Santa Cruz Basilica Church, Cochin

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Santa Cruz Basilica, Cochin

Santa Cruz Basilica in Cochin, with a remarkable Gothic facade and towering spires is one of the most imposing edifices in Kerela. This 5oo year old Roman Catholic Church, renowned for the colors and splendor of its gothic architecture is a sacred place as well as a site of immense historical importance since 1505.

Location of Santa Cruz Basilica, Cochin

This illustrious Christian Shrine is located at K.B Jacob road in Fort Kochi, Ernakulam district in Kerala.

Santa Cruz Basilica Significance

This Bishopric of Kochi is one of the eight Basilicas in India, erected by the Portuguese in Gothic architectural style and adorned with stunning paintings on the ceilings.

History of Santa Cruz Basilica

The history of Santa Cruz Basilica dates back to 1500 with the arrival of the Portuguese missionaries. In 1505, the first Portuguese Viceroy – Francesco de Almeida acquired permission from the Raja of Kochi to construct this Christian place of worship in Fort Kochi, which is the repository of Colonial history.

The stone base was set on May 3, 1505, the feasting day of the ‘Invention of the Holy Cross’, and so this magnificent structure was known as Santa Cruz. In 1558, the status of Santa Cruz church was enhanced to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV. Since then it became the Bishopric of Cochin. Later with the Dutch conquest in 1663, the social fabric of the place was disrupted and almost all Catholic edifices and other buildings were demolished, however Santa Cruz Basilica withstood the ravages. It was spared and was used as warehouse of arms. But in 1795, it was ultimately destroyed when Kochi came under British dominion.

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After hundred years, in 1887, the archpriest of Cochin- Bishop Dom Joao Gomes Fereira started restoring it and the building was finally accomplished by his follower Dom Mateus Oliveira Xavier. In 9th December 1984, Pope John Paul II heralded this church a Basilica.

1500 – Portuguese arrival

The history of Santa Cruz Basilica begins with the arrival of Portuguese missionaries along with the second basilicaPortuguese fleet under Pedro Álvares Cabral on December 24, 1500AD. The Cochin King Godha Varma I received them very warmly. This caused the Zamorin of Calicut to declare war against Cochin. But the Portuguese army under Commander Dom Afonso de Albuquerque who reached Cochin in 1503 defeated the enemies of the King of Cochin and in return he gave them permission to build a fort in Cochin.

1505 – Building the 1st church

In 1505, Dom Francisco de Almeida the first Portuguese Viceroy got permission from the Cochin Raja to build 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. This Church was located on the eastern side of the present Children’s Park, Fort Cochin.

1558 – Raising to the Status of Cathedral

In 1558, Pope Paul IV, raised the Santa Cruz Church to the status of a Cathedral along with the foundation of the Cochin diocese as the second diocese in India. Afterwards when the Dutch conquered Cochin in 1663, they destroyed all catholic buildings. Only the St. Francis Church and the Cathedral escaped this fate. The Dutch made the Cathedral their arms storehouse. Later it fell into the hands of the British who demolished it when they took over Cochin in 1795. One of the decorative granite pillars of the destroyed Cathedral is still kept as a monument at the southeastern corner of the present Basilica premises.

1887 – Rebuilding the Cathedral

About 100 years later, Bishop D. Joao Gomes Ferreira (1887-1897) who reached Cochin took initiative to erect the present Cathedral and commenced the construction, but it was the next bishop, D. Maheus de Oliveira Xavier (1897-1909) who completed the edifice. The Cathedral was consecrated on November 19, 1905 by Dom Sebastiao Jose Pereira, Bishop of Damao.

1984 – Raising to Basilica

Considering the antiquity, artistic dignity and historical significance, Blessed Pope John Paul II, by his Decree Constat Sane Templum Sanctae Cruci of December 19, 1984, raised the Santa Cruz Cathedral to the status of Basilica.

2004 – Celebrating the Quincentenary

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica is a Roman Catholic place of worship that celebrated five centuries of its existence only very recently in 2004.

Santa Cruz Basilica Architecture

The Church has a bright, gothic façade with two soaring spires. The internal chamber is pale- colored and looks impressive with strained glass windows and colossal columns are embellished with murals and frescos. The main altar is decked by the famed Italian artist Br. Moschini S. J. and his follower De Gama of Bangalore. There are also seven massive canvases depicting the passion and death on the Cross. The recherché painting of the Last Supper, based on Leonardo da Vinci’s feted painting, is truly astounding. The vignettes of various aspects of Christ’s life beautify the ceiling.

