The Church Of St. Cajetan
: Old Goa, Panjim, Goa
: Italian Friars
: 17th Century AD
: Greek & Baroque Architecture
Opposite the Se Cathedral, lying beyond the Rua Direita across the road is the large Church and Convent of St. Cajetan. It was build by Italian friars of the order of Theatines in 1640. The friars were missionaries appointed by the then Pope Urban VIII to preach Christianity to the Kingdom of Golconda , but when they did not get permission to work in Golconda, they settled in Goa in 1640. The church is dedicated to Our Lady of Divine Providence but is popularly called St. Cajetan, the founder of the Order of Theatines. The convent can be seen standing in front of the church. Today the convent houses the a functioning theological college, the Pius X Pastoral institute and was inaugurated on October 29th 1962. The whole convent is now renovated and a new western wing added.
The Greek Influence
The main body of the church is Greek cross on plan internally and oblong externally, with a nave ending in an apse and aisles marked by four massive piers faced by Corinthian pilasters. These piers also form the base for supporting, at the crossing, a circular dome that rests on a drum and was crowned by a lantern. The ribbed vaults of the nave and aisles are of varying height and are coffered with different floral designs. The two-ocatgonal rooms having domical roofs on either side of the main altar serve as the sacristy.
Baroque Style Altars
There are six altars besides the main one, which is dedicated to our lady of divine providence. These altars are profusely carved and gilded in Baroque style with twisted shafts and figures of angles dominating in each. The altars also have paintings on canvas of the Italian school, some depicting scenes from the life of St. Cajetan. The niches running along the sides of the vault have wooden statues of saints.
The three altars on the left side, as one enters, are dedicated to the Holy family, Our Lady of Piety and St. Clare, while to the left are those of St. John, St. Cajetan and St. Agnes. There is a decorated wooden pulpit projecting from one of the piers. In the crossing is a square raised platform, which serves as a pulpit.
There is a tank or a well beneath it that has led to many conjectures. Some regard that the platform covers the holy tank of a Hindu temple that once existed here, while others explain that the water reservoir at the centre of the building was deliberately planned by the architect to afford greater stability to the structure.
This church, which is modeled on the original design of St. Peter's Church in Rome, is architecturally Corinthian both externally and internally while the gilded altars with rich carvings are in baroque style.
The church was built by Italian friars of the Order of Theatines who were sent by the Pope Urban III to preach Christianity in the kingdom of Golconda. As they were not permitted to work there they settled down in Goa in 1640. They obtained the site in 1655 by a Royal order and the church was built in the 17th century.