The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will begin restoration work on the casket, containing the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Jesuit order, at the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, as per the church officials. This approximately 400-yo casket is a major tourist attraction in Goa and it pulls in hordes of devotees and visitors from across the globe. The church will continue to remain open, while the restorative work goes on.
Early warnings issued by 3 specialists from Italy
ASI's Chemical Branch from Aurangabad, who are specialists in conservation, have plunged into the project under the mandate from ASI Dehradun. The restoration work has begun its work on the casket and the remains in it, have been stored in another silver case and placed at the high altar at the mausoleum.
Earlier in 2018, a team of 3 specialists were dispatched from "Opificio Delle Pietre Dure e Laboratori di Restauro di Firenze" (A restoration laboratory in Florence, Italy), who had analyzed the artefacts from May 27 to June 3, 2018, had warned the authorities that the casket might fall apart, if not tended to as a top priority.
As per reports, the church authorities had previously insisted that the restoration work should be done by experts from Italy, who had offered to do so at no cost. But the ASI had declined the request, saying that they would do it themselves with the help of in-house professionals.
Basilica of Bom Jesus: UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a Roman Catholic Church, tagged to be the oldest church of Goa and is also recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The church completed its construction in the year 1604 and stands as an epitome of the Portuguese colonial architecture and Baroque architecture. Reportedly, this is the only church in Old Goa that has not been plastered on the outside. This religious establishment is seated in Bainguinim, Goa, about 10-km away from Panjim and is widely popular amidst domestic and foreign tourists.