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Mass Schedule

From Monday to Saturday : 6.00 am, 7.00 am & 6.00 pm [all masses in Malayalam] except on Wednesday 6.00 pm Mass [ English ] and on Saturday evening mass at 5.00 pm. [ Malayalam] [ in honour of Our Lady of Fatima ]

On Sundays : 5.30 am, 6.45 am [ Missa pro Populo ], 8.00 am [ Mass for Sunday Catechism Students ] & 9.15 am [ all masses in Malayalam ] and 5.30 pm [ English ] Mass on last Sunday of the month in Latin


Wedding mass on Saturdays at 3.30 pm and on Sundays either at 10.00 am or 11.00 am, if there are previously arranged bookings.Basilica is offering the opportunity to have the wedding masses conducted also of the members of other parishes, provided the canonical requirements are earnestly followed. No wedding masses during the Advent and Lenten liturgical seasons.


Sacrament of baptism conducted on Sundays at 12.00 noon or 12.30 pm, after wedding mass, if any, on previously arranged conditions.


Sacrament of confession / reconciliation arranged every day, except Sundays, during the mass at 7.00 am and Saturday evening at 4.30.

Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick

Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is administered whenever the members of the Basilica parish request.

The following telephone numbers may be used :

Basilica Office No. : ( 0484 )2215799
Fr. Francis MJ Fernandez [ Rector ] : 09446528167
Fr. Gasper Peruvelil : 09633024892
Fr. JoshyAlesseril : 09747876459

First Holy Communion

Sacrament of First Holy Communion for the year 2012 is arranged to be held on Tuesday, the 1st of May 2012, the Feast of St Joseph, the Worker, which is also a public holiday – International Workers’ Day or Labour Day.


Sacrament of Holy Confirmation for the year 2012 is also arranged to be held on Saturday, the 16th of June 2012, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Blessed Virgin Mary. His Excellency, Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Kariyil, the Bishop of Cochin, will preside over the liturgical celebrations.

The parents of those Sunday Catechism Students in the Basilica parish, who are eligible for the First Holy Communion and/or for the Holy Confirmation, according to the Rules of the Diocese of Cochin, are requested to register the names of their children.

Feast Celebrations

During the Ordinary Time of the Year, we have seven feasts of the Lord. Three of these feasts, all of chalice significance, are common to all the liturgical families; the four other feasts are peculiar to the West. The three Common Feasts are the Transfiguration of the Lord, the Triumph of the Holy Cross and the Feast of Dedication. The four feasts peculiar to the West – begun as such by the Western Church and movable like Easter – are: the Holy Trinity, Corpus Christi, the Sacred Heart and Christ the King.

The ordinary Sundays and weekdays receive their real form and content from the celebration of the Eucharist and from the liturgical readings. We know that the Sundays have a three-year cycle of readings whereas the weekdays have only a two-year cycle.

Festal Celebrations

chalice The Feast of the Holy Cross is celebrated on September 14 as the Titular Feast. The Feast of Our Lady of Most Holy Rosary celebrated on the 1st Sunday of October, with a grand colorful procession, led by His Excellency. The Feast of Our Lady of Fatima starts on the 26th of December evening and concludes on the 31st evening with a solemn candle light procession and followed by brilliant display of fireworks.

Liturgical celebrations – Mass Schedule

Monday to Friday 6am, 7am & 6 pm

Wednesday 6pm Mass in English

Saturday 6am, 7am & 5pm ( Mass, Novena & Procession of Our Lady of Fatima )

Sunday 5.30am, 6.45am, 9.15am & 5.30pm ( English )

Last Sunday of Every Month 5.30pm Mass in Latin

Condition to the Visitors and Touristors

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica
Is A House Of Worship And Prayer,
Not A Museum And, Therefore,
The Following Restrictions Are Introduced
From January 2012 Onwards.

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Tourists’ Visiting Hours :

From 09.00 Am To 05.00 Pm [ From Tuesday To Saturday ]
Basilica Will Remain Closed On Mondays For Visitors.
Tourists And Visitors Are Not Permitted
During Liturgical Services.
Only Visitors Are Permitted Entry, No Tour Guides.
Sunday Is A Day Of Worship And, Therefore,

Visiting Hours : From 10.30 Am To 01.00 Pm Only,
When There Are No Liturgical Services.
Mobile Phones Are Not Permitted In The Basilica.
Dress Code Is To Be Strictly Maintained.
Because It Is A House Of Prayer, Enter Bare-Foot.
An Entry Fees Will Be Collected.

Santa Cruz Cathedral Basilica
Is A House Of Worship And Prayer,
Not A Museum And, Therefore,
The Following Restrictions Are Introduced
From January 2012 Onwards.

How to Reach Santa Cruz Basilica, Kochi

Air : The nearest airport is the International Air Port at Nedumbassery, about 22 kms away, International Cochin Airport lies 35 kms away.

Rail : The nearest railway station is at Ernakulam situated 13 km from Fort Kochi. Kochi has 2 major stations at Ernakulam Junction and Ernakulam Town.

Bus : The bus ride from Ernakulam town, which is 13 km away, involves an hour. KSRTC Central Bus station is close to the Ernakulam Junction railway station. Water: Kochi is also accessible by a boat from Ernakulam. There are ferry rides from Earnakulam’s Main boat jetty to Fort Cochin from around 6am to 9.30pm.

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