The church was founded in the XIII century (1241) by King D. Sancho I (son of the first king of Portugal D. Afonso Henriques), being one of the oldest and the largest church in Lisbon at the time.
It was the place of the biggest events in Lisbon history, as the conspiracies for the restoration of the independence of Portugal from Spanish rule in 1640 and was the selected church for royal weddings and baptisms, but was also a place where the worst atrocities were committed, such as the massacre of the Jews in the year 1506: Encouraged by Dominican monks, a crowd chased, tortured and killed Jews indiscriminately, accused of being the cause of the drought, famine and the plague that ravaged the country, thousands were killed in 3 days, when the King D.Manuel I arrived, the leaders of the crowd and the monks responsible for the massacre were sentenced to death at the stake.
Later, this church was the formerly headquarters of the Inquisition (usually composed by chosen monks from the Dominican Order and from within the legal system of the Roman Catholic Church, whose purpose was to fight heresy), from here departed the "Autos de Fé": Public events of penitence, performed if the "prisoners" continued to defend heresy and repudiate the Catholic Church, the public ceremony started at the the door of the church, crossing the Rossio square, until near the Tagus river, where they were burned alive, however, if they showed regret and decided to reconcile with Catholicism, the executioners would proceed to the "merciful" act of strangle before lighting the pyre of wood. The Jesuit missionary Gabriel Malagrida was executed at the church in 1761 after being accused of treason.
The church was damaged by the 1531 Lisbon earthquake and almost completely destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. Rebuilding began quickly but wasn't completed until 1807.
In 1959 the church was devastated once more when a fire broke out in the building.
The fire, which killed two firemen, took more than six hours to extinguish and completely gutted the church, destroying many important paintings and statues.
In 1994 the church reopened, the restoration left many signs of the fire in place which makes it an unusual and strange beauty.


Free access
Visit in the Tours:


9.00am. to 5.00pm.