St. Francis Church, Kochi

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St. Francis Church is the first European church in India that was built in 1503. Witnessing several invasions and countless settlements, the church grabs a prominent position in the cultural history of Kochi. The Church stands in the neighborhood of Fort Kochi. A very interesting fact attached to the history of the church has to do with Vasco da Gama, the great Portuguese navigator. Gama who died in the 16th century takes his final rest in the St. Francis Church. It was only fourteen years later that his body was moved to Lisbon. When the church was first built it was made from wood. However, in 1506 the Franciscan Friars re-built the church using mortar and bricks. The work of the new Church was completed in 1516.

The Protestant Dutch did not demolish this Roman Catholic Church when they invaded the city. Later, in 1804 the Dutch let the Anglicans have control over the church, and the church was then dedicated to St. Francis.

 

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