Thursday 08 Dec 2022

Monumental connection between Karachi, Goa

The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King around the world on November 20. Three monuments dedicated to Christ the King, one in Karachi and two in Goa, have an unusual connection which goes back nine decades ago. The Global Goenkar provides a fascinating account of the three monuments and the Goan who designed two of them.

MENIN RODRIGUES | NOVEMBER 19, 2022, 12:09 AM IST
Monumental connection between Karachi, Goa

When a monument in Karachi inspired two villages in Goa

A statue was sent to Chorao,a monument was recreated in Assolna




There are many instances of aconnect between the people, places and landmarks of Karachi and Goa. Almost twohundred years ago, people from the Portuguese colony sailed north-west along thecoasts and anchored in a place called Kurrachee, a fishing village with a fewhundred people.

The immigrants cherishedtheir Goan roots, worked hard and established themselves as trusted individualsof a diligent community. They left no stone unturned to contribute to thedevelopment of the city and were soon to have made a tremendous impact withtheir talents, skills and above all, integrity.

Of the several instances oftheir legacy, one such landmark is the magnificent pure white marble structureof the Christ the King monument on the grounds of St Patrick’s Cathedral. Itwas completed in 1931 and is an artistic masterpiece, sublime in its contoursand can easily be described as a gleaming example of renaissance art.

The purpose of building thisbeautiful landmark was to commemorate the feast of Christ the King, institutedby Pope Pius XI in 1925. Soon after in 1926, the feast was introduced andcelebrated in Karachi, with a solemn procession through the streets of thecity, followed by Benediction and Blessing around a statue of Christ the Kingwhich was perched high on a temporary pedestal in front of the main door of theCathedral. The monument was not built then.

Thereafter, it was decided tobuild the monument and work commenced in 1927. The statue of Christ the Kingwas brought from Rome and was donated by a ‘Major Quadros from CincinnatusTown’.

While opening the wooden casein which it was imported, they found the forefinger of the left hand of thestatue, missing! (To this day, it remains as it was placed ninety-one yearsago.)

The monument was completed in1931 and was inaugurated and blessed on October 17, 1931, by Monsignor Leo PKierkels C P, Delegate Apostolic to the East Indies.

The Karachimonument, designed by M X Andrades and construction supervised by AugustusRodrigues, includes a crypt with a seating capacity for 100 worshippers.There is a chest/casket under the altar that houses a replica of the body of StFrancis Xavier (as displayed at the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa), a mural of'Heaven' above the tabernacle and a 'real life' depiction of 'Purgatory' at theback of the altar (now removed due to decay); all attributed to a Goan artist,Ignatius Vaz, from the village of Guirim.

The grand super-structure inKarachi has a unique history as it continues to stand majestically 91 yearsfrom the day it was constructed.

Here is a brief account ofthe Karachi and Goa connection. It is an outcome of research and how the monumentprevailed over Karachi and Goa! It is so unique, providential, and heart-warmingthat it ought to be highlighted here for our present and future generations,and duly archived in the history books of the Archdioceses of Karachi and Goa.

Folks from the village ofAssolna in South Goa came to know that the Karachi monument was designed byManuel Xavier (M X) Andrades, an artist and civil engineer of distinction. Theyimmediately contacted him and was commissioned to design something similar fortheir village. Manuel Xavier agreed, aligned his artistic thoughts, and drewthe first sketches. The finished design was breathtaking.

Visiting the Assolna monumentin 2012, I observed that it was one-third the size of the Karachi monument butstrikingly similar in design elements. It also featured four statues in thefour corners at a lower level facing the central master column. The column wasadorned with the statue of Christ the King at its summit. Further investigationrevealed that the four statues represented the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark,Luke, and John.

As I delved further into the history of the monument and background ofthe designer, consulting elder priests and family members, it was revealed thatManuel Xavier’s four sons were named after the Gospel writers. In hindsight, weare to believe that it was a befitting gift to his sons by a loving father, a fact unknown tothe people of Goa, or Karachi, until today!


(The writer is a Toronto-based communications consultant, Karachi Goan community/city historian and author.)



Goan designer of 2 monuments

 

Manuel Xavier Andrades, alsoknown as M X Andrade of Karachi, was born in Velim on August 15, 1887. He wasthe eldest son of four children, two sons and a daughter.

Manuel Xavier schooledprivately in Karachi and travelled to Bombay for his graduation from the J JSchool of Arts & Science, specialising in Drawing & Civil Engineering.

Returning to Karachi, hisfirst job was with Messrs. Herman & Mohatta Engineering Company. He laterjoined Sindh government service as Chief Mechanical Engineer and HeadDraftsman, and designed railway bridges, among his other works. He served thegovernment until his retirement in 1965.

At the community level inKarachi, Manuel Xavier’s renowned legacy is the designing of the magnificentChrist the King Monument in 1931, the Goan Union Hall/Club in 1931, and thepopular All-India Mayor Cabral Hockey Shield.

