Gideon Avni visited the St. Augustine complex, that might contain an ancient Mikveh.
Professor Gideon Avni inspect the site.
Professor Gideon Avni walks along two tanks, which the Arceological Surveny of India (ASI) opines are “Baptismal tanks”. But they could have been used by Jews for ritual baths, having the features of a Mikveh.
The concerned structure is in the Roman Catholic narrative of history presented as locateed next to a chapel. Built by the augustinian order from the year 1571 A.D. The construction of a Roman Catholic shrine started six years after this area was expropriated. The Portuguse Viceroy D. Antonio Noronha passed the order on 16th of December 1565 A.D. The colonial government in Goa expropriated the area, and gifted the land to the munks.
There is a documented Jewish connection to this site. The concerned structure is located along “Rua dos Judeus”, (the street of the Jews). This street went along the west side of the ruin, still used as a public road. The existence of such a road makes it highly possible that there was a Jewish settlement in this area. No ASI examination has been done to research the possibility of a Jewish heritage linked to the St.Augustine complex, prior to 1571.AD.
José Nicolau da Fonseca, in his book, “An historical and archeological sketch of the city of Goa”, page 155, claims there were synagogues in the city of Ela. There were also a Rua dos Judeus (The street of the Jews) in the city.
ASI was visited by a Jewish researcher some decades ago, who claimed there is an underground, hidden synagogue in this area, from the age of the Inquisition of Goa. The Inquisition of Goa lasted 252 years from 1560 to 1812 A.D. The Augustinians were gifted this land 11 years after the establishment of the Tribunal of the Inquisition of Goa. The order to expopriate the land was given hardly five years after the tribunal was established.
On 10th of February 2015, Mr. Ivar Fjeld presented a letter to the ASI, asking for a new examination of the complex.