Thursday 30 May 2024

Of art and worship

At the foot of a lush green hill stands the church of St Anne in Parra, the only church in India with frescos on the ceiling

Joyce Dias / The Goan | AUGUST 28, 2012, 08:34 AM IST
Of art and worship

Once upon atime there was a village in Bardez called porbuncho gão. When thePortuguese came to Goa, they renamed the village Parra (Porra in Konkani)  

Then they builta church at Parra in 1649. “This was the 18th church in Bardez, andlike the other churches, it was constructed of palm leaves and had a thatchedroof,” says Franciz D’Souza, a lover of history from Verem. The construction ofthe church was supervised by Frei João Moniz who was also in charge of St FrancisChurch in Old Goa (now the Basilica). In 1683, the Marathas lead by Sambhajiburnt it down. The villagers reconstructed the church in 1688 anddedicated it to St Anne” adds D’souza.

The churchhas a roof made of mud and lime. The underside of the roof has 16 beautifullypainted frescos, 15 of which depict the mysteries of the rosary. One wonders atthe humungous effort that must have gone into painting intricately on the ceiling.The roof of the choir loft at the back of the church has a painting of the LastJudgement and the Holy Trinity. In the corridor of the church are five old paintings.“The painting in the middle depicts heaven. The one to its left depictspurgatory and the on the right depicts hell” said Fr Roland Carvalho, parishpriest of the church. The other two paintings depict the death of a saint and asinner. In the sacristy there is an image of Christ on the crucifix in realgold. The right altar of the church is dedicated to St Pedro de Alcantara, a Franciscansaint. The church has two bells, one of which was made in Lisbon.

The churchstands at the foot of a hill of lush trees. A road lined with coconut trees andflanked by emerald fields leads up to it. The scene is picture perfect. Faithcan surely blossom in such pristine surroundings. 

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