Ruínas de São Paulo
The first church built on this site, in 1602, was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

The famous S. Paulo (actually originally called the Church of the Mother of God) was designed by Fr. Spinola and built by Japanese artisans in about 1637.

Along the lowest of three tiers are niched four statues of Jesuit saints, some of whom at that time were only beatified, notably St. Francis Xavier. The central tier contains a statue of the Virgin mary in the centre, flanked by angels in prayer, the fountain and the tree of life, a ship and a gorgon, an Apocalyptic monster, and a skeleton dormant. In the uppermost tier, surrounded by the objects used in the crucifixion, stands a representation of Jesus Christ with the dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, topped by a cross of Jerusalem.

The church was destroyed by fire in 1835, leaving the facade.

Reference: Map of Macau, Hong Kong Printing Press, 1949.

There was a legend among Macanese – obviously untrue – that the dove was made of pure gold.