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Basilicas in India


Basilica – a term has two distinct meanings – one related to architecture signifies the stately edifice centered around the Forum for public gathering and administration at the Roman time. The second connotation for this term – Basilica – is canonical and a title conferred on important Roman Catholic Churches specifically by the Pope.


Basilicas are divided into 2 sections:

Major Basilicas or Patriarchal basilicas representing the ecclesiastical provinces :

The present Pope Benedict XVI has relinquished the traditional title 'Patriarch of the West' and as a result, these basilicas are simply known as Papal Basilicas.


Be that as it may, Basilicas must contain the body or relic of a Saint or that of a venerated image, or a prominent place of pilgrimage - though traditionally they must conform to a standard of classical architecture - east facing oblong shaped edifice with a broad nave ending in an apse.


  • St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome is the Cathedral of the Pope, the Patriarch of the West

  • St. Peter's Basilica in Rome for the Patriarch of Constantinople

  • St. Paul's Basilica in Rome for the Patriarch of Alexandria

  • St. Mary Major in Rome for the Patriarch of Antioch

The other section of Basilicas are Minor Basilicas which number 1585 (in the year 2011) spread across the world - major churches elevated to the status of minor basilicas specifically under a Papal Brief. There are some privileges conferred upon the basilicas which include the right of conopaeum – a kind of Umbrella called as Papilio and a Bell is carried in a procession on state occasions and the cappa magna - the vestments worn by members of the collegiate chapter when assisting at the office.


There are 20 minor basilicas in India ( in the year 2011). The following table shows the basilicas in India :

No

Name of the Basilica

Location

Dedicated to

Year conferred

1

Basilica of Bom Jesus

Old Goa

Infant Jesus

1946

2

Santhome Basilica

Madras (Chennai)

Mother Mary

1956

3

Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount

Bombay (Mumbai)

Mother Mary

1954

4

Basilica of Our Lady of Graces

Meerut

Mother Mary

1961

5

Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health

Velankanni

Mother Mary

1962

6

St. Mary’s Basilica

Bangalore(Bengaluru)

Mother Mary

1973

7

St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica

Ernakulam

Mother Mary

1974

8

Basilica of Our Lady of the Snows

Tuticorin

Mother Mary

1982

9

Santa Cruz Basilica

Cochin(Kochi)

Mother Mary

1984

10

Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary

Calcutta(Kolkatha)

Mother Mary

1988

11

Basilica of Our Lady of Dolores

Trichur

Mother Mary

1992

12

Poondi Basilica of Our Lady of Lourdes

Poondi,near Thanjavur

Mother Mary

1999

13

Basilica of the Divine Motherhood

Ranchi

Mother Mary

2004

14

Vallarpadam Basilica of Our Lady of Ransom

Vypin Island, Cochin

Mother Mary

2004

15

Basilica of the Holy Redeemer

Tiruchi

Jesus and Mother of Perpetual Help

2006

16

St. Mary Queen of Peace Basilica

Trivandrum

Mother Mary

2008

17

Basilica of Our Lady of the Assumption

Hyderabad

Mother Mary

2008

18

Basilica of St. George

Edapally,Cochin

Mother Mary

2009

19

St. Andrew’s Basilica

Arthunkal,alleppy

Jesus Christ

2010

20

Sacred Heart of Jesus Basilica

Pondicherry

Jesus Christ

2011

It is apparent from the above table that the Venerable Pope John Paul II had been instrumental in elevating the status of many churches to that of basilicas. Blessed Pope John Paul II (born as Karol Józef Wojtyła)- the longest reigned Pope of our time, often acclaimed as the most influential leader of the late 20th Century, the most widely traveled Pope of all time, recipient of so many accolades and honors including America's highest civilian honor – Presidential Medal of Freedom, was equally prolific in his encyclicals and apostolic letters as he was in conferring the status of basilicas to hundreds of churches throughout the world.



A closer inspection of the locations of the basilicas in India will show that 17 of these basilicas are located in South India – 7 in Kerala and 6 in Tamilnadu/Pondicherry. St.Francis Xaviour has visited most of these basilicas from the south in his time – a feat considering the primitive state of transportation at that time.

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Basilicas in India
Basilicas in India