The Catedral Metropolitana in the Brazilian city of Manaus was the first church to be built in the city. As the main church of the Archdiocese of Amazonas, it shines with its simplicity and sobriety.
The Catedral Metropolitana ("Municipal Cathedral") in Manaus is the seat of the Archdiocese of Amazonas and one of our top 10 sights in Manaus. It is located in front of the port of Manaus on a small hill with a fantastic view of the Rio Negro. After the founding of Manaus, this was the first Catholic place of worship in the city.
Origin of the Catedral Metropolitana
The first church to stand on the site of today's imposing cathedral was the Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Conceição ("Mother Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception"). It was built in 1695 by missionaries of the Carmelite Order.
The extremely simple, almost rustic church was later expanded. Even today, the mausoleum to the right of the entrance is the final resting place of the then bishop Don Lorenzo Costa Aguiar. In 1850, however, the church was destroyed by a major fire.
A little later, the Catedral Metropolitana of Manaus was rebuilt in its current appearance. The snow-white façade is decorated in the Greek style with ochre-yellow, rectilinear elements and the entrance portal can be reached via two imposing, curved staircases.
Much of the building material of the Catedral Metropolitana was imported from Europe, especially Portugal, and the six bells of the cathedral were also made in Portugal. The limestone used for the chancel in the baptistery and the three altars in the cathedral itself originally came from Lisbon. The tiles for the Catedral Metropolitana were imported from what was then New Queen (now Parintins, the second largest city in the state of Amazonas).
About thirty years after the fire, in 1878, the new church of Manaus was opened. With the founding of the Diocese of Amazonas in 1892, the church was chosen as its headquarters. In 1946, it was officially elevated to the status of a cathedral.
VIPs in Catedral Metropolitana of Manaus
Today's Catedral Metropolitana of Manaus has already received two high-ranking visitors. In 1927, it was visited by members of the Brazilian imperial family, in whose honour a mass was held.
The second famous visitor was Pope John Paul II. who graced Manaus with his presence in 1980. He celebrated an open-air mass in front of the assembled city. The chair on which he sat at that time is still kept in the cathedral's museum.