The Church of Salvador do Mundo, in Salvador do Mundo (aka Saloi, locally), in Bardez, was built in 1565 by the Franciscans, with the financial assistance of the ganvakari or comunidade.
The façade of this ancient church is in the Mannerist Neo-Roman style. It is large and has three bays and four storeys. Two octagonal towers are set back from it, and a bell is housed in the central gable. Coupled pilasters are seen at the corners of the façade. It has a belfry flanked by twin faces in relief, and the finials are spear shaped.
There is a porch just before the threshold of the church. Its original flooring was made of granite stone, but in 1974, that was replaced with modern tiles. Above the porch is the choir loft, which was used by musicians and singers until the time of the Vatican II Liturgical Reforms.
INSIDE THE CHURCH
As one enters the nave, to the left, there is a picture (in high relief) of Mother Mary handing over a rosary and cincture to St Francis of Assisi and St Dominic of Guzman, who receive them on their knees. Images of ships adorn both walls of the church.
Further down, there is a pulpit with six sides, having representations of the Apostles Peter and Paul and the four Evangelists. The pulpit originally belonged to the Seminary of Chorão, but remains unused from the time of the Vatican II reforms.
On entering the church from the porch, and through the door on the right, there was a baptistery room with a baptismal font. Beyond the nave, there were four side altars dedicated to (1) the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacred Heart of Mary, St Joseph, St Francis Xavier; (2) Our Lady of Salvation, St Rock; (3) St Anne, St Sebastian; and (4) Our Lady of Sorrows. There is an image of a pelican above St Rock, while an image of a ship with two masts lies below Our Lady of Salvation.
Between the nave and the chancel, there was an artistic black railing.
The Sanctuary (Capela-Mor in Portuguese) had a wooden railing with a high arch above it. The highlight is the High Altar, consisting of a large retable and table. The High Altar is dedicated to the Saviour of the World (Salvador do Mundo) whose life-size statue occupies the centre of the retable, which bears biblical images as well as those of Franciscan saints, in relief. The retable is from the church attached to the Convent of St Francis Assisi, in Old Goa. At the feet of the Saviour of the World, there is the Tabernacle. The table was damaged in the early 70s.
The sacristy has an altar, the retable of which belonged to the Chapel of Our Lady of Piety (Capela Nossa Senhora da Piedade) in the present-day Instituto de Piedade, Panjim.
The parish-house is storeyed and has a fountain, the source of which is believed to be beneath the high altar of the church. At the fountain, there is a granite stone inscription with the text “Haurietis aquas in gaudio de fontibus Salvatoris” which translates to “With joy, you will draw waters from the Saviour’s fountain” (Is 12:3).
Around 2010, under the then parish priest, Fr Gualberto de Souza, the church received much-needed repairs and renovation.
The church has two main feasts:
-Feast of the Patron ie Salvador do Mundo on August 6. Back in the day, it was the feast of the ganvkari or comunidade, and mass was usually celebrated by a ganvkar priest. The ‘President’ of the feast was a non-ganvkar (ie morador).
-Feast of Our Lady of Salvation on January 23 (or the Sunday that follows), and the commemoration of the nuptials of St Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary.