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Se Cathedral

Goa, India “An Architectural Heritage Holding Portuguese Grandeur for 400 Years”

“An iconic historical monument in Goa and a UNESCO world heritage site stands tall among all the religious monuments around, the church is an excellent reflection of ancient style of church. Se Cathedral – a sacred pilgrimage site visited by millions of followers ranging from across the religions and communities – is actively celebrating the Holy Mass since its inception. A city that is known for its beautiful beaches, party culture and amazing fun-filled nightlife also preserves its religious heritage across the tiny harbor line along the Arabian Sea.”    

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History and Belief

The historic monument is situated on the Mandovi River’s bank in old Goa epitomizing the imperial and royal influence of the Portuguese era in the state of Goa. The beautiful Cathedral has a sprawling green and large complex is a vital attraction in entire Goa. A pride of old Goa’s heritage sites, Se Cathedral is a stunning example of architectural opulence with splendid interior work and impressive courtyards complex. Dedicated to Alexandria’s St. Catherine, the Cathedral is said to have one of the largest in Goa and world’s best bell – a golden bell apart from the four others in the building. Sé stands for ‘see’ in Portuguese; and the cathedral was built to honor the victory of Portuguese army over a Muslim army to capture the Goa city in 1510. The victory day was coincided with St. Catherine’s feast, so the monument was dedicated to the holy saint.

In 1552, Governor George Cabral commissioned the existing Cathedral structure for expansion. Later the construction began in 1562, which was completed in 1619. The new building was consecrated after 21 years. Venerable Pope Pius XII presented ‘The Golden Rose’ to the Cathedral in 1953, which was placed on St. Francis Xavier’s tomb in the church complex. The celebrated church holds the honor of sacred seat of the Archdiocese of Goa. Se Cathedral is a live example of architectural wonder that preserves its grandeur and aura even after four centuries. The vast building structure incorporates 8 chapels and 15 altars in all the interiors. Currently, the cathedral operates as a parish church under the authority of a priest.


Se Cathedral’s building style incorporates typical Portuguese architecture including a Corinthian core and a Tuscan peripheral. The exclusive gold plated altars are dedicated to the martyrdom of St. Catherine. Initially, on both side of the façade two towers were erected, but one tower was damaged with time and collapsed in 1776, which was never rebuilt. The Church’s is about 181 ft wide and 250 ft high with its frontier piece standing at 115 ft high.

The cost of building the Cathedral was bore by the Royal Treasury of King Dom Sebastiao and his successors and earnings were continued to be incurred from the auction of Crown's property. The grand structure is located on the western side of Terreiro de Sabaio square with façade facing towards east. The main entry to the façade boasts Corinthian columns that support a pediment with 1562 Latin scriptures carved on it.

Both sides of the nave, four chapels exits out of which two contains perforated wooden screens next to the entrance. One of the screened chapels has well decorated ceiling and wall – a distinguish feature compared to the decent interior of the cathedral. Another screened nave, to the right side of the nave, displays the Chapel of the Cross of Miracles, which is said to be inspired from the vision of the Christ in 1919. 

A projecting gallery, to the right side of the nave, holds an organ that belongs to the 18th century. Inside the nave one archbishop’s throne and seats for the canon are kept along with a heavily carved ebony stand that was brought from the Church of St. Francis of Assisi.  In the right, a door guides to the sacristy – a barrel-vaulted construction bearing gilded is a replica of St. Peter's Church in Rome. A nearby convent has been converted into an Archeological Museum which is thrown open to the visitors.  The double story edifice – also called as Archbishop’s Palace - behind the Cathedral is now lying unused. To the west side of the cathedral there is Franciscan church is built.

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4 interesting Facts & Myths about Se Cathedral

  • ·‘The Golden Rose’ refers to an ornament of gold that is conventionally conferred and blessed by Catholic Church Popes as a gesture of fondness or veneration.

  • ·In 2015, a stone bearing the name of Andrius Rudamina – a Jesuit and first Lithuanian who visited Goa in 1625 – was erected in Cathedral’s courtyard to honor him.  

  • ·Se Cathedral is one of the biggest churches across Asia that reflects Portuguese rule’s magnificence during 16th century.     

  • ·Se Cathedral’s structure is bigger than the churches exist in Portugal and in Goa too.

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Daily programs

Mass timings:

Weekdays – 7.30 AM and 6.00 PM

Sunday – 07.15 AM, 10.00 AM and 4.00 PM  

Special programs

Christmas Celebrations are a grand celebration not only in the Cathedral but also across all the churches and in entire Goa. The celebration involves traditional rituals and prayers in the church.

*On other important days of Christian religion some programs are organized according to the occasion.    


How to travel

Goa is well connected through Rail, Road and Air network. Being one of the favorite tourist destinations for domestic and global tourists, the city is well equipped to handle and serve all types of travelers with lots of stay and dining option in and around the city. For local transport, one can hire buses, taxis and autos across any part of the city. The cathedral site is located in old Goa around 9 km from the Goa’s Capital Panaji.   


Visiting days/hours – Local Time

Round the year

Travel Tips

Being a coastal location, Goa bears moderate weather with heavy rains in monsoon season. One should pack accordingly.    

See Se Cathedral on map

Nearby Attraction

Church of St. Francis of Assissi

A classic Portuguese monument that was constructed in 1661 reflects the magnificence of European architecture style. A well maintained huge structure with quiet and calm ambiance with wood-carved ceiling and pillars across.  

Basilica of Bom Jesus

The essence of grand heritage of Goa, Basilica of Bom Jesus is a classic monument with pure vibes and warmth. Built in 1605, the magnificent architecture and a UNESCO world heritage sites is an excellent example of baroque architecture in the country. 

Museum of Christian Art

The museum reflects a sincere interpretation of European culture with native sensibilities. An excellent collection of Indo-Portuguese artifacts that contributed in shaping the Goa as it seems today. The collection is displayed on two floors and one can click pictures by paying some charge. 

St. Monica Church

Constructed in 1636, the Convent and Church of Santa Monica was the largest and first a nunnery with a beautifully carved main altar. The construction style reflects an extraordinary mix of Portuguese religious descriptions with Indian artistry. Currently, the church is being renovated extensively.

Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount

A very old monument and closed for public view but surrounds with amazing scenic location. Located at a small hill in Goa, the church is a popular destination for film shooting. Best time to visit the church is during Monte Music Festival, an annual feast.





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