Portuguese church served as Knights Templar headquarters
Portal is richly sculpted in the Manueline style
The Convento de Cristo in Tomar, Portugal bears many striking examples of Manueline scrollwork. The portal of the church constructed around 1530 is richly sculpted in the Manueline style. To the right of the portal is the 12th-century charola or rotunda, with strong buttresses, round windows and a bell-tower.
The Convento de Cristo in Tomar, Portugal bears many striking examples of Manueline scrollwork.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Like all Templar round churches, its shape was modeled after the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Dome of the Rock, which was mistakenly believed to be part of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.
The building originally started as the castle of the Knights Templar of Tomar. Built by Gualdim Pais, provincial Master of the Order of the Temple around 1160, the castle was chosen as the headquarters of the Portuguese Templars.
The Tomar castle was built as part of a Templar defense system to secure the border of the Christian kingdom against the Moors of Iberia. In 1190 the castle of Tomar resisted the attacks of caliph Abu Yusuf al-Mansur, who had previously taken other Portuguese strongholds to the South. The round church, or rotunda or charola of the castle of Tomar was built in this early period and is Romanesque in style.
By 1314, the Templars had amassed great riches and many enemies, leading to their suppression by the pope. King Dinis, however, allowed the Templar members, assets and vocation to regroup under the new name of "Order of Christ" in 1319. The Order of Christ moved to Tomar in 1357, which became its headquarters.
Today, the charola inside is opulently decorated with paintings and sculptures. Eight Romanesque columns create an arched ambulatory. The capitals depict vegetal and animal motifs, as well as a Daniel in the Lions' Den scene. The style of the capitals shows the influence of artists working on Coimbra Cathedral, which was being built at the same time. Strong Moorish and Byzantine influences mingle with the western styles, creating a fusion of east and west such as that seen in the Mezquita de Córdoba, Spain or Aachen Cathedral, Germany.
Manueline sculptures and paintings were added during a renovation sponsored by King Manuel I starting in 1499. The murals, depicting the life of Christ, are attributed to Manuel's court painter, the Portuguese Jorge Afonso. The pillars of the central octagon and the walls of the ambulatory bear polychromed statues of saints and angels under exuberant Late Gothic canopies (attributed to Flemish sculptor Olivier de Gand and the Spaniard Hernán Muñoz).
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Cionvento de Christo, Portugal, Templar Knights
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Travel News
- Abbey of St. Foy is longtime medieval pilgrimage route
- Austere Abbaye de Fonteny filled only with light
- British man visits all of the world's 201 nations - without flying in a plane
- The Basilique Ste-Madeleine second only to Notre Dame in size
- Mont-St-Michel island abbey connected with natural land bridge
- Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire Abbey greets visitors near Orleans in central France
- The Abbey of Fontfroide was onetime center of orthodoxy
- France's Saint Hilaire Abbey contains sarcophagus of Saint Sernin
- Bring binoculars to the St. Matthias Abbey Church to see architectural marvels
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?
More Rome, Vatican & Italy
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church.
Saint Peter's Square
Saint Peter's Square is located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the papal enclave within Rome. The open space which ...
The Coliseum is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is considered one ...
Sistine Chapel is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City. It is famous for its ...
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM) • Catholic Online • 1/17/2013
The Abbey of St. Foy, nestled in the hills of southern France is a beautiful Romanesque church perfectly aligned with its surroundings. The ...
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM) • Catholic Online • 12/5/2012
Found in the Burgundy Valley, the Abbaye de Fontenay is a well-restored 12th-century Cistercian monastery founded by St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The ...
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM) • Catholic Online • 11/27/2012
Thirty-three-year-old Graham Hughes of Liverpool wanted to travel with his feet firmly planted on the soil. To this end, the eccentric Briton can now ...