"St Francis Church" St Francis Church Tip by illumina
St Francis Church, Kochi: 11 reviews and 24 photos
St Francis church was the first European church to be built in India, and was constructed inside Fort Kochi, probably the oldest European settlement. It was originally a wooden church (possibly dedicated to St Bartholomew), but was rebuilt in stone, presumably by the Franciscan friars who accompanied the Portuguese expedition, and was dedicated to St Anthony. It remained in the order of St Francis until the Dutch captured Fort Kochi in 1663 - they demolished all the Catholic churches but the cathedral and this one which they reconditioned and converted into their government church. They were allowed to keep it by the British, who took Kochi in 1795 and it was again renovated during 1779, but it was voluntarily surrendered in 1804 to the Anglican Communion. Presumably it was renamed after the current patron saint during the latter half of the nineteenth century. At present it has been taken over by the Church of South India.
Vasco da Gama, died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were removed to Lisbon. The gravestone of Vasco da Gama can apparently still be seen here (although we couldn't find it, sadly). The gravestones of the Portuguese and the Dutch that were removed from the floor of the nave have been fixed respectively over the north and south side walls of the church. The earliest Portuguese epitaph here dates to 1562 and that of the Dutch to 1664.
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