Photos

Photographer's Note

St. Francis CSI Church, in Fort Kochi also known as Fort Cochin, Kochi, originally built in 1503, is the oldest European church in India and has great historical significance as a mute witness to the European colonial struggle in the subcontinent. The Portuguese explorer 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.

Vasco da Gama, who discovered the sea route from Europe to India, landed at Kappad near Kozhikode (Calicut) in 1498. He was followed by Pedro Álvares Cabral and Afonso de Albuquerque. They built Fort Emmanuel at the Fort Kochi Beach with permission from the Raja of Cochin. Within the fort, they built a church with a wooden structure, which was dedicated to St. Bartholomew. The neighbourhood is now known as Fort Kochi.

Francisco de Almeida, the Portuguese viceroy, was allowed, in 1506, by the Raja of Cochin to reconstruct wooden buildings in stone and masonry. The wooden church was rebuilt, presumably by the Franciscan friars, with bricks and mortar and a tiled roof was erected. In 1516, the new church was completed and was dedicated to St. Anthony.

The Franciscans retained control over the church till the Dutch captured Kochi in 1663. While the Portuguese were Roman Catholics, the Dutch were Protestants. They demolished all the churches except this one. They reconditioned it and converted it into a government church.

In 1795, the British captured Kochi from the Dutch but they allowed the latter to retain the church. In 1804, the Dutch voluntarily handed over the church to the Anglican Communion. It was placed under the Ecclesiastical Department of the Government of India. It is believed that the Anglicans changed the name of the patron saint to St. Francis.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Photo Information
Viewed: 583
Points: 40
Discussions
  • None
Additional Photos by Stephen Nunney (snunney) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9669 W: 63 N: 27202] (119985)
View More Pictures
explore TREKEARTH