Cochin is the oldest European settlement in India. European were the first to discover the sea route to India and landed at Calicut. St Francis Church was built in 1503 and is the first church to be built in India. It has a great historical significance. It was originally dedicated to St Anthony but was rededicated to St Francis by Britishers when they were on power. Originally it was built by wood but late the church was built with stone with a tiled roof. It is one of the famous church of Kerala visited by million of tourist to visit Cochin. The beginning of the churches in India was inspired by this church.
St Francis Church History
Pedro Álvares Cabral and Afonso de Albuquerque who landed Kerala after legendary explorer Vasco De Gama built this church with the permission of the from the Raja of Cochin. They built a church with a wooden structure and dedicated it to St. Bartholomew. With the order of Francisco de Almeida, the-then Portuguese viceroy the church was rebuilt with stone and bricks.In 1795, the British captured Kochi from the Dutch and changed the name of the patron saint to St. Francis. Vasco De Gama on his third visit to India Died in Cochin and was buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were removed to Lisbon. There is still the gravestone of Vasco da Gama in the church.
How to Reach St Francis Church
By Air– Cochin International Airport is the nearest airport about 30 km from Cochin city.Regular flights are available to Cochin from Major cities of India
By Train– Ernakulum Junction, Ernakulum Town and Cochin Harbor Terminus are three railway station nearby Cochin . These railway station are well connected by the cities of South India and to some of the other cities of India.
By Road– Cochin is well connected with roads hence the church is easily accessible by road. There are various bus services from nearby cities like Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad.