advertisement

St. Anthony of Padua, an itinerant Franciscan monk who became the patron saint of Portugal, was born in 1195 in a house that once stood here. The 1755 earthquake destroyed the original church, and Mateus Vicente de Oliveira designed the present building in 1812.

In the crypt, a guide will show you the spot where the saint was reputedly born. (He's buried in Padua, Italy.) The devout come to this little church to light candles under his picture. He's known as a protector of young brides and has a special connection with the children of Lisbon. To raise money to erect the altar at the church, the children of the Alfama built miniature altars with a representation of the patron saint. June 12 is St. Anthony's Day, a time of merrymaking, heavy eating, and drinking. In the morning there are street fires and singing, followed by St. Anthony's Feast on the following day.