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Sanctuary of Fátima


Sanctuary of Fátima

Sanctuary of Fátima (Santuário de Fátima)
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary
Church (Igreja)
A view of the Basilica of Nossa Senhora de Rosário showing pilgrims and tourists
Official name: Santuário de Fátima
Named for: Marian apparition in civil parish of Fátima
Country  Portugal
Region Centro
Subregion Médio Tejo
District Santarém
Municipality Ourém
Location Fátima
 - coordinates
Architects Gerard van Kriken, António Lino, J. Carlos Loureiro, Orlando Sá Nogueira, Zulmiro de Carvalho, Rufatti brothers (Padua)
Style Neobaroque
Materials Stone, Marble, Bronze, Wood, Stained glass, Ceramic tile
Origin 1916
 - Initiated 13 May 1928
 - Completion 1954
Consecration October 1953
Owner Portuguese Republic
For public Public
Easiest access Constructed in the urban centre of Fátima, the sanctuary is encircled by parking on the north, east and west, with the south passage open to the churchyard and Chapel of the Apparitions
Management Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima
Operator Roman Catholic Diocese of Leiria-Fátima
Status Unclassified
Listing Zona "non aedificandi"; Decree 37/008, DG, Série 1/186 (11 August 1948), Ministry of Public Works (Portuguese: Ministério das Obras Públicas)
Wikimedia Commons:

The Sanctuary of Fátima (Portuguese: Santuário de Fátima), which is also referred to (incorrectly) as the Basilica of Our Lady of Fátima(Portuguese: Basilica de Nossa Senhora de Fátima), is a group of Roman Catholic buildings and structures in the (civil parish) of Fátima, in the municipality of Ourém in Portugal.

In addition to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary (Portuguese: Basilicia da Nossa Senhora de Rosário), Chapel of the Lausperene (Portuguese: Capela de Lausperene), a great oak tree (on which the Marian Apparitions occurred), a monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Portuguese: Monumento ao Sagrado Coração de Jesus) and the Chapel of the Apparitions (Portuguese: Capelinha das Aparições), where three children Lucia Santos and her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, were first visited by Mary. In addition, several other structures and monuments were built in the intervening years to commemorate the events associated with the events in 1916, including: the Hostel/Retreat House of Our Lady of Sorrows (Portuguese: Albergue e Casa de Retiros de Nossa Senhora das Dores), the rectory, the Hostel/Retreat of Our Lady of Mount Carmel(Portuguese: Casa de Retiros de Nossa Senhora do Carmo), a segment of the Berlin Wall (marking the consecreation of Russia to the Sacred Heart of Christ), monuments to Fathers Formigão and Fischer, a High Cross (by artist Robert Schad), and individual monuments to Pope Paul VI, Pope Pious XII, Pope John Paul II and D. José Alves Correia da Silva (whom had important roles in the history of site) and the Pastoral Centre of Paul VI (Portuguese: Centro Pastoral de Paulo VI).

Across from the main sanctuary is the much larger Basilica of the Santissima Trinidade constructed after 1953, owing to the limited scale of the Sanctuary for large-scale pilgrimages and religious services.


  • History 1
  • Architecture 2
    • Basilica 2.1
    • Chapel of the Sacred Lausperene 2.2
    • Chapel of the Apparitions 2.3
    • Other 2.4
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Lúcia Santos (left) with her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, 1917
The main Church, later Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary by architect Gerard van Kriechen
Portion of the colonnade by architect António Lino

In 1916, on three separate occasions, Lucia Santos and her two cousins, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, began witnessing apparitions of an angel in the region of Ourém. These visitations persisted until the 13 May 1917 when, while tending their family's sheep in Cova da Iria, they witnessed the apparition of what they later assumed was the Virgin Mary, and began doing penance and self-sacrifice to atone for sinners. Many flocked to Fátima and Aljustrel to witness these apparitions along with the children, but not before the children were jailed for being politically disruptive.[1] These visitations culminated in the public Miracle of the Sun event, even as the apparition of Mary divulged three secrets to the children. Although the last apparition occurred on 13 October 1917, the region of Fátima continued to be a destination of pilgrims.

Victims of the 1918 flu pandemic epidemic, both cousins (Francisco and Jacinta) died on 3 April 1919 and 19 February 19, 1920 (in Aljustrel and Lisbon), respectively. Along with the Three Secrets of Fátima, their stories (and that of Lucia), would be linked to religious construction that followed in Fátima. A small chapel, the Capelinha das Aparições (Chapel of the Apparitions) was begun on 28 April 1919 by local people: its construction was neither hindered or encouraged by church authorities.

On 13 May 1920, pilgrims defied government troops to install a statue of the Virgin Mary in the chapel, while the first officially celebrated mass occurred on 13 October 1921. A hostel for the sick was also begun in the same year, but the original chapel was destroyed on 6 March 1922.

