After many years of intensive painstaking restoration work, the 450 year old Church of Santa Monica will be opened to the public on Friday 10th June 2016. At 4.30 p.m., there will be a Presentation on the works carried out, followed by the formal opening by the Archbishop of Goa.
The 450 year old Church of Santa Monica, a part of the Convent of Santa Monica (Asia’s first and largest Convent) in Old Goa, and a State protected Monument, has been restored by the Museum of Christian Art Goa with financial assistance from the Directorate of Archives and Archaeology, Government of Goa.
This beautiful church with its exquisite altars, pulpit, miraculous crucifix, statues, paintings and art objects was in desperate need of repair and restoration, and preservation for posterity. The Archdiocese through the Museum of Christian Art Goa sought the technical assistance of the conservation architect, Ketak Nachinolkar and two internationally recognized art restorers, the late Miguel Mateus and Jose Pestana of Portugal to carry out an in-depth study of the state of the church building, its altars, pulpit, statues, and paintings, the extent of deterioration and to draw up a comprehensive restoration project proposal. The proposal was approved by the State Government and provided a grant of Rs. 1.3 crores in two phases and the work entrusted to the conservation architect and the two expert art restorers and their teams.
Restoration work on the building involved complete removal of the cement plaster from the walls, internally and externally and its replacement with the original mud and lime plaster, rebuilding the entire roof whose members were severely damaged the removal of the damaged red cement flooring to reveal the original stone flooring. Removal of the much damaged wooden pulpit revealed the original beautiful carved stone pulpit and the graffito work which surrounded it. The altars needed extensive work as much of the wood work had decayed either due to ingress of moisture or attacked by termites. The statues and paintings all needed a great deal of attention. Original graffito was discovered under layers of lime wash and these have been restored.
The church will now be open to worshipers for veneration at the Miraculous Cross popularly known as the Weeping Cross and to visitors to appreciate the artistic and architectural beauty of the church. The church will also be the venue for sacred music concerts and for temporary art exhibitions organized by the Museum of Christian Art.