In the 16th century, the arrival of French corsairs (Calvinists) and Jesuits (Catholics) changed Madeira.

The Portuguese Crown and the Catholic Church began to worry that Protestants would interfere with the religious beliefs of the locals, and established a solid religious order to monitor and prevent the spread of other religions.

The success of the Jesuits among the population influenced the establishment of the Jesus Company in Funchal and played an important role, helping to promote their interests through art and architecture.

In addition, Madeira’s geostrategic position in the Atlantic Ocean determined that this port served as a passage for them to travel between Europe and other schools they have established on different continents.

The foundation stone of this church was in 1629. The construction finished 18 years later, in 1647, but its decoration took 200 years to complete. The Jesuits didn’t look at any expenses, and the church’s monumentality and richness contributed to its slow construction.

Its simple exterior hides precious gilded chapels on the inside. Art experts mentioned the Jesuit church in Madeira is the national treasury of Portuguese gilded wood carvings.

The lighting effects in the trompe l’oeil painting, wooden painted ceilings, and decorative elements of different styles such as neoclassicism, mannerism and baroque make it an important monument of Portuguese history.

For intellectuals and curious travellers. Do not miss it!

 Marla Castro (Official Tourist Guide)

Photo courtesy of Marla Castro