St. Augustine’s Church

St. Augustine's Square, Macau

St. Augustine’s Church

First established by Spanish Augustinians in 1591, it was taken over by the Portuguese just three years later. The church has a long history and represents the relationship between the Portuguese and the Chinese in many ways. This church maintains the tradition of organizing one of the most popular processions through the city, the Easter Procession, involving thousands of devotees. During this procession the Statue of Jesus on the Cross is brought from this church to the Cathedral in was is known as the “Way of the Cross” procession.

 

 

 

All credit goes to Kirk Siang on Flickr under the CC license

*St. Augustine’s Church is temporarily closed until further notice.

Address: No.2 Santo Agostinho Square
Opening hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bus routes nearby: 3, 3X, 4, 6A, 8A, 18A, 19, 26A, 33, N1A

History of St. Augustine’s Church

Built by Spanish Augustinians in 1591 and taken over by the Portuguese three years later, St. Augustine’s Church is one of the oldest churches in Macau. It is also the first of Macau’s churches to hold an English Mass. In times past, during heavy rain, the priests used to reinforce the rooftop with fan palm leaves. Seen from afar, these leaves appeared to be dragon’s whiskers floating in the wind, hence the local Chinese named it Long Song Miu (Temple of the Long-whiskered Dragon).

Since the establishment of parishes in Macau in the 16th century, Macau has carried on the tradition of Way of the Cross procession, a symbol of which is that the “Jesus on the Cross” is brought from the St. Augustine’s Church to the Cathedral of Macau. A large crowd of pilgrims take part in the ceremony, including those from Hong Kong. This parade lasts for two days and is held every year on the first weekend of the Lent. On the first day the entire assembly brings the Jesus to the Cathedral of Macau. On the second day, the Jesus is brought back to St. Augustine’s Church.

After Macau was opened up to the west, it became the first destination for western priests preaching in China. A number of churches were built for Christians in Macau since then. Macau has since then been hailed “City of the Name of God”. Most of these priests hailed from Portugal, Spain, Italy and other European nations. They held Mass in Portuguese and other languages. There are many legends regarding St. Augustine’s Church.

History of St. Augustine’s Church

The church was initially very simplistic in design and designated the Long Song Miu (Temple of the Long-whiskered Dragon) by the Chinese because of the fans used during heavy rains to reinforce it’s roof resembling the whiskers of a dragon. After its reconstruction in 1875, the church became more like a church in architectural design, reflecting a blend of oriental and western cultures. It is imposing and spacious, baring a marble altar, enshrining the statue of Jesus on the Cross. A set of columns divide it into three parts supporting the arched roof.

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