The first investigations (canonical process) by the Roman Catholic Church in regards to the events at Fátima began on 3 May 1922. Meanwhile, small Chapel of the Appariations was rebuilt and functioning by 1923. It would take the next four years to see a change in attitude from the Roman Catholic church; on 26 July 1927, the Bishop of Leiria, presided over the first religious service at Cova da Iria, that included the blessing of the 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) stations of the cross on the mountain road to the site from Reguengo do Fetal.

On 13 May 1928, the first foundation stone was laid in the construction of the basilica and colonnade of Fátima, a process that continued until 1954. The construction of the colonnade, by architect António Lino began in 1949 and extended to 1954. Meanwhile, on 13 October 1930, the Roman Catholic Church permitted the existence of the first cult of Nossa Senhora de Fátima (Our Lady of Fátima). Even before the completion of the complex, the mortal remains of Jacinta Marto was moved from her modest grave in Vila Nova de Ourém (where she had been buried following her death) to Fátima (12 September 1935), and later (on 1 May 1951) to the completed basilica sanctuary. Her brother's remains, were moved from the cemetery in Fátima to the basilica on 13 March 1952. An organ was also mounted that same year in the completed church, by the firm Fratelli Rufatti of Pádua.

Before this period, on 13 May 1942, a large pilgrimage had already to marked the 25th anniversary of the apparitions. Two years later (on 13 May 1946), Cardinal Massella, Pontifical Legate, crowned the image of Our Lady of Fátima in the Chapel of the Apparitions, marking a complete reversal in the official posture of the Vatican See towards the events at Fátima. On 7 October 1953 the Church of the Sanctuary of Fátima was consecrated, and within a year, Pope Pious XII conceded the church the title of Basilica in his short Luce Superna document (November 1954).

On 13 May 1956, cardinal Roncalli, patriarch of Venice, and future Pope John XXIII, presided over an international pilgrimage anniversary. From this point forward, there would continue to be an active presence and influence of the patriarchy of the Vatican in the events at the Fátima. On 1 January 1960, the sacred Lausperene rite was initiated.

The sections of the organ, until this time dispersed throughout the basilica were united in one unit in 1962, in the high choir.

On 13 May 1967, Pope Paul VI visits Fátima to mark the 50th anniversary of the first apparitions.

On 19 September 1977, the civil parish was elevated to the status of town.

Between 12–13 May 1982, in a pilgrimage to Fátima by Pope John Paul II, the first cornerstone of the Capela do Sagrado Lausperene was laid: the construction would continue until 1987.[1] Its completion and consecretaion on 1 January 1987 was attributed to donations and gifts from the Austrian association Cruzada de Reparação pelo Rosário para a Paz no Mundo (Rosary Repair Crusade for World Peace). Pope John Paul II would return once more on 12–13 May 1991 to preside over the international pilgrimage anniversary.

On 4 June 1997, the Portuguese National Assembly elevated the town of Fátima to the status of city.

Following several years of building, on 24 August 2006, the first attempts to classify the sanctuary as a national patrimony were begun, in terms of the transitory regime, but was incomplete due to a sunset clause of 8 September 2001.[1]

The shrine attracts a large number of Roman Catholics, and every year pilgrims fill the country road that leads to the shrine with crowds that approach one million on May 13 and October 13, the significant dates of the Fátima apparitions.[2] Overall, about four million pilgrims visit the basilica every year.[3]


A panoramic view of the sanctuary Basilica and colonnade, the statue to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Chapel of the Apparitions

The Sanctuary at Fátima was constructed over time in or near the area of Cova da Iria, where the three children witnessed the Marian apparitions ofOur Lady of the Rosary (later known as Our Lady of Fátima by parishioners and pilgrims). The sanctuary includes various buildings, shrines and monuments to the religious, political and social consequence of the event dispersed throughout a complex of open panoramas and vistas dominated by the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary and the Church of the Holy Trinity. Central to the complex is the small Chapel of the Apparitions and its shelter, where legend suggests many of the events of the apparitions took place and where the first pilgrims venerated the Marian apparitions.


The basilica consists of a tall centralized bell-tower and nave, approximately 65 metres (213 ft) in height, and decorated by a crown of bronze of7,000 kilograms (15,000 lb), similar in style to the Clérigos Church, surmounted by an illuminated cross. Its architect was the Dutchman Gerardus Samuel van Krieken, who was born in Rotterdam, and educated in Geneva. He came to Portugal in 1889 to teach at the Escolas Técnicas Industriais (Industrial Technical Schools), where he was appointed to the Escola Industrial Infante D. Henrique (Infante D. Henrique Industrial School), to be professor of ornamental arts, but later married and settled in the city of Porto.[1] Although he was the originator of the basilica design and followed its original construction, he never saw its consecration, owing to his death.

