Dominican church

A brief description.


The church of Sao Domingos de Benfica, dedicated in 1241, stands on the Largo de Sao Domingos in the Praça do Rossio, Lisbon, very close to the palace.The kings of Portugal are usually married there, and it was the former church of the Inquisition. In 1761 it witnessed the auto da fé of Father Malagrida the Jesuit, who was falsely accused of complicity in a plot against Pombal's life.

The church forms part of a Dominican priory, founded in 1399, which has been renovated several times due to earthquakes (1 November 1755) - most recently in the 19th C. The small church was so badly damaged in the earthquake of 1755, that most of it had to be rebuilt by Carlos Mardel with the old material.  

Worthy of note is the high altar, with red marble columns that support the sculptural composition of the Holy Trinity by the South-German sculptor Johann Friedrich Ludwig.

Another outstanding feature is the sacristy, which for many years held the remains of King Afonso III, until they were moved to Alcobaça. The portal of the original chapel was incorporated into the reconstruction of the Dominican church, built to plans by the architect Carlos Mardel.

The façade and the chancel are the work of Ludovice, the architect of the monastery palace at Mafra. In 1959 the interior was almost completely destroyed by fire; the damage can still be clearly seen today. The single aisled bare church interior, which was originally richly decorated with talha, now appears almost bizarre.

The eight side chapels have been temporarily furnished with statues of saints.

Of note is the 17th C. right side chapel, S. Gonçalo de Amarante, inside which stand several statues carved from carrara and arrábida marble. The graves of many members of the Fronteira family, to whom the neighboring palace belonged, are to be found in the main chapel.

The walls are decorated with azulejos by António de Oliveira dating from the 18th C.

In this church the tomb of the Dominican Louis of Granada (1504-1588). His book 'Guia de Pecadores' was published in Lisbon in 1556/57.

Despite its somewhat morbid appearance the church is popular with the people of Lisbon. In 1840 the complex was certified at National Monument.
Spain 1988 Mi 2866, Sc 2590.





Engraving of Lisbon in the 15e century.


Guinea-Bissau 1987, Mi 918, block 269a; Sc 694.





Portugal 1984, Mi 1633, block 44; Sc 1604.





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