Category: Heritage @ Macau.

Historic Center of Macau :: St. Lawrence’s Church

St. Lawrence’s Church, dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, is one of the three oldest churches of Macao. Originally constructed between 1558 and 1560, St. Lawrence’s Church, the building was later re-constructed in l618.

The church stands on a hillside and its churchyard is raised from the street level. The main facade has two symmetrical towers, one with a bronze bell and the other with a clock, giving the church a very distinct, solemn appearance. Originally, the church was a plain wooden structure, replaced with a more solid construction in 1618. The present church structure derives from alterations undertaken in the 1850s following the plans of local architect, Tomas D’Aquino.

The building has undergone several repairs, but has retained the classic elegance and style of the 19m century, both in its interior and exterior design. St, Lawrence’s Church is essentially neo-classical in design. The latest renovations took place in 1954, with subsequent minor repairs and conservation work, most recently in 1994. The church is also equipped with multi-function halls and rooms, for pastoral care and teaching, as well as for gatherings and wedding parties.

Its spacious gardens with lush trees and a tranquil atmosphere, encouraging spiritual retreat, enhance the charm of this church.

St. Lawrence’s Church Architectural Design

St. Lawrence’s Church is located on the southern tip of the Peninsula. The church stands on a raised granite platform with gardens around it. A double flight of stairs leads towards the main entrance of the church.

The main facade of the church is divided into three sections, with the centre flanked by the two square towers, each 21 metres high. The tower on the left is the church’s bell tower and the one on the right displays a clock, although they are apparently identical, in a symmetrical composition. The central section of the main facade is 16.5 metres high, with a large window over the entrance. The frontispiece of the main facade is topped by a triangular pediment with an oval-shaped emblem at the centre.

St. Lawrence’s Church is a neo-classical structure. The ground plan of the church is in the shape of a Latin cross, the longer axis measuring 37 metres and the shorter one measuring 28 metres. The shorter arms of the building form two interior chapels, one on each side. The longer extension of the building corresponds to the main nave inside, with the main altar separated by a vaulted arch.

The main altar, like the side altars, is nested inside a niche chapel, corresponding outside to rounded cylinder-like structures. The nave is 27 metres long and 15 metres wide, in a complete open-space structure that has no side galleries. Such a span is rare among churches built in the same period. The nave is decorated with hanging chandeliers. The roof ridge is 21 metres high and the corresponding eaves are 17 metres high.

The wooden ceiling is painted light blue and it follows the rhythm of the top circular windows, on each side of the nave walls. These top windows are circular and the wooden ceiling follows their design with cylinder sections, serving for ventilation purposes.

There are Corinthian half-columns on both sides of the nave, with stained glass windows depicting biblical themes, which, in addition to promoting religious teachings, also soften the glare of the sun giving the church a calm interior atmosphere. Above these stained glass windows, near the ceiling, the circular windows have rose coloured glass, also contributing towards the soft harmonious atmosphere that can be felt in the interior of this church.

Over the main entrance stands the high-choir, which lowers the height of the ceiling in this introductory space.

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Category: Heritage @ Macau