In 1932, he was requested bythe family of Domingo Gaspar Sebastiao Silva Lobo of Assolna to design amonument for their village, comparable to his Karachi masterpiece.

Manuel Xavier married JulianaEmiliana Sequeira in Karachi and they had six children, four have passed awayand two surviving. The eldest daughter, Heidi resides in London, England withher family, and youngest son Matthew with his family in Ottawa, Ontario,Canada.

M X Andrade died on March 1,1970, at the age of 83 and is buried at the Catholic cemetery in Karachi,Pakistan.

 

(Compiled by Menin Rodriguesfor MR Archive, from information and photo provided by M X’s son MatthewAndrades in Ottawa, and grandnephew Jerome Andrades in Karachi)

 



A gift from Karachi stands atop Chorao hill

My research and interactions with priests (1990-2005) in Karachi intothe antecedentsof the Christ the King monument in Karachi revealed that two statues of Christthe King came from Rome, one was used in Karachi, and the other shipped to Goa.

The priests could not,however, recall who sent it, to whom and where. To my delight, many yearslater, the dotted lines connected and the statue was traced to the beautifulisland of Chorao in Tiswadi.

Located atop the hill atChorao near the St Bartholomew’s School lies a monument dedicated toChrist the King. A number of plaques are present on the wall inside the entrance,providing details of the donors and a background to the monument.

One of the plaques statesthat the monument was built in 1936 through the efforts of late EsperdiaoMatias Quadros of Gavona, Chorao. Could he have been related to MajorQuadros of Karachi, who had donated the statue of Christ the King, whichwas brought from Rome?

Another plaque states thatthe monument was rebuilt and renovated in 2005-2006 by the Choraonenses, withthe renovation initiated by the Choraonenses Union (Mumbai)

Details of the origin of themonument are mentioned in another plaque. They have been reproduced as follows:

 

HISTORY – THE 1930s:Enquiries from Sao Bartolomeu parish office reveal that no records areavailable tracing the history of this magnificent monument. Reports confirmthat this majestic statue was brought to us from Karachi in the early 1930s bya kindhearted soul, identity not known. May his/her soul rest in peace.

 

LEGEND: The heavy casketcontaining Christ the King statue was kept in the Church corridor. Thevillagers, the majority being a poor farming community, did not have thewherewithal to afford a befitting place to install the statue. The elders ofthe village were split into two camps – the church compound, the hilltop. Butit was decided to install the statue in the church compound and a pedestal wasbuilt.

One fine night few daysbefore installation the statue disappeared from church corridor. Next morningthe sacristan found the statue missing. The Vicar was alerted, church bellstolled, and villagers summoned. The search began, few days later some residentsfrom Caraim and Cavona visiting the church by the road facing this monumentreported “Christ the King is standing on the hill”. It was cemented on a roughstone pedestal at this very spot. Soon a consensus emerged, the hilltop sitewas accepted, the villagers got galvanized, Mr. Esperdiao Matias Quadros in theforefront, monies collected, and the monument built in 1936.

Christ the King now overlooksthe village of Chorao. Over the years the monument deteriorated and wasvandalized, it was rebuilt and inaugurated on 22nd April 2006 through theefforts of Choraonenses Union, Mumbai and with generous donations from manyChoraonenses.

Choraonenses Union, Mumbaithrough its President Mr. Albino Toscano and the members of the managingcommittee, express their heartfelt thanks to all donors and sponsors. Thebeautification work is now complete. May Christ the King bless and protect allChoraonenses. October 2010.

 

There is a brief reference tothe Christ the King monument in the souvenir 'The Island of Chorao - AHistorical Sketch' by Canon F X Gomes Catao in 1962, to mark the SacerdotalSilver Jubilee of Fr Macario Toscano on April 4, 1961.

The souvenir statesthat “the monument to Christ the King was blessed and inaugurated onJanuary 2, 1937...The monument is installed on the top of a hill in Choraowhere it commands a beautiful panoramic view of some of the surroundingvillages in Bardez and Ilhas, epecially of Velha Goa with its Convents and Churches.This monument was put up by Mr Esperdiao Mateus Quadros.”

A footnote on the same pagestates, “The Vicar Forane, Fr Valentino Fernandes says that by theauthorisation granted by the Prelate, the inauguration of the monument toChrist the King was solemnised on the 2nd of January, as the 1st of January wasthe Feast Day of Menino Jesus and thereby the decree that gave permission toinstall the monument on the 1st was revoked. However, the slab bears the dateof 1st of January.”

According to Fr Joseph Estrocio,the present Parish Priest of St Bartholomew’s Church in Chorao, a specialMass will be celebrated at the monument of Christ the King atop the hillat 4.30 pm on November 20, to commemorate the Feast of Christ the King.

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