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The Portuguese settlers built the church initially, using stones and mortar after they had received permission from the King of Cochin. This didn't happen by chance or over night. The church was built by the first Portuguese viceroy, Francesco de Almeida, when he arrived in Kochi way back in 1505. The history of Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica goes back to the Portuguese period with the arrival of Portuguese missionaries along with the second Portuguese fleet under Pedro Álvares Cabral on 24 December, 1500. Their mission was mainly to spread Christianity among the natives along the coastal areas. The local ruler was not on good terms with the neighboring Zamorian king and in the war ensued between them, the Portuguese commander helped the Kochi king retain his rule. As a good gesture, King Unni Goda Varma Tirumulpadu (Trimumpara Raja ) of Kingdom of Cochin allowed the Portuguese Commander Afonso de Albuquerque to build the the edifice which later became the
|Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica Church In Cochin .www.dreamstime.com29|
The foundation stone of this church was laid on 3 May, 1505 of the same year during the feast of the 'Invention of the Holy Cross'. Upon completion, it was christened as 'Santa Cruz Cathedral'.
|Crucifixion mural, Santa Cruz Catholic Cathedral Basilica, Kochi (Cochin), Kerala,.www.alamy.com|
|Santa Cruz Catholic Cathedral Basilica, Kochi (Cochin), Kerala, India. -.www.alamy.com|
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It was at the initiative of Bishop Dom Joao Gomes Ferreira in 1887, the then prelate of Cochin, the cathedral was rebuilt. However, it was only during the reign of his successor, Dom Mateus Oliveira Xavier that the restoration could be done. In 19 November 1905, Dom Sebastiao Jose Pereira, the Bishop of Damao, sanctified the new cathedral. Using criteria such as artistic excellence, antiquity and historical events associated with Portuguese establishment, the Santa Cruz cathedral was elevated as a basilica on 19 December 1984 by Pope John Paul II through an ecclesiastical order. Santa Cruz minor Basilica still serves as the cathedral of the Cochin Diocese - perhaps one of the very few oldest dioceses in India.
Built in an Indo-European and Gothic style, the cathedral has an impressive pulpit and wood paneling accompanied by magnificent Italian paintings - frescoes and murals of Last Supper and Jesus on the Cross done based on the famous painting of Leonardo da Vinci. The the pastel interiors of the church are mostly Gothic, with the main altar decorated by the famous Italian painter Fra Antonio Moscheni, S.J., and his disciple De Gama of Mangalore.