Saturday, June 13, 2009

Stories the Gravestones Tell

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St. Augustine's Tower at Old Goa. The ruins of Nossa Senhora da Graça, the church of Our Lady of Grace. I visited the ruins with Dr. José Pereira, Professor Emeritus of Theology at Fordham University in New York, and a passionate fresco artist. His work adorns the sacristy vault of the St.Joaquim Chapel at Borda, Margao and the main vault of Our Lady of Rosary Chapel at Fatorda, Margao.

It was traditional to bury the dead from noble families inside the church itself, close to the sanctuary holding the altar. The graves were covered with stone slabs carved with the coat of arms and details of the deceased. I photographed many of these slabs, with closeups of the coat of arms. I am posting some of them here. Perhaps some scholar will research these clan symbols someday and trace them to the noble families in Portugal of that time. Some descendant may even find his great great great grandfather buried here.


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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jose, I like the first pic, the symbolism...nice shot! ..the rugged face, the rugged tower....there's something there!
was it intentional????

Jose Lourenco said...

Yes, indeed! The craggy features of Pereira's face strike a chord with the ravaged ruins of the Graca. I hope both last for long, they are valuable entities. Dr.Jose Pereira has published many good works on architecture,music and Konkani language.

Thanks for your comment,Anon.

Teotonio R. de Souza said...

http://bit.ly/PNz5c
Keep it up José!

Ms. Rap said...

All grave markers have the Trinity symbolism (top is in three arcs). Most cabeçalhos have the knight's helmet. A couple have rope (cordoeiros?) over the helmet, or a bird (famílias Aguiar?). But there is one with the royal crown, symbol of the royal family. There are a couple of lions. Is that a French or a British symbol? What last names are most prevalent in Goa?