, is unknown. On the sides are descending rolled-up or chakra-form volutes not seen in any other Goan church.