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Goa Holidays India > Goa Tourism > Religious Places > Christian Seminaries

Christian Seminaries

The seminaries of Saligao and Rachol, and the monastery at Pilar are special attractions for the religiously inclined. So is the holy shrine of Basilica of Bom Jesus, a famous pilgrimage center of the Roman Catholics where lie the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. Other famous churches are the Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Church of St. Cajetan, Church of St. Augustine Ruins, Church of Our Lady of Rosary, Church and Convent of St. Monica, Chapel of St. Anthony and Chapel of St. Catherine, all of which are in Old Goa.

The Monastery of Pilar was built by the Franciscan Fathers who put the Saints of their own order on the altar.The central figure is Our Lady of Pilar. The tradition says that St. James, an Apostle of Jesus was given Spain to preach the Gospe l, but the work did not progress and he was feeling dejected. At that moment , the Virgin Mary who was still living in Jerusalem appeared to him, carried by Angels on a column. That pillar is believed to be the same one that is venerated in Saragoza, in Spain today.

Also known as Our Lady's Seminary, this minor seminary was built on a hillock close to the village of Saligao in Bardez taluka in 1952, although its construction started in 1937. It is a majestic structure, having spacious halls, lecture rooms, dormitories and a small chapel therein. Situated at a distance of 10 kms. From Panaji, this seminary imparts initial or preparatory courses for priesthood, after which the students are sent to Rachol seminary for further studies.

Churches of Goa
Rachol Seminary & Church is 6 km from Margao, near the village of Raia. Originally it was a Muslim fortress. It was transformed into a church by the Portuguese, who then converted it into a prison. Later in the 16th century it was declared a seminary for Theological Studies, with the Jesuits rechristening it from College of All Saints to the College of St. Ignatius Loyala who was it's founder. The seminary has interesting architecture, a decaying library and paintings of christian characters in Indian style.

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Church building was one of the main occupations of the early Portuguese and in fact one of Vasco da Gama's main missions for finding the sea route to India.

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