About Se Cathedral Church
Also called St. Catherine's Cathedral this 16th-century masterpiece took 80 long years to finish and is one of the largest churches in the world. The Cathedral attains to the west of the great square called Terreiro de Sabato and has its face turned to the east. A flight of steps approaches its beautiful courtyard. It was consecrated in 1640 and was built to honour the triumph of the Portuguese over the Muslim rulers of the city.
Owing to such a magnificent aura and the glory, Se Cathedral has been stated as a world heritage site by UNESCO. It is known as the largest church in Asia, and also has a giant bell and its elegant architecture makes it a majestic white beauty. Se Cathedral also endures the honour of being the seat of the Archdiocese of Goa. Se Cathedral is home to the historic “Golden Bell” which is famous around the world as it is the largest bell with a rich sound.
When you will visit the church now you will be amused to witness the amazing construction techniques and designs used while building the church. The intricate work on wood in the interiors of the church add to its beauty as it the wonderful work of art. This place is a combination of peace and beauty, visiting this place will not only rejuvenate you but will also fill you up with positivity.
Legend of Saint Catherine of Se Cathedral
Catherine was a lady who was considered as a Christian Saint according to tradition, and was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the pagan Emperor Maxentius. It is believed that she was both a princess and a noted scholar, who became a Christian at around the age of 14 and also converted hundreds of people to Christianity, and was martyred around the age of 18.
Catherine was known to be a spiritual pathfinder and raise her voice against the oppression of the Christians under the rule of Roman emperor Maxentius. She was so strong and logical with her arguments that the king himself was incapable of countering them and has a then he formed a committee of 50 philosophers to debate her ideas.
However, even the assembly conceded defeat in front of her and confessed Christianity as their belief. Out of anger, the king burnt the philosophers alive and sentenced st.catherine to prison. Catherine did not give up, and she was succeeded in converting not only the jailers but also the king's wife. It is believed that she showed the path of Christianity to 200 people. Even when she was facing the worse condition of her life, she continued to stretch the word of Jesus.
She was honoured with the title of"patroness of the wheel-wrights" because it is believed then when she was fastened to a spiked wheel as it was mentioned in her death sentence the wheel broke and she was left uninjured. And when she was finally beheaded, it is said that angle took her remains and laid them to rest atop Mount Sinai.
When you visit the Se Cathedral, you can witness the Saint Catherine ornaments, a crown portraying her royal birth and has a book in her hands, which signifies her sound knowledge as she points a spiked wheel, which reveals her martyrdom.
The Cathedral is devoted to St. Catherine of Alexandria, it is said that it was built to celebrate the victory of the Portuguese ruler Alfonso Albuquerque who destroyed the Muslim army and took ownership of the city of Goa. Consequently, it is also called as St. Catherine's' Cathedral. In 1953, the Cathedral was presented with "The Golden Rose" by Venerable Pope Pius XII. It is a gold ornament, which the Popes of the Catholic Church have traditionally favoured and given as a symbol of devotion or affection.
You can witness it as it is placed on the tomb of St. Francis Xavier. It was approved by Governor George Cabral to be spread in 1552 on the remains of an earlier structure. The formation of the church began in 1562. The church was completed in 1619 and was consecrated in 1640. It is a perfect place to experience a blend of peace and tranquillity. You will be filled with positivity when you will visit this sacred place.
Architecture of Se Cathedral
Credits: Praveen Ramavath
The architecture of Se Cathedral is awe-inspiring and elegant. The architectural style is a blend of Gothic elements and typical Portuguese style, or you can say that the architecture style of the Se Cathedral is Portuguese-Manueline. There were two different techniques which were opted to make the church. The exterior was made in Tuscan style and the interior has been built in and Corinthian style. With the dimensions of the 250 feet long and 181 feet wide, this church has a delightfully decorated entrance that measures around 115 feet in height.
The church is amazingly decorated, yet the style is intriguing and simple. The Cathedral has been built on an elevated base of laterite, which is covered with the thick lime plaster.You can also see the bell tower which is located on the southern side of the façade. The building of the church is rectangular on plan but has a cruciform layout in the interior. The main altar is devoted to Catherine of Alexandria, and you can also see several old paintings on either side of it. You can also see the Chapel, which is known as the Cross of Miracles, it is believed that there was an image of Christ that was said to have appeared in 1619.
