Throughout the years, this site was closed and neglected, having suffered a fast degradation process, one that reached both its structure and its artistic furnishing.
As a result of the parish’s resilience, whilst having the support of some individuals, it was possible to commence a preservation project for this valuable heritage, with its roof and exterior walls being improved during the process; some procedures were also carried out for the decorative painting of the church’s interior.
With the increasing flow of tourism, the idea to open the church on a permanent basis then emerged, as well as the intention to make it possible to visit the tower and, from that site, all who visit us can discover the most enchanting view of Lisbon over the Tejo's River.
With your visit you will contribute to the maintenance of the now existing jobs, whilst ensuring the protection and appreciation of this wonderful building of the 18th century.
The Parochial Church of the Castle also known as Church of the Holy Cross, is a building of the 18th century, which was constructed upon the primitive temple of the 12th century, where there was an old mosque.
A perhaps credible tradition says that the royal procession of Afonso I of Portugal stepped right into it, after the conquest of Lisbon on 25 October 1147, with the mosque then becoming a Christian temple.
According to the story that happened when the celebrations of All Saints’ Day took place; in praise and honor of the name of Christ and His Holy Mother, the temple’s purification was conducted by the Archbishop and four other suffragan Bishops.
During that occasion, the diocese was also restored, becoming the seat of the episcopate and there, D. Gilberto was consecrated as the new Bishop of Lisbon, in a ceremony presided over by the Archbishop of Braga D. João Peculiar. The new prelate was held accountable to perform the ecclesiastical management of the Castle of Alcácer, the Castle of Palmela, the area of Almada, the Castle of Sintra, the Castle of Santarém, and the Castle of Leiria, in a territory whose boundaries began at the Castle of Alcácer and reached the Castle of Leiria and, from the west, it encompassed all the territory from the sea to the city of Évora.
Throughout history, the primitive “Igreja de Sta. Cruz de Alcáçova” (Church of the Holy Cross of the Citadel), where the children of monarchs – who inhabited the “Paço da Alcáçova” (Court of the Citadel), in Saint George castle – were traditionally baptized, sustained three earthquakes, in the years of 1344, 1531 and 1556, which caused some damage. However, the Great Lisbon earthquake of 1755 was the one that provoked its biggest trail of destruction; being built, afterwards, according to the lines of the architect João Paulo, the current “Igreja Paroquial do Castelo” (Parochial Church of the Castle).
This a single-nave church, having three chapels on each side with its corresponding tribunes, which present different artistic styles, namely Baroque, Pombalino and Neoclassical. The bell tower is placed upon the wall’s tower of the “alcáçova” (citadel) of the Saint George castle.
The Parochial Church of the Castle is linked with the cult of Saint George, the saint who defeats the enemies of faith, the patron saint of the conquest of the city of Lisbon and, probably, one that brought by the English, who helped in the battle against the moors.