Construction work on The Basilica of Bom Jesus began in 1594 and the church was consecrated on 15th of May, 1605 by the Archbishop, Dom Fr. Aleixo de Menezes. The Basilica of Bom Jesus is dedicated to infant Jesus; the Church is one of the most revered in the Goa. The Church was accorded the status of a minor basilica in 1946. The mortal remains of Goa’s patron St. Francis Xavier are kept here. Referred fondly in Goa as ‘Goencho Saib’ (Lord of Goa) by Goans, they have a deep emotional attachment among the Goans. St. Francis was a member of Society of Jesus who came to Goa in a 1542. Although St. Francis stay in Goa was just four months, but he kept coming back time and again to Goa, it housed the headquarters of Society of Jesuits in the East. On December 3, 1552 St. Francis died while travelling to China.
St. Francis was buried there; his body was brought back to Goa after two years in accordance with his wish. It was then discovered that the body was still intact. The body at that time was laid in St. Paul’s church but after St. Francis Xavier was canonized in 1662, it was shifted to The Basilica of Bom Jesus where it remains till today. Declared a world heritage site, The Basilica of Bom Jesus stands as a fine example of Jesuit architecture. The facade of The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a visual enchantment; it is a spectacular combination of Ionic, Doric and Corinthian styles in the columns. Crucified in form, interiors of the Basilica are Mosaic Corinthian style; the floor of the church is made of grand marble and inlaid with precious stones. The roof of the church was originally tiled. The church also has a rich collection of paintings relating to the life of St. Francis Xavier Attached to the church is a modern, first and largest art gallery in Asia known as “The Bom Jesus Church Art Gallery”. It has been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site.