Category: Heritage @ Macau.

Historic Center of Macau :: St. Joseph’s Seminary Building and Church

St. Joseph’s Seminary Church built in 1758 is directly connected to the corresponding seminary building and has both inner and outer cloisters. With the seminary’s main entrance is on Seminario Street, access can also be gained via a flight of 54 granite steps, through a wooden door to the right of the church ‘s forecourt. Initially, the seminary building was a two-storey structure, not the three-storey building visible today.

Constructed predominantly of grey bricks. the solid walls stand on granite foundations. Inside, wide corridors give access to the various classrooms of the old seminary building. The main corridor, extending in a north-south direction, is 3.8 metres wide and 80 metres long, with arched doors on one side and arched windows facing the inner patio. The ground floor is paved with stone and ceramic tiles, while most of the upper floors are laid with teak. On the top floor of the seminary building, the timber
structure with purlins and rafter supporting the roof similar to Chinese construction techniques is visible from the inside. The roof is covered with Chinese tiles. The architectural design of the seminary building is simple, with few ornamental markings. It is fundamentally neo-classical in style.

In contrast to the seminary building, the church is renowned for its elaborate baroque style. The main facade of St. Josephs Seminary Church is a magnificent elevation, with two towers roofed with deep red glazed tiles. The facade is 26.4 metres wide and has three horizontal levels, measuring 17.5 metres at the highest point. A broken arch, typical of Baroque architecture. tops the main entrance of the church. The whole composition of the facade is symmetrical and the windows on the first floor, corresponding to the inner high-choir, follow the rhythm dictated by the entrances below. The curved pediment on top displays the Jesuit insignia at the centre. There are three entrances in the main facade of the church, with the central entrance leading directly into the nave and the other two entrances leading to side altars.

The church is laid out in the shape of a Latin cross with the longer arm measuring 27 metres and the shorter arm measuring 15 metres. The three altars are elaborately ornamented and the broken arch pediments are supported by two sets of four spiral columns with gold-leaf motifs. The main altar houses a statue of St. Joseph. Supporting the high-choir at the entrance of the church are four spiral Salcmonic columns. The church has seven tombstones of prominent local residents inserted into the walls and floor.

The decorative motifs that adorn the interior of the church are mostly baroque in style. The ornamentation can be found in the semi-spherical dome of the church, the vaulted arched ceilings over the alters and the high-choir, the Corinthian pilasters and the pediments. The decorative elements are in light yellow and white paint finishing with the occasional gold-leaf decoration.

The four joined vaults over the three alters and the high-choir form sub-spaces around the central dome, which is 12.5 metres in diameter and 19 metres at its highest point. 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. The interior of the dome is painted white, with the insignia of the Jesuits placed at the centre.

Photo Gallery

Category: Heritage @ Macau