Friday, 28 March 2008

Holy House of Mercy in Macau 仁慈堂大樓 (仁慈堂大楼)

Located in a quiet lane just off Senado Square, the first Bishop of Macau Dom Belchior Carneiro, founded the Holy House of Mercy in 1569. The Holy House of Mercy in Macau has devoted its work to the local community, providing charitable assistance in the spirit of Christian fraternity. The Holy House of Mercy was the first charity association to be established in Macau. The building has a neo-classical style which has a refined noble appearance. Nowadays, the Holy House of Mercy exhibits historical pieces and objects of religious art that pinpoint the meeting of different cultures.

With a brick and granite structure has a refined noble appearance, the Holy House of Mercy used to have a lepers’ hospital in St. Lazarus District which is said to have been the first Western-model hospital in Asia. It used to have a chapel with a bell tower standing close by according to documents in historical archives and old drawings. The front of the building is divided into three vertical sections and the façade’s horizontal extension is balanced by ten sets of pilasters.

There is a 2 metrewide balcony on the first floor above the public passage. You can also find the skull, cross and full-length oil painting of Dorn Belchior Carneiro, the founder of the institution plus a bronze bell from the old St. Raphael Hospital, which was founded by Carneiro in the 16th Century on the 2nd floor.

仁慈堂於1569年由天主教澳門教區的首任主教賈耐勞(D.Belchior Carneiro)創立, 仁慈堂負責慈善救濟的工作。 成立之后仁慈堂開辦了中國第一間西式醫院白馬行醫院, 並設育嬰堂、麻瘋院、老人院、孤兒院等機構。

仁慈堂大樓建於18世紀中葉, 為一兩層高的歐陸式的傳統建筑物。 上有三角楣,整體白色設計,外表亮麗。 地面層建有拱廊, 上層走廊外建拱窗, 有窗台狀的鏤石欄杆, 其后於1905年以新古典主義的表現方式加建拱廊部分, 修成甚具古典文化特色的建筑模樣。

仁慈堂的二樓為博物館, 收藏了很多許多由私人捐出的宗教祭品。 其中有些是早期天主教傳入中國時由中國人制造的祭品。 反映出天主教早期來到亞洲而衍生出的文化特色。 其中館內最珍貴的為1662年「澳門仁慈堂章程」的手抄本, 是該堂最早及保存最久的歷史文獻, 甚是歷史價值。 在博物館內還能看見創始人賈尼路主教的頭顱遺骨以及當年陪葬的十字架、賈尼路全身畫像和前白馬行醫院的銅鐘等。

在「仁慈堂大樓」旁邊的一條橫巷內的盡頭亦豎立著一座賈尼路主教的半身銅像, 以紀念他一生對澳門及教會的貢獻。

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