St. Paul’s Church
History of St Paul’s Church
The first record of an Anglican service held in the Estoril area was in the spring of 1908, at the Hotel d’Italie in Monte Estoril. Among a group of English visitors staying at the hotel was a Church of England minister, who offered to hold a Sunday service for British visitors and those from two other local hotels.
It is thought that the Churchwardens of St George’s were instrumental in appointing a Chaplain, who would travel out from England to stay during the winter at the Hotel d’Italie, where he held services, as this was the popular time of year to visit Estoril. At some time in the late 1920s, the decision was made to transfer services from the Hotel d’Italie to the larger, more modern Hotel Paris in Estoril (now the Estoril Sana). After this change in arrangements, Sr. Vergani, the owner, decided to build a little chapel next to the hotel, no doubt influenced by the Anglican presence in his hotel. This chapel was never consecrated and was only used during the winter months. In 1936, the hotel required the land occupied by the chapel, and Sr. Vergani sold a plot of land behind the Hotel Paris for a very reasonable price as compensation, and a new chapel was built the same year. The subsequent period of 1936 to 1954 was a difficult one, particularly during the Second World War, resulting in fewer visitors. Later on it was decided to demolish the chapel in 1967, as the congregation had grown, partly because the services had become popular among exiled Heads of State, including King Umberto of Italy, who donated the large wooded cross which adorns the church to this day. The new church was designed by the young Lisbon architect, Gil Graça, and was completed by Christmas 1968, and was consecrated as the new St Paul’s on January 25, 1969, by the then Bishop of Gibraltar, the Right Reverend Stanley Eley.
The idea to join together the two Chaplaincies of Lisbon and Estoril was first discussed in 1976, on the pending retirement of the then longstanding Chaplain at St Paul’s, Canon John Humphries. This came to pass in 1984, with the creation of the Greater Lisbon Chaplaincy of St George and St Paul, under one Chaplain, with one Church Council and one set of accounts.
St Paul’s has had almost as many Chaplains as St George’s, although the latter enjoys a far longer history, which is the result of a shorter average time in office. Over 80 incumbents have served both churches since the Rev. Zachary Craddock first took up office in Lisbon in 1656. The longest serving Chaplain was Canon Thomas Godfrey Pope, of St George’s, who served for 35 years from 1867-1902, followed by Canon John Humphreys, of St Paul’s, who served for 27 years from 1957-1980.
The congregation of St. Paul’s is comprised of many nationalities who are living in the Estoril area, and of course visitors. The principal service is a Family Eucharist held each Sunday at 9.30 am. A Service of Healing and Wholeness takes place once a month and women’s bible study once a week. Other study and home groups meet regularly. The church has an enthusiastic choir and many “community” groups use the facilities for their activities.
Further details of current activities at both churches can be found in Notices.