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Parishes of Graça and St Vincent de Fora

According to conciliar doctrine, the parish is defined as "a particular community of the faithful, stably constituted in a particular Church, whose pastoral care, under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, is entrusted to the parish priest as its proper pastor (c. 515 § 1). The fundamental and constitutive element of the parish is therefore personal: "communitas christifidelium" - "community of the faithful" called together by the Word of God and the sacraments, especially the sacrament of the Eucharist, is a portion of the new People of God. It is a community of the faithful, although not the only one. The essential elements of Christ's Church are present in the parish: the proclamation of the Word of God, the celebration of the Eucharist and the other sacraments, the communion of the Holy Spirit, ordained ministry, prayer, the service of charity, etc. The parish is truly Church: a community of faith, celebration, charity and missionary presence in society and the world (LG 28, SC 42; PO 5-6; AG 15). It is an irreplaceable ecclesial institution, but at the same time it is insufficient. Irreplaceable because it is through it that the majority of people come into contact with the Church; insufficient because it is not capable, on its own, of carrying out the mission of evangelisation if it is not in communion with the particular Church and properly integrated into the pastoral area and the vicariate, revitalised and strengthened with apostolic movements and small communities. It is exclusively up to the diocesan bishop to erect, suppress or alter parishes, which will not happen without first hearing the Presbyteral Council. A legitimately erected parish enjoys juridical personality by right (c. 515 § 3); (Cf. PRISCO, José San José, Derecho Parroquial, Guía Canónica y Pastoral, Ed. Sigueme, Salamanca, 2008).

The church of the Convento da Graça, or more simply, the church of Graça, is currently the seat of two parishes: the Parish of Graça (since 31 May 1835) and the Parish of São Vicente de Fora (since 6 July 2011).

In turn, these current parishes already include others that, due to historical contingencies, have become extinct. These are:

  1.  In the Parish of Graça (Parish of Santo André and Santa Marinha à Graça) the following are contained:

    1.1. The Parish of Santo André (whose parish church was located in the current Largo de Santo André and was left in ruins after the 1755 earthquake);

    1.2. The Parish of Santa Marinha [do Outeiro] (whose church was located in Largo de Santa Marinha and was demolished in 1845);

  2. In the Parish of São Vicente de Fora the following are contained:

    2.1. The Parish of São Vicente de Fora (previously based in the church of the monastery of São Vicente de Fora, which was built some time after the reconquest of 1147 and completely rebuilt in 1605);

    2.2. The Parish of São Tomé (whose church was demolished in 1839 and was located close to the current Escadinhas de São Tomé);

    2.3. The Parish of São Salvador [Senhor Jesus da Boa Morte] (whose church was located in the still existing facilities of the Convento do Salvador, in Alfama, in Largo do Salvador).

It should also be added that these last two parishes, before being annexed to São Vicente, were already based in the Igreja do Menino Deus.

After the reconquest, between 1147 and 1242, the friars of the Order of St Augustine settled at the foot of Monte (at the top of which is today the Church of St Gens and Senhora do Monte) in the area we now call Olarias. Their first convent was built there. In 1243, the same Augustinians moved to the top of the hill, where they experienced difficulties related to the weather conditions in the area. In 1271, with the help of the generosity of King Afonso III and the people of Lisbon, construction began on the convent in the area where we still have it today, which at the time was called Almofala. (cf. História dos Mosteiros, Conventos e Casas Religiosas de Lisboa, Tomo I, Lisboa, 1950; pp. 109-143.)
Having said that, we would like to highlight some important dates in the life of the Convent of Graça:
- In 1362, the statue of Our Lady of Graça was received, taken from the sea of Cascais by fishermen and solemnly carried by the faithful;
- In 1586, the Brotherhood of Vera Cruz and the Steps of Christ was founded by Luís Álvares de Andrade, a parishioner of São Nicolau and a royal painter;
- On 9 March 1566, as the church threatened to collapse, the foundation stone was laid for a new building, which was inaugurated nine years later, in 1575;
- On 1 November 1755, an earthquake partially collapsed the church, ruining the chancel, the ceiling of the transept, the ceiling of the nave, the shrine of the relics and the wall it leaned against in the sacristy, and part of the façade wall;
- In 1770, the church, the building that remains today, was rebuilt, with the work being directed by Caetano Tomás de Sousa and Manuel Caetano de Sousa;
- In 1834 the religious orders were abolished; the church, sacristy and chapter house were handed over to the Brotherhood of Senhor dos Passos and the 10th Infantry Regiment was installed in part of the convent area;
- In 1835 the convent church became the parish church of the parishes of Santo André and Santa Marinha; (cf. consulted on 17 November 2023)
- On 20 November 1978, by means of a "simultaneous devolution and cession", the Fábrica da Igreja Paroquial da Graça was transferred "the Great Cloister, Hall and Chapel of the former Convento da Graça".

