The Azores

Ponta Delgada

Church of St Sebastian


Located near the town gate just off the sea front, the Parish Church of Saint Sebastian dates from 1533 when construction was started on the former site of a chapel dedicated to the same saint. 
Saint Sebastian was martyred during the Roman Emperor Diocletian's persecution of Christians in 288.  Legend says that he was tied to a stake and shot by numerous arrows, yet he survived to heal and reproach Diocletian, who then had him clubbed to death.  Saint Sebastian was to become the principal patron saint of Ponta Delgada.
The Church of St Sebastian was constructed in the shape of a Latin cross with its main façade facing west.  Its main portal is in the Manueline style, which is a particularly rich and lavish style of architectural ornamentation indigenous to 16th century Portugal, and which was common during the times of the Portuguese maritime discoveries in which it was built.  Above the doorway is a rose window situated in the pediment.  At the top of the pediment is the cross which was part of the original construction. The other two portals are in the north and south facades.
The interior consists of a wide main aisle with narrow aisles on either side.  Around the sides are several chapels with beautifully adorned altars of finely painted stucco work or timber carvings.
During the 17th century, much of the church’s ornamental work was carried out in a style fitting with the development of the Portuguese style of art.  This resulted in the elaborately carved wood, framed pictures, and the wall coverings of blue glazed tiles.  Its development continued during the 18th century, incorporating carved stone in a variety of styles. 
In the 1950’s, work commenced to restore the building to its former glory.
Regrettably, photography is not permit inside the church.




              All  Photographs were taken by and are copyright of Ron Gatepain

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