ASI to restore wood-silver casket of Goa's patron saint

PTI
Saturday, 28 December 2019

The wooden part and the silver plates will be treated separately.

Aurangabad : The wood and silver casket containing relics of Goa's patron saint Francis Xavier will undergo restoration in 2020 at the hands of Aurangabad-based Science Branch of Archaeological Survey of India and the work requires immense precision, a senior official said on Friday.

In 1622, the Catholic Church canonised Francis, and his body was placed in a silver casket and kept in the Chapel of St Francis of Borgia in the Bom Jesus Church in 1624. A new casket was made in 1637 by Goan silversmiths.

"We have got approval for the restoration of Saint Francis Xavier's casket in Goa. Some formalities (of the approval) are remaining but we expect the work to start in the new year," Deputy Superintending Archaeological Chemist of Maharashtra and Goa, Shrikant Mishra, told PTI.

"The work is very delicate. The wooden part and the silver plates will have been treated separately. Minute examination of the casket has to be carried out. The 32 plates which are nailed to the wooden casket need to be removed very carefully," he said.

He said it has to be checked if the casket has a termite problem, adding that the velvet cloth inside is also tattered.

Mishra said an ASI team of five to six persons will be part of the restoration work but more experts will be pencilled in if required.

St Francis Xavier died on December 3, 1552, on the Chinese island of Shangchuan, at the age of 46.

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