How to Reach Se Cathedral Church
Se Cathedral is one of the gems of Goa and should be in the section of "must-visit" on your list. It is easy to reach this beautiful place which is located in the old Goa.
- From Panji: If you are willing to visit the Se Cathedral church from Panji you can easily choose public transport like buses or private transport like taxi. The total distance of Se Cathedral church from Panjim Kadamba Bus Stand is 9 km.
- From Goa International Airport: The total distance from the airport to the Se Cathedral church is 28.2 km and you can take the help of public or private transport which is easily available there.
Best Time to Visit Se Cathedral Church
There is no specific season to visit this peaceful place, but yes, you can be wise to choose months between November to March as it is said to be the best duration for visiting Goa. During this period you will be accompanied by beautiful weather, which will add to your enjoyment and you will be exploring the place it without facing any problem.
During the day, the best time to visit Se Cathedral is close to the opening hours so that you can avoid the long queue or the crowd. You can avoid coming during the afternoon hours so that you don't get to face scorching heat, and you get to know the place thoroughly.
What Not to Miss at Se Cathedral Church
Places to visit near Se Cathedral
There are many other places near the Se Cathedral, which worth your time, and you can get to witness other gems of Goa. Some of the sites are :
1. Viceroy's Arch:
It is a brick & stone entrance dating to the 16th century, formed over a road leading from the river to town. The passage known as the Viceroy’s Arch was built by the grandson of Vasco da Gama, who was known as Francisco da Gama, and later he became governor in 1597. It faces the river and was reconstructed in 1954 after it collapsed. It is decorated with the symbol of deer on Vasco da Gama’s coat of arms.
2. Basilica of Bom Jesus:
Possibly Goa's most famous church and the most admired by Christians worldwide is somewhat in ruins but still a model of purity and beauty, and an excellent piece of Jesuit architecture. People call the church as "Bom Jesus," which means 'good Jesus' to whom it is devoted. The basilica is established in Old Goa, the former capital of Portuguese India, and holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier.
3. Old Goa:
If you want to know the core of Goa and its culture and tradition, you must visit and explore the Old Goa. You will be surprised as you will have a lot to experience. Old Goa is also known as Velha Goa and was the former capital of Portugese in India. Old Goa is home to many ancient places which holds great significance in the history and even today. It is famous for the Colonial era monuments like Basilica of Bom, remains of St. Francis Xavier, Se Cathedral and many more.
4. The Archaeological Museum:
Anyone hoping to gain a broader insight into the archaeological and artistic history of Goa should undoubtedly pay a visit to this fascinating museum in Old Goa. You can witness artefacts, sculptures, and objects which are antique and belong to the era when the Portuguese ruled, it is spread across eight galleries, which also cover the pre-historic age of Goa.
Other Essential Information About Se Cathedral Church
Location: It is located in Old Goa and is 12 km from Panji and 28 kms from the airport. Reaching here will not be a problem as it is a well-known place and public or private transport are easily available.
Timings If you wish to visit here on Sunday you can come anytime between 7:15 am to 10 pm and on other days you are welcomed in anytime between 7:30 am to 6 pm
Fee: There is no entrance fee which is required to pay for visiting this beautiful place.
Tips for Visiting Se Cathedral
The Se Cathedral church is seen as the place filled with peaceful vibes and here are tips that can be useful for you and will help you in exploring the place best.
1. Try to visit the cathedral when it is less crowded and for this, you should try to arrive close to the opening hours.
2. Wear modest clothes and avoid Sleeveless tops, Mini-skirts, Shorts, etc. However, they also provide shawl which you can buy and use them to cover your exposed arms and legs.
3. You should follow the rules and regulations of the place, do not try to click photos in the prohibited areas.
4. Se Cathedral is a place that is considered pure and people come here to seek blessings of God. So, you must maintain the dignity of the place by following all the rules and regulations of the place and keep the surroundings clean.
5. The parking area is a little away from the church so you will have to walk a little.