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St Francis Chapel at Madicotto Cuncolim…..where history beckons you

The chapel was constructed on November 23, 1919 by a few local people to commemorate the historic relevance of the chapel and it was constructed in such a way as to include the well where the bodies of the five Jesuits, who were killed in 1583, were dumped and covered with leaves.

The well where the bodies were dumped is now not only enclosed by the chapel but it is also covered with a marble plaque where the importance of the well is engraved in Portuguese which reads as follows: “In this well were thrown the bodies of the Blessed Martyrs for three days the blood flowed emitting celestial aroma.”

The historical event, the revolt against the Portuguese took place in 1583, our forefathers constructed the chapel in 1919 with the main alter and martyrs well within its precinct. They made efforts to abide by order of don Felipe Mascarenhas in 1633, who asked to put the family’s coat – of – arms, Which is seen on the belfry of the chapel. The responsibility of expansion and development as aa well-knit society, consisting members of both the wards, Madicotto and Osnimaddem.

“We have come across the mighty deep, where none has ever sailed before us; our purpose is to spread the Christian faith” – Luis de camoes

From 15th Century onwards, sailors and missionaries of Portugal undertook adventurous trips.

It was again under aegis of Portugal that great missionaries like St. Francis Xavier and other carried faith and culture of Europe to the furthest ends of the world.

One of the primary aims that the Portuguese always had in mind was the spread of Christianity.

The spiritual expansion started with the arrival of the missionaries – Dominicans, who were Chaplains of the Afonso de Albuquerque’s army, Franciscans carried on the missionary work in Bardez and the Jesuits.

The introduction of the Jesuit order was with arrival of Francis Xavier in 1542.

The Portuguese wanted to establish a colonial rule by assimilating the Indians by way of Christianization. The most striking incident of discrimination against the local Goans is seen in the village of Cuncolim. The villages of Cuncolim, comprised mostly of Kshatriyas who rendered their services to different armies of various rulers, fought the war over forceful conversions destruction and defiling armies of various rulers, fought the war over forceful conversations, destruction and defiling of their temples and place of worship. The revolt of 1583 took shape as a popular rebellion against invading Portuguese who came to the village accompanied by Jesuits, and destroyed temples and defiled their lives along with five laymen, who were their helpers their bodies were taken by their respective families for the burial.

When the five Jesuits were killed their bodies were removed from Tolleabat to a distance and thrown in a mucky pond and covered with leaves, where a small well has been built and this lie inside the chapel of St. Francis Xavier. The well is closed with a marble stone on which the inscription is found :

“ Neste poco lancados os corpos dos Beatos Martires Estiveram durante treis dias escorrendo Sangue exalando aromas celestias”

The well water is sought by people from all parts of Goa for its miraculous healing the bodies themselves when found after three days, allowed no signs of decomposition. They were solemnly buried in the church of Our Lady Of Snows at Rachol and remained there until June 1597 and then they were taken to the college of St. Paul at Old Goa and inscribed with

“ Ossa Rodolph Aquavivae et Quator Socrun Martyrum E Societate Jesu”

the martyrs where canonized because their bodies, despite being left in the well for few days, did not emit foul smell, rather emitted special aroma, which was the only factor in their canonization process.

The historical chapel was built in 1583, by don Felipe Mascarenhas, viceroy of India and was dedicated to Our Lady of Martyrs Regina Martyrum. The image of Our Lady of Martyrs was taken to Assolna village, where till date it is venerated as a patroness. Now it is known as the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier. On the top of the tower façade of the chapel there is the coat of arms of the family of don Mascarenhas with the following inscription

“don Felipe Mascarenhas a mandou fazer Ano De 1663”

The feast of the chapel is celebrated on the first Sunday , after the 3rd December. At the end of the feast day, it is customary to organize litany at the chapel at 7:30 pm and than from there, the young boys and girls of the two wards, come carrying the lighted torches with accompaniment of the drum, trumpet and crackers they go round the chapel and the mand and go back home. It is called as the KANKADES and the significance of this is recalling how the followers of the martyrs came in search of the bodies, with the lighted torches.

The existing chapel of St. Francis Xavier and the Martys ‘ well below the altar was constructed on 23rd November 1919 at the expense of Pedro Santano Noronha,

B. Gonsalino Fernades, Caetano Souza, Ascizo Noronha, Minguel Carneiro, Rodolfo B. Noronha and Jose Julio Noronha later the extension, preservation and the maintenance of the Chapel was seen to by Casmiro Rosa da Lima Noronha, Piedade Saude Vaz and received assistance from Caetano Xavier Vaz, Bassiano Caeiro, Conceicao Almeida, Brigido Fernandes and Filonio Vaz.

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