Saint Andrew’s Church
Vasco da Gama, Goa, India
Saint Andrew’s Church was founded by the Jesuits in 1570. The original building was destroyed; the church we see nowadays probably dates to the late 16th century (1594, according to the Jesuit chronicle). This is single-naved building with a wooden roof. It underwent some changes during the many renovations carried out over the years, but has kept what was essential of the original construction. Unlike most Jesuit churches in Salcette, Saint Andrew’s has a tower adjacent to the chancel, an arrangement more characteristic of Franciscan churches. One of the bells is dated 1628, which must mark the end of work on the church. The church originally had six altars but now has only five, all in Gothic style; the original retables are gone. The three main altars must have been done by carpenters from the Benaulim school. The two lateral ones should date to the early 19th century and the high altar to the middle of that century. The original main façade was demolished in 1953. Judging from period photographs, it was very simple, with three sections and an oculus perforating the tympanum, but with an attached portico or galilee of the type found at Saint Michael’s Church in Taleigao. The top of the bell tower, which had a hip roof, was also modified at that time. Besides those changes, an addition seems to have been made on the north body of the church. Further work to renovate the church and extend the parish house was begun in March 2008. The church’s new façade of neo-Gothic design somewhat resembles the one at the Chandor church, whose façade was rebuilt in 1950 after the original collapsed. Although not very common, some churches were built in the Gothic style in Goan territory in the late 19th century and over the course of the 20th century: Mother of God in Saligao (1878), Saint Anthony’s in Vagator (1925) and Siolom (1907), and Our Lady of Victory in Revora (1952). They have in common the fact that all are located in the territory of Bardez. The neo-Gothic style was also used on the façades of many other partly rebuilt churches; pointed arch windows are the most common and visible feature of this adaptation. But location is once again the recurring element: all are situated in Bardez, Pernem and Mormugao, where the British influence in Goa was most felt; Bardez and Pernem were also the territories with a higher percentage of Catholic emigration to British India and to Africa.