St Francis Xavier Church, Coloane Island, Macau, China

St Francis Xavier

St Francis Xavier, Coloane Island, Macau

This beautiful little mustard-coloured church on the southern coast of Coloane Island was built in 1928 in the style typical of Portuguese colonial architecture, somewhat reminiscent of the Baroque. Mystery Worshipper, Ship of Fools

Chapel of Our Lady of Penha, Macau, China

Chapel of Our Lady of Penha

The Chapel Our Lady of Penha is located at the top of Penha Hill.

The place was donated by the Senado to the Augustinians for the construction of a church dedicated to “Our Lady of Penha of France”, the navigator’s protector. It is said that the purpose for promoting the chapel foundation was related to an appreciation to The Holy Virgin Mary for Her help in a narrowly escape of a Portuguese ship from Dutch raiders.

The chapel was built in 1622 over the bulwark of Our Lady of Good Birth. It was property of the Augustinians until their expulsion in 1834, in consequence of the liberalism period in Portugal. In 1837 it was reconstructed, along with the Bishop’s Residence, alongside the church, and, in 1935, almost completely rebuild.

For many years, the chapel served as shrine for sailors embarking on often hazardous voyages.

On the large open courtyard fronting the chapel is a marble image of Our Lady of Lourdes facing Macau and China. It is said to be praying for both lands. Close to it, down the steps of a staircase in the hillside, also facing Macau and China, there is a picturesque grotto with a smaller image of, again, Our Lady of Lourdes.

Both images were put in place as a consequence of the fiftieth anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady in Lourdes, which happened in 1858.

Every year, on the 13th of May, thousand of faithful joins the image of Our Lady of Fatima for a pilgrimage and procession. It begins in St. Domingo Church, meanders through the streets of Macau, and finally ends in Penha Church. The devotees come from all over to accompany Our Lady of Fatima. Leading the procession, three children, dressed as the three children who saw and heard Blessed Mary in Portugal, back in 1917.Trappistine Community

Parish of Our Lady of Sorrow, Ka-ho, Macau, China

Parish of Our Lady of Sorrow

The second small church in Coloane was built in 1966 to serve the needs of the settlement of Ka Ho. Overlooking the big garden in front of the Church is huge bronze crucifix over the north door.Macau Holiday

St. Joseph's Seminary and Church, Macau, China

St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church

Established in 1728 and built in 1758, the old Seminary, together with St. Paul’s College, was the principal base for the missionary work implemented in China, Japan and around the region. This church, together with the Ruins of St. Paul’s, is the only example of baroque architecture in China (as noted in UNESCO’s 2001 publication Atlas mundial de la arquitectura barroca).Inside the church, in one of the lateral altars, lies one of Macao’s most precious religious relics, a piece of bone from the arm of St. Francis Xavier, that formerly belonged to the collection of the Church of Mater Dei (Ruins of St. Paul’s). St. Joseph’s Seminary taught an academic curriculum equivalent to that of a university and in 1800 the Portuguese Queen Dona Maria I conferred on it the royal title of “House of the Mission Congregation”.

The church façade is 27 metres wide and 19 metres at the highest point. A broken arch, typical of baroque architecture, tops the main entrance of the church. The curved pediment displays the Jesuit insignia at the centre. The façade is characterized by moulded plaster relief, accentuated in white against the plain wall rendered in yellow. The church is laid out in a Latin cross, with its axis measuring 16 metres by 27 metres. The three altars are elaborately ornamented, incorporating pediments supported on two sets of four spiral columns decorated with gold-leaf motifs. Supporting the high-choir at the entrance of the church are four salomonic columns that are signatures of the mannerist art movement which had a significant influence on European architecture particularly in church design prior to the baroque period. The central dome measures 12.5 metres in diameter and rises 19 metres above the ground. It is decorated with three rows of sixteen clerestories; those on the top row are fixed and the others in the lower two rows serve as ventilators.

