There are hundreds of churches across Goa. Almost all these churches have something that makes them unique, or different. Whether it’s the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa which, till today, contains the miraculous mortal remains of Saint Francis Xavier or the Three Kings Church in Cansaulim which many people believe to be haunted, almost every church in Goa has a special story to tell. One such church is the Holy Spirit Church in Margao that reveals its special secret only twice a year. One of those times is tomorrow, March 21st – the day of the Spring equinox.
Equinox and the Trinity
An equinox is commonly regarded as the instance of time when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun. This occurs twice each year: around 20 March and 23 September. In other words, it is the moment at which the center of the visible Sun is directly above the Equator. This year, the spring equinox will be happening around 3:30 pm on the afternoon of March 21. It is during this time that you would want to be present inside the main body of the church to see a spectacular trinity of architectural design, nature, and spirituality.
A spiritual movement
As the sun makes its way across the horizon, a magnificent ray of light enters the Holy Spirit Church through an ocular window centered on the facade of the church. Additionally, two more beams of light shine through windows on either side of this central oculus. As the sun moves overhead (rather as the earth rotates) these three beams of light move through the church till, for a moment, the three beams rest momentarily on three works of art. Illuminated by the side beams are the left and right altars that bear the statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary respectively. The center beam, which is the most magnificent of the three, illuminates the emblem of the Holy Spirit Dove that adorns the center of the main altar, shrouding Mary and the apostles below in light, their eyes filled with wonder.
A Pentecostal phenomenon
What makes this phenomenon special, is that the Dove is a part of a painting depicting the Pentecost. It’s a special moment in the story of Jesus Christ where he sent the Holy Spirit (symbolized by a dove) 50 days after having risen from the dead. Given that the spring equinox happens during Lent and that the Margao church is dedicated to the Holy Spirit makes this phenomenon all the more special. For those who have not seen this or aren’t able to make the trip to the Holy Spirit Church to experience this amazing event firsthand, astronomy enthusiast and photographer Bhushan Verlekar has captured the moment as a timelapse which you can watch below. You’ll also have another chance to experience this when the equinox happens again during autumn around September 23.
What do you think of this tremendous feat of architecture? Let us know in the comments below.