Prologue : This church should not be confused with St Francis Xavier’s Church nor his body is housed in this complex. This Church is located next to the convent, which is now converted into a world class ASI Museum. If one intends to visit this Church one should remember portrait of individuals with Alter background should not be shot with a camera. One would be penalised for violating the sanctity of the church. I just witnessed and a couple getting into trouble because of the violation of the rules. The body of St Francis Xaviers is located in the opp Church is known as Bom Jesus Bascilica.
The origin of this church can be traced to arrival of Franciscan friars in 1517, secured the rights over few houses from the Governor which belonged to the deceased Thanedar. They constructed a small Chapel in the premises. This Church was dedicated to the Holy Ghost and consecrated in 1521. The present church was built on the same spot after pulling down the old Chapel in 1661 retaining the old entrance of the earlier Church.
Once again ASI had to get into the act of resurrection of this Church with extensive repairs and salvaging carried out. There is sign board which mentions that ASI has been on the job from past 150 years outside the Augustine Church complex. The exterior walls were repainted with waterproof cement. The damaged panel paintings were dismantled and reinforced with marine plywood and the walls were replastered with a combination mortar. The panel paintings were than refixed on the the wall. The cracks on the ceiling were grouted by epoxy resin after inserting copper dowels and finally replastered. The gutters and drainages to channelize the rainwater was replaced.
The cellar and arched openings below the museum was replastered. The entire cellar was opened to ensure free circulation of air and allow ventilation to reduce humidity levels inorder to preserve the paintings. Aluminium sliding shutters were incorporated to protect the structure and paintings from heavy showers and downpours.
The entire church is built with Laterite blocks and generally lime plastered. The church is west facing, and consists of 3 chapels on either side. A choir and two alters and the main alter adds to the sanctity of the church. The exterior of the church is built on Tuscan order and Manuline style. The main alter is Baroque with Corinthian feature. The main alter contains frescoes showing intricate floral designs. The statue of St. Michael stands out as niche in the alter. The statue of Lady of Miracles is bought from Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka. The wooden statue of St Francis of Assisi adorns the pedestal bearing emblem of Franciscans.
Above the main alter is the statue of St Francis of Asissi and equally a large statue of Jesus on the cross. Beneath the two figures are inscribed three vows of the saint namely Poverty, Humility and Obedience. The a wooden ribbed alter on the side walls of the Church The alter is richly carved with four evangelists.