In contrast with the elaborate architecture of St. Joseph’s Church, the Seminary is a simple, neo-classical compound designed with an internal cloister garden. Constructed primarily of grey brick, the solid walls stand on granite foundations. The arrangement inside the building is typically organized with wide corridors running as much as 80 metres long with classrooms off them.Macau Heritage

Ruins of St. Paul's, Macau, China

Ruins of St. Paul’s

The Ruins of St. Paul’s refer to the façade of what was originally the Church of Mater Dei built in 1602-1640 and the ruins of St. Paul’s College, which stood adjacent to the Church, both destroyed by fire in 1835. As a whole, the old Church of Mater Dei, St. Paul’s College and Mount Fortress were all Jesuit constructions and formed what can be perceived as the Macao’s “acropolis”.

The façade of the Ruins of St. Paul’s measures 23 metres across and 25.5 metres high and is divided into five levels. Following the classical concept of divine ascension, the orders on the façade on each horizontal level evolve from Ionic, Corinthian and Composite, from the base upward. The upper levels gradually narrow into a triangular pediment at the top, which symbolizes the ultimate state of divine ascension – the Holy Spirit. The façade is mannerist in style carrying some distinctively oriental decorative motifs. The sculptured motifs of the façade include biblical images, mythological representations, Chinese characters, Japanese chrysanthemums, a Portuguese ship, several nautical motifs, Chinese lions, bronze statues with images of the founding Jesuit saints of the Company of Jesus and other elements that integrate influences from Europe, China and other parts of Asia, in an overall composition that reflects a fusion of world, regional and local influences. Nowadays, the façade of the Ruins of St. Paul’s functions symbolically as an altar to the city. The baroque/mannerist design of this granite façade is unique in China (as noted in UNESCO’s Atlas mundial de la arquitectura barroca). The Ruins of St. Paul’s are one of the finest examples of Macao’s outstanding universal value.Macau Heritage

Guia Chapel and Fortress, Macau, China

Guia Chapel and Fortress

Built between 1622 and 1638, this fortress was, together with Mount Fortress, invaluable in fending off the attempted Dutch invasion of 1622. Inside the fortress stands Guia Chapel, built around 1622, and Guia Lighthouse, dating from 1865, the first modern lighthouse on the Chinese coast. Macao takes its co-ordinates from the exact location of the lighthouse. Guia Chapel was originally established by Clarist nuns, who resided at the site before establishing the Convent of St. Clare. In 1998 frescoes were uncovered inside Guia Chapel during routine conservation work. The chapel’s elaborate frescoes depict representations of both western and Chinese themes, displaying motifs of religious and mythological inspiration that are a perfect example of Macao’s multicultural dimension. Guia Fortress, along with the chapel and lighthouse are symbols of Macao’s maritime, military and missionary past.Macau Heritage

Church of St. Lawrence, Macau, China

Church of St. Lawrence

Originally built by the Jesuits before 1560, this is one of the oldest churches of Macao. The present-day building was the result of the works carried out in 1846. Situated on the southern coastline of Macao overlooking the sea, families of Portuguese sailors used to gather on the front steps of the church to pray and wait for their return, hence it was given the name: Feng Shun Tang (Hall of the Soothing Winds).

St. Lawrence’s Church is a neo-classical structure. The main façade of the church is divided into three sections, with the centre flanked by the two square towers, each measuring around 21 metres high. The central section of the main façade is characterized by a pediment interrupted in the middle by an oval emblem. The ground plan of the church is in the shape of a Latin cross, measuring 37 metres by 29 metres. The shorter arms of the building form two interior chapels. The longer extension of the building corresponds to the main nave inside, with the main altar separated by a vaulted arch. Ornamented pillars and exquisite chandeliers create an elegant church interior, heightening its ambience.Macau Heritage

Church of St. Dominic, Macau, China

Church of St. Dominic

Founded in 1587 by three Spanish Dominican priests who originally came from Acapulco in Mexico, this church is also connected to the Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Rosary. It was here that the first Portuguese newspaper was published on Chinese soil, A Abelha da China [“The China Bee”], on 12th September 1822. In 1929, this church integrated the worship of Our Lady of Fátima into its religious service, based on the account of the miraculous sighting that three shepherd children witnessed in Fátima, Portugal. After its establishment in Macao, through this church, the popular cult of Our Lady of Fátima expanded to Shiu-Hing, Timor, Singapore and Malacca.

