Old Goa - Today

PALACIO ARQUIEPISCOPAL DE GOA
OU PALACIO ANTIGO DOS ARCEBISPOS

(ARCHIEPISCOPAL PALACE)
This was the residence of the Archbishops. It was built before the Se Catedral. Even when the Se was not completed, Pyrard de Laval found this palace to be inhabited by Archbishop D. Fr. Aleixo de Menezes. A two storeyed building marked by simplicity. It is linked to the Se Catedral and Convent of S. Francisco de Assis. In fact, a portion where at present the Canons live is not visible because it is hidden by a portion of Se Catedral. There is a staircase leading from the sacristy passage of Se Cathedral to the Palace. It has a Chapel with a beautiful altar dedicated to Nossa Senhora do Carmo. Its gilt wood work is still well preserved. Besides the internal palace door, it had an entrance from outside with a flight of 20 granite steps reaching to the level of first floor.

The Archbishops would live on the first floor. Behind this Chapel there is a door leading to the Convent of S. Francisco de Assis. It is known that the Archbishop D. Fr. Aleixo de Menezes would go to the Convent for night pr service regularly except on Sundays and other days of obligation when he would go to the Se Catedral. The same Archbishop would invite 12 poor persons everyday to sit at his table and all of them would share the same food.

Its entire length was 230 ft. and its breadth was 108 ft. There were many halls for different purposes. In one of the corridors there were oil portraits of all the Prelates of Goa which are at present exhibited in the Hall of the Paço Patriarcal, Panjim, which is the present residence of the Archbishop Patriarch.

The Archbishops lived there till 1695, when due to an epidemic along with the Vice-Roys they shifted their residence to Panelim (S. Pedro) But even later, the Archbishops would spend some days there, specially Dom Fr. Manoel de Santa Catarina.

But even in 1925, the prelates would spend some days in this palace on the occasion of the feasts in Old Goa. During the 1952 exposition the visiting prelates and some priests stayed in this palace.

At present, the Vicar of Se and some canons occupy some of its rooms. Conscious about the heritage and the grandeur of the pristine days, the Archdiocese of Goa has been restoring this place so that the old glory may be witnessed today, even though in its dimness, with the help of a committee for conservation of the Archiepiscopal Palace with the Procurator as Convenor and the author of this bppk as the secretary and Conservation Architect Vikas Dilwari and Eng. Sylvester de Souza as consultants. The conservation works are nearing completion.

All the walls of the palace have been decorated with floral and other designs in maroon colour upto a height of 1 metre and half, ending with the design of Augustinian double headed Eagles.

Archbishop D. Fr. Aleixo de Menezes who completed the construction of this palace was an Augustinian. The long beams as well as the short beams in all the four corners of the halls & chapel pulling together the walls since there were no supporting buttresses) are extensively carved. It is worthwhile to note that the Archdiocese maintained this palace before it is reduced to ruins just like so many other majestic buildings of Old Goa.