Historical Overview

CONVENTO DO PILAR

PILAR MONASTERY

The Convento do Pilar, more popularly known as the Pilar Monastery, had pivotal significance not only for Pilar but for the churches around.

The traditional procession of saints originated here around the veil of Veronica in the 17th century. From the hillock it wound down to Mercurim (Agasaim). After the suppression of religious orders (1835) the procession stopped. The artifacts of the old church of Goa Velha (at the foot of Pilar hillock), which was in a dilapidated state, were temporarily stored at Pilar. When the new Church was completed (1859) in its present place, together with these artifacts, the statues of saints were also taken away! .

The candle light procession on the vespers of the feast of Our Lady of Pilar went upto Goa Velha and Santana, about five kilometers away.

The entry to the Monastery (see picture) is marked by a door with granite columns and foliage designs. A granite statue of St. Francis of Assisi is placed in a niche above the door.

Tombstones in many corners of the Monastery are in memory of various benefactors of this place.

The magnificent main altar of the Monastery Church is in the Spanish Baroque style. The main altar has ionic columns with a painting of the crucifixion on the top. The statue of Our Lady of Pilar dominates the central position while a later addition is the statue of St. Francis Xavier.

The four smaller statutes from the left to right are four Franciscan saints: to the left at the top is St. Louis of France with St. Francis of Assisi (the founder of the Franciscans) below; to the right on top is St. Isabel of Portugal with St. Clare (founder of the Second Order of Franciscans) below.

The side altar to the left is dedicated to our Lady of Piety (Pieta) flanked by blessed Joseph Vaz* and St. Theresa of Liseux. The side altar to the right has the Immaculate Conception to the top with St. Anthony below. They are flanked by St. Joseph and St. Roque.

To the left of the Church is the Chapel of Our Lady of Carmel and at the entrance is another alter to St. Pascal Baylon.

The pulpit is a classic example of Salomonic columns of the Baroque school.