Fernando de Bulhoes was born in the Alfama district of Lisbon in 1195. He was the son of a very wealthy family. There is not much history about his early life but it is known that by 1220, he was studying at Coimbra Univrsity then entered the Franciscan Order and chose the name Antonio.
He became a missionary settling in Padua, Italy. In Padua he became famous for his sermons about the faith. After he died, he was canonized in less than a year (1232).
The home of St. Anthony and his family was just across from the Cathedral of Lisbon (The Se). He was baptized in the Se. In the 15th century,his family home was made into a small chapel. In the 16th century, it was rebuilt on a larger scale. King John refurbished the church in 1730. In the 1755 earthquake, it was destroyed but the main chapel withstood the destruction.
In 1767, the church was rebuilt. Thousands of pilgrims visit the Church each year.Since 1755, a procession on June 13th leaves the church, passes the Se, and proceeds up into the hills of the Alfama. At this time, St. Anthony's Bread is distributed.
The entrance to the lower level is through the gift shop in the church. Down the stairway you go into the space that was the home of the saint. In 1982, Pope John Paul II visited and prayed in the church and the former home of Saint Anthony.
Next to the church is a museum. Admission is free with the Lisboa Card.
(Sometimes in Summer, the bus crowds can be overwhelming).
A very moving Experience.