The Sanctuary of Senhor Bom Jesus or the Senhor de (Lord of) Matosinhos is both the city’s most outstanding monument and its parish church. The church houses the statue of Bom Jesus transferred here in the 16th century from the now disappeared Monastery of Bouças, itself the former name given to the council of Matosinhos. It was found near the beach at a place known as the Padrão do Bom Jesus (the Bom Jesus Marker Stone) and has been worshipped for many a century. Such devotion is particularly on display during the festivities held in May/June. These are among the most important in the north of Portugal.
In 1542, construction of the church was begun by the University of Coimbra, the patron of Matosinhos after it was granted its concession by king João III. Its current Baroque design derives from its 1732 reconstruction and a design by architect Nicolau Nasoni.
Inside, there are wonderful examples of gold leafed carving in both the nave and the main chapel where the work has been attributed to Oporto sculptor Luis Pereira da Costa.