Friday, August 9, 2013

Milagres Church | Church of Our Lady of Miracles

Located around 2Kms from Mapusa main bus stand , the Milagres church  is the pinnacle of cultural integration and harmony between the Hindu and Christian community Of Goa. The church was built on the site of a Hindu temple in 1594. It was rebuilt in 1674, again destroyed by fire in 1838 then nearly burnt to the ground by retreating Portuguese forces in 1961 and then renovated.
Milagres Church
Groto of Milagres Church

The church was dedicated to St. Jerome. The Statue of St. Jerome was brought from Choras Seminary. This was later replaced by Statue of Our Lady of Miracles on the main altar with this statue being moved to the left side of the altar.  The Statue of St. John the Baptist is located to the right hand side of the altar. A grotto was setup in 1920 in front of the large forecourt along with a mortuary chapel to complement the cemetery.

As with all chapels and churches in Goa there is a special date when the fete of Milagres (Milagres Saibinn feast )is celebrated . The feast falls on the Monday following the 3rd week of Easter. For the Catholics who celebrate this feast, Mother Mary is the Milagres Saibinn while for the non-Christian Goans, Milagres Saibinn is "Tulzai Sateri Devi". During the Shirgao zatra, it is Goddess lahirai that is worshipped.
Milagres Church - Possibly the first concrete road in Goa

As per tradition and mythology is is believed that the Milagres Saibinnwas one of the seven sisters who was converted by the Portuguese while the rest of the six sisters remained as Hindu and continue to be worshiped at different temples across Goa. This sisterhood is further fortified by the tradition where the lahirai sends one 'colso' ( pot) of oil to her sister on the Milagres feast day. The Milagres Saibin reciprocates by sending mogra flowers on the lahirai zatra day