The chapel’s interior is a blend of simplicity and elegance. It boasts a small nave, which is connected to a narrow corridor. A winding staircase within this corridor leads visitors to the choir room perched above, offering a unique vantage point for reflection and worship. The architecture of the chapel, with its high ceilings and classic design, exudes an aura of peace and devotion.
The Enigmatic Crucifix
One of the most remarkable and enigmatic exhibits within the St. Sebastian Chapel is the crucifix of Jesus. What sets this crucifix apart is that it’s one of the few representations of Christ with open eyes. This unique feature carries a historical weight, as the crucifix serves as a tangible relic from the Inquisition era in Goa during the 15th century.
Following the Inquisition, the crucifix embarked on a journey of its own. It was relocated to the Adil Shah Palace in Panjim, serving as a silent witness to the turbulent times and the suffering endured by many during the harsh inquisition period. Its final destination is the St. Sebastian Chapel in Fontainhas, where it stands today as a poignant testament to history.
Virgin Mary and Treasures from Afar
Beyond the remarkable crucifix, the chapel houses a statue of the Virgin Mary, an embodiment of devotion and faith for the chapel’s visitors. Additionally, the chapel’s collection includes two marquetry chests and three intricately carved screens. These precious items were acquired from a church in Diu, a region near Gujarat that was once a part of the Portuguese empire. These artifacts bear witness to the far-reaching cultural connections and influences that have shaped the heritage of Goa.
Intriguing in its history and architecture, the St. Sebastian Chapel in Fontainhas offers not only a place of worship but also a glimpse into the layers of history, faith, and cultural exchange that have left an indelible mark on this charming corner of Goa.