Brazil has a strong religious culture with deeply-rooted foundations that date back centuries. The many churches that dot its cities and towns are testimony to this history, and provide fascinating glimpses into the birth and evolution of Christianity in all its forms in Brazil.
The main religion of this South American country continues to be Roman Catholicism and there are approximately 300 Roman Catholic cathedrals throughout Brazil. Other popular religions include Anglican, Evangelical and Protestant.
Windows in the Church of Dom Bosco, Brasília, Brazil. Built on the 15th parallel, the church celebrates the vision of Dom Bosco who in 1883 foresaw the construction of a city in central inland Brazil, between the 15th and 20th parallels. This vision led to the founding of Brasíla, the new capital of Brazil.
Despite there being an abundance of options to visit, there are a few churches that stand out in terms of their structure, nature and history. These include:
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia
Brasilia is a modern city, and its architecture reflects this. The City Cathedral is no exception. It is a Roman Catholic Cathedral, serving as the seat of the Archdiocese of the city, and is situated at the Esplanada dos Ministérios. It was, interestingly, projected by an atheist. Its consecration as a cathedral took some time for this reason, and it was finally dedicated in May 1970, despite its cornerstone having been laid in September 1958.
It is notable for its interesting form, which was created to resemble a pair of hands facing upwards towards heaven in a prayerful pose. The glass roof makes it feel open and airy, with a direct connection or pathway to the heavens. It is made up of 16 concrete columns, each of which weighs an astonishing 90 tons. There are a number of features that continue to attract locals and tourists to this structure, including:
• The Evangelists sculptures
• The oval Baptistery
• The Altar
• The stained glass of the nave
• The Shroud of Turin inside the crypt
Although such a spectacular attraction, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia is not often used due to its bad acoustics. This cathedral is open to tourists, but closed during Mass times.
The Dom Bosco Sanctuary Brasilia
Dom Bosco is revered as being one of Christianity’s most notable historical figures. He was an Italian saint who founded the Order of Salesians. This sanctuary is the church that was constructed to honour him and his religious contributions.
Dom Bosco had a dream that involved a city, which is believed to have prophesied this sanctuary and was certainly the inspiration for it. In his dream, the building had to be built between the 15th and 20th parallels, which the sanctuary honoured.
It is situated in the centre of the town. Inside, its walls are entirely made from blue and purple vitral or stained glass, which gives it an ethereal and mysterious ambience. The exquisite chandelier illuminates this interior spectacularly.
Admission to the Dom Bosco Sanctuary is free, and it is open 24 hours a day.
The Brasilia Temple Of Legiao Da Boa Vontade
This has been dubbed the centre of the town’s spirituality and is an ecumenical temple, meaning that it represents the entire body of churches, and not just one denomination. The temple itself is a stark white and is shaped like a pyramid. At night, the entire temple is illuminated, giving it an intriguing beauty.
The inside floors boast spiralled granite that creates a magnificent decorative feature. From the ceiling hangs a massive crystal, weighing 21 kilograms.
There are theories regarding the healing power of the temple, as many visitors leave feeling rejuvenated physically and spiritually. Some new-age idealists also hold that the pyramid shape of the structure allows positive energies to be released from the visitors to the rest of the world.
The Brasilia Temple of Legiao Da Boa Vontade is open 24 hours a day.