Friday, March 28, 2008

St. Joseph's Seminary and Church - 聖若瑟修院 (圣若瑟修院)

Located on top a hill called Mato Mofino in the southeast section of Macau, the Seminary was founded by the Jesuits in 1728 where they educated many young Macanese and foreigners.

The construction of St. Joseph’s Seminary Church began in 1746 and was completed in 1758. This church was opened in 1758 as part of the Jesuit seminary of St. Joseph. However, the despotic Marquis of Pombal in 1758 had the Jesuits removed. The latin shape church is a fine example of Baroque architecture.

The floor plan of St. Joseph follows the cruciform shape and also has a high domed ceiling which gives this church exceptional acoustics. Sometimes musical concerts such as the International Music Festival can be done here. The architectural design of the Seminary building is simple while the Church is renowned for its elaborate baroque style. The main building of the seminary was restored three times, in 1903, 1953 and 1995.

The seminary building is a simple, neo-classical compound designed with an internal cloister garden. The seminary was constructed primarily of grey brick, the solid walls stand on granite foundations. It originally had only two floors and a third one was added at the end of the 19th century. The seminary’s main entrance is on Seminario Street, access can also be gained via a flight of 54 granite steps, through a wooden door to the right of the church’s forecourt. A door beside the altar leads to an exquisite walled garden, containing an ancient well and plant nursery.

聖若瑟修院於1728年由耶穌會士創辦。 在二百多年的辦學過程中, 聖若瑟修院培養了許多中國和東南亞各地教會的人才, 被老一輩的澳門人稱為澳門天主教的“少林寺"。 與修院毗連的聖若瑟修院聖堂於1746年興建, 1758年落成, 規模僅次於耶穌會士興建的聖保祿教堂(現大三巴牌坊前身), 因此本地人又稱它為“三巴仔"。 聖堂內有奠基石及奠基紀念銅牌記載修建聖堂的日期及人員。 聖堂至1953年再被修葺形成今日規模, 具有巴羅克建筑風格。

聖堂內現存聖方濟各沙勿略(Francisco Xavier)的手肱骨, 供教徒敬禮。 沙勿略是第一位到遠東傳教的耶穌會士, 1552年死於澳門附近的上川島(St. John Island), 后被譽為東方宗徒。 該聖髑被視為東方天主教會的重要文物。 祭壇供奉聖若瑟像, 為巴羅克式設計, 裝飾甚多, 其中兩組四枝腰纏金葉的旋柱最具特色, 柱頭則以斷山花形式收結。 主堂左右分別為供奉耶穌及聖母之祭壇, 而頂部由四個帆拱頂托起的羅馬式穹窿空間, 開有三環各16個窗戶, 其中最高一環祗是象徵式的窗框線, 另兩環才具有透風及採光功能, 穹頂內側為白色, 中間是黃色的耶穌會會徽。


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