From St. Lawrence Church, Jandy Cheska and I walked over to Cathedral Square where the Macau Cathedral, Paco Episcopal Bishop’s House and Cartorio da Se and a fountain (added in the place of a car park when the courtyard was beautified from 2005-2006) are located.
Macau Cathedral (also called Se Cathedral or, simply Se) is the mother church of the Catholic Diocese of Macau, which once included the Catholic parishes in China, Japan and Korea. It was built around 1622 and repaired in 1743 and 1780. The cathedral was originally constructed with taipa (compound material consisting soil and straw).
During the restoration of 1780, the religious services of the Cathedral were temporarily transferred to the old chapel of the Holy House of Mercy. The cathedral was damaged by a typhoon in 1836 and its services were then transferred to St. Dominic’s Church, until repairs were completed in 1850, following the design of local architect Tomas d’Aquino.
The facade is characterized by a massive front entrance with pilasters and the twin bell towers in front that stand out on the streetscape. The exterior is clad in Shanghai plaster, giving the church a monolithic subdued grey appearance. Compared to the other churches I saw in Macau, the cathedral is somewhat plain. The cathedral holds sacred relics of Japanese martyrs from the persecution of Christians in the 17th century.
To the left of the cathedral (or right, if you’re looking out from it) is the Paço Episcopal Bishop’s House. Finished in stucco and painted cream, with white trimmings, it more like the other churches I saw in Macau. Right in front of the Cathedral is the Cartório da Sé (Cathedral Registrar) where marriage registrations, births and deaths are recorded.
Macau Cathedral: 1 Cathedral Square, Macau