Close to Lisbon Cathedral is the church of Santo Antonio. The church is named after Saint Anthony of Lisbon. He is also known as Saint Anthony of Padua.
Saint Anthony was born in Lisbon in 1195. According to legend, the church of Santo Antonio was built on the site of the house of Saint Anthony. The future saint, Fernando de Buljoins, was born into a noble and rich family. In 1229, while studying in Coimbra, he entered the Franciscan Order and took the name of Antonio. He became a missionary, travelled a lot and swam, came to Italy, preached there and settled in the city of Padua. He died in this city and was canonized in 1232, less than a year after his death. Saint Anthony is called the patron saint not only of Lisbon, but also of Padua.
The house where Saint Anthony was born was transformed into a small chapel in the 15th century. In the 16th century, under the reign of King Manuel I, restoration work was carried out, the building being almost destroyed. In 1730, more extensive restoration work was carried out. During the Lisbon earthquake in 1755 the church was destroyed, surviving only the crypt with the sacristy.
Construction work on the new building began under the direction of architect Mateusz Vicente de Oliveira, who combined Baroque and Rococo styles in the building’s architecture, as well as the characteristics of neoclassicism.
The church is a single nave church with a vaulted ceiling. The paintings of the famous artist Pedro Alexandrino, as well as the decoration in the form of 17th century ceramic tiles, attract attention. Some of the money for the construction was collected by the children from passers-by with the words « a room for Saint Anthony ».
In 1982, Pope John Paul II visited the church and inaugurated the monument to Saint Anthony in the square opposite the church. The author of the monument is the sculptor Soares Branco.