Igreja de São Roque, Portugal’s Oldest Jesuit Church

Portugal's oldest Jesuit church is plain on the outside, but inside it's beautifully decorated with a series of Baroque chapels.
Chapel of St. John the Baptist in the Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch) in Lisbon Portugal
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From the outside, it’s remarkably plain. The facade isn’t all that much to write home about–not much more than a simple vertical wall towering over a small public square facing down the hill of Rua da Misericórdia towards the Targa waterfront. But there’s nothing ordinary about the interior.

Dedicated to Saint Roch, Igreja de São Roque dates back to the late 16th century. It was built by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) at its peak, and the Igreja de São Roque was one of the first Jesuit churches in Christendom.

Highlights include a series of ornate Baroque chapels lining each wall of the nave. On the left, closest to the Altar, is the grandest of them: the Chapel of St. John the Baptist. It was commissioned by Dom João V (King John V) (1689-1750) and constructed in Rome. It was blessed there by the pope and then dismantled and moved to Lisbon on three ships. Its impossibly ornate decorations include lapis lazuli, precious polychrome marbles, amethyst, alabaster, agate, and, of course, generous helpings of gold and silver.

The saint after whom the church is named, Saint Roch, is best known in the context of protection from the plague, but he’s also the patron saint of dogs and the falsely accused.

Attached to the main part of the church is the Museu de São Roque. It houses more of the collection of sacred art that has been accumulated by the church over the centuries.

Photos of Igreja de São Roque (Church of St Roch)

Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch) in Lisbon Portugal

Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch) in Lisbon Portugal

Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch) in Lisbon Portugal

Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch) in Lisbon Portugal

Chapel of St. John the Baptist in the Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch) in Lisbon Portugal

Chapel of Our Lady of Piety in the Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch) in Lisbon Portugal

Facade of the Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch) in Lisbon Portugal

Chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament in Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch) in Lisbon Portugal

Igreja de Sao Roque (Church of Saint Roch) in Lisbon Portugal

I have more photos from Igreja de São Roque here.

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Where to Next?



Travel Advice for Portugal

You can find the latest U.S. Department of State travel advisories and information for Portugal (such as entry visa requirements and vaccination requirements) here.

The British and Australian governments offer their own country-specific travel information. You can find the British Government's travel advice for Portugal here and the Australian Government's here.

Health & Vaccinations

The CDC makes country-specific recommendations for vaccinations and health for travelers. You can find their latest information for Portugal here.

Guidebooks for Portugal

If you're looking for a guidebook to make the most of your visit, these are some of the most popular ones currently for Portugal. Some are available in both paper and e-book formats.

Rick Steves Portugal
  • Steves, Rick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Lonely Planet Portugal (Travel Guide)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Planet, Lonely (Author)
DK Eyewitness Portugal (Travel Guide)
4 Reviews
DK Eyewitness Portugal (Travel Guide)
  • DK Eyewitness (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
Lonely Planet Portugal 12 (Travel Guide)
  • Clark, Gregor (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Travel Insurance For Your Trip to Portugal

I never travel without travel insurance, and I've run into several situations where I've had to make claims. I consider it essential.

But shopping for travel insurance can be a pain and confusing. Thankfully, there are some travel insurance comparison sites that show you a wide range of plans, make it easy to compare coverage, and can save you money at the same time. And the coverage can be much better tailored to your specific needs than the checkbox offering at travel booking sites or through your credit card.

These are some good places to shop for travel insurance for your next trip to Portugal :

Hopefully, you won't need it, but if something goes wrong, you'll sure be glad you have it!

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