Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour
Manori, Mumbai Metropolitan Area (Bombay), India
According to Meersman, the Franciscans founded the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour of Manori between 1635 and 1642. The designation is certainly mistaken (the original name was another, and there is also reference to a Franciscan establishment in 1559) because the invocation of Perpetual Succour is recent in India, dating from the 19th century. It was, however, of Franciscan origin (deriving from an image brought to Saint Michael’s of Mahim, Mumbai, from the eastern Mediterranean). On 26 February 1700 the church was burned by Arabs from Oman who landed on beaches near the site. A 1912 inscription inside the church is in two versions, Portuguese and Marathi, and indicates that the church was founded in 1559, destroyed by the Marathas and rebuilt in 1815. The Portuguese inscription, original and more reliable, also states that in that year (1912) the church was repaved by the vicar Paulo Caetano Fernandes Telles, from Curtorim in Goa. The church was very recently cut off by the false transept in order to raise a new apse: the chancel and a large perpendicular nave. What remains of the church from the 16th (or 17th) and 19th centuries is therefore the nave up to the crossing and the façade. To the south a gallery abuts the side façade to which it once opened via three arches, now closed and transformed into side chapels. It was almost certainly one side of the Franciscan rectory’s subsequently demolished patio/cloister. The façade has a single section, the main theme being a central door-- window, apparently 17th century. It has two bell towers, though the northern one, transformed into a tower, seems recent. The south bell tower stands over the old rectory door, which opened to the patio gallery. The church’s apse is turned west and to the sea, as is common in many churches and villages of fishermen throughout India. The village stretches to the north and the church has an old door which opens on that side.