Intricate white plastered ornaments and mouldings on the church façade, in contrast with the yellow rendered walls, characterize the main elevation of St. Dominic’s Church. The façade is divided into four horizontal levels and three vertical sections, the central section topped with a pediment decorated with an oval relief carrying the religious insignia of the Dominican order. Corinthian columns and louvred windows rhythmically punctuate the elevation. Decorative panels between the columns are adorned with fine stucco relief work in exquisite patterns, matched by well-proportioned pilasters lending the church an air of solemnity and elegance. The church consists of the nave, the chancel and a three-storey high bell tower, close to the sacristy area, to the rear of the building, with a choir overhanging the entrance. The internal space is divided into three sections by two rows of Corinthian inspired pillars connected by brick arches. Side openings on the ground floor give onto a corridor on the right side of the church’s nave, which gives access to the sacristy and bell tower.Macau Heritage

Church of St. Augustine, Macau, China

Church of St. Augustine

St. Augustine’s Church was built by Italian catholic Augustine priests in 1586 and three years later taken over by Portuguese. It is one of oldest churches of Macau as well as Macau’s first church for English Mass. In 2005, it was included into UNESCO’s World Heritage List as it forms part of the Historic Centre of Macau. St. Augustine’s Church was initially quite simple and was called ”temple” by Chinese. After its reconstruction in 1875, St. Augustine’s Church became more like a church, reflecting the blending of oriental and western cultures. Imposing, spacious, this old church has a marble altar, enshrining the statue of Jesus on the Cross. A couple of columns divide the church into three parts and support the arched roof. Since the establishment of parishes in Macau in 16th century, Macau has been carrying on the tradition of Way of the Cross procession, a symbol of which is that the ”Jesus on the Cross” is brought from the St. Augustine’s Church to the Cathedral of Macau. A large crowd of pilgrims take part in the solemn ceremony, including those from Hong Kong. The parade lasts for two days every year on the first weekend of the Lent. On the first day, the whole assembly solemnly brings the Jesus to the Cathedral of Macau. On the second day, the Jesus will be brought back to St. Augustine’s Church.

After the opening of Macau, it became the first destination for western priests preaching in China. And a number of churches were built for Christians. Therefore Macau is hailed as ”City of the Name of God”. Most priests came from Portugal, Spain, Italy and other countries. They held Mass in Portuguese and other languages. St. Augustine’s Church was the first church for English Mass. There are a number of legends about St. Augustine’s Church. One is that when the statue of Jesus is brought to the Cathedral, it will be back to the altar in St. Augustine’s Church mysteriously.Visit Our China

Church of St. Anthony, Macau, China

Church of St. Anthony

Saint Anthony Church is consider to be the first church of Macau. The original Saint Anthony church was built in 1588. The history of the present building is introduced briefly on a plaque by the door: “Built in 1638. Burnt in 1809. Rebuilt in 1810. Burnt again in 1874. Repaired in 1875” However, there is a cross in the churchyard bearing the date of 1636. Another fire make another restoration is necessary in 1930 and further work was done on the facade and tower in 1940. The present neo-classical church dates back to 1930 and 1950 remodelling. The interior area of church is extremely elegant. The barrel roof which is made of wood has simple trimmings. The high altar is one of the best neo-classical architecture in Macau.The local district or area is traditionally Macanese. Sunday services in Portuguese are still remained in this church. Previously, members of the Portuguese community would hold wedding ceremonies there, so It was given the Chinese name of Fa Vong Tong (Church of Flowers).
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