During the siege of Lisbon in 1147, King Afonso Henriques made a promise: if he succeeded in conquering the city, he would build a monastery dedicated to St Vincent, a saint much revered among the Mozarabs. This monastery was founded in the same year on the "outside" of the city walls, thus justifying the building's place name. Later, in 1580, the Philippine Dynasty began, and the great work it left behind was the reconstruction of the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora. This project had Filippo Terzi, Juan Herrera and Baltazar Álvares as its main architects and is considered to be the first great Mannerist construction in Portugal, which served as a model for other religious buildings. However, it was during the lavish reigns of Pedro II and João V (17th and 18th centuries) that the monastery was rebuilt. The monastery was occupied by canons of the Regent Order of St Augustine from its foundation until 1834, when the religious orders were abolished. During this period, St Anthony passed through the monastery, where he lived out his early days as a monk. In the 19th century, it became part of the state and the Gil Vicente Lyceum, among other state services, was installed there. Today, the Monastery of St Vincent is closely linked to the service of the Bishop of Lisbon. Sharing its patron saint - St Vincent - with the Patriarchate of Lisbon, the building currently houses the services of the diocesan Curia and is the place where the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon governs the diocese and welcomes those who come to see him. In addition to the Curia, administrative services and the Patriarchal Tribunal, the Monastery also houses a museum space that seeks to record the most important moments in the history and legacy of the Patriarchate of Lisbon. (Cf. on 17 November 2023)

With the area of the civil parish of Graça, delimited by a line defined as follows: Starting from Largo de Rodrigues de Freitas, it runs north-west along the axis of Calçada de Santo André, to Rua dos Lagares; it continues along the axis of this street, and continues along the axis of Rua das Olarias, to Escadas do Monte; it bends eastwards, climbing along the axis of these stairs to Rua de Damasceno Monteiro, whose axis it follows, in a northerly direction, up to and including no. 72; It turns east again, in order to exclude (in favour of the parish of Nossa Senhora dos Anjos) the houses that have access via the stairs and alleyway to the north-west of the Senhora do Monte viewpoint; it continues north along the axis of Travessa das Terras do Monte (whose odd-numbered buildings are all included in this parish), and continues along the back of the buildings on the east side of Rua de Damasceno Monteiro (nos. 74 and following, which belong to the parish of Nossa Senhora dos Anjos).º 74 and following, which belong to the parish of Nossa Senhora dos Anjos), until it meets Rua de Angelina Vidal, between buildings nºs 29 and 31.It goes up along the axis of Rua de Angelina Vidal, passes through the square commonly called Cruz dos Quatro Caminhos, then follows the axis of Rua dos Sapadores until it crosses Rua do Vale de Santo António; from there it drifts south, continuing along the backs of the buildings on the east side of Rua da Bela Vista, until no. 76, inclusive.No. 76, inclusive, encompassing the Refúgio da Tutoria da Infância, which borders the parish on the east; from the south corner of the Tutoria da Infância, it continues in a straight line to Rua do Dr. Jorge Leite Vasconcelos. Jorge Leite de Vasconcelos, next to the respective building with the no.In a westerly direction, it continues along the axis of the last of the aforementioned streets to Rua da Senhora da Glória, along whose axis it continues southwards to Rua da Verónica; it turns westwards along the axis of Rua da Verónica to the headquarters of the Sapadores Bombeiros Battalion in Largo da Graça; taking a southerly direction, it passes between the facilities of the aforementioned barracks and those of the Gil Vicente Lyceum, then skirts the west side of this lyceum, in the part that confronts the rear of the buildings in the northern section of Rua da Voz do Operário; it reaches this street to the south of the building with no. 22 (belonging to this and the other buildings).No. 22 (this and the following even-numbered buildings belong to this parish and those with nos.It continues north-west for around 50 metres along its axis to the junction with Travessa de S. Vicente; it continues west for around 80 metres along the axis of the aforementioned street to surround the building of Sociedade A Voz do Operário on the north side; it leaves Travessa de S. Vicente where it forms an elbow. It leaves Travessa de S. Vicente, where it forms an elbow, to skirt the Cadeia das Mónicas from the north, and then joins Travessa das Mónicas halfway down; it descends along the axis of this street, then skirts the building on Rua de S. Vicente with numbers 26 to 34 (which belongs to this parish), to Rua de Santa Marinha; it finally continues westwards along the axis of this street until it reaches the starting point at Largo de Rodrigues de Freitas. Its headquarters are still in the church of Graça.