The carillon consists of 62 bells, created and tempered in Fátima by José Gonçalves Coutinho, of Braga. The largest bell weighs approximately3,000 kilograms (6,600 lb) and the clapper about 90 kilograms (200 lb). The clock is the work of Bento Rodrigues, also of Braga. The angels on the main facade are the author of Albano França. The statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the niche of the spire, is 4.73 metres (15.5 ft) tall and weighs 14 tons.

At the entrance to the basilica, over the main portico, is a mosaic representing the Holy Trinity crowning Mary. It was executed by officials of the Vatican and blessed by Cardinal Eugénio Paccelli, future Pope Pious XII, so-called Pope of Fátima. A large statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which stands in a niche above the main entrance of the basilica, was sculpted by American priest Thomas McGlynn.[1] Father McGlynn spent considerable time with Sister Lúcia as she described to him in detail how Mary looked during her appearances to the children. The statue is not what Father McGlynn had in mind when he approached Sister Lúcia, but is more accurately described as a collaboration between visionary and sculptor, producing perhaps the most accurate representation of Our Lady of Fátima: the statue was presented as a gift from the Catholic people of the United States to the Sanctuary of Fátima in 1958.[4]

Many of the events of the Marian apparitions at Fátima are depicted in the stained glass windows in the basilica, while fifteen altars within the church are dedicated to the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary. At the four corners of the basilica are statues of the four great apostles of the Rosary and to their devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Saint Dominic, Saint John Eudes and Saint Stephen, King of Hungary.

A five-section organ (grande organ, positive, recitative, solo and echo) actioned by a console of five keyboards and pedals is installed in the choir. It has 152 registers and approximately 12,000 lead, tin and wood tubes, with the largest 11 metres (36 ft) in height and the smallest 9 millimetres (0.35 in).[1] Initially, the organ was divided into its five parts and dispersed within the basilica, but it was re-formed in 1962 and installed in its present location.[1]

Chapel of the Sacred Lausperene

The Chapel of the Sacred Lausperene (Portuguese: Capela do Sagrado Lausperene), is situated at the end of the left colonnade of the basilica. The stained-glass windows at its entrance represent manna in the desert and the Last Supper.

Chapel of the Apparitions

The Chapel of Apparitions (Portuguese: Capelinha das Aparições) is at the very centre of the sanctuary: it is located at the exact location of the Marian apparitions, marked by a marble pillar and enclosed case, with the image of the Virgin Mary.


Pope John Paul II inaugurated the Paul VI Pastoral Center May 13, 1982, as a center for study and reflection on the message of Fátima. It can seat over two thousand people and has accommodation for four hundred pilgrims.

The treasury of the sanctuary holds the Irish Monstrance considered to be one of the most significant works of religious art from Ireland. The monstrance was gifted to the basilica in 1949.[5]

Near the entrance to the Fátima Sanctuary, south of the rectory, is a segment of the Berlin Wall intended to emphasize the belief that the Rosary prayers influenced the fall of the Berlin Wall related to the Consecration of Russia based on the Our Lady of Fátima messages.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Figueiredo, Paula (2013). "Santuário de Fátima" [Sanctuary of Fatima] (in Portuguese). Lisbon: Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico (SIPA). Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  2. ^ Ring, Trudy (1 January 1996). International Dictionary of Historic Places: Southern Europe. pp. 242–245.  
  3. ^ "Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima". Sacred Destinations. Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  4. ^ "Dominican Priest and Sculptor Thomas McGlynn". Dominican Friars, Central Province. Retrieved 2014-09-19. 
  5. ^  
  6. ^ St. Louis, Regis; Landon, Robert (1 April 2014). Portugal (9 ed.). Lonely Planet Press. pp. 282–283.  
  • AAVV, ed. (2004), Caminhos do Espírito, Percursos da Arte, Região de Turismo Leiria / Fátima; [Paths of the Spirit, Paths of Art, Leiria Tourist Region] (in Portuguese), Leiria, Portugal, pp. 153–160 
  • Fátima: 75 anos [Fatima: 75 years] (in Portuguese), Fátima: Comissão Central das Comemorações do 75.º Aniversário das Aparições de Nossa Senhora de Fátima, 1992 
  • Silva, Patrick Coelho da, O Santuário de Fátima: arquitetura portuguesa do século XX [The Shrine of Fatima: Portuguese architecture of the twentieth century] (in Portuguese), Porto, Portugal: Dissertação de Mestrado apresentada à Universidade Fernando Pessoa 
  • Vasconcelos, João (1996), Romarias - II - um inventário dos Santuários de Portugal [Pilgrimages: An inventory of the Shrines of Portugal] (in Portuguese) II, Lisbon: Olhapim Editores 

External links

  • Sanctuary of Fátima - Official website
  • The Chapel of Apparitions on-line transmissions
  • Official Vatican Statement releasing the Message of Fátima
  • Online version of the book: "Fátima in Sister Lúcia’s own words"
  • "The 13th Day" - Film about the Miracle of Fátima
  • Pictures of Fátima
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