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The Igreja Santo Antonio, Lisbon is a charming church dedicated to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of Portugal. The exterior façade of the late Baroque styled church resembles more of a grand residence rather than an important religious building. The significance of the Igreja de Santo Antonio originates from it being the location of the birthplace of Lisbon’s beloved Saint Anthony.
The charming Igreja Santo Antonio Lisbon and statue of Saint Anthony
The interior of the light and welcoming church is adorned with statues and images of Saint Anthony’s life while the entire atmosphere is the complete contrast to the grand but sombre Se Cathedral in which the Igreja de Santo Antonio stands in the shadow of. A small underground chapel marks the exact location where Saint Anthony was born in 1195.
The church of Saint Anthony is open every day from 8:00 until 19:00. On Saturdays, Sundays and feast days the hours are extended to 19:45 while the crypt and sacristy close for an hour at lunch. There is no entrance fee to any part of the church but all visitors should be respectively dressed. There are church services, in Portuguese, at 8:00 to 19:00 Monday to Friday and three services at 11:00, 17:00 and 19:00 at the weekend and on feast days.
A tile painting commemorating the Pope’s visite to the church
The Igreja de Santo Antonio is on the main road from Baixa to Alfama and is less than a 5-minute walk from the nearest metro station of Rossio. The quaint number 28 tram rumbles past the church and is the best public transport option along with photo opportunity.
In need of a boy or girlfriend or better partner? Then the tradition surrounding the statue of Saint Anthony is for you!
The tradition is that you will find a new (or better!) partner if you are able to throw and land a coin in the book of Saint Anthony on the statue in front of his church, the Igreja Santo Antonio. This tradition originates that Saint Anthony is the patron saint of lovers (and Lisbon) and this church was constructed on his birth place.
Try for a new boy or girlfiend - get a coin in the book (where the red arrow is!)
The church which visitors see today originates from the 18th century as the previous 15th century church was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake. Since the death of the saint there has always been a small chapel at this site but this was extended by King Manuel I with the increase religious popularity of Saint Anthony.
The alter of the Saint Anthony church
During Pope John Paul II tour of Portugal, in 1982, he specifically requested to visit the crypt of Saint Anthony and while here he blessed the statue outside the church. The Igreja de Santo Antonio is the focal point for the Popular Saint Festivities which culminate on Saint Anthony's day, the 13 June.
On this day the mother of each family collects “Saint Anthony's bread” to bring good luck and prosperity. As Saint Anthony is the patron saint of newlyweds the second tradition involves a mass wedding and these happy couples lead the carnival later that night.