Stuff I Know

Just stuff by me about me and my life, such as it is.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Old Goa

I think bus drivers in Turkey and Greece have to smoke, despite the little sign above them that says no smoking on the bus. It is probably one of those little "unwritten rules." Kind of like how in India all males must have a mustache. It seems that as long as they are able to grow one, males in India wear mustaches. No not 100%, but pretty darn close, mind you. Interesting the "rules" society imposes on us.

(Oh yes, I am in Greece now which means I am a full country behind in my posting of pictures. I'll get them all in eventually. Anyway ...)

Another reason to visit Panaji is as a base to visit Old Goa. It makes a nice day trip as the sites to see there can easily be visited from the central area where you hop off the bus. What is there to see? Uh, well, more churches and some church ruins. These churches are pretty impressive, though, almost "cathedral" in scale. The interior decorations are generally fairly impressive, too.

One of the churches is the resting place of the "incorruptible body" of St. Francis Xavier. They keep the body up on a dais and take him down to allow the faithful to have a gander every 10 years.You can actually see him a little bit up there through the glass coffin, and I have to say, his body looks pretty corrupted to me, very dried out and "mummified." I actually filed through the church when they took him
down in 1994 (On a whim, not knowing what was going on at the time.) and he looked pretty dessicated then, too. Maybe the fact that he isn't getting any worse is the actual "miracle." I don't know.

Read this I found about the saint: copyright John Howley and
Spiritual Guides from here.
"While traveling by boat to China, he got dysentery and died on the island of San Chuan (Sancian), off the Chinese coast on December 3, 1552 at the age of 46, ten years after his arrival in Goa. His body was buried in Sancian and later taken to Malacca. Even though the grave was filled with lime, the body was in perfect condition. Later, his body was again removed and taken to Goa on March 16, 1554. St Francis was canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. The body was then placed in the chapel in the Basilica of Bom Jesus.

Parts of Saint Francis' body have been removed as relics. In 1554, a Portuguese woman is said to have bitten off one of his toes. In 1615, part of his right arm was taken to Rome and placed in the Church of Gesu. Part of the right hand was taken to Japan in 1916. Parts of the intestines were removed and distributed to various places in Southeast Asia. In 1890, one of his toes fell off. It is kept in a crystal case in the Sacristy of the Basilica of Bom Jesus."
There is another "miracle" in the town, too. One of the churches has a crucifix where the figure of Christ is said to have open and closed his eyes and mouth. It also causes miraculous healing for those who pray here. Well, some anyway. Looking up at the figure, I could see where the lighting and the position of viewing may make it look like the face of Christ might move, but he didn't so much as wink at me. Oh well, I wasn't praying for any miracles anyway, and I doubt the only thing I would have asked for, world peace, would be within the bounds of grantable miracles.

Be sure to visit the ruins of the old church and the museum there too. All in all it was a nice day, even though after a long walk up the hill, the last church I wanted to see turned out to be closed. The view was very nice though.

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