ST. FRANCIS CHURCH

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Location: Fort Kochi, Kerala
Significance: First European Church In India
Originally Called: Santa Antonio
Important Feature: Vasco da Gama was buried here

St. Francis Chruch, Kochi, KeralaSt. Francis Church is a granite church set on quiet lawns amidst the bustle of Fort Kochi, 10 kms from Ernakulam. Originally named as Santo Antonio, this protestant church was originally built by the Europeans in India.

Vasco da Gama was buried here in 1524 AD. Though 14 years later his mortal remains were taken to Portugal, the carved gravestone can still be seen in the church.

It also has crypts of Portugese nobles. St. Francis Church was the first church to have been built in the new European influenced style and tradition. The original wooden building of 1510 AD was replaced by the present building around 1546 AD.
Under the Dutch, the church was renovated and became protestant in 1663 AD. Inside the church, various tombstone inscriptions have been placed in the walls, the earliest of which dates back to 1562 AD.

The impressive façade with multi curved sides became the model for most of the churches in India. Now a protected monument, the Church is presently owned by the Church of South India (CSI).

A cenotaph erected in 1920 AD, in memory of the residents of Cochin who fell in the First Great War was unveiled by the Governor of Madras. The boundary walls were erected in 1924 AD.

There are regular worship meetings in the church every Sunday and commemorative days. The church remains open on week days for visitors and tourists.



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