One of the three ancient Catholic churches in Macau; orginally built in the 15th century. It was the place where the Jesuits originally stationed in Macau. Under church’s domination as the Saint Anthony’s. In the past, most Portuguese weddings were held in this church. The believers wore brand-new white robes and held flowers in their hands. The entire place was filled with flowers; The Chinese communities named as “Freguesia de Santo Antonio.”
Most of the original church was a simple thatched chapel. Most of the early churches in Macau were severly damaged by fire, and St. Anthony’s Church was of no exception when first built.
Church that “Attracts fire”
When noticed the content engraved on the stone tablet in front of the doorway translated Portuguese, says: “The church was built in 1638, destroyed in 1809, rebuilt in 1810, destroyed again in 1874, rebuilt in 1875. Especially September 22, 1874; The fire on the day is unforgettable.”
In the fire that year, the church was hit by thunder and lightning, but the fire led the residents of the sea to go ashore. Therefore, every year on September 22, this day is called the “Scourge Festival” by the people of Macau. The believers carry the statue of St. Anthony and parade in the streets to commemorate it.
Later in 1930, the church bell tower and main facade were rebuilt. The interior of the church was renovated twice in 1951 and 1953, especially the altar part. Today, most of the repairs are mainly on the walls, portraits of saints, and structural repairs more than 100 years ago.
Church Architectural Style
The church was first built in 1558 and was originally built with thatch and bamboo sheds. It was rebuilt in stone until 1638. Afterwards, it was rebuilt twice in 1810 and 1874, and it took shape and scale in 1930.
The building inside the church is of brick and wood structure, with oval wooden vaults, and the wooden roof truss is a sloped roof, like the bottom of an upside-down wooden boat. The layout is dominated by a rectangular central hall, and the walls are divided by pilasters. The interior color is based on yellow and decorated with white. Coupled with the solemn and magnificent white main altar, large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and colorful stained glass windows,;the whole church is filled with a romantic atmosphere.
The church was rebuilt after three fire incidents. The church was rebuilt in 1875 to form its current appearance. The exterior stone finish was rebuilt in 1930; which the front facade of the church is in neoclassical style, and the indoor altar is in Baroque style, in the form of broken mountain flowers and double columns. Church’s central is a statue of Jesus nailed to the cross with the Jesuit logo IHS on it. There are also small prayer rooms in the hall, with exquisite decoration and pilasters. The stained glass windows and entrance screens of the choir at the back of the church all choose geometric patterns, revealing a modern atmosphere.
Church’s Saint Introduction
Statue of Saint Anthony
Saint Anthony is a saint born in Portugal who is known for helping people find lost items. Many Catholics will pray for their lost items found. As a Catholic, I also experienced praying for my lost wallet three months ago, surprisingly two weeks after my church’s visit, one staff at the coffee shop one day return it back to me with no hestitations!
Lots of people not just only ask St Anthony for help to find their lost items, but also asking for help to find a perfect partner; thus St. Anthony has became “The Marriage Guardian.”
Saint Anthony was born in a noble family, Lisbon, Portugal on August 15 1950. He has been eager to serve the Lord since he was a child. He joined the St. Augustine at the age of fifteen; he transferred to the Franciscans at the age of twenty-five and lived a life of prayer, poverty, and humility.
Because of his genius and knowledge acquired, he was appointed to preach. He is not only proficient in the Bible, but also good at preaching, and he was named a “church saint.” In addition, he also cares people from poverty, kind and generous. The bread that later generations sent to him for gratitude is called “St. Anthony’s Bread.”
On June 13th, 1231, he went ill from overwork and returned to the kingdom of heaven in Italy, Batuya; after he was named “Sage of Batuya” and passed away at age thirty six.
His funeral was often reported as a miracle: the blind saw again, the deaf heard, the dumb could speak, and the lame could do it. It evolved into a triumphal mass parade. The salute on that Tuesday has since established as a intercessor responsive to any requests.
Saint Andrew Kim
The Church hall is enshrined in the statue of St Andrew Kim, a Korean Saint. He studied theology in Macau and was the first Catholic Preacher in Korean history. At present, he has restored the statue besides the church’s main altar. In addition, the small prayer room next to the church is specially set up with his statue and the remains of the relic for worship.
The Saint Magdalen of Canossa placed the relic too, which is believed to be cloth leftover; together with the portrait of San Antonio, in total three saints were placed in the same prayer room.
Statue of Saint Magdalen of Canossa
Also known as (St. Magdalen of Canossa), is the ancestor of the Canossian Sisters of Charity; born in Italy. Although she was a nobleman, she went through sufferings from childhood; nurtured under her enthusiasm for loving the Lord and loving of others; gradually prompted her to serve Christ on the suffering poor and sick. After growing up, he resolutely gave up the life of the nobility and worked hard for the poor.
In the short-lived glorious world, Magdalen gradually faded from her nobility. Her connection with God is increasing day by day, and at the same time she is more concerned about the abused lower class, and often offers a helping hand. After recovering from a serious smallpox illness, he began to help the poor and sick. In 1808 she started her charity work with a few friends in Verona. On December 23, 1828, her charity organization The Institue of the Daughter of Charity was established.
Magdalene died in Verona on April 10, 1835. She made a blessing in Rome on December 8, 1941. She was canonized as a Saint on October 2, 1988.
Saint Jude of Thaddaeus
Not many people might recognised this Saint (St. Jude of Thaddaeus); St. Jude is one of the twelve apostles of Jesus; also known as Dade, and is the brother of Jacob.
The symbol of St. Jude is his walking stick. In battle’s victory, his head is often surrounded by flames. On some occasions, Judas will hold a scroll and book to show that he is the author of the official note to Judas. He also hold a carpenter’s ruler.
Claimed as said he is the Saint for declining careers and desperate people. According to church staff, many believers who are unemployed or who are going through hardship will definitely come to St. Anthony’s Church to pray and bless in front of Saint Jude.
The five side altars are St. Anthony, St. Joseph, St. Francis, Fatima and St. Barth.
Kind Reminder when entering
Note the church is still currently in operation; church is open to the public for a specific timeslots; It deserves a sacred Heritage place. Though in within it has various attraction points worth visit, please visit the church with the highest respects; Appreciate this heritage in the most quiet and sacred manner. Not only St. Anthony, but other holy sites properites must perform the basic ettiquette: Please do keep quiet, stay untouched, and most importantly, when someone prays, don’t camera shoot at others!
Of course right after, it is strongly recommended to find Macau’s most authentic food near the Camoes Garden!