Old Goa - Today

CAPELA DE S. ANTONIO
(THE CHAPEL OF ST. ANTHONY)
This small Chapel with its façade to the east, stands on the southern side of the Church of 0. L. of Rosario; it was built at the same time as the latter. At the time of reconquest of Goa, Diogo Mendes de Vasconcelos was posted here with 300 men. This Chapel, called also the Royal Chapel, was administered by the Cathedral Chapter but Archbishop 0. Fr. Aleixo de Menezes handed it over to the Augustinians in 1606. When the religious Orders were extinguished, the Chapel was abandoned. The first Patriarch of Goa rebuilt it on the occasion of the seventh centenary of St. Anthony and placed it under the superintendence of St. Francis of Assisi's convent's administrator.

The Chapel has a vaulted chancel. A retable of St. Anthony adorns the main altar. The side altars were dedicated to Our Lady of Fever and Sts. Cosimo & Damian. The walls of the Chapel have four frescoes with the pictures of the five doctors of the Church. The painting of Our Lady of Fever carries a beautiful poem in two verses concerning the 'Spiritual fever' which, according to the poet, is more dangerous; he asks Our Lady that his spiritual health be restored.

Queer traditions surround the history of this Chapel. St. Anthony was regarded as the patron saint of the military forces and as their Captain. As such St. Anthony's salary was drawn by the Chaplain in addition to his own. Every year on the occasion of the Vespers of his feast, St. Anthony's image was taken processionally to the Public Treasury where the treasurer handed him respectfully his payment for the titular captainship. In 1838, the Governor, Barao de Sabroso, stopped this payment as superfluous. But the people disagreed and everybody said that the Saint would punish him. In fact when the Governor had gone for a walk as usual (it was the feast day of St. Anthony), he fell down from his carriage and died from the consequences on October 14. Previous to his death he had resigned and the Conseiho do Governo restored St. Anthony's payment on September 28. Again when the Viscount of Vila Nova de Ourem was intending to abolish the traditional holiday on June 13 (feast day of the Saint), he fell down from the horse; he took this as a warning sent by the Saint and changed his mind. Caetano de Albuquerque abolished the holiday; but people said that he was not punished by the Saint because the new Viscount, Paco d'Arcos, would have restored the holiday.