Santa Cruz Basilica Church

Santa Cruz Basilica Church is located in Fort Kochi. Santa Cruz Cathedral not only happens to be one of the oldest churches in Cochin, but also in the whole of India. Counted as one of the heritage edifices of Kerala, this church is visited by tourists the whole year round. It was built in 1505 by the Portuguese and in 1558 it was elevated in its rank to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. In 1795, the roughly 240 year old structure was destroyed by the British colonists. It was then rebuilt in 1905. Today's 100 year old structure was raised to the status of a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

In 1505, Francesco de Almeida the first Portuguese Viceroy got permission from the Kochi Raja to built a church edifice using stones and mortar which was unheard of at that time as the local prejudices were against such a structure for any purpose other than a royal palace or a temple. The foundation stone of the Santa Cruz church was laid on May 3, 1505, the feast day of the ‘Invention of the Holy Cross’, hence the magnificent edifice when completed was named Santa Cruz.

It is a place of devotion as well as a center of historic significance, endowed with architectural and artistic grandeur and colours of the gothic style. It is possible for visitors to tour the inside of this Basilica as well as enjoy its majestic exterior. The Church has two lofty spires and a remarkably bright, white-washed exterior and a pastel-colored interior. The interiors of the church are mostly Gothic, with the main altar decorated by the famous Italian painter Br. Moschini S. J. and his disciple De Gama of Bangalore. The columns decorated with frescoes and murals, the seven large canvas paintings on the passion and death on the Cross, especially the painting of the Last Supper, modelled on the famous painting of Leonardo da Vinci and the beautiful stained glass windows add to the artistic grandeur of the place. The paintings that adorn the ceiling depict scenes from the life of Christ.