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Church of Goree remains tourist site for many

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History has it that Portuguese Sailors were among the first explorers to arrive in the West African Country of Senegal in the 15th century, following which they established Christianity on the Island of Goree.

Meanwhile, the first slab of the Church of Goree was laid on April 11, 1828 which represents the feast day of the King of  France, Charles the Tenth, hence the building was named Saint Charles Borrome.

Rebecca Ekpe who visited this historic Catholic edifice and reported that the Church has become an international tourist site.

Tourists after tourists were seen going in and out of the church. It was not Sunday, and therefore there was no live church service.

Volunteers fix Christmas decorations in St Charles Borrome, Goree Island, Senegal. Picture by Rebecca Ekpe.

However, it is the Christmas season and therefore, some volunteers of the church were seen spending time to put up Christmas decorations, made up of flowers, gold ornaments, and other traditional artifacts.

I met Philip and Louis. They said,

”the church gets decorated every year for Christmas”.

I also asked if Christians are free to worship in the predominantly Muslim place. Their response was,

”No it not difficult because some Senegal people have intermarried, you find some Muslim and Christians together, and we live in the same house, we tolerate each other, yes we still worship. No problem for Christians” they said.

St Charles Borrome Catholic Church, Goree Senegal. Picture by Rebecca Ekpe
St Charles Borrome Catholic Church, Goree Senegal. Picture by Rebecca Ekpe

This obviously showed the high level of religious tolerance there.

Historians say the church architecture is similar to a church in France. Inside the church, you would see old, but beautiful chandeliers. The altar is also made of marble, while the seats in the church are made of wood, a kind that felt like it was created centuries ago.

Saint Charles Borrome is classified as one of the first churches that was built in West Africa by the Early Missionaries, and for Catholics, it remains a safe place of worship in the predominantly Muslim community.

Story filed by: Rebecca Ekpe

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