St. Anthony’s Church
St. Anthony’s Church is one of the three oldest churches in all of Macau, the other two being St. Lawrence’s Church and St. Lazarus’s Church and is part of the Historic Center of Macau. The Chinese refer to it as the Fa Vong Tong or Church of Flowers because of it’s use by members of the Portuguese community as a place for wedding ceremonies. The first iteration of this church was constructed out of bamboo and thatching in 1560 and was also the site where the Jesuits set up their first headquarters in the city of Macau. It’s current form is the product of its final reconstruction in 1930 after several stone reconstructions throughout it’s history. The church as you see it today has yet to need reconstruction since.
St. Anthony’s Church, the Church of Flowers
Chinese name: 聖安多尼堂
Location: Fa Vong Tong Street, to the south of Camoes Garden, at the north end of Historic Center of Macau, in the northwest of Macau Peninsular, Macau.
Opening time: 07:30-17:30
How to get there: take Bus No. 8A, 17, 18, 19 or 26.
-Tuesday: 17:30 in Cantonese.
-Sunday: 07:30-08:30 in Cantonese; 10:00 in Portuguese.
-Saturday: 16:00 in Korean.
-Other days: 07:30 in Cantonese
History of St. Anthony’s Church
St. Anthony’s Church was originally constructed out of bamboo and thatch in 1560 as the first headquarters of the Jesuits (the Society of Jesus) here in Macau to commemorate St. Anthony, the Patron Saint of Marriage in Catholicism. It has since seen hundreds of weddings since it’s construction because of this designation. Most Catholics in the Portuguese community of Macau have their weddings here. Because of the popularity of flowers in Catholic wedding ceremonies, primarily the custom of brides holding bouquets at their weddings, the Chinese of the region have dubbed it the Fa Vong Tong or Church of Flowers.
Every year on the Sunday closest to June 13th, the procession of St. Anthony’s image takes place at this church.On that day, members of the congregation take part in the procession. St. Anthony’s church has traditional pediments on the top and in the center a niche where the image of Saint Anthony himself is enshrined. During the procession a statue of Saint Anthony is paraded around the Camoes’ Park nearby and a series of festivities are held in his honor.
This church since it’s original creation has been hailed as “the first home of God in Macau”. It was not reconstructed out of stone until 1638. The church is also dedicated to St. Andrew Kim, the first saint of Korea who studied theology in Macau. The church has survived two fires since its construction, one in 1809, and another in 1874 when the church was struck by lightning. The flame guided people to go ashore and rescue them from the typhoon as the story goes. Since this event the church celebrates an annual “Day of Natural Disaster” every year on September 22nd.
The Church of St. Anthony has only one bell tower. Today the church holds Mass in both Chinese and Portuguese. In addition to its Masses, a “Lifeline Caritas Counseling Center” has been established for psychological counseling as a service to the community.
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