St. Francis Church, Kochi


St. Francis Church, Kochi has great historical significance. It stands as an evidence of the European colonial struggle in India.
In 1503, the then Rajah of Kochi permitted Alphonso Alburquerque to build this fort. Within this fort, Alburquerque erected a wooden church and dedicated it to St. Bartholomew. Dedicating to St. Antony, the church was newly built in 1516. In 1663, the Dutch army invaded the place and destroyed all the churches and convents except St. Francis Church. But in 1804, they voluntarily surrendered it to the Anglicans. Much later, under the Protected Monuments Act of 1904, the church became a protected monument in 1923.

St. Francis Church of Kochi was originally named as Santo Antonio, the patron Saint of Portugal. Though it has hardly any architectural merits, it has been the model of many churches in India. The church has gabled timber-framed roof covered with tiles. The doors and windows of the church have semi-circular arches. The facades are flanked on either side by a stepped pinnacle. The bell turret of St. Francis Church at Kochi is divided into three compartments. Inside the church, the gravestones of the Portuguese is on the northern wall and that of the Dutch is on the southern wall. The gravestone of Vasco-da-Gama at St. Francis Church in Kochi is a major attraction there. Incidentally, after 14 years of his death, the remains were taken away to Lisbon in Portugal.

St. Francis Church, Kochi is accessible by bus or boat from Ernakulam, 13 km away. The nearest railway station is also at Ernakulam and the nearest airport is 22 km away, in Nedumbassery.

Last Updated on : 30/08/2013