With the area of the former civil parish of S. Vicente de Fora, delimited by a line defined as follows: Starting from the intersections of Travessa de S. Tomé and Rua de S. Tomé, it heads north along the axis of the aforementioned street to Largo de Rodrigues de Freitas; it continues towards Calçada da Graça and, when it reaches Rua de Santa Marinha, it turns east, following the axis of this street and continuing along that of Rua de S. Vicente. Vicente, up to its intersection with Travessa das Mónicas; it turns northwest, going up the axis of this street; in the middle of it, it turns east, going around the facilities of Cadeia das Mónicas and Sociedade A Voz do Operário from the north, and reaches Rua da Voz do Operário, at the point where it intersects with Travessa de S. Vicente. It descends along the axis of Rua da Voz do Operário for around 50 m to the building with no. 22 (excluding it). No. 22 (excluding it) and bends eastwards along the dividing line to the south of this building, until it reaches the fence of the Gil Vicente High School; it continues northwards, turning, on the western side, the facilities of this high school and passing to the south of the barracks of the Battalion of Sapper Firefighters of Graça, until it reaches Rua da Verónica; it progresses eastwards along the axis of this street, until its intersection with Rua da Senhora da Glória, along whose axis it continues, in a northerly direction, until it meets Rua do Dr. Jorge Leite Vasconcelos. Jorge Leite de Vasconcelos; it continues east along the axis of the last of these streets to Rua do Vale do Santo António; inflects to the southeast, passing through the axis of this street and continuing along that of Rua de Diogo do Couto, until Rua da Bica do Sapato; it deviates to the southwest, advancing along the axis of Rua da Bica do Sapato, Rua dos Caminhos de Ferro and Largo dos Caminhos de Ferro, until Calçada do Forte; follow, northwest, along the axis of this sidewalk and, in the same direction, along Calçada do Cascão, until the finance section at the top; inflects towards the southwest, in order to bypass, to the south and west, the building of this section and that of the Army Uniform Factory, until reaching Largo do Outeirinho da Amendoeira; continues west, passing through the south side of Largo do Sequeira; it goes up, along the axis of Calçada de S. Vicente, until its intersection with Rua das Escolas Gerais; follows, successively to the southwest and northwest, the axis of this street, until Travessa de S. Tomé; It finally goes up along the axis of the said lane, to the starting point. Its headquarters, formerly in the church of São Vicente, has been, as said, since July 6, 2011, in the church of Graça.