There's been a church on the spot where St. Anthony, (Antonio di Padova or Anthony of Lisbon 1195 - 1231) was born since the 13th Century. The church is located close to Lisbon's cathedral (Sé) halfway between the Baixa and Alfama districts. The Baroque-Rococo-styled church we see today is an 18th-century reconstruction after the original succumb to the great earthquake of 1755. Most Catholics know Saint Anthony as Anthony of Padua, after the Italian town he spent his later years. St. Anthony is revered in Lisbon and is the city's main patron Saint. He was born into a wealthy Lisbon family and went by the name of Fernando Martins. He joined the Franciscan Order and travelled to North Africa and Italy and befriended St Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order. Anthony is remembered as a miracle worker, Saint Anthony is the patron saint of matchmaking and of lost objects, among various other patronages. He died on the 13th of June 1231 in Padua aged only 36. He was canonised the following year.
The exterior façade of the late Baroque-style church seems too formal to be a church. Reconstruction began in 1757 only two years after the original was destroyed. The interior is bright and more welcoming with light streaming through the dome on the ceiling illuminating the marble patterned floor. The interior is also adorned with statues and images of Saint Anthony’s life. The main chapel contains a wooden statue which pre-dates the 1755 earthquake. One of the altars contains a painting said to be an accurate effigy of the saint. The sacristy is decorated with 18th-century tiles. A newer tile panel commemorates the visit of Pope John Paul II to the church in 1982 who insisted on visiting the crypt of Saint Anthony below the main church the saint's actual birthplace and home to his many relics.
The 13th of June is St Anthony’s feast day and is a cause for great celebration in Lisbon. In the days preceeding the festival areas of the city are festooned with brightly coloured decorations, food stalls are set up and entertainment throughout the city's streets. Traditionally mass-marriages also take place during the festivities.
Weekdays: 08h00 – 19h00, Weekends: 08h00 – 19h45