entered the site of the Parish of St. Mary of
I invite you
today to 'revisit' the
this church was built, it was quite close to the
By this time there was still a small church or chapel that Prince Henry had founded in 1459, obtaining from the Pope the status of parish, in order to give spiritual support to sailors that passed by here.
To this church, part of the Military Order of Christ, gave the Prince Henry the title of Santa Maria de Belém, after the birthplace of Jesus Christ, and where directed the Magi from the East, led by a star to worship the Child.
It was here
that Vasco da Gama and
Pedro Alvares Cabral heard Mass and communed with his
men, before going to the sea: the first on
was here that King Manuel, soon after he ascended the throne in 1495, decided
to build a grand temple, entrusted to the monks of the Order of
A Monastery at the beginning of a new century
stone of the building was released on
monastery is a place of prayer and of community life. In this monastery was to
be celebrated with due solemnity, the divine worship. According to the Bull of
Foundation, promulgated by Pope Alexander VI, in
Dedicated to Santa Maria de Belém, Jeronimos Monastery reflects a particular fascination for the Incarnation, Epiphany and birth of the Son of God made man, Jesus Christ. When we enter the door west or axial, which is the main door of the Church, it stands out above the door, three groups of sculptures: the Birth of Jesus (center), the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary (left), the Adoration of Holy Magi (right). At the south-door, toward the river in the center of its magnificent sculptural composition, stands the statue of Our Lady of the Kings, with the boy on the right arm and in his left hand a vase, that symbolizes the offerings of the Magi from the East.
The Adoration of the Magi is represented in the altarpiece in the chancel of the church, in two beautiful paintings, recently restored, done by a painter of Spanish origin, Lawrence of Salzedo (1572-1574). In the center, where today is the wonderful silver tabernacle, there was another picture, showing the baby Jesus in the manger, adored by a kneeling Magi, Gaspar. This table does not exist. But in door of the tabernacle is represented the same scene. In the right frame of the Tabernacle, Baltazar's, and left Melchior, each with his retinue. Baltazar wears a robe and turban, as a great lord of the East, and offers to the newborn Son of God a precious vase of gold. Melchior, who wears a crown, is preceded by one page whom he holds a small safe, and is dressed like a King from the Old Testament.
on Sunday and also on other days of the week the Parish of St. Mary of
Here, the greatness of an unparalleled, recognizes the presence of God and celebrates the mystery of Christ.
Therefore I dare to invite you to find out here this presence. Jesus Christ: the same yesterday, today and forever. And if you want, take Him in your heart, to continue the journey with Him the path of your life.
Canon José Manuel dos